Program goal

The goal of the master’s program in human genetics is to provide training in human and molecular genetics. The program is designed to provide students with the skills required to advance to positions as researchers and trainers in a broad spectrum of positions in human and molecular genetics. The structure of the program provides a framework for the progressive development of a mastery of the current state of the subject matter in human and molecular genetics and an ability to synthesize this information and apply this foundation to the identification of key areas of investigation and experimentation in this discipline. The program relates the above framework to the development of the ability to design, implement and interpret experimental approaches which address the questions identified. In addition, students will develop skills in the various means of communicating both the core of human and molecular genetics knowledge and the expression of experimental design, results and interpretation to a variety of potential audiences.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Explain basic genetic principles and their biological basis
  2. Assess the inheritance pattern of a disease or phenotype using pedigree data and calculate recurrence risk
  3. Explain how different DNA variants and structural changes can affect the phenotype of an organism
  4. Explain the methods used in genetic analyses and what each method can reveal
  5. Clean and format large data sets for further analyses
  6. Apply the appropriate statistical test in the analysis of data
  7. Apply the principles of reproducibility of research such as the use of version control, access to computer code, transparency of analyses and data availability
  8. Read and comprehend a primary journal article and be able to list the strengths and weaknesses of the research
  9. Practice the highest ethical principles with responsible conduct in genetics research
  10. Speak and present clearly to professional and lay audiences with respect to use of vocabulary and logical progression including the use of figures and tables to effectively present a research project, proposal, or findings and implications
  11. Write clearly with respect to grammar, syntax, spelling, use of vocabulary and logical progression including the use of figures, tables and citations to effectively present a research project or proposal
  12. Form a testable hypothesis, demonstrate the ability to design and develop experiments to test the hypothesis, collect and analyze data, and form conclusions from the analysis

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

School of Medicine graduate program policies

The School of Medicine provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on master’s programs is available elsewhere in this chapter of the Graduate Bulletin.