Biology

M.S. Genetic Counseling


The LIU Post M.S. in Genetic Counseling is  the first of its kind on Long Island and only the third in New York State. It is one of just 37 genetic counseling master’s degree programs nationwide accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC).

The mission of the Genetic Counseling program is to develop genetic counselors that have the knowledge, skill and experience to succeed in all areas of the field by providing comprehensive training emphasizing scientific, clinical and psychosocial aspects of genetic counseling.

As genetic testing becomes more available and patients gain unprecedented access to information about birth defects and the likelihood of diseases and medical conditions, the need for professionals who can help them understand and act on genetic test results is increasing rapidly.

The 46-credit Master of Science program in Genetic Counseling at LIU Post is committed to developing a new generation of genetic counselors with the knowledge and skill to help patients make the best decisions. With a diverse, interdisciplinary academic and clinical faculty, the two-year program is geared toward students who desire a rigorous and comprehensive training in the field of clinical genetics. The program emphasizes the scientific, clinical and psychosocial aspects of genetic counseling. Skills learned through classroom-based didactics pave the way for students to enter their clinical rotations for “real-world” training. Additionally, both classroom work and numerous supplementary activities ensure that students will be exposed to expanded roles in genetic counseling in addition to traditional, clinic-based careers.

The M.S. in Genetic Counseling at LIU Post is dedicated to training a diverse group of students to become leaders in the field of clinical genetics. We believe in embracing a supportive and collaborative atmosphere between our students and faculty. We encourage you to learn more about this program, and look forward to reading your application.

Meet Our Students and Alumni

Check out the LIU Post Graduate Bulletin to learn about degree requirements, course descriptions, and more.

Admissions Requirements

Applications to the M.S. in Genetic Counseling are accepted for the fall semester on a full-time basis only. Online applications and all supporting credentials must be submitted and received by the Graduate Admissions Office on or before January 15. 

Applicants to the M.S. in Genetic Counseling must meet the following requirements in order to be considered for admission:

  • Application for Admission
  • Application fee: $50 (non-refundable)
  • Master of Science in Genetic Counseling Supplemental Application (including the Personal Statement describing your reasons for pursuing a career in genetic counseling)
  • Official undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts from any and all college(s) or universities you have attended.
  • Bachelor's degree with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Higher GPAs are preferred.
  • Competitive scores on the general Graduate Record Examination (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing). Scores cannot be more than five years old at the time of the application.
  • Successful completion of the following course work is required:
      - Biology, two semesters including laboratory sections
      - Chemistry, two semesters including laboratory sections
      - Organic Chemistry, two semesters OR Organic Chemistry, one semester and Biochemistry, one semester, laboratory sections optional but recommended
      - Genetics, one semester
      - Statistics, one semester
      - Psychology, one semester
  • Successful completion of the following course work is suggested:
      - Medical Embryology
      - Calculus
      - Epidemiology
      - Physiology
  • An understanding of the genetic counseling profession. Many successful applicants have accomplished this by shadowing or meeting with a genetic counselor.
  • Advocacy and/or health care experience in a volunteer or paid position. This allows applicants to gain personal and professional insight into professions whose goals are to help people.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Students for whom English is a second language must submit official score results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The required minimum acceptable TOEFL score is: 79 Internet-based (213 computer-based or 550 paper-based) or minimum IELTS score: 6.5.
  • A criminal conviction and/or the use of illegal drugs may impede or bar entry into your chosen field of study. You should be aware that clinical and hospital sites may reject a student, or remove a student from their site if a criminal record is found or if a positive drug test is noted. Inability to gain clinical or field work will result in the inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. Inability to meet objectives and outcomes may result in your failure to complete the program requirements, thus requiring your withdrawal from the program. In addition, the presence of a criminal conviction may also prevent your completion of the required state or federal licensure, certification or registration process.

Application materials other than GRE scores, transcripts and letters of recommendaation should be submitted online. Transcripts and letters of recommendation should be mailed to:

LIU Post
Graduate Admissions Processing Center
15 Dan Road, Ste. 102
Canton, MA 02021

For more information about the genetic counseling profession visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

For a listing of accredited genetic counseling graduate programs visit the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling.

Clinical Rotation Locations

Beginning in the summer between the first and second years, students complete clinical rotations at various sites throughout the New York metropolitan area.  For the summer rotation, we strongly encourage students to pursue a rotation at an “away” site, for the sake of exposure to training in a different geographical region.

Our clinical rotations sites are one of the greatest assets to our program and our students benefit from the expertise of the genetic counselors and medical geneticists that serve as their supervisors.

