Genetic Counseling
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Genetic Counseling

Genetic CounselingDo you like helping people? Do you enjoy solving challenging problems through research and inquiry? Would you like to open a door to a rapidly growing field?

Consider a career in Genetic Counseling. Genetic counseling is the understanding and adaptation to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic disease. From social service agencies to private practice to clinical research, a degree in Genetic Counseling will prepare you for a challenging and fulfilling profession.

Degree Offered

  • The Track in Genetic Counseling is designed to complement a Biology or Biochemistry major.

Related Degrees

About Genetic Counseling

Genetic counselors provide information and support for people who are at risk of having or have genetic disorders. The evolving field of genetic counseling focuses on providing a range of services to patients. Counselors educate prospective parents about genetic risks given their family health history, give guidance to people who have developed or will develop a genetic disorder and also help patients make informed choices for treatments given their health risks due to genetics.

With medical technology changing at such a rapid pace, and the focus on health care increasing daily, it is easy to imagine why the demand for genetic counselors is growing exponentially. The field will need people like you to help translate complex scientific data and concepts into easily understandable information for patients, doctors, public policy makers, insurance companies and other businesses.

Converse is one of the first accredited undergraduate institutions in the nation to offer a track in Genetic Counseling. What else sets Converse apart?

  • Over ½ of our students conduct independent research or creative projects at the undergraduate level.
  • Conduct research projects under the personal mentoring of Dr. Neval Erturk, geneticist
  • Take classes from renowned biomedical ethicist Dr. Jeff Barker

Research

Most aspiring scientists have to wait until graduate school to begin conducting original research. But as a Converse biology major, you’ll be exposed to rare research opportunities as an undergraduate. Working independently or side-by-side with faculty mentors, our students have won awards at state, regional, and national conferences.

In fact, Converse is a leader in the state in the number of student/faculty research proposals funded by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) consortium. Some of our recent student research topics include:

  • The effects of caffeine on time perception
  • Prevalence of deer liver fluke infestations in the Upstate South Carolina deer populations
  • Methods of controlling an invasive plant species
  • Upper Cretaceous Plant diversity of South Carolina (70 million years ago)
  • Cellular and molecular responses of plants to stress
  • Evaluation of genetic damage caused by pesticides in mammalian systems
  • Effectiveness of food additives at reducing cancerous growth

Internships

Few things enhance the value of a college education like the real-world experience gained in an internship. We have great relationships in our local heath care community. As a genetic counseling student, you may be able to intern at one of many leading regional healthcare and research centers located in the Upstate, such as:

  • Spartanburg Regional Health System, including the Bearden Josey Breast Cancer Center and the Gibbs Heart Center
  • Greenville Health System
  • Mary Black Health System
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas

The genetic counseling track is designed to provide you with a broad understanding of the field. As a genetic counseling student, you’ll learn the empirical, conceptual, and theoretical approaches to understanding the field. We will help you develop into a competent producer and critical consumer of genetics research. When you graduate, you will be skilled in the ability to communicate effectively and professionally, both orally and in writing. You will be ready to enter graduate school to receive your Master of Science in Genetic Counseling.

Sample Courses

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology of the Cell
  • Biomedical Ethics

For full course requirements, see the academic catalog.

What are common careers in Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Most enter the field from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health and social work.

As a Genetic Counselor, you can have a career in medical centers, physician offices, health maintenance organizations, advocacy organizations, governmental agencies, public health departments and biotechnology companies.  If you decide to go into clinical practice, you can provide education and counseling in areas including reproductive genetics, infertility and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, pediatric genetics,  newborn screening follow-up, cancer genetics,  neurogenetics, and cardiovascular genetics.

In order to become a Genetic Counselor, you’ll need to complete a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from an accredited institution.

What are Genetic Counseling alumnae doing?

Converse prepares you for success in the field of genetic counseling. Our alumnae pursue a wide variety of activities following graduation. As this is a brand new track at Converse, we are waiting to put your name here as an alumna with a career in Genetic Counseling!