Master of Genetic Counselling

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

The Master of Genetic Counselling is designed to equip you with knowledge and skills that enable you to provide families with support and information about conditions due to inherited variations in single genes, multi-genes and gene environment interactions and risk.

Teaching will take place at the University of Sydney Camperdown Campus and at Northern Clinical School, Royal North Shore Hospital, with clinical placement occurring at a variety of locations. Invited speakers, including professionals with national and international standing, will present to you new developments and differing perspectives in genetics and genomics. You will be encouraged to seek extra clinical placements supplementary to the minimum of 14 weeks. Placement with leading researchers for the research project will be available.

The course is delivered in small interactive classes that will foster productive and enjoyable learning experiences. Training in the use of international and national genetic databases will be provided throughout the course. You will have the opportunity to participate in an international exchange for clinical placement because this master’s course has reciprocity agreements with other countries facilitating links to international training programs. Interstate students may choose to complete their final semester in their home state and clinical context. Similarly, international students may choose an internship in the final semester in their home country and clinical context where a University of Sydney Exchange Agreement exists.

Master of Genetic Counselling students may elect to discontinue study and graduate with a Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling provided the requirements of the shorter award have been met.

Course outline

Unit of Study information on faculty page

Study plan


The Master of Genetic Counselling consists of 96 credit points (cp) including Stage 1 units and Stage 2 units of study. It comprises coursework clinical (30cp), clinical practice (33cp) including a minimum of 14 weeks under supervision in a variety of genetics services, and training for a supervised research project (33cp). Normally you will complete the course full-time over two years, however part-time study may be negotiated under special circumstances. In order to fulfil the Human Genetics Society of Australasia requirements for Genetic Counselling Part I certification and entry into Part 2 of the professional certification for genetic counselling, all students will undertake units of study in the order specified by the school. Assessment is by written examination, oral presentations, written assignments, supervisor reports, log books, case studies, video assessment, development of education materials, and research project dissertation.

Teaching will take place at the University of Sydney Camperdown Campus and in the Kolling Building, Northern Clinical School, Royal North Shore Hospital, with clinical placement occurring at a variety of locations. You will undertake two separate week full- time community/clinic placements in the first semester of your candidature.

Embedded courses

Further course information

Progression rules

(1) Students will only be permitted to progress into Stage 2 of the master's degree after successfully completing Stage 1. In addition a candidate must receive a Clinical Supervisor’s Report indicating that the student has the necessary skills to proceed to advanced genetic counselling and further studies.

(2) A candidate who has successfully completed Stage 1, but is not permitted to proceed, is eligible to graduate with a Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling.

(3) A candidate who fails a clinical placement unit of study will be identified as not meeting academic progression requirements and procedures of the Student Academic Progression Policy will be applied

Capstone experience

A capstone experience comprises one or more units of study designed by the school to provide students with an opportunity to draw together the learning that has taken place during the award, synthesise this with their prior learning and experience, and draw conclusions that will form the basis for further investigation, and intellectual and/or professional growth.

For the Master of Genetic Counselling, all students complete a supervised research project involving a submission of a 15,000 word dissertation as the capstone experience. Successful completion of the project may also provide students with the research experience required for the pursuit of a higher degree.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

A genetic counsellor, as a member of a medical genetics team, provides families with information about conditions that are caused by inherited variations in single genes, multi-genes and gene-environment interactions and risk. Counsellors also provide information about the availability of screening and genetic testing, and provide support for decision-making, dealing with the impact of test results and family communication. Genetic counsellors are largely currently employed in State Health Genetics Services which provide prenatal, paediatric and adult genetic counselling (including family cancer clinics), by some private providers such as IVF and Ultrasound clinics and in research environments. Increasingly, genetic counsellors will be working alongside medical specialists in the private sector.

Course accreditation

This two-year Master of Genetic Counselling course fulfils the Human Genetics Society of Australasia requirements for Genetic Counselling Part 1 certification and entry into Part 2 of the professional certification for genetic counselling.

Further study

Outstanding graduates may be eligible to pursue a higher degree by research in the courses of Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Philosophy offered by Sydney Medical School. A research degree provides students with the opportunity to prepare a substantial piece of work which represents a significant contribution in a particular field of study; and to gain transferable skills in general research methodology.

Sydney Medical School is affiliated with over 40 independent medical research institutes aimed at achieving medical firsts in specialist areas of health and medicine.
It provides an outstanding environment for postgraduate research. Sydney Medical School's research activities consistently attract high levels of funding from the Commonwealth and state governments, overseas funding agencies and other public and private sources.

Other study options

Sydney Medical School offers a wide range of short professional development courses for health professionals through its clinical schools, disciplines and associated research institutes.

Many of the courses offered are pre-accredited for Continuing Medical Education (CME) points, and other courses may be awarded CME points on request to your relevant association or professional body. For further information and a list of courses available please see the Sydney Medical School website http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/future-students/courses/short-courses.php

Admission

Admission requirements

A successful applicant for admission to the Master of Genetic Counselling will:
(a) hold a bachelor’s degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent qualification;
(b) have successfully completed an interview; and
(c) have demonstrated aptitude for study in genetics or a related field.

The application will include a 500 word essay on what you understand about genetic counselling and why you want to be a genetic counsellor. The application must show evidence of experience in a care role. All applicants will also be required to upload a police check at the time of application (including international students).

In exceptional circumstances the dean may admit applicants without this qualification who, in the opinion of the school, have qualifications and evidence of experience and achievement sufficient to successfully undertake the award.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Applications are made directly to the University and assessed by the Faculty.

International students

How to apply

International applicants may apply (a) directly to the University, or (b) through a University overseas representative (education agent).

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Annual review for postgraduate student contribution amount

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee

This 2015, tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student represents the fee that is payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review for postgraduate domestic tuition fee

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information in this prospectus, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents

Please note that if you are classified by the University as a Research Training Scheme student in accordance with the Other Grants Guidelines (Research) 2010, you will be exempt from the payment of any SCA or tuition fees for courses undertaken as part of a Research Masters degree and Research Doctoral degree. More information about your eligibility for this Scheme is available here.

International students

International tuition fees for postgraduate students

This 2015, tuition fee for international postgraduate students represents the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. The University's Future Students' webpage has further information about these additional incidental fees for postgraduate coursework students and postgraduate research students.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.