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Master of Genetic Counselling (MC-GENCOUN)

Masters (Coursework)Year: 2019 Delivered: On Campus (Parkville)

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Award titleMaster of Genetic Counselling
Year & campus2019 — Parkville
CRICOS code061969D
Fees informationSubject EFTSL, level, discipline and census date
Study level & typeGraduate Coursework
AQF level 9
Credit points200 credit points
Duration24 months full time or 36 months part time

Genetic counsellors are employed across many healthcare settings, often working as part of a multidisciplinary team with clinical geneticists, nurses, social workers, dietitians and other health professionals. Genetic counselling is defined as:

“The process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. This process integrates the following:

  • Interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence
  • Education about inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources and research
  • Counselling to promote informed choices and adaptation to the risk or condition”

Resta,R; Biesecker,B.B; Bennett, R.L et al. Journal of Genetic Counseling (2006) 15:77 doi:10.1007/s10897-005-9014-3

In Australasia, a professional qualification in genetic counselling is a two-part process:

  1. University-based academic training in genetics and counselling

The Master of Genetic Counselling (MC-GENCOUN) program in the Department of Paediatrics at The University of Melbourne fulfils the requirements for academic training. Successful completion of the MC-GENCOUN is the entry point to become an Associate Genetic Counsellor following individual approval from The Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA) Board of Censors (BOC) for Genetic Counselling.


  1. Submission of a professional portfolio to the HGSA BOC

Associate genetic counsellors are required to have a minimum of one year full time equivalent on-the-job training in paid employment after which they are eligible to submit professional portfolios to qualify as a certified genetic counsellor. This process, involving a number of submissions, may take up to 5 years.

For further information and the training guidelines –see the HGSA website http://www.hgsa.org.au

The MC-GENCOUN program is designed to develop a range of relevant skills and competencies across clinical practice and research. Assessment tasks mirror the skills needed in genetic counselling practice and for professional certification. Students must achieve 70% in all subjects to progress to the second year of the course. Students who pass the first 100 credit points but do not achieve the marks necessary to progress will be given the opportunity to exit with a Graduate Diploma award. Note, this Graduate Diploma is not accredited by the Human Genetics Society of Australasia and will not enable practice as a Genetic Counsellor.

The MC-GENCOUN program has close associations with clinical genetics services across Victoria, interstate and overseas. Content is delivered using a range of learning modalities web based activities and tutorials within the University of Melbourne Academic Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville. Teaching faculty include genetic counsellors, medical specialists including clinical geneticists, scientists, patients and community members.

The MC-GENCOUN program has well established links to international training programs. Overseas clinical placement opportunities are available to students in second year in addition to local and interstate placements. Past graduates are employed throughout Australia and in many countries overseas including New Zealand, England, Canada, Singapore and Malaysia.