Genetic Counseling Graduate Program
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

To be accepted into the Cincinnati Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, students must have:

  • A bachelor's degree documented by formal transcripts from all educational institutions attended
  • Experience with the genetic counseling field
  • Volunteer counseling or advocacy experience

We expect accepted students to have a strong foundation in the basic sciences including genetics. We suggest that undergraduates consider what science courses fit into their major and schedule that may also serve as a firm foundation for graduate study in genetic counseling. Consider taking some (not necessarily all) of the following courses:

  • Basic and advanced biology
  • Genetics, human genetics and molecular genetics
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Organic chemistry and biochemistry
  • Statistics

When reviewing applications, we always look for some exposure to genetics.

No. Submit transcripts reflecting your education after high school.
No, an applicant with an advanced degree from another field is not overqualified. We have admitted and graduated many students who had already earned one or more previous advanced degrees. If you want to be a genetic counselor, you must train in an accredited master's degree program in genetic counseling. Previous academic training may make you even more qualified than the average applicant to succeed in our program. We are delighted to help such candidates define a unique future in the genetic counseling profession.

ETS, the company that owns and administers the GRE, has acknowledged that similar to other standardized tests, disparities in performance among underrepresented groups do exist for the GRE. Though we previously had no minimum GRE score requirement, we recognize this is not enough to eliminate bias. In addition, taking the GRE is an added cost for applicants. Therefore, we decided to remove the GRE requirement to remove potential barriers for all applicants.

GRE scores are not required for admission to the Cincinnati Genetic Counseling Graduate Program. If you have taken the GRE and would like to submit your scores, you are welcome to include the scores on your CV.

You will be contacted in late February or March if you have been selected to interview in Cincinnati.

Interviews are held in February, March and April. Specific dates are set yearly by our Admissions Committee. Interviewees meet with the Admissions Committee, students and others.

If you have not been selected to interview, you will receive a letter in April stating this.

If you have not been selected to interview, you will receive a letter in April stating this.

The Cincinnati Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is participating in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS) beginning with admissions for fall 2018.

The GC Admissions Match has been established to enhance the process of placing applicants into positions in masters-level genetic counseling programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The match uses a process that takes into account both applicants’ and programs’ preferences. All applicants must first register for the match with NMS before applying to participating genetic counseling graduate programs. At the conclusion of all program interviews, both applicants and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements to NMS according to deadlines posted on the NMS website. The binding results of the match will be released to both applicants and programs simultaneously in late April.

Visit the NMS website at to register for the match, review detailed information about the matching process, and to view a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.

Every year, many applicants qualify for a University Graduate Scholarship (UGS), which provides a partial tuition waiver. An estimate of the scholarship dollar amount is shared with the applicants when they are accepted into the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program. International students may qualify for UGS awards.

There are opportunities for students to receive a graduate assistantship (GA), a stipend to help pay for living expenses. Graduate assistantships are awarded to a limited number of students every year. Students funded with a GA stipend work for the program throughout the academic year, by assisting faculty with research projects, clerical tasks and/or teaching.

Other jobs are often available at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center or the University of Cincinnati. In the past few years students have had jobs in the hospital’s genetic testing laboratories, the Hereditary Cancer Program and other areas.

The average undergraduate GPA of students accepted to the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. However, accepted students have presented a wide range of GPAs from a variety of institutions in their applications. Students with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 should demonstrate strong credentials in other areas of the application for the applicant to be competitive.
Most students have bachelor's degrees in biology, genetics or psychology, but any undergraduate four-year degree is acceptable if other requirements are met. Students have been admitted to the program with a wide variety of undergraduate degrees.

Examples of volunteer and advocacy experience that previous students in the program have had include:

  • Crisis hotline or other counseling experience
  • Advocacy for people with genetic conditions
  • Advocacy for women’s health issues
  • Volunteer work with individuals with disabilities
  • Research assistantships
  • Leadership experience or involvement in community groups

Most students have experience with the field of genetic counseling and can demonstrate a knowledge of the field. It is important in your application to highlight not just what you have done, but also how those experiences have impacted your perspective and/or prepared you for the field.

The best candidates have grades reflecting that they are academically capable and focused students. They will also demonstrate the following: a strong foundation in the basic sciences, knowledge of genetics (through multiple courses and/or lab or other experiences), exposure to counseling and/or working with people in crisis or with disabilities, and volunteer or work exposure to clinical genetics or genetic counseling services.

It is important to be knowledgeable about the genetic counseling field so you can be sure it is the best career option for you. Motivation, preparation, intelