The Diagnostic Genetic Sciences (DGS) major is a two-year educational and clinical post-baccalaureate training program in genetic testing. It is open to individuals with a bachelor’s degree in the biological, laboratory or natural sciences, and who meet the specific course prerequisites and academic standards. Diagnostic genetic sciences include the evaluation of chromosomes and DNA for the prediction of risk for disease, diagnosis of disease, and/or identification of prognostic biomarkers of survival or therapy. Students in the program take course work and laboratory training for three semesters on the University of Connecticut Storrs campus in the two disciplines of DGS: Cytogenetics and Molecular Diagnostics, but concentrate in one or the other during their fourth and final internship semester at an affiliated cytogenetics lab or molecular lab. The cytogenetics and molecular diagnostic sciences concentrations of the DGS Program are both accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). The DGS curriculum includes didactic, laboratory, internship and research experience to prepare students for careers as integral members of laboratory teams and for the pursuit of graduate training, research and medicine that will result in advancement of the body of knowledge in the genetic sciences. Upon completion of the DGS Program, graduates with a concentration in cytogenetics are eligible to sit for the certification examination in Cytogenetics, and graduates with a concentration in molecular diagnostics are eligible to sit for the certification examination in molecular Biology, both offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Board of Certification (ASCP BOC). However, note that certificate conferral is not contingent upon passing any external certification or licensure examination.
Requirements. All students must pass all of the following courses with a grade of “C” or better; no student may take a course listed unless that student has earned a grade of “C” or better in that prerequisite course; and no course may be repeated more than once (for a total of two times).
Required courses: AH 2001, 3121, 4241; DGS 3222, 3223, 3225, 4224, 4234, 4235, 4236, 4246, 4248; MLSC 4500; totaling 31 credits. In addition, each student must choose one of the following 16 credit concentrations and complete the required courses with a grade of “C” or better, for that concentration.
Clinical Experiences. All students are also required to complete a six-month clinical affiliation as a part of the required curriculum. Students are placed in sites for which a valid agreement with the University exists at the time of the placement decision. Travel for internship interviews is required and relocation may be necessary for the final semester.
Additional Requirements. Students must maintain standards of professional conduct as outlined in the program policies and procedures handbook, and Clinical Affiliation Packet. In addition, students must receive a “C” or better on an affective evaluation at the mid-point of the clinical internship semester to continue in the DGS program. Students must document required immunizations and health-related tests/screening, and compliance with relevant Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations and with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Finally, all students must carry the required health and liability insurance.
This certificate is offered by the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.