Program Schedule and Course Descriptions

The Master of Science Program in Genetic Counseling at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has a multifaceted curriculum, encompassing biological and social sciences, counseling, clinical training, and applied clinical research. This ensures that as a graduate, you will be successful in a variety of settings and have the skills necessary to adapt to the demands of this rapidly evolving profession. Below, we offer the course schedule and descriptions of the individual classes.

Program Schedule

All students in the Genetic Counseling program are required to successfully complete the same core curriculum. Here is a sample program schedule.

Course Title

Course Number



Topics in Genetic Counseling - I



Fall, Year 1

Structures of Embryology



Fall, Year 1

Molecular, Cellular & Genomic Foundations



Fall, Year 1

Biostatistics for Biomedical Research



Fall, Year 1

Medical Genetics



Spring, Year 1

Practical Skills in Genetic Counseling



Spring 1, Year 1

Topics in Genetic Counseling - II



Spring, Year 1

Thesis in Genetic Counseling



Spring, Year 1

Clinical Rotations



Spring, Year 1

Clinical Research Ethics in Genetic Counseling



Spring, Year 1

Fundamentals of Psychosocial Interviewing and Counseling



Spring, Year 1

Deconstructing Inequity in Genetic Counseling



Spring 2, Year 1

Topics in Genetic Counseling III



Fall, Year 2

Social Justice in Public Health and Medicine



Fall, Year 2

Practical Analysis of a Personal Genome



Fall, Year 2

Impact of Illness on Patients and Families



Spring, Year 2

Course Descriptions

When you enroll in our Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling, you benefit from studying with many types of learners—other genetic counseling students as well as students in other graduate programs. You may sit in classes with medical students or clinical and laboratory fellows. This diverse environment gives you the opportunity to gain a wide variety of perspectives – and to hone your skills in collaboration and team learning.

MGC 1100 Fundamentals of Psychosocial Interviewing and Counseling

The course will introduce the genetic counseling students to fundamental interviewing skills and the counseling methodologies to provide the foundation for which they will build their clinical skills. Content from this module will be applied throughout their training.

MGC 1105 Clinical Research Ethics in Genetic Counseling

This seminar will explore the complex issues raised by human subject research. The seminar will begin with a review of some of the history of eugenics. In that light, we shall examine the policies that shape our current understanding of the ethical conduct of research and the mechanisms for research oversight that have been instituted. Through reading a broad selection of seminal articles and papers from the recent literature, we shall engage in a conceptual analysis of a number of controversial and pressing issues. We shall be discussing the moral and public policy aspects of topics such as research design, risk-benefit assessment, informed consent, research with "vulnerable" subjects, research without consent, confidentiality, inducements, conflicts of interests, disclosure of research findings, and biobank research.

MGC 1400 Medical Genetics

This course is designed to provide students an introduction to medical genetics with an emphasis on molecular genetics, pedigree analysis, population genetics, clinical genetics, cytogenetics, and biochemical genetics. Throughout the course selected hereditary disorders will be presented, and the pertinent clinical presentation, diagnostic evaluation, pathophysiology, treatment, and counseling issues for each disorder will be discussed.

MGC 3000 Impact of Illness on Patients and Families

This course is only open to Master of Genetic Counseling students. This course has an action-oriented design that facilitates the attainment of insight into the social and psychological factors that affect families and patients with chronic and acute diseases. There will be direct participation along with social workers in interviews with patients and families who are in states of stress and crisis as they ask for and receive medical and psychiatric care. Credits: 2 | Offered: FA

MGC 3200 Clinical Rotations

Only open to Genetic Counseling students.

MGC 3301 Topics in Genetic Counseling - I

During this semester the students will be introduced to the field of genetic counseling and explore issues relating to reproductive genetic counseling.  The course takes both a didactic and psychosocial approach to the topics presented.  Students are expected to begin to appreciate the complexities of the counselor/client relationship.

MGC 3302 Topics in Genetic Counseling - II

This semester will continue to explore practical, didactic and psychosocial issues related to providing genetic counseling throughout the lifecycle with a specific focus on clinical pediatric and adult genetic counseling.

