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COVID19 Impact

While the current pandemic has been challenging, the impact on the course delivery for our students has been minimal.  Following the university guidelines, our courses remained face-to-face (following proper CDC guidelines) for first year students until the Thanksgiving Break.  After Thanksgiving, the entire university shifted a virtual format through the end of the semester.  Then, for spring, the start of classes will be delayed by one week and a spring break removed.  The purpose is to minimize traveling and the need for isolation.  

For our second year students, courses were always entirely virtual, so there has been no significant impact.  These students have also been able to continue with their clinical experiences though whether the experience is virtual or face-to-face is at the discretion of the the fieldwork/hospital facility.  We are continuing to monitor the situation and make adjustments accordingly to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and patients.  

Standard Curriculum Information

The curriculum for the master's degree consists of 62 credit hours of didactic courses in the areas of human genetics, public health, research methodology, bioethics, counseling techniques, diversity, and decision-making. The curriculum reflects the field of genetic counseling by integrating the science of genetics and genomics with counseling and communication skills. In this way we can foster the development of effective genetic counselors in diverse clinical settings. Some of the courses such as the cancer genetics, diagnostic genetics, and embryology have associated laboratory components to compliment the didactic sessions. See below for more information on each course in the program. The clinical simulation course and clinical rotation courses require time off campus in clinical settings. 

To estimate the cost of the program, please see the link to the right for the most up today Indiana State University credit hour pricing.  Most only courses also have a small distance education fee, and each semester there is a program fee of $1600 to cover general costs of the program including student research, clinical rotations, honoraria, conference registrations, a portion of student travel etc. 

Course Schedule

Fall of the 1st Year (credit hours)                                                                                       

  • COUN533- Techniques of Counseling (3)                                           
  • BIO685-Foundations in Genetic Counseling (2)                       
  • BIO586-Human Genetics (3)                                                               
  • BIO688-Diagnostic Genetics (4)                                                      
  • BIO561-Embryology (3)

Spring of the 1st Year

  • COUN666-Multicultural Counseling (3)
  • BIO685-Foundations in Genetic Counseling (2)
  • BIO507-Cancer Genetics (4)
  • PSY566-(online) Human Lifespan Development (3)
  • BIO692-Research (3)
  • BIO689-Clinical Simulations (2)
  • BIO692 - Research in Biology (3)


  • COUN738-(online) Ethics & Professional Practice (3)
  • PHIL 525- (online) Ethics of Genome Science and Genetic Counseling (3)
  • BIO689- Off site Clinical Rotations (2)

Fall of the 2nd Year                                                                                      

  • BIO581-(online) Genomic Science (3)                                                            
  • BIO681-(online) Medical Genetics (3)                                                
  • BIO68309-(online) Population Genetics (3)
  • BIO689-Off Site Clinical Rotation (2)                                                                          

Spring of the 2nd Year

  • BIO587-(online) Bioinformatics (3)
  • BIO687-(online) Cytogenetics (3)
  • BIO692 -(online) Research (3)
  • BIO689-Off Site Clinical Rotation (2)  
  • BIO692 - Research in Biology (3)

Course Descriptions:

BIO685 – Foundations in Genetic Counseling: Introduce students to the field of genetic counseling and the basic principles of the profession.  Topics will include the history of the profession, scope of practice, code of ethics, constructing an overall genetic counseling session, and public policy issues related to genetic counseling.  This course spans the entire first year of the program (fall and spring semesters).  Instructor – Megan Tucker, MS, LCGC

BIO687 – Clinical Cytogenetics: This course is designed to expand the knowledge base of masters students in the field of clinical human genetics.  The course will emphasize the clinically relevant genetic differences observed in humans and how these genetic differences relate to disease.  Specifically, the class will explore the relationship between chromosomal abnormalities and human disorders including chromosomal anomalies, rearrangements, uniparental disomy, and epigenetics.  Topics such as nomenclature and current cytogenetic laboratory methods will be discussed. Instructor – Catherine Steding, PhD

