Programs by Campus


Medical and Molecular Genetics

School of Medicine

Departmental URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)



Degrees Offered

Master of Science in Medical and Molecular Genetics and Doctor of Philosophy

Special Program Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Admission Requirements

MS Non-counseling plan: Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, including two years of chemistry, two years of biology, and one course in principles of genetics. Promising students deficient in one or more areas may be accepted if it appears to the admissions committee that deficiencies can be removed during graduate study. Results of the Graduate Record Exami­nation (GRE) General Test are not required for admission.

MS Genetic Counseling plan: 

Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, including at least one semester in biology, genetics, psychology and either organic chemistry or biochemistry. Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test are not required for admission.

Master of Science Degree

MS Program Student Learning Outcomes – Research MS program

Students completing the research-focused Master of Science (MS) in Medical and Molecular Genetics will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate depth of understanding in medical and molecular genetics.
  2. Integrate biological knowledge and information incorporating cellular, molecular, genetic, physiologic and biochemical approaches.
  3. Apply critical thinking to access, analyze and evaluate literature and research data in the context of genetics.
  4. Summarize and present scientific ideas and genetic information.
  5. For student pursuing the thesis MS, propose a major area of research and conduct independent research under the mentoring of a research advisor, write and defend the thesis.

MS Non-counseling Plan Course Requirements

For students not in the genetic counseling study track, a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved courses, includ­ing no more than 7 credit hours of research, plus either the thesis option or non-thesis option of an additional 6 credit hours (see “Thesis” section below). At least 20 credit hours must be taken in medical genetics or approved equiva­lents, including at least four of the following five areas with grades of B or higher: basic human genetics (Q580), introduction to clinical genetics (MGEN-Q625), cytogenetics (MGEN-Q620), molecular and biochemical genetics (MGEN-Q612), and popula­tion genetics (MGEN-Q630). The student must maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA and a B or better in all coursework.


A student not in the genetic counseling study track may complete one of the following options in addition to the 30 credits hours of approved coursework:

  • prepare and defend a Master's thesis OR
  • first authorship on a refereed publication with approval of the department OR
  • complete an additional 6 hours of non-research coursework (non-thesis option)

Final Examination

The completion and passing of a written exam, oral exam, or combined written and oral exam is at the discretion of the student's advisory committee.

Program Termination

Academic or research deficiency will result in termination of the student’s enrollment in the program.

MS Program Student Learning Outcomes –Genetic Counseling MS program

The goal of the Master of Science degree in Medical and Molecular Genetics through the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is to prepare graduates to practice competently and ethically in clinic- and non-clinic-based genetic counseling roles. Upon successful completion of the degree requirements and submission of an approved case logbook, graduates are eligible to apply to take the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) certification exam.
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Develop an effective clinical genetic counseling patient plan by:
    1. Extracting and analyzing relevant information from the medical record and family history.
    2. Critically evaluating and synthesizing clinical and molecular genetics literature.
    3. Accurately assessing patients’ risk for genetic disorders based on family pedigrees and other risk factors using principles of population genetics and clinical risk assessment models.
    4. Designing a genetic testing strategy based on a patient’s medical history, family history and critical evaluation of genetic testing modalities to select and facilitate the most appropriate genetic testing.
    5. Correctly interpreting genetic variants and other genetic test results
  2. Implement and independently manage a clinical genetic counseling session in a variety of service delivery modes by:
    1. Utilizing a variety of patient interview techniques.
    2. Devising strategies to respond to emerging needs of genetic counseling clients.
    3. Applying clinical communication and psychosocial techniques to facilitate effective patient education, decision-making, coping, adaptation and support regarding inherited disease.
  3. Apply medical genetics, quantitative, molecular, biochemical and cytogenetic principles to clinical problems in pediatric, adult, prenatal, cancer, neurologic, cardiovascular, and metabolic genetics.
  4. Behave and practice genetic counseling in accordance with the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Code of Ethics, state, federal and local laws and institutional regulations.
  5. Identify healthcare and health outcome disparities based on differences in race, gender, gender identity, sexuality, disability, religion and other factors.
  6. Collaborate with interdisciplinary team members to improve clinical care and patient outcomes.
  7. Implement, conduct and disseminate results of clinical genetic counseling research.
  8. Analyze the role of non-patient-facing genetic counselors in a variety of industry and laboratory settings.
  9. Design a professional development plan for maintaining certification and contributing to educational, policy-making, and social aspects of clinical genetics.
  10. Demonstrate accountability and self-reflection in professional practice.

Genetic Counseling MS Program Course Requirements 

For students on the genetic counseling study plan to meet requirements to take the certification examination of the American Board of Genetic Counseling, a minimum of 47 credit hours of approved courses must be taken in medical genetics. Required courses include at least 12 hours in clinical practicum courses (from MGEN-Q610, MGEN-Q710-Q717, or approved equivalent) and at least two credit hours of genetic counseling research (MGEN-Q810, MGEN-Q811) for the required genetic counseling graduate research project (see below). Students must earn a B- or better in all departmental coursework and maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. 

Genetic Counseling Graduate Research Project

Genetic counseling students must choose either a clinical research project or case report with literature review for which they will enroll in at least two credits of Genetic Counseling Research (MGEN-Q810, MGEN-Q811) in addition to the required 45 credit hours from courses and clinical work. 

Final Examination

Genetic counseling MS students must pass a comprehensive written examination. Under exceptional circumstances, the student may petition the committee to be permitted to take the final examination one additional time.