MGC 3303 Topics in Genetic Counseling - III

This course will build upon the knowledge and skills obtained during GCI and GCII and focus on continued professional development, including the opportunity to practice skills using standardized patients.

MGC 3304 Practical Skills in Genetic Counseling 

This course covers a wide range of essential skills for a genetic counseling encounter through case vignettes
and hands on activities prior to clinical internships. The intention is to give the exposure and the tools needed
to successfully transition from a primarily didactic environment to a primarily clinic-based environment and
apply knowledge to clinical training. Topics covered include: researching a variety of genetic conditions and
indication types, developing a differential diagnosis, taking a medical and family history, coordination of
genetic testing, case management, health literacy and risk communication. Upon completion of this course,
students should have introductory proficiency in case preparation, communication, and case management.
This course will additionally introduce concepts in cultural literacy and sensitivity.

MGC 8300 Thesis in Genetic Counseling

Thesis Credit for Genetic Counseling Students.

MGC 3305 Deconstructing Inequity in Genetic Counseling 

This course examines the relationships between various personal and social identities, worldviews, cultural context in genetics and genomics research and clinical care. Students will explore differences between biology and social constructs and develop an understanding of the utility and limitations of each. They will consider the history of medical genetics and genetic counseling and unpack what norms may contribute to inequity, both in clinical care and clinical research. Students will develop an understanding of the general views of a variety of groups as they relate to genetic counseling practice as a framework from which to build cultural humility.

BIO 6400 Biostatistics for Biomedical Research

This course covers the basic tools for the collection, analysis, and presentation of data in all areas of basics, clinical, and translational research. Central to these skills is assessing the impact of chance and variability on the interpretation of research findings and subsequent implications on the understanding of disease mechanisms, drug discovery and development, and applications to clinical practice. Topics covered include: general principles of study design including internal and external validity; probability and sampling distributions, theory of confidence intervals and hypothesis testing; review of methods for comparison of discrete and continuous data including one-sample and two-sample tests, correlation analysis, linear regression, sample size, and power. Additionally, students will learn to apply their statistical knowledge to complex real-world challenges, while gaining introductory statistical computing proficiency in R and SAS.

MPH 0007 Social Justice in Public Health and Medicine

This course will begin with an examination of the allocation of medical resources that raise questions about justice. It will then move on to examine contemporary work on justice and review of some theoretical work by authors who focus their attention on justice in medicine (e.g., Norman Daniels and Paul Menzel).  As the seminar progresses, we shall develop an understanding of how the U.S. happens to have developed the mechanisms that we now have for the delivery of health care.  We shall examine how medical resources are actually distributed here, elsewhere, and globally, and in various contexts. We shall consider ways in which those allocations do and do not express justice. We shall also explore some of the problems that become apparent when you attend to the special needs of social groups (e.g., the poor, children, women, the elderly, African Americans), and examine dilemmas and conflicts that are raised by issues such as the treatment of premature and compromised neonates.

BSR 6402 Practical Analysis of a Personal Genome

Students in this course will analyze a human genome sequence starting with raw sequence reads through identifying a list of sequence variants. Using public databases, literature, and other resources students will formulate hypotheses about the phenotypic significance of these variants. This is a hands-on course in which students will choose to analyze either their own genome or a reference genome after lectures and counseling to make the consequences of personal genome analysis clear.

MSN 5021 Molecular, Cellular, and Genomic Foundations 

Students in this course will have an integrated understanding of the mechanisms by which cells receive and process extracellular signals, regulate gene expression, control organellar biogenesis, and divide or differentiate.  A second goal is for students to gain an appreciation of the fundamentals of carbohydrate, fatty acid, and nitrogen metabolism.  The relationship of these cellular processes to human disease is emphasized throughout the course.  A third goal is for students to comprehend the principles of classical genetics and genomic medicine, in order to effectively evaluate and apply future advances in genomic medicine.

MSN 5025 Structures of Embryology 

Embryology Module of Structures Medical School Course. ONLY open to MS Genetic Counseling students.