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Curriculum - 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 609 - 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, will be reviewed. The course will also focus 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 will 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 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 2

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 701 - Human Cytogenetics, Credits 2

Designed for advanced students interested in clinical and research aspects of human cytogenetics, this course provides a comprehensive approach to the normal human karyotype, chromosome identification methods, numerical and structural abnormalities and their clinical correlates, X-chromosome gene action, chromosomes and cancer, human population cytogenetics, gene mapping, and karyotype evolution. Students are required to give a seminar on a pertinent topic.
(Prerequisite: HGEN 601 or equivalent)  

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 711 - Mathematical Genetics, Credits 2

Qualitative and quantitative traits are used to discuss some of the genetic and epidemiologic factors affecting normal and abnormal variation within and between populations. Traditional and modern methods of family data analysis will be discussed, including segregation and linkage analysis. The underlying assumptions of each method (including Hardy Weinberg equilibrium) will be presented and discussed. Recent papers are used to illustrate the steps in each analysis, and computer programs will be discussed.
(Prerequisites: HGEN 601 or equivalent, introductory biostatistics, and some basic computer experience)  

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 720 - Genetics and Metabolism, Credits 2

Topics of this course include the study of mechanisms of gene action as illustrated by inherited human biochemical defects. Fundamental aspects of the function and malfunction of enzymes, vitamins and structural and regulatory proteins will be discussed at the biochemical and molecular levels. Clinical features of metabolic diseases, differential diagnosis and laboratory follow-up will be reviewed.
(Prerequisites: HGEN 601 and HGEN 602 or equivalent)  

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 740 – Molecular Basis for Human Disease, Credits 2

Provides a detailed analysis of molecular approaches used to characterize the primary gene defects underlying various heritable human disorders, selected to offer a diversity of technical approaches, with emphasis on the most recent developments. General utility and limitations of various approaches, importance of the analysis of mutational spectra and potentials for gene therapy are discussed.

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.