Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics M.S.

Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development TCBS
Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development TMED
Graduate School
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
MCDB&G Graduate Program, 6-160 Jackson Hall, 321 Church Street SE, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 55455 (612-624-7470, fax: 612-626-6140)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2017
  • Length of program in credits: 30 to 55
  • This program requires summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Science
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The MCDB&G MS degree can be earned in one of three ways: 1. The MS with a genetic counseling track: This full-time program is designed to provide students with the academic foundation and clinical expertise necessary to enter the profession of genetic counseling. The curriculum integrates selected coursework with firsthand experience in the diagnostic medical genetics laboratories and supervised work in clinical settings with patients and families. The clinical component involves work in multiple clinical settings throughout the Twin Cities, the Mayo clinic in Rochester, St. Cloud and other centers. The MS with a genetic counseling track is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, and all graduates are eligible to apply to the American Board of Genetic Counseling for active candidate status and to sit for board certification. 2. The joint JD/MS-MCDB&G program: This program, offered in conjunction with the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science, and Technology, is unique in the nation and enables students to combine a JD degree with the MCDB&G MS degree. Students entering this program must be admitted to both MCDB&G and the Law School. 3. Eligible MCDB&G PhD students, who leave before they have completed their doctoral degree, may be offered the option to complete the MS. Eligibility to complete the MS is determined by the student's advisor and the MCDB&G director of graduate studies. MCDB&G does not offer a free-standing MS degree program in research.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
For genetic counseling admissions information go to http://cbs.umn.edu/genetic-counseling/admissions For JD/MS admissions info - http://cbs.umn.edu/academics/departments/gcd/graduate/prospective
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Applications to the MS with the genetic counseling track are stronger if the applicant has interacted with a practicing genetic counselor – in the clinical setting, or in another capacity such as personal interviews – that affords the applicant a real-life understanding of the profession. The application deadline date is December 15, and admission is for fall semester only. Successful applicants to the joint JD/MS program must have previous research experience in an academic or industrial setting, in addition to any course-related laboratory experience. Demonstrated familiarity with and aptitude for basic science research is important prior to embarking on this dual degree program. The application deadline date is December 1, and admission is for fall semester only. Entry into the joint JD/MS program requires separate admittance to both the Law School and MCDB&G.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
  • IELTS
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan A: Plan A requires 20 major credits, 0 credits outside the major, and 10 thesis credits. The final exam is written and oral.
Plan B: Plan B requires 30 to 55 major credits and 0 credits outside the major. The final exam is written and oral.
This program may not be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
The MS with genetic counseling track is offered with the Plan B option only. Students pursuing the joint JD/MS program, and PhD students who change their degree objective to the MS, can complete the MS with either the Plan A or Plan B option.
Course Requirements
Students pursuing the joint J.D./M.S. degree, and Ph.D. students changing their degree objective to the M.S. take the following courses:
GCD 8151 - Cell Structure and Function (3.0 cr)
GCD 8131 - Advanced Molecular Genetics and Genomics (3.0 cr)
GCD 8161 - Advanced Developmental Biology (3.0 cr)
GCD 8171 - Literature Analysis (2.0 cr)
BIOC 8401 - Ethics, Public Policy, and Careers in Molecular and Cellular Biology (1.0 cr)
GCD 5005 - Computer Programming for Biology (3.0 cr)
MCDG 8920 - Special Topics (1.0-4.0 cr)
MCDG 8900 - Student Research Seminar (1.0 cr)
MCDG 8950 - Teaching Practicum (1.0 cr)
GCD 8900 - Seminar (1.0-2.0 cr)
GCD 8920 - Special Topics (2.0 cr)
Plan A thesis credits
In addition to the above courses, students completing the M.S. with the Plan A option must take master's thesis credits.
Take 10 or more credit(s) from the following:
· MCDG 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's (1.0-18.0 cr)
Joint- or Dual-degree Coursework:
JD/MS-MCDB&G (Joint Degree Program in Law, Science and Technology) Students may take a total of 12 credits in common among the academic programs.
Program Sub-plans
A sub-plan is not required for this program.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
Genetic Counseling
This sub-plan is limited to students completing the program under Plan B.
The MS with genetic counseling track is designed to be completed in 4 semesters and the interim summer. Most of the coursework is taken the first year, with more time during the second year dedicated to clinical experience. Students will be placed in laboratory and clinical observation experiences during the first year, five clinical genetic counseling internships during the second year, and will complete a minimum of 800 hours of direct patient contact. Students must earn a passing grade in their five clinical internship rotations and present a completed log of at least 50 clinical cases before the final oral examination. Only under exceptional circumstances will the course of study be varied to meet the needs of a student with many of the courses already completed or with extensive clinical laboratory experience. Plan B projects that qualify for the genetic counseling track include those that study a genetic counseling problem and add to the existing genetic counseling literature; produce materials that add to the profession, such as teaching materials or ways of evaluating the service; or produce educational materials needed by patient populations or the general public.
