Skip to Main

Curriculum & Clinical Experience

UT Southwestern’s Genetic Counseling Program was established in 2022. The curriculum combines classroom learning, fieldwork experiences, and research to prepare program graduates for the rapidly developing field of genetic counseling.

Our curriculum focuses on producing excellent genetic counselors who are passionate about working with diverse populations, meeting the needs of their patients, and engaging in research to enhance the field. A combination of clinical experiences on campus and in local clinics, industry experiences with laboratory partners, and research projects provides a well-rounded approach to genetic counseling training.

Within the School of Health Professions, interdisciplinary and team-based approaches to health care are prioritized so that students are ready to collaborate with other health professionals for patient care. Given the evolution of genetic counseling beyond clinics, our curriculum focuses on a variety of settings where genetic counselors may work, including laboratory, industry, and research settings.

Order of Courses

The curriculum is sequenced to create an effective and efficient path for learning. All courses in each semester are prerequisites for the next semester.

Degree Plan

*Please see the proposed coursework sequence, pending accreditation. Once approved, course descriptions will be available in the course catalog.

58 - 60

Total Program Hours

  • First Year
    • Fall | 15 Credit Hours

      Critical Thinking (2 credit hours)

      Reproductive Genetics and Embryology (3 credit hours)

      Genes (2 credit hours, in collaboration with Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences)

      Medical Genetics and Anatomy (2 credit hours)

      Genetic Counseling Skills I (2 credit hours)

      Genetic Counseling Peer Supervision (1 credit hour)

      Introduction to Psychosocial Counseling (1 credit hour)

      HCS 5106 Professional Development (interprofessional education with School of Health Professions students) (0 credit hours; receive credit in spring)

      Introduction to Genetic Counseling Research (1 credit hour)

      Genetic Counseling Fieldwork (1 credit hour, observation/shadowing)

    • Spring | 17 Credit Hours

      Practice-based learning (2 credit hours)

      Laboratory Science and Industry (2 credit hours)

      Cancer Genetics (2 credit hours)

      Medical and Adult Genetics (2 credit hours)

      Psychosocial Counseling Skills (2 credit hours)

      Genetic Counseling Skills II (2 credit hours)

      Genetic Counseling Peer Supervision (1 credit hour)

      HCS 5106 Professional Development (1 credit hour)

      Genetic Counseling Research Skills (1 credit hour)

      CTM5105 Ethics in Clinical Research (1 credit hour)

      Genetic Counseling Fieldwork (1 credit hour)

    • Summer between 1st and 2nd year | 3 Credit Hours

      Full-time fieldwork experience – Genetic Counseling Fieldwork (3 credit hours)

  • Second Year
    • Fall | 12-13 Credit Hours

      Cutting-Edge Topics in Genetics (2 credit hours)

      Health Equity and ELSI (Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications) in Genomic Medicine (1 credit hour)

      Genetic Counseling Skills III (2 credit hours)

      Genetic Counseling Peer Supervision (1 credit hour)

      Independent Research Practicum (2 credit hours)

      Genetic Counseling Fieldwork (2 credit hours)

      Elective (2-3 credit hours)

    • Spring | 11-12 Credit Hours

      Lifelong Learning in Genetics (2 credit hours)

      Professional Development in Practice (2 credit hours)

      Genetic Counseling Peer Supervision (1 credit hour)

      Independent Research Practicum (2 credit hours)

      Genetic Counseling Fieldwork (2 credit hours)

      Elective (2-3 credit hours)

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the Master of Genetic Counseling Program, a candidate must:

  1. Demonstrate a high order of scholarly achievement in genetic counseling, including appropriate professional competencies.
  2. Complete a minimum of 58 semester hours in the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions with a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or higher. Official documentation of successful completion to the Office of the Registrar is required and will be completed in collaboration with Genetic Counseling Program leadership.
  3. Complete a research thesis, required supplementary activities, and fieldwork rotations to demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental skills in genetic counseling.
  4. Discharge all financial obligations to UT Southwestern. In the event of nonpayment, the dean may take one or more actions:
    • Deny readmission
    • Withhold the student’s grades and official transcript; and/or
    • Withhold the degree to which the student would otherwise be entitled.
  5. Complete the academic requirements listed in the degree plan and submit official documentation of successful completion to the Office of the Registrar.
  6. Pay a graduation fee designated to partially offset the costs associated with the diploma and diploma cover production, regalia, and commencement ceremony. All students completing a degree or certificate must pay the fee whether or not they attend the commencement ceremony.

Fieldwork Experience

As a part of a major medical center, you will have an outstanding opportunity to enhance your understanding and skills through hands-on clinical experience in a variety of settings.

Our fieldwork experience begins in your first semester with shadowing and genetic counseling observations and continues throughout your training. In total, you will complete eight, six-week rotations. We expect students to see a high volume of cases across multiple specialties with a variety of indications. Learners can experience multiple service delivery models in fieldwork, including in-person and telegenetics.

Fieldwork Opportunities

Summer Experience

During the summer between your first and second year, you will complete two, full-time, six-week, fieldwork rotations. You will have the option to complete a six-week, off-campus clinical experience during the summer part of the program. This experience provides a valuable opportunity to apply your skills as you learn from a clinician in the field and experience daily practice in both clinical/hospital and community settings either in the Dallas area or anywhere else in the United States. Program leadership will help you identify a focus and location that matches your goals and interests.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of other experiences will be available to me?

The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is home to a variety of advocacy organizations, support groups, and academic resources to enhance your experience at UT Southwestern. Students will spend a weekend at Camp John Marc to engage with patients and families with conditions seen in genetic counseling.

In addition, opportunities to work with learners in K-12 or college are available through outreach activities. Trips to the Texas Capitol to advocate for policies beneficial to genetic counseling are anticipated, as is a visit to the newborn screening center and Texas Cancer Registry. Additional opportunities will be announced later.

What is unique about this curriculum?

The Critical Thinking, Practice-Based Learning, Cutting-Edge Topics, and Lifelong Learning in Genetics classes are a sequence we believe uniquely addresses the skills needed for a career in genetic counseling. Beginning with strategies to critically analyze literature in the context of genetic conditions and counseling, the critical-thinking course builds foundational skills to prepare learners for practice-based learning. In that course, the cohort will work in teams to evaluate patient cases, develop differentials, and present findings to classmates.

After the immersive summer fieldwork experience, Cutting-Edge Topics will address new and emerging areas in genetics and genomics. Learners will use their background in evaluating literature, fieldwork experience, and knowledge from Practice-Based Learning to analyze their role in the advancement of genetics and genomics.

Lastly, the Lifelong Learning course emphasizes preparation for independent practice and the board examination. Learners will analyze complex cases with integrated, boards-style questions and incorporate ethical, psychosocial, and other aspects of case management to prepare for a career of lifelong learning.

When and where are classes held?

Genetic Counseling courses meet throughout the week. We typically do not hold classes in the evenings or on weekends. However, students will participate in Camp John Marc one weekend during their first year of training. In addition, specific class times may be selected based on learner fieldwork in the second year to accommodate clinic schedules. Genetic Counseling courses meet in the School of Health Professions building (West Campus V building on the campus map). You can walk to all locations on campus or use the campus connector shuttle system.