Genetics in society

Health care

About this minor

We aim to teach students how to implement genetics where it can benefit people, and how to gather issues from society that can benefit from genetics. We will teach you about the interplay between genetics, people and society by working with real-life challenges such as the ethics of CRISPR, the reliability of direct-to-consumer genetics testing and developments in forensic genomics. Our mission is to open the gates to our field to you and to stimulate your personal learning curve.

This minor offers you nine weeks of education from the best teachers in genetics and society. In lectures you learn the ins and outs of genetics, and in working groups you work on genetic issues in society. We highly value creating a safe space for you to experiment and learn and we do so by lowering the thresholds to teacher-student interactions and by infecting you with our enthusiasm for genetics in society.

Besides the mandatory education for all students, you can choose to either enrol in the research track or in the counseling track. The counseling track consists of five counseling workshops. During these workshops you practice counseling with a simulated patient. These workshops cover a range of genetic disorders and are led by two psychologists working at the Clinical Genetics department. You write reflections of these workshops in a counseling portfolio.

If you enroll in the research track, you will perform your own research under supervision of an experienced researcher in the field. You can choose from a list of topics that is provided by the researchers, offering the possibility to do research in an area of your own interest. You report on your research in a scientific paper. During four supporting sessions, you also gather feedback on your research and learn tips and tricks about scientific writing.

Finally, groups of 4-5 students get appointed a mentor, to meet six times throughout the minor and with whom you work on your personal route to achieving the learning objectives. Our assessment is aimed to stimulate your learning curve and we thus commit to giving you a lot of feedforward on a variety of products: assignments made during the minor, a pitch presentation, weekly reflections, a symposium, a mentor assessment, a written product (counseling portfolio or research paper), and a final interview.

Learning outcomes

After completing the minor Genetics in Society the student will:

  • Have basic knowledge of the (psychological) impact of genetics on individuals and families.

  • Have a basic understanding of various applications of genetics in society – genetic research, clinical genetics, direct to consumer testing, forensic genetics, genetic modification, and human germline editing – and will be able to describe the most urgent societal issues associated with these.

  • Be able to communicate about scientific and ethical aspects of genetic issues in society, both orally and in writing, with relevant stakeholders

  • Develop a standard of professional behaviour which will allow you to effectively be in charge of your learning curve

After completing the research track of the minor Genetics in Society, the student will:

  • Be able to study an application of genetics in society.

  • Be able to report on your study in a scientific paper.

After completing the counseling track of the minor Genetics in Society, the student will:

  • Be able to engage into a reciprocal professional relationship with an individual seeking genetic counseling.
  • Have developed reflective skills and will be able to employ subsequent insights to offer the counselee decision-counseling.

Good to know

This minor is broadening and particularly interesting for students studying Medicine, Psychology, Pedagogical Sciences, Clinical Technology, BMG, Biomedical Sciences, Erasmus University College, Philosophy and Criminology. We take into account the different studies and have noticed in previous years that the mix of different studies is valued a lot by the students. This minor requires a basic understanding and ability to speak English, and it is convenient to have some background knowledge about biology. Attendance is mandatory for all educational activities in this minor course.

This minor serves as an ideal stepping stone towards the research master program Genomics in Society. It prepares the next generation of genomics researchers to work in an interdisciplinary context, while thinking critically and constructively about the societal and ethical aspects of genomics for positive societal impact.

Teaching method and examination

Teaching materials
A variety of younger and older inspiring professionals from the genetics in society field will teach you in various ways: interactive lectures, study groups, counseling sessions, practical courses, a variety of (group) assignments, mentor group sessions, self-study and dialogue-based education. Please consult our program to discover your favorite teachers, mentors and program coordinators.
You will enroll in Canvas where you will experience the comfort of our digital learning environment. Here you will find an overview of the entire minor, background literature, slides of presentations, all assignments including instructions, rubrics and the feedforward of the assessors. Also you upload all your products here, including your weekly reflections.
Furthermore, we make use of case studies, practical assignments, scientific research papers, book chapters, movies, Youtube videos and presentations. The number of contact hours at the Erasmus Medical Center varies, but will roughly concern 15 to 20 hours each week.

Method of examination
You will have no final written exam. In this minor, we use programmatic assessment as our assessment method. Growth and development are stimulated by offering you to work on your personal learning objectives, connecting you to a mentor and by offering you a lot of feedforward. You will write weekly reflections on what you have learned regarding the learning objectives of the minor. Your weekly reflections are an important part of the assessment as you will use these to provide the most important evidence that you are learning and moving towards achieving the learning objectives. The final grade consists of multiple assignments made during the minor, a group pitch in week one, an individual presentation held at a symposium organized by the students in the final week, a mentor assessment based on your professional development and the written scientific research paper or counseling portfolio. You will finish off this minor with a final interview, for which you prepare by writing a final reflection.

Composition final grade
(Each of these elements needs to be passed with a grade of 5,5 or higher, except for the final interview)

  • Pitch 9%
  • Assignments 31.5%
  • Symposium 4.5% (graded with a 0, average grade or a 10)
  • Mentor assessment 9%
  • Scientific paper or Counseling portfolio 36%
  • Final interview 10% (graded with 0, average grade or a 10)

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Erasmus University.


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      8 November 2024
    • Term *
      Block MINOR
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      15 May, 13:00 - 15 Jul 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Erasmus University