Taught course

Genetic and Genomic Counselling (with Work Placement)

Institution
University of Glasgow · School of Medicine
Qualifications
MSc(MedSci)

Entry requirements

Applicants must be a member of the PVG Scheme (Protecting Vulnerable Groups). Either a good BSc (Hons) in Genetics or related subject, with evidence of relevant experience in a care context OR a good BSc (Hons) in Nursing, with experience of working in a care context and evidence of interest in genetics (applicants without a good BSc but who have two or more years work experience in a clinical genetics department may be considered and should contact the one of the programme directors for further advice).

Months of entry

September

Course content

The MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling is designed to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Genetic Counselling which will qualify them to practice as Genetic and Genomic Counsellors. The programme will be delivered by University of Glasgow staff in collaboration with NHS staff from the West of Scotland Genetics Service, so that a current perspective on both laboratory diagnostics and clinical services will be obtained.

  • Genetic Counselling Placements in at least two different Genetics Centres will enable you to obtain a broader view of clinical practice, and there will also be opportunity to engage with patient support groups.
  • A key strength of this fully up-to-date programme is that it is delivered by highly dedicated, multi-award-winning teaching and clinical staff of the University, and by registered genetic counsellors, clinical and laboratory staff from the West of Scotland Genetics Service.
  • Teaching is based at the South Glasgow University Hospital (SGUH), which includes adult services, children’s services and maternity services, as well as one of the largest diagnostic laboratories in Europe, and a new, purpose-built teaching and learning facility. The close collaboration between University and NHS staff ensures that the MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling provides a completely up-to-date representation of genetic services.
  • Counselling and psychology theoretical and research-focused courses are delivered by University staff trained in psychology, providing a firm foundation for the subsequent acquisition of knowledge and skills in genetic counselling facilitated by GCRB-registered Genetic Counsellors.
  • The University of Glasgow Medical Genetics Teaching Staff won the 2014 UK-wide Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering), to recognise and reward excellence and good practice; they were also finalists in the 2013 awards.
  • You will develop your skills in problem solving, evaluation and interpretation of diagnostic data, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working. The programme content is fully up-to-date with recent innovations in diagnostics and a new course has been developed to consider interpretation of genomic data and communication of the results of genome testing to patients.
  • The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.

Programme Structure

Component courses are as follows:

Genetic Disease in Clinical Practice

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Regional Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Clinical Genetics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease, and explore the links between genotype and phenotype.

Case Investigations in Medical Genetics

Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.

Distress or disorder: reactions to a medical diagnosis

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

This course outlines the process of psychosocial adjustment to a diagnosis or test result allowing participants to establish if and when a distress reaction develops into an adjustment disorder. The implications of diagnosis are explored and evidence considered allowing informed decisions about appropriate referrals to other agencies.

Patient empowerment: supporting decisions relating to new diagnoses

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

This course reflects on evidence and experience to explore the psychological and social impact of a diagnosis, or illness, and provides strategies to support resilience and coping in patients. Factors related to lived experience, personal beliefs and values, culture, adjustment processes, decision-making, misconceptions, secrecy and guilt are considered to equip participants in the promotion of patient-centred care.

Effective listening and communication skills

Note: this 10 credit course may be taken by visiting students, for example as professional development.

With a focus on experiential learning and student led study, this course outlines the role of counselling skills to facilitate adjustment and to allow an individual to come to terms with change in a safe way to minimise impact. The focus will be on the theory supporting counselling, developing key listening and communication skills and on establishing reflective practice.

Genetic counselling in clinical practice

This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Clinical Genetic Service, and will be delivered by NHS staff, to provide students with in depth understanding of the practical skills required in genetic counselling. The course will facilitate development of appropriate critical understanding, reflective practice and skills in relation to genetic counselling for providing accurate complex genetic information for patients and their families.

Social science research methods

The research methods course will focus on developing students’ research skills primarily in questionnaire-based qualitative and quantitative observational research methods and students will be introduced to ethics procedures for the Medical School.

Community placements 1 & 2

These placements, for 16 days and 20 days respectively, will each take place in one or more care settings for individuals with complex needs (adults or children or both) to enable students to gain insight into effects of complex needs on affected individuals and on their family.

Genetic counselling placement 1 & 2

These placements, for eight weeks and six weeks respectively, in different genetics centres will allow students to observe clinical practice in a variety of contexts, and to undertake relevant tasks under supervision within a clinical team that is delivering a genetic service, to enable the student to develop their own skills as a future genetic counsellor. Following each placement students will discuss and share experiences, facilitated by one of the NHS lead team and a counselling supervisor, to further develop their ability to deal with practical and emotional challenges in genetic counselling.

Clinical genomics

This course will provide an overview of the clinical applications of genomic approaches to human disorders, particularly in relation to clinical genetics, discussing the methods and capabilities of the new technologies. Tuition and hands-on experience in data analysis will be provided, including the interpretation of next generation sequencing reports.

Dissertation

Students will select a topic or problem of personal interest relevant to Genetic or Genomic Counselling, undertake independent research in the area they have chosen, and produce a comprehensive, concise and critical report as well as oral and poster presentations.

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of methods are used, including problem-based learning, case-based learning, lectures, tutorials and placements. These are supplemented by a wide range of course-specific electronic resources for additional learning and self-assessment. As a result, you will develop a wide range of skills relevant to a career in genetic & genomic counselling. These skills include team-working, data interpretation and use of scientific literature and databases.

Electronic Resources

  • access to a continually updated Moodle (virtual learning environment) with extensive additional teaching and self-assessment materials.
  • an online web-portal with regularly updated direct links to more than 70 worldwide genetic databases & online algorithms (plus the latest new genetics discoveries), all easily accessible and grouped into useful categories.

You will also carry out an independent piece of research on a relevant topic in genetic or genomic counselling.

There are weekly optional supplementary tutorials on topics that are selected by students.

Information for international students

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training): overall score 6.5; two sub-tests no less than 6.5, no sub-test less than 6.0. IBTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20

Fees and funding

UK students
£6800
International students
£20000

http://www.gla.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/geneticandgenomiccounsellingwithworkplacement/

Qualification and course duration

MSc(MedSci)

full time
24 months

Course contact details

Name
Caitlin Welsh
Email
med-sch-medgen-msc@glasgow.ac.uk