In 1969, Sarah Lawrence College established the first program in genetic counseling in the United States. It remains the largest program of its kind in the world and has trained half of the nation’s genetic counselors, including the directors of many other North American genetic counseling programs. Sarah Lawrence alumni also serve as genetic counselors in several nations of South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. The program strives to identify and train future genetic counselors who diversify the professional community and represent minority populations.
The two-year program, which leads to a Master of Science, prepares students for careers as genetic counselors. Graduates readily fulfill the minimum clinical caseload required by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) and, upon graduation, are eligible to apply to take the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) Certification Examination.
The Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics gives students a comprehensive understanding of the medical, scientific, and counseling aspects of human genetics, placing equal emphasis on medical genetics and psychological approaches to working with patients. The interdisciplinary curriculum enables students to integrate both theoretical and practical knowledge while developing research, analytical and communication skills. Coursework emphasizes the application of knowledge and focuses on student participation. A research project and carefully supervised clinical training are required to complete the program.
As part of the Human Genetics program, students:
- Study with a faculty comprised of scientists and clinicians from the region’s top medical and research centers
- Develop core genetic counseling skills through a combination of coursework and experiential learning
- Obtain clinical training this is varied in types of populations served, spectrum of genetic conditions seen, and the nature of clinical settings in which students are placed. Our students have access to the most concentrated population of ABGC certified genetic counselors, most of whom serve as clinical supervisors.
- Engage in regular discussions about emerging topics, breaking news and debates in the field of genetics/genomics
- Obtain first hand experiences outside of the medical setting with individuals that have genetic conditions and disabilities
- Carry out a research project in collaboration with top scientists and researches in the region