Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling

Course 583AA (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 023182K
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 100 credit points taken over 12 months


Mrs Margaret Sahhar


Course Overview:

This course is only available as an exit award, after completion of year one (100 credit points) of the Master of Genetic Counselling.

Completion of the Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling does not satisfy requirements of the Certification Board to register as a practicing Genetic Counsellor. The Graduate Diploma may be used to enhance a current professional degree e.g. social work (BSW/MSW)

Learning Outcomes:

On completing the Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling, students should be able to:

Research and Evaluation Skills

  • Develop beginning skills of research methodology to effectively implement original supervised clinical research;
  • Understand the ethic committee process and develop an ethics proposal;
  • Undertake a critical literature review relevant to a particular topic of research;
  • Consider through tutorials and workshops:
    - the principles of qualitative research, including research design and process in an ethical framework
    - biostatistical concepts and methods and their application in the assessment and management of health conditions
    - the nature and purposes of health program evaluation.

Critical Reflection and Cognition Skills

  • Develop basic counselling skills through application of models of practice,
  • Participate in clinic observations and a community placement
  • Critically evaluate different models of practice through theory, observation and participation in genetic counselling interviews;
  • Respect differences in cultural, religious and socioeconomic beliefs in clients, through developing a critical understanding of difference through the literature and tutorial classes
  • Develop self-awareness skills through reflection

Communication Skills

  • Understand the impact on families from a cultural, ethical and psychosocial perspective;
  • Critically analyse the process of communication.

Ethical Skills

  • Understand the ethical principles that guide and inform professional practice with reference to genetic counselling practice;
  • Consider personal, cultural and moral values which may impact on the individual
  • Recognise the ethical challenges that may confront clients;
  • Understand and identify the potential for ethical challenges in emerging new genetic technologies;
  • Identify possible challenges to facilitating informed consent and maintaining patient confidentiality.

Genetics Knowledge

  • Understand the principles of inheritance;
  • Understand chromosomal disorders and the genetic basis of disease;
  • Understand clinical genetic risk assessments for patients and families;
  • Elicit and document a family history and family pedigree, convey genetic information and discuss risk;
  • Understand the normal stages of human embryo developments and have an awareness of how this can be disrupted;
  • Understand the role of genetics as the underlying cause of various disorders of the human body;
  • Understand the role of genetics in cancer;
  • Have an appreciation for the range of molecular, cytogenetic and biochemical laboratory tests utilised in clinical genetic practice;
  • Understand the genetic testing approach taken for specific genetic disorders;
  • Understand the treatment approach taken for specific genetic disorders;
  • Understand the issues relating to population based screening;
  • Understand the role of prenatal screening and testing in pregnancy management and care, and the options available when foetal abnormality is detected;
  • Understand the organisational and economic aspects of health care in Australia;
  • Understand the principles of the legal and professional duties and the responsibilities of health professionals and members of a health care team.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Students enrolled in the Master of Genetic Counselling must successfully complete eight core subjects, including a supervised placement, to qualify for the Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling.

Students should also check with the course coordinator for the appropriate sequence of subjects.

Subject Options:

Core Subjects

Core Subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 2
Entry Requirements:

This is an early exit point only from the Master of Genetic Counselling.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:

Graduate Attributes:

This course aims to provide upskilling in genetic knowledge and counselling /communication for professionals already practising in relevant fields e.g. Social Work.

Download PDF version.