The following is a list of the program's ACGC-approved clinical rotation sites and their types:

Sites in New York:

Site
Clinic Type(s)
Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center
Genetic Counseling Program
1000 Montauk Highway
West Islip, NY 11795
Cancer
Prenatal
Specialty (Cystic Fibrosis)
Elmhurst Hospital Center
79-01 Broadway, Room H1-106
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Prenatal
Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities
George A. Jervis Clinic
1050 Forest Hill Road
Staten Island, NY 10314-6356
Cancer
Pediatrics
Prenatal
Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center
Department of Pediatrics – Genetics
234 East 149th Street, Room 5-206
Bronx, NY 10451
Cancer
Pediatrics
Prenatal
Maimonides Cancer Center
6300 Eighth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
Cancer
New York Methodist Hospital
Advanced Women's Imaging and Prenatal Testing Center
506 Sixth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Prenatal
North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System
Division of Medical Genetics
1554 Northern Boulevard - Suite 204
Manhasset, NY 11030
Metabolic
Neurogenetics
Pediatrics
Prenatal
Queens Hospital Center
82-68 164th Street
Pavilion Bldg., 1st Floor, Rm 120B
Jamaica, NY 11432
General Genetics
St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center
425 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019
Prenatal
Stony Brook University Medical Center
6 Technology Drive
East Setauket, NY 11733
General Genetics
Winthrop University Hospital
120 Mineola Boulevard
Mineola, NY 11501
General Genetics

Sites in New Jersey:

Meridian Health System
1350 Campus Parkway
Neptune, NJ 07753
Cancer
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901 
Cancer
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine

Clinical Academic Building, Suite 4200
125 Paterson Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Prenatal

Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group
Division of Medical Genetics
Child Health Institute of New Jersey

89 French Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Pediatrics
St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center
703 Main Street
Paterson, NJ 07503
General Genetics

 

 Map of Clinical Rotation Locations

Course Descriptions

ATCG 600 Issues Confronting Genetic Counselors: Principles and Practices
This course is designed to expose students to issues confronting genetic counselors from a counseling perspective with a focus on assessing the need for psychosocial support and exploring diverse counseling theories.
Fall (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 601 Clinical Genetics in Practice I
This course is designed to explore the specific aspects of medicine that genetic counselors confront in their careers with a focus on clinical knowledge and skill development. Issues covered include prenatal genetics, infertility genetics, hematology genetics, genetic testing based on ethnicity, newborn screening and pediatric genetics.
Fall (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 602 Clinical Genetics in Practice II
This course is designed to explore the specific aspects of medicine that genetic counselors confront in their careers with a focus on clinical knowledge and skill development. Issues covered include adult cancer genetics, neurological genetics, cardiology genetics, pharmacogenetics, and Bayesian risk calculations.
Spring (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 603 Clinical Genetics in Practice III
This course discusses the current state of the genetic counseling profession including all professional issues. It also provides a means to provide discussion of student thesis projects as a group and address presentation skills.
Fall (2nd Year), 3 credits

ATCG 604 Clinical Genetics in Practice IV
This course focuses on the legal and ethical issues in the practice of genetic counseling and clinical genetics. Genetic counselors and other health care professionals often work with physicians and the medical team in making crucial medical decisions based on genetic test results. Often, these decisions are controversial, and are surrounded by legal and ethical issues. This course will address some of the most common legal and ethical challenges faced in genetic counseling.
Spring (2nd Year), 3 credits

ATCG 610 Cytogenetics
The course will introduce topics of chromosomal structure and function, chromosome abnormalities and their clinical presentations, chromosomal basis of cancer, and cytogenetic laboratory techniques.
Fall (1st Year), 2 credits

ATCG 613 Molecular Genetics
This course will emphasize understanding of the applications of the emerging techniques in molecular biology as they apply to genetics. Special emphasis will be on topics important to biomedical applications and to those presenting ethical considerations.
Fall (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 615 Special Topics in Adult Genetics
This is a special topics course focusing on adult genetics covering topics such as cancer genetics, neurogenetics, adult cardiac genetics and pharmacogenetics. These issues are covered at an advanced level.
Fall (2nd Year), 1 credit

ATCG 668 Genetic Counseling Pre-Practicum
The client-centered counseling approach stresses the critical importance of three basic conditions: accurate empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness. This is an entry level counseling laboratory course designed to provide basic fundamental communication skills training to prospective counselors in the genetic counseling program.
Spring (1st Year), 3 credits

ATCG 669 Genetic Counseling Practicum
This is an in-depth counseling practicum designed to provide supervised genetic counseling experience from a developmental, multicultural perspective. The main emphasis and focus of the course is on practice. Students will participate in role-plays and will participate in peer critique in a supervised and positive learning environment.
Fall (2nd Year), 5 credits

