M.Sc. Genetic Counselling

The University of Manchester

Tuition fee:
  • € 5,077 / Year (EEA)
  • € 11,132 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 24 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time

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There is a professional organisation, the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors (AGNC), which is a sub-group of the British Society for Human Genetics. Professional registration is awarded through the UK Genetic Counsellor Registration Board, and the MSc awarded by this programme is a recognised entry qualification for this. Course content is linked to practice-based competencies as defined by professional bodies.

Course aims The programme aims to:

* Provide academic and vocational training for professional genetic counsellors to work in the UK and overseas
* Equip students with the necessary skills to enable them to contribute to the research and development of the profession
* Promote awareness of the importance of the psychosocial impact of human genetic technology among patients, health and social care professionals and the wider society

Special features Exchanges

The programme has links with the graduate programme in genetic counselling at the Murdoch Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and there are opportunities for student exchanges between the two programmes.


Module details

The course has 3 components. Taught modules are scheduled on two days a week, and placements and research carried out on other days.

* Taught course modules (120 credits)
* Research dissertation (60 credits)
* Placements

Taught modules

The programme consists of the following taught course units, with teaching taking place two days a week in the first year and one day a week in the second year:

* Human Genetics
* Clinical Genetics
* Research Skills
* Counselling Skills
* Care and Counselling in Health Settings
* Ethics in Genetic Practice
* Education and Communications in Genetics
* Advanced Genetic Counselling


* Year 1: students complete a placement (2 days per week for 16 weeks) in a setting providing services to individuals with disability
* Year 2: students complete two placements (full time, 12 weeks each) in a UK Regional Genetic Service, which includes experience of a minimum of 40 supervised cases. All students complete one placement in the Service based at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester and the other usually at another Service within the UK. Students are assessed on their skill development towards achieving recognised genetic counsellor competencies

Students also undertake a research project leading to a dissertation.

Course content for year 1 Clinical Genetics (15 credits)

Integrative approach to genetic disorders affecting children and adults, focusing on the medical, genetic and psychosocial aspects of the most common. Students complete 2 essays discussing management of hypothetical cases and sit a 90-minute case-based exam in June.

Research Skills (30 credits)

A theoretical and practical course unit designed to familiarise students with research design and statistical techniques relevant to students' research projects and dissertations. Assessment is through participation in the seminars, satisfactory completion of a research project protocol and sit a 60-minute multiple choice exam in May/June.

Human Genetics (15 credits)

Comprises 20 lectures in total. Covers human molecular genetics and risk calculation in mendelian and non-mendelian disorders. All students sit a 90-minute exam paper.

Year 1 Genetic Counselling (30 credits)

* Counselling Skills Unit - An introduction to the theory and practice of counselling consisting of ten 1-hour sessions, as a foundation to the Advanced Genetic Counselling course unit in the second year. Contains practical training in interview technique through discussion of demonstration video tapes and student participation in role-play and taped interview. Students are assessed through their preparation for, and participation in, each session, completion of a process recording and of a counselling essay
* Care and Counselling in Health Settings Unit - A seminar and discussion course unit lasting 30 hours taught in the first and second semesters. Aims to familiarise students with the wide impact of genetics disorders and of the role of other professionals and the voluntary sector in providing services for these families. Assessment is based on presentation of a critical appraisal of an assigned paper from the literature and a case report

Course content for year 2 Education and Ethics in Genetic Practice (15 credits)

* Education and Communication in Genetics Unit - Looks at methods of communicating genetics information in the genetic clinic setting as well as professional education and public engagement.Students complete assignments including the production of a lay leaflet, a counselling aid, and a set of teaching slides
* Ethics in Genetic Practice Unit - The principles of healthcare ethics and ethical and legal issues in practice and research are reviewed. Sessions include students' presentation of assigned readings and cases from their own placements that raise ethical issues, as well as group discussions. Students are assessed through their preparation for, and participation during, the course

Year 2: Genetic Counselling (15 credits)

Taught throughout the first and second semesters of year 2, the theory and practice of counselling in the clinical genetic context is explored. Sessions are structured around students' presentation of assigned readings, feedback on audio-visual recordings of made by students' genetic clinic sessions in their placements, and video and live role-play. Students are assessed through their preparation and presentation of assigned papers from the literature, preparation and presentation of clinical tapes, participation in role-play and discussion and completion of a process recording.


Full entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview:

* Honours degree, preferably in one of the biological sciences, nursing or psychology
* Minimum 6 months full-time equivalent working in a caring role (this may be through previous professional work (e.g. nursing/social work) or in a voluntary capacity
* A proven interest and understanding of the genetic counselling profession. Applicants are expected to demonstrate this through reflection on background reading and where possible contact with practicing genetic counsellors

English language: English language requirement if English not first language: ATOLL score 574 minimum or IELTS 6.5 minimum and assessment at interview.

Other international entry requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries.

English Language Requirements

CAE score: (read more)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IELTS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever.

180 (Grade C)

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