The Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program was launched in 2012 as the first program of its kind in the state of Georgia. The program is housed within the Department of Human Genetics of the School of Medicine, part of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center.
The program is 22.5 months duration which initiates with a 6 week summer introductory semester, followed by 5 contiguous semesters of training. Students graduate with a Master of Medical Science degree (MMSc) in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling.
The curriculum blends cutting-edge didactic training in human/medical genetics and psychosocial counseling, along with extensive clinical training opportunities. A novel aspect of the program is the focus internship, which provides an in-depth practice and research experience designed to embrace the ways in which the profession of genetic counseling is evolving. Students are also required to complete a capstone project, which includes grant writing, data analysis/interpretation and manuscript preparation.
The Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program has been granted Provisional Accreditation Status through the Accreditation Council of Genetic Counseling. Provisional Accreditation is awarded initially to all new training programs, and fully qualifies any graduate to sit for the American Board of Genetic Counseling certification examination.
To provide an innovative and rigorous program of training that prepares genetic counselors to serve the needs of the healthcare community today, while paving the way for incorporating the genomic medicine advances of tomorrow.
Program Director: Cecelia A. Bellcross, PhD, MS, CGC
Program Assistant Director: Christine Stanislaw, MS, CGC
Program Medical Director: Richard Olney, MD, MPH
Program Coordinator: Christi Bell
A new class of approximately 10 students is admitted each year. The Admissions Committee makes every attempt to select those candidates who show promise of becoming outstanding genetic counselors. Decisions are made based on a thorough evaluation of the applicant's academic record, written narrative statement, letters of recommendation, performance on the Graduate Record Exam, previous exposure to the field of genetic counseling and experience with psychosocial care, and a personal formal interview. Applicants are assessed on the qualifications without regard to gender, sexual orientation, color, age, disability, race, religion, veteran status or national origin. Enrollment is limited and competitive; all qualified applicants may not be admitted.
To be eligible for admission, applicants must:
The Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program adheres to the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors Acceptances Guidelines. The common acceptance date for entry into the program typically occurs in the 3rd week of April of the same year.
Medical History and Physical Examination
A medical history, physical examination report, and updated immunization record, recorded on University forms, are required upon matriculation to the School of Medicine. Students are not fully registered until those records are on file with the Emory University Student Health Service. An updated medical history is required for reenrollment after a year or more lapse in attendance. For readmission after withdrawal for medical reasons, medical clearance by designated University health officials is required.
Criminal Background Check (CBC)
Prior to matriculation, all students must undergo a criminal background check. Any adverse findings will be reviewed by the program director and, depending on severity of the infraction, may result in the withdrawal of an admission offer.
To obtain the degree of MMSc in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling students will be required to complete in residence the full 6 semesters of academic study. Students will be expected to devote a minimum of 40 hours per week to classroom, clinical, and focus experiences. External employment will be strongly discouraged.
Students must successfully complete all courses and clinical rotations in the sequence outlined. Exceptions will be considered for students who can demonstrate completion of a comparable graduate level course within the last 3 years. Satisfactory performance includes completion of the minimum of 75 credit hours with an overall average of B or above (a grade of B or above must be earned in all courses); successful completion of clinical rotation requirements with a grade B or above; successful completion of focus internship - including capstone project as approved by mentor and two additional faculty/staff members; and recommendation for continuation each semester by the program administrators.
Evaluation of Student Performance
Student performance will be evaluated by the Program Directors each semester based on course grades, clinical rotation evaluations, and focus mentor reports. Decisions regarding academic probation, dismissal, and reinstatement will require a vote of the Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program Advisory Board, which is made up of faculty, clinical supervisors, and external genetics professionals.
Due Process and Right of Appeal
In all cases involving disciplinary decisions either for academic or nonacademic reasons, due process is followed. Likewise, in all cases, whether the problem is academic or conduct related, the student has the right to request a hearing of an appeals committee and/or to appeal to the dean of the School of Medicine.
General University Regulations
An applicant's registration and class attendance are considered an agreement to comply with the rules and regulations of Emory University and the School of Medicine as published in the catalogs and other official publications, including any amendments and revisions made during the student's continued enrollment.