Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Human Genetics

First Advisor

Claire Davis


Academic accreditation is a common feature of higher education, with a moderate body of literature. Previous studies largely focus on factors that are crucial to the implementation or acceptance of standards. This study explored how education standards of genetic counseling are perceived and interacted with by program directors. We performed semi-structured interviews with current program directors, assistant directors, and associate directors to gain insight into their perspectives on current accreditation standards and the standards’ revision process. Interview transcripts were analyzed via thematic analysis to identify common themes related to program directors’ perceptions of the standards and accreditation as a whole. The major themes found were perception of accreditation, benefits of standards, challenges of standards, flexibility, clarity, implementation, revision process, and administration. Overall, program directors view accreditation favorably as a concept and find benefits in the current standards. Benefits included alignment of standards with institutional goals, mandated self-reflective approach to education, and standards as a bargaining chip. However, there are challenges that the directors face and concerns they have both about the standards and about aspects of the accrediting body. The challenges included resource drain, undue restrictions, and challenges born of geographical differences.