School of Health Professions

Genetic Counseling Program Technical Standards


It is the policy of Baylor College of Medicine that no person shall be denied admission to the college, or denied a degree from the college on the basis of any disability, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provided that the person demonstrates ability to meet the minimum standards set forth herein.

Baylor College of Medicine will reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities, provided that the standards required by the school of all graduates and the integrity of the school’s curriculum are upheld. Mastery of essential skills is required of all students.

These standards are developed as criteria to achieve the Master of Science degree in preparation for practice as a genetic counselor. The faculty is cognizant of its responsibilities to patients who will be a part of the educational process and to future patients who will entrust their welfare and lives to graduates of our school.

The safety of the patient, on whom the medical education process is largely focused, has been given a primary consideration in developing these standards. Therefore, the faculty must carefully consider the personal and emotional characteristics, motivation, industry, maturity, resourcefulness, and personal health of the aspiring health care professional.

The objective of the Genetic Counseling Program is to prepare students for entry into the practice of genetic counseling. As defined by the program’s accrediting body, the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, an entry-level genetic counselor must demonstrate mastery of a broad body of genetics knowledge, and develop skills in the following domains: Communication Skills; Critical-Thinking Skills; Interpersonal, Counseling, and Psychosocial Assessment Skills; and Professional Ethics and Values.

Graduate training is a rigorous and intense process that places specific requirements and demands on enrolled students. The technical standards set forth below establish criteria that go beyond academic requirements for admission (e.g., GPA, GRE, and letters of support) and define essential abilities candidates admitted to the program must possess in order to complete graduate training.




The candidate must be able to:

  • Observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences
  • Observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand
  • Discriminate variations in human responses to disease using visual, auditory, tactile, and other sensory cues



The candidate must be able to:

  • Communicate clearly, effectively, and sensitively in English and/or with an interpreter through oral and written methods in order to communicate with other health care providers and patients of all ages
  • Receive information in oral form, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, to describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and to perceive non- verbal communications

Intellectual-Conceptual Integrative and Quantitative Abilities


The candidate must be able to:

  • Use reason, analysis, calculations, problem solving, critical thinking, synthesis, self- evaluation and other learning skills to acquire knowledge, comprehend and synthesize complex concepts
  • Independently access and interpret medical histories or files
  • Identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data
  • Provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses
  • Interpret information derived from auditory, visual, written, and other visual data to determine appropriate patient management plans
  • Recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner
  • Incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature
  • Identify and communicate knowledge to others when indicated

Behavioral and Social Attributes


The candidate must possess the emotional health required to:

  • Fully utilize his/her intellectual abilities
  • Exercise of good judgment
  • Promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients
  • Develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients
  • Function effectively under stress
  • Adapt to changing environments
  • Learn to function in the face of uncertainties and ambiguities inherent in the clinical problems of many patients
  • Employ compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation
  • Accept criticism and respond by appropriate behavior modification
  • Use supervision appropriately, and act independently when indicated
  • Demonstrate personal and professional self-control as well as tact, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, integrity, empathy, and respect

Ethical Standard


The candidate must demonstrate professional demeanor and behavior, and must perform in an ethical manner in all dealings with peers, faculty, staff, and patients.

Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admission and educational processes.

All applicants are responsible to meet acceptable standards for behavior and intellectual functioning. Only minimal accommodation is foreseen with regard to the professional section of the technical standards.

A student who needs an accommodation due to a disability to meet the technical standards will be instructed to contact the Office of Student Disability Services which can help confirm that the stated condition qualifies as a disability under applicable laws and can make recommendations about accommodations. Questions about any additional program-specific technical requirements should be addressed to the program director.




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