Curriculum

The Columbia University Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is a 21-month program that emphasizes the science and practice of genetic counseling, as well as the humanistic, social, and ethical considerations of scaling genetic/genomic services through a precision-medicine-based approach to health care. The curriculum is innovative and challenging, supporting students in the development of skills described in the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) Practice-Based Competencies and laying the foundation for them to participate in the advancement of the field of genetic counseling after graduation.

Coursework

Students engage in coursework throughout both years in the program. Year 1 represents foundational work that both strengthens understanding and broadens exposure to topics relevant to genetic counseling. Year 2 supports integration to allow for the application of knowledge to a variety of settings and clients, and a deepening of perspective about the individual, the family, the community, and society at large.

Fieldwork

Clinical work begins at the start of Year 1 and continues across both years of the program. Students are exposed to a wide variety of both common and rare genetic disorders as well as the natural history, management, and psychosocial concerns for each. Increasingly complex skills are built over time, allowing students to develop autonomy in their practice as appropriate. Standardized clients and simulations are also used to support the development of clinical skills.

Research

Students complete coursework to improve familiarity with the research process, understand the roles of genetic counselors in the research process, and identify and describe the growing body of research about genetic counseling. Additionally, each student undertakes a research project consistent with their interests. Submission of research results appropriate for publication to a peer-reviewed journal and/or national academic meeting is strongly encouraged for each student.