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Degree and Coursework

You must have a bachelor's degree, with undergraduate course work including at least one semester/quarter each of:

  • General or human genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Molecular biology or cell biology

In general, the science courses above should be at a level required for a biology major or a premed track:

  • Science Courses: Choose the biology, chemistry, genetics, etc. courses that are required for biology majors. Courses at this level are often taken by students on the pre-med track. Your molecular or cellular biology course should be an upper-level course; microbiology courses will not fulfill this requirement, though molecular genetics may if the genetics prerequisite was fulfilled by a general genetics or human genetics course.
  • Psychology Course: Most basic psychology courses are acceptable (e.g., intro to psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology).
  • Statistics Course: An introductory statistics or biostatistics course that includes content on statistical methodology is acceptable.

None of the prerequisite courses require a laboratory component.

Please consult your institutional academic advising office for help in identifying acceptable prerequisite courses. Due to the numerous institutions attended by applicants and the diverse titles of courses in each curricula, it is difficult for our admissions faculty to be knowledgeable of what may or not be an eligible prerequisite. In general, courses should fulfill requirements for the undergraduate degree. For example, a course with a title “Evolution of molecular and cell biology” for biology non-majors would not fulfill the application requirement for molecular/cell biology.

We are unable to offer waivers for any prerequisite course. Prerequisites do not need to be completed before the application is sent in, but they must be completed before matriculation. You should indicate your specific plan to complete any prerequisite courses on your supplemental form.

Courses cannot be taken pass/fail and must be taken for a grade that contributes to your final GPA. Likewise, they cannot be fulfilled by certificate courses. Note: During Spring 2020, many institutions converted their classes to Pass/Fail grading, due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you took a prerequisite class during that time that was graded Pass/Fail, please note this on your Supplemental Form, and it will be accepted.

Prerequisites may be fulfilled by AP or IB test, dependent on the specific course. For general Biology and Chemistry, an AP or placement test is acceptable to fulfill the prerequisite. For Statistics, an AP or placement test is acceptable to fulfill the prerequisite. For Psychology, you may list the AP or IB test, but we require that you take at least one course on this topic at the college level.

Courses can be taken at a four-year or two-year institution, in person or online. However, they must be taken at an accredited institution.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Applicants with a GPA less than 3.0 may be considered if they have post-degree coursework demonstrating higher grades or another graduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling does not require the GRE, and will not consider GRE scores in application review. If you take the GRE for another program application, please do not submit those scores or discuss them in your application.

International Applicants

Nonresident applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores are not required of international applicants who are attending/completed an undergraduate degree from a university within the United States.

However, applicants whose native language is not English and who attended a non-English speaking undergraduate program must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

  • The minimum acceptable paper-based TOEFL score is 600
  • The minimum acceptable computer-based TOEFL is 100
  • The minimum acceptable IELTS score is 8.0 overall and 8.0 on each of the sections

Suggested (Not Required)

  • Counseling experience: Applicants are encouraged to have some counseling experience, which may be obtained in a number of ways, including work in crisis counseling, peer counseling, domestic abuse or Planned Parenthood
  • Genetic counseling exposure: Shadowing a genetic counselor or having a genetic counseling internship are both valuable experiences; however, we understand these may be difficult to arrange; speaking with a genetic counselor about the field is also a valuable experience
  • Exposure to people with a chronic illness or a disability through volunteer work with Special Olympics or camps specific for children with disabilities
  • Laboratory experience
  • Research experience
  • Varied volunteer and work experiences

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