First Year
Students will take courses that focus on medical, human, and behavioral genetics and genetic counseling practice, and will have the option to choose between several electives from law and ethics, public health, and counseling psychology. In addition, students will observe in a clinical setting one day per week, and gain experience in the clinical laboratories one day per week. An elective course of the student's choice is an option.
GCD 8911 - Introduction to Genetic Counseling Skills and Practice (3.0 cr)
GCD 8912 - Genetic Counseling in Practice (4.0 cr)
GCD 8073 - Genetics & Genomics in Human Health (3.0 cr)
GCD 6110 - Science of Medical Practice (3.0-6.0 cr)
PSY 5137 - Introduction to Behavioral Genetics (3.0 cr)
GCD 8993 - Directed Studies (1.0-5.0 cr)
GCD 8994 - Research (1.0-5.0 cr)
Summer
During the summer between the first and second year of the program, students will begin their first clinical internship rotation with patient responsibilities. This 10-week rotation includes the expectation that students will spend between 2-3 days per week in the clinic. The student’s time in the clinic, which is set by the clinical supervisor, may exceed the 20-hour minimum.
GCD 8001 - Genetic Counseling Clinical Internship I (3.0 cr)
Second Year
Students will take courses that focus on the psychosocial issues and ethics of genetic counseling practice, and will have the option to choose an elective course from law and ethics, public health, counseling psychology or other relevant areas of study. Students will also complete internships in a clinical setting 2-3 days per week for 15 weeks in pediatrics, cancer, perinatal, and other specialty clinics.
GCD 8913 - Psychosocial Issues in Genetic Counseling (3.0 cr)
GCD 8914 - Ethical and Legal Issues in Genetic Counseling (3.0 cr)
GCD 8920 - Special Topics (2.0 cr)
GCD 8002 - Genetic Counseling Clinical Internship II (5.0 cr)
GCD 8003 - Genetic Counseling Clinical Internship III (5.0 cr)
 
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GCD 8151 - Cell Structure and Function
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Structure, function, and biochemistry of cellular organelles. Cellular interactions in eukaryotes. Emphasizes membranes, secretion, trafficking, cytoskeleton, cell motility, nucleus, cell cycle, apoptosis, cell signaling, and signal transduction mechanisms. prereq: [[[4034 or 8121 or BioC 8002], Biol 4004] or BMBB or MCDBconcurrent registration is required (or allowed) in G grad student] or instr consent
GCD 8131 - Advanced Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Literature-based course in modern molecular genetic and genomic analysis. Students will gain a deep understanding of the fundamental molecular mechanisms controlling inheritance in biological systems. Students will gain a facility in thinking critically and creatively about how genes work at cellular, organismal, and transgenerational levels. Course instruction emphasizes active-learning approaches, student presentations, and group projects. prereq: [3022 or BIOL 4003], [BIOC 3021 or BIOC 4331] or instr consent
GCD 8161 - Advanced Developmental Biology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Current concepts/experimental approaches to basic mechanisms of development. Model organisms. Embryology, cell fate determination, differentiation, pattern formation, polarity, cell migration, cell interactions. Analysis of original research articles. prereq: [BMBB or MCDBconcurrent registration is required (or allowed) in G grad student or GCD4161] or [[GCD 8131 or Biol 4003], Biol 4004, GCD4034]] or instr consent
GCD 8171 - Literature Analysis
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Critical reading and evaluation of current literature. May include evaluation of both excellent and flawed papers. Intensive and in-depth discussions of selected papers in molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, and developmental biology. prereq: Grad MCDG major
BIOC 8401 - Ethics, Public Policy, and Careers in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Credits: 1.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Ethics of scientific investigation from viewpoint of western scientific enterprise. Relationship between science, culture, and public policies. Careers in molecular/cellular biology. Nontraditional career tracks. Invited speakers, case studies, small-group discussions, lectures. prereq: Grad student in [BMBB or MCDBconcurrent registration is required (or allowed) in G]
GCD 5005 - Computer Programming for Biology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Computer programming skills with applications in biology. Design/build new computer programs for applications in cell/developmental biology, including modeling of biological processes, advanced data analysis, automated image analysis. prereq: [BIOL 4003, BIOL4004 (4004 may be taken concurrently or may be waived with instr consent)], biological statistics, one semester of calculus
MCDG 8920 - Special Topics
Credits: 1.0 -4.0 [max 8.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Special Topics Course in the Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics Program, including Itasca Research. prereq: Grad MCDG or BMBB major or dept consent
MCDG 8900 - Student Research Seminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 10.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Presentation/discussion of student thesis research. prereq: Grad MCDG or BMBB major dept consent
MCDG 8950 - Teaching Practicum
Credits: 1.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Supervised experience in classroom, laboratory, and/or recitation instruction; development of skills in effective use of instructional techniques, materials, tests, and measurements. prereq: Grad MCDG major or dept consent
GCD 8900 - Seminar
Credits: 1.0 -2.0 [max 8.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Current scientific research. prereq: Grad MCDG major or instr consent
GCD 8920 - Special Topics
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Special topics.