Program Termination

Academic, clinical, or research deficiency will result in termination of the genetic counseling student’s enrollment in the program.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Admission Requirements

The Medical and Molecular Genetics Ph.D. program participates in an “open enrollment” system named The Indiana University School of Medicine BioMedical Gateway (IBMG) Program.  The IBMG Program provides a shared first-year experience for all of the School of Medicine biomedical science pre-doctoral (Ph.D. program) students.  The link for the IBMG program is:

Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the PhD in Medical and Molecular Genetics will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in medical and molecular genetics through successful completion of coursework.
  2. Think critically and creatively as assessed through writing a grant proposal and defending the proposal to qualify for candidacy.
  3. Document an original contribution to genetics through experimental design and implementation of an independent research plan culminating in the presentation and defense of a thesis.

Course Requirements

All Ph.D. students are required to take a minimum of 12 hours of coursework in the major, with a grade of B- or better, and the remaining hours will be of the minor, research and seminar credits, as well as the first-year common curriculum for new Ph.D. students, including six hours of research rotations, for a total of 90 credit hours. Information on first year required courses for the Ph.D. program (Indiana Biomedical Gateway – IBMG) program may be found under the Biomedical Sciences section of this bulletin. Up to 30 credit hours of non-clinical graduate level courses may apply toward the Ph.D. or the M.D./Ph.D. combined degree.


Must be taken in a field related to the major, e.g., bioinformatics, cancer biology, cardiovascular sciences, diabetes and obesity, life sciences, health informatics, translational sciences, or with the approval of the student’s Advisory Committee. Number of credit hours (usually 12) and grades required are determined by the minor director for each minor. Minor credits must be separate from the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics major course credit requirements.

Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination assesses the students research aptitude and critical thinking necessary to complete the requirements and intellectual rigors of the PhD.  The Examination is composed of a detailed research proposal that is reviewed by the student’s Advisory Committee and orally defended.  Examination over the minor field is at the discretion of the minor field department.

Research Proposal

A written research proposal, presented and defended orally, is required for admission to candidacy and generally serves as the student’s thesis proposal.

Final Examination

Oral defense of dissertation.

Program Termination

Research or academic deficiency, including two failures of the qualifying examination, will result in termination of the stu­dent’s enrollment in the program.

Ph.D. Minor in Medical and Molecular Genetics

The Genetics PhD minor involves completing 12 credit hours across a variety of courses focused on aspects of medical and molecular genetics. The required Basic Human Genetics course for this minor will cover basic genetic concepts with the student expanding their knowledge in either a life science path or informatics path. The minor incorporates some flexibility with a variety of acceptable courses to complete the minor.

Required courses

  1. MGEN-Q580 – Basic Human Genetics (3 cr.)
  2. At least two of the following courses:
    • GRDM-G725: Gene Transfer Approaches (1 cr.)
    • MGEN-Q625 Introduction to Clinical Genetics (1 cr.)
    • MGEN-Q620 Human Cytogenetics (2 cr.)
    • MGEN-Q630 Population Genetics (1 cr.)

Additional minor electives
(select from this list until the total credits for the minor reach 12 credits)

• BIOC-B500 Introductory Biochemistry
• MGEN-Q610: Clinical Genetics Practicum (1 cr.)
• MGEN-Q612: Molecular and Biochemical Genetics (3 cr.)
• MGEN-G623: Molecular and Biochemical Genetics Lab (2 cr.)
• MGEN-Q620: Human Cytogenetics (2 cr.)
• MGEN-Q630: Population Genetics (1 cr.)
• GRDM-G715: Biochemical Basis of Biological Processes (2 cr.)
• GRDM-G716: Molecular Biology and Genetics (2 cr.)
• GRDM-G717: Cellular Basis of Systems Biology (2 cr.)
• GRDM-G720: Stem Cell Biology (2 cr.)
• GRDM-G724: Molecular Cancer Genetics (1 cr.)
• GRDM-G726: Developmental Genetics (1 cr.)
• GRDM-G727: Animal Models of Human Disease (1 cr.)
• GRDM-G788: Next Generation Sequencing (3 cr.)
• GRDM-G848: Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics (2 cr.)
• GRDM-G852: Concepts of Cancer Biology: Signaling Gone Awry (2 cr.)
• PBHL-B561: Biostatistics I (3 cr.)
• PBHL-B562: Biostatistics II (3 cr.)
• PBHL-B571: Biostatistical Methods: Linear Models (4 cr.)

Other relevant courses may be approved by the student’s minor advisor and advisory committee.

Minor Program Notes

The minor program will be approved by the student’s advisory committee which will take into consideration the student’s total didactic experience. The advisory committee may approve additional and/or substitution of appropriate courses to complete the degree requirements. The minor representative on this Committee will be selected from outside the student’s major department.

NOTE: Courses cannot count towards both the students PhD major and PhD minor.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the Ph.D. minor in Medical and Molecular Genetics, you must be a currently enrolled doctoral student in good academic standing in any IU or IUPUI school.

Grading Policy

A minimum of B (3.0) is required in each course that is to count toward the minor. If a minimum of B (3.0) is not earned in a course, that course must be retaken. A course may be retaken only once. Students who fail to achieve the minimum grade of B (3.0) the second time they take a course, will not be able to earn this Ph.D. minor.

Qualifying Exam

This Ph.D. minor does not require a Qualifying Exam.

Academic Bulletins

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