ATCG 701 Design and Analysis in Genetics Research
The class is intended to provide a broad understanding of the application of statistical procedures to the analysis of scientific data. The goal is for students to improve their ability to read, comprehend, and critically review relevant scientific literature in their field.
Spring (1st Year) and Fall (2nd Year), 1 credit each

ATCG 702 Clinical Internship
Students work under the supervision of a genetic counselor/geneticist in a variety of genetics clinics. Students will complete 4 rotations beginning in the summer semester – one rotation in the summer semester (7 weeks, full time) and three rotations (10 weeks each, part time) during the second academic year in the program. With the consent of the program director, students may arrange to do a rotation at another site during the summer semester.
Summer (1st Year), 2 credits
Fall (2nd Year), 4 credits
Fall/Spring (2nd Year), 4 credits
Spring (2nd Year), 4 credits

ATCG 708 Capstone Project/Thesis
This course is open only to matriculated students. Approval of department chairperson, program director and mentor is required. In this course, the student executes a proposed final project or thesis topic which the student completes under the supervision of a faculty member. Written and oral presentations are required.
Spring (2nd Year), 3 credits

BIO 514 Biochemical Genetics
This course will focus on the biochemistry of genetic disorders resulting in metabolic problems with the processing and storage of amino acids, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids.
Fall (2nd Year), 3 credits

BIO 528 Human Development
In this course we will cover human development. Special attention will be given to teratogens, diseases, and genetic conditions that cause particular developmental abnormalities during critical embryological periods.
Fall (1st Year), 3 credits

BIO 530 Clinical Genetics
This course will focus on genetics and genomics in human medicine. Students will learn about individual genetic disorders as well as screening techniques and fundamental concepts of inheritance. Ethical issues in medical genetics will also be covered.
Spring (1st Year), 3 credits

BMS 612 Pathophysiology II
Molecular, biochemical and metabolic events, which identify disease of several body systems, are presented.
Spring (1st Year), 3 credits

Program Requirements

The Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program accepts students on a full-time basis only. The first year of the program involves a combination of coursework, professional activities and clinical activities. In addition to rigorous classroom training, students have one dedicated professional observation day per week. This day consists of varied experiences, including, but not limited to, observation in the following areas: cytogenetics lab, inpatient and outpatient medical clinics, surgical/medical procedural clinics, molecular genetics labs, and a newborn screening lab. Additionally, students will interact with genetic counselors practicing in the field. In their first year, students will complete one small project involving creation of patient/community educational materials. Additionally, seminars and journal clubs are offered to complete the educational experience.

The second year of training is largely focused on clinical training, but also involves some coursework. Clinical training begins in the summer after completion of the first academic year and involves rotations in five different clinics. Clinical rotations will occur in prenatal, pediatrics, oncology, neurology and other medical clinics. We strongly encourage students to pursue one clinical rotation at an “away” site, for the sake of exposure to training in a different geographical region.

The purpose of the required research thesis is to expose students to the clinical genetics research process. Students may engage in a variety of research areas, including psychosocial issues, legal/ethical issues, clinical care, or basic science issues. Students will be required to submit their research to the Journal of Genetic Counseling or another medical journal, though acceptance of the article is not a requirement for graduation. In their second to last semester, students will attend the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) National Conference. Registration costs for attending the conference will be covered by the program.

To receive the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling degree, students must complete 46 credits of classroom and research courses and four clinical rotations.

First Year Classes:

Fall
Issues Confronting Genetic Counselors: Principles and Practices (ATCG 600)
Clinical Genetics in Practice I (ATCG 601)
Cytogenetics (ATCG 610)
Molecular Genetics (ATCG 613)
Human Development (ATCG 628)
14 credits total

Spring
Clinical Genetics in Practice II (ATCG 602)
Genetic Counseling Pre-Practicum (ATCG 668)
Design and Analysis in Genetics Research (ATCG 701)
Clinical Genetics (BIO 530)
Pathophysiology (BMS 612)
13 credits total

Additional First Year Activities:

Introductory Rotations
Seminars
Educational project

Summer Between First and Second Years:

Clinical Rotation (ATCG 702)

Second Year Classes:

Fall
Clinical Genetics in Practice III (ATCG 603)
Special Topics in Adult Genetics (ATCG 615)
Genetic Counseling Practicum (ATCG 669)
Design and Analysis in Genetics Research (ATCG 701)
Clinical Rotations (ATCG 702)
Biochemical Genetics (BIO 514)
13 credits total

Spring
Clinical Genetics in Practice IV (ATCG 604)
Clinical Rotations (ATCG 702)
Thesis (ATCG 708)
6 credits total

Additional Second Year Activities:

Seminars
NSGC conference

CONTACT

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Jeffrey Belnap, Dean
Location, Room 126
516-299-2233

Joan Ruckel
Executive Assistant to the Dean