MCDG 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's
Credits: 1.0 -18.0 [max 50.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 10 cr total required [Plan A only]
GCD 8911 - Introduction to Genetic Counseling Skills and Practice
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Course focuses on basic concepts used in clinical genetic counseling practice. Students learn the necessary skills to prepare for and implement a genetic counseling session. The class will cover a variety of areas in the genetic counseling sub-specialty of perinatal genetics as well as newborn screening. Students will practice communicating genetics and medical information in a patient-friendly manner. At the end of the semester, students will be equipped with tools to assess medical and family histories, present genetic cases, and role play genetic counseling sessions. prereq: This class is intended for Molecular, Cellular, Biology and Genetics M.S. students with genetic counseling specialization.
GCD 8912 - Genetic Counseling in Practice
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Practical genetic counseling, communicating genetics and medical information to the family, helping families with decision making. prereq: MCDG MS student with genetic counseling specialization or instr consent
GCD 8073 - Genetics & Genomics in Human Health
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Application of molecular, biochemical, chromosomal, and population genetics to human variation and disease. Abnormal chromosome number and structure; abnormal enzyme, structural protein, receptor, and transport; analysis of inheritance patterns; behavioral genetics; genetic basis of common disease. Current research articles in human genetics. prereq: 8131 or BIOL 4003 or instr consent
GCD 6110 - Science of Medical Practice
Credits: 3.0 -6.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Combines Biochemistry/Medical Genetics aimed toward Medical/Genetic Counseling students. Biochemistry content covers genome organization, transcription, metabolism, nutrition, stem cell biology, cell signaling, cancer. Genetics content covers inheritance, genetic/genomic conditions, inborn errors of metabolism, cancer genetics, complex inheritance/genetic susceptibility to disease, birth defects. Meets with INMD 6802. prereq: Medical student or MCDBconcurrent registration is required (or allowed) in G MS student with genetic counseling specialization or instr consent
PSY 5137 - Introduction to Behavioral Genetics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Genetic methods for studying human/animal behavior. Emphasizes nature/origin of individual differences in behavior. Twin and adoption methods. Cytogenetics, molecular genetics, linkage/association studies. prereq: 3001W or equiv or instr consent
GCD 8993 - Directed Studies
Credits: 1.0 -5.0 [max 15.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
tbd prereq: MCDG MS student with genetic counseling specialization or instr consent
GCD 8994 - Research
Credits: 1.0 -5.0 [max 20.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Independent research determined by student's interests, in consultation with faculty mentor. prereq: MCDG MS student with genetic counseling specialization or instr consent
GCD 8001 - Genetic Counseling Clinical Internship I
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Summer
This is a 10-week clinical internship in genetic counseling practice. Students in this course will be assigned to an appropriate clinic affiliated with the graduate program of study in genetic counseling. Students must be enrolled in the program in order to take this course. Students will be expected to attend clinic and under the supervision of a board certified genetic counselor or medical geneticist, students are expected to log a minimum case load as defined by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), the American Board of Genetic Counseling and the graduate program in genetic counseling at the University of Minnesota. The actual days and hours of the assigned clinic will be set by the clinical supervisor on site.
GCD 8913 - Psychosocial Issues in Genetic Counseling
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Interviewing skills, supportive counseling, and case-study analysis specific to genetic counseling. prereq: MCDG MS student with genetic counseling specialization or instr consent
GCD 8914 - Ethical and Legal Issues in Genetic Counseling
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Professional ethics; ethical and legal concerns with new genetic technologies. prereq: MCDG MS student with genetic counseling specialization or instr consent
GCD 8920 - Special Topics
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Special topics.
GCD 8002 - Genetic Counseling Clinical Internship II
Credits: 5.0 [max 10.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This is a 15-week clinical internship course in genetic counseling practice. Students in this course will be assigned two appropriate clinics affiliated with the graduate program of study in genetic counseling. Students must be enrolled in the program in order to take this course. Students will be expected to attend clinic and will provide genetic counseling services under the supervision of a board certified genetic counselor or medical geneticist. Students are expected to log a minimum caseload that meets the criteria for clinical training by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), the American Board of Genetic Counseling and the graduate program in genetic counseling at the University of Minnesota. The actual days and hours of the assigned clinics will be set by the clinical supervisor on site.
GCD 8003 - Genetic Counseling Clinical Internship III
Credits: 5.0 [max 10.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This is a 15-week clinical internship course in genetic counseling practice. Students in this course will be assigned two appropriate clinics affiliated with the graduate program of study in genetic counseling. Students must be enrolled in the program in order to take this course. Students will be expected to attend clinic and will provide genetic counseling services under the supervision of a board certified genetic counselor or medical geneticist. Students are expected to log a minimum caseload that meets the criteria for clinical training by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), the American Board of Genetic Counseling and the graduate program in genetic counseling at the University of Minnesota. The actual days and hours of the assigned clinics will be set by the clinical supervisor on site.