BIO507 – Cancer Genetics: Briefly addresses the theory, history, techniques, and application of cell culture as it relates to cancer genetics.  The course will also provide students with the opportunity to learn laboratory techniques and methodologies as they apply to cancer genetics. Students will discuss metastatic tissue growth and overall cancer genetics.  The combination of laboratory and lecture will provide a unique environment to truly understand and work with both cells and clinical laboratory results.  Instructor – Catherine Steding, PhD

BIO688 – Diagnostic Genetics: The course will emphasize the diagnostic principles and methods essential to the clinical applications of genetic analysis.  This course will provide the critical foundation of understanding necessary for defining and explaining complex genetic results to patients. Students will have an opportunity to practice sequencing laboratory techniques to understand the methodology behind it to enhance their ability to discuss the results.  Instructor – Catherine Steding, PhD

BIO581 – Genome Science: Provides a foundation in the cellular and molecular basis of inheritance using a genome-scale perspective. In addition, it will discuss the practical impact of genomic testing within the scope of genetic counseling. Instructor – Jennifer Smith, PhD

BIO561 – Embryology: Address in detail normal and abnormal human development and how it relates to genetic syndromes/conditions.  Instructor – Shaad Ahmad, PhD

BIO681 – Medical Genetics: Address genetic aspects of human disease including the etiology of genetic conditions, dysmorphology, importance genetics in clinical medicine and basics of genetic screening, testing, and treatment.  This will address a wide variety of genetic conditions. Instructor - Julie Fleischer, MD

BIO586 – Human Genetics: This course is designed to introduce students to human genetics.  All of the basic principles of genetics will be applied to obtain a greater understanding of the role of genetic mutation in disease.  Topics include the mitosis/meiosis, common genetic disorders and etiologies, epigenetics, pharmacogenetics, and biochemical genetics will be included. Instructor – Hugo Gante, PhD

BIO587 – Bioinformatics: Provides students with theoretical knowledge and practical skill required to effectively utilize essential network-based bioinformatics programs and databases which are typically accessed from standard laptop computers. Students will be guided in how to utilize these programs to interpret genetic variants. Instructor – Jennifer Smith, PhD

BIO683-Population Genetics: Population genetics examines the frequencies and distributions of alleles, genotypes, and haplotypes to understand the forces that affect genetic variation.  This course introduces students to the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium and Bayesian Theorem as well as segregation and linkage analysis to assess risk for genetic disorders.  Instructor – Hugo Gante, PhD

COUN533 – Techniques of Counseling: Addresses the philosophies, theories, principles, and procedures of counseling.  It includes the use of audio and videotaped counseling interviews, role playing, and case studies.  Instructor – Bridget Roberts-Pittman, PhD

COUN738 – Ethics & Professional Practice: Addresses the social, cultural, and ethical issues encountered in genetic counseling.  It will discuss licensure, credentialing, and various scenarios which may be encountered and the ethics of emerging practices such as direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Instructor - Bridget Roberts-Pittman, PhD

COUN666 – Multicultural Counseling: Explore the basic concepts of group and family dynamics as foundation for the facilitation of a genetic counseling session.  Emphasis is placed on providing students the skills to respond to patients in a culturally sensitive manner.  Topics which will be addressed include gender, race, religion, social class, disability, and sexual orientation. Instructor – Bridget Roberts-Pittman, PhD

PSY566 – Development through the Lifespan: Provide students with an understanding of genetic disorders as they affect overall development after birth.  Students will develop an understanding of the variation and parallels between processes of physical development and behavioral development. Instructor – Caitlin Brez, PhD

PHIL525-Bioethics of Genomic Science: Based on the perspective that ethics should provide guidance for social practice, the advances in genetics require a sustained and systematic examination in relation to the meaning of disability, accounts of distributive justice, equality in opportunity and the concept of human nature. After acquiring a basic understanding of principles commonly used in bioethics, students will consider such questions as: Should genes for human diseases be patented?  Should information from genetic testing be available to employers and insurers? Should parents always be told of genetic testing availability?  This course will examine what impact genetic knowledge could have on individuals’ lives and futures. Instructor – Michael Deem, PhD

The current

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