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Core Course Descriptions

HGEN 601 - Basic Human Genetics I, Credits 4

This course provides an introduction to the application of basic genetic principles to the study of human health and disease. An overview of basic human genetics is provided in Mendelian genetics, cytogenetics, population genetics, molecular cytogenetics, oncocytogenetics and clinical applications of principles. The importance and implication of genetic disease at the levels of the population and individual families will be discussed.

HGEN 602 - Basic Human Genetics II, Credits 4

Introductory material in basic genetic principles, with emphasis on biochemical and molecular approaches to the study of human health and metabolic disease will be provided. Primary genetic defects underlying a diversity of disorders will be discussed. Subjects will include molecular and biochemical genetics, immunogenetics, cancer genetics, neurogenetics and developmental genetics. Clinical applications of metabolic and molecular studies will be discussed.
(Prerequisite: Biochemistry)  

HGEN 608 - Human Genetics Seminar, Credits 1

Graduate students, faculty and guests participate in the presentation and critical review of current topics and interests in the field of human genetics.
(Prerequisites: Consent of the program director) 

HGEN 610 - Genetic Counseling Seminar, Credits 1

Through case presentation, group discussion and role-playing with first year M.G.C. students and faculty, 2nd year students evaluate their role and improve his/her skills in the genetic counseling process. The medical, psychosocial and ethical issues encountered in concurrent clinical rotations will be thoroughly explored. Recent literature relevant to these issues will also be reviewed.

HGEN 611 - Working With Support Groups, Credits 3

This two-semester course will give students hands-on experience with genetic support groups. Each student will be assigned a local, regional, or national support group to work with during their first year of study. Students will assist the group in organizing weekly, monthly, or annual meetings, and other activities of the group including newsletter distributions, sending information packets to interested individuals, updating packet materials, etc. The student will spend at least one day with the family of a child with a genetic disorder, interview a parent of a child with a genetic disorder and write a final paper describing the experience. Students also attend a rotation at the Genetic Alliance in Washington, D.C.

HGEN 615 - Clinical Applications Workshop, Credits 1

This course is designed to give both 1st and 2nd year students a forum to critically evaluate current topics in the genetics profession and develop various clinical skills that will enhance clinical practice. Students will participate in group discussion of current topics in the genetics literature. Additionally, they will complete a series of assignments and presentations designed to develop creative educational tools and improve familiarity with genetics activities and resources.

HGEN 620 - Introduction to Genetic Counseling, Credits 2

This course is designed to introduce the principles of the field of genetic counseling. This lecture series will cover the history behind the development of genetic counseling as a profession, and the concepts of nondirectiveness and patient autonomy will be emphasized through the course. In addition, applications of genetic counseling in medical care will be demonstrated, with special attention to the psychosocial aspects of the field. This course is designed to complement HGEN 728, Clinical Genetics I, and along with HGEN 621, will help prepare students for clinical rotations the following year.

HGEN 621 - Genetic Counseling: Principles and Practice, Credits 2

This course is designed to complement HGEN 620 and introduces the student to advanced topics in genetic counseling. Genetic counseling in specific practice areas including cancer genetics, assisted reproductive technology and teratology will be presented. Client-centered counseling theory and multicultural counseling will also be addressed. To emphasize the psychosocial aspects of genetic disease, guest lecturers who have direct experience with a particular genetic disease will discuss their experiences. This course is designed to fine-tune the students’ sensitivity to the psychosocial issues and to prepare them for clinical rotations.
(Prerequisite: HGEN 620 or equivalent)  

HGEN 700 - Psychosocial Genetic Counseling, Credits 3

Through didactic lectures, case discussion and role-playing, students learn to identify and understand the psychosocial aspects of genetic counseling and the impact of genetic knowledge on the individual and the family. Human development and the theoretical underpinnings of various counseling models and psychotherapy, as they relate to genetic counseling, are reviewed. The course focuses on specific techniques of the counseling process, including the rationale for the technique, the timing of the technique and the evaluation of the technique. Students learn to differentiate between content and process in the genetic counseling process and to formulate a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment, with an appreciation of the function of race, gender, social class and sexual orientation in human behavior.

HGEN 703: Research for Genetic Counselors, Credits 1

This course is designed to introduce the principles of research in the field of genetic counseling. This lecture series will cover an overview of various types of research while students create and develop their own research project.

HGEN 718 - Laboratory Rotation, Credits 1-3

Students participate in 1-3 week rotations in each of the University of Maryland Medical System’s clinical service laboratories (Cytogenetics, Prenatal Screening, Biochemical & Molecular) to gain an understanding of various laboratory techniques as well as an appreciation for the complexity of genetic testing.

HGEN 728 - Clinical Genetics I, Credits 2-4

Topics in this course include collection and interpretation of pedigree information and an introduction to genetic nosology. Normal prenatal and pediatric development and embryology will be reviewed to give the student a better understanding of the disease process. In addition, medical terminology, components of medical charts and physical examinations, and the organizations and administration of medical centers will be covered.

HGEN 731 - Clinical Genetics II, Credits 2

This course is designed to complement HGEN 728, and covers all clinical aspects of genetic disease. This lecture series will cover specific genetic disorders and birth defects, organ systems, and both metabolic and dysmorphic syndromes.
(Prerequisite: HGEN 728 or equivalent) 

HGEN 745 - Clinical Training Site Rotation, Credits 3

Master's in Genetic Counseling (MGC) students gain practical experience through clinical rotations, working at various clinical training sites approved by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). Each student is supervised at each site by a board certified genetic counselor or geneticist. Hands on training in genetic counseling is essential to each student's learning experience and allows the student to gain confidence and expertise in the field of genetic counseling.

HGEN 750 - Advanced Topics in Genetic Counseling, Credits 2

This course is designed as a forum for discussing the ethical, legal, and societal issues dealing with genetic counseling. Guest lecturers from the Departments of Pastoral Care, Neonatology, and Risk Management, and the Schools of Law and Social Work will present topics relevant to genetic counseling. The National Society of Genetic Counselors' Code of Ethics is critically analyzed.

HGEN 760 – Clinical Cancer Genetics, Credits 2

This course is designed to introduce the principles and practice of genetic counseling for hereditary cancer syndromes. Cancer epidemiology, terminology and pathology; current prevention, surveillance, and treatment options; clinical characteristics of common and rare hereditary cancer syndromes; genetic risk assessment and testing; and the psychosocial aspects of genetic counseling for hereditary cancer syndromes will be covered.

HGEN 799

Independent Study Project Working with a mentor and two additional committee members, MGC students complete an independent study project focusing on a genetics or genetic counseling-related topic of interest. The project is an independent research project designed and implemented by the student throughout the duration of the program. Final approval of completed projects is contingent on an oral defense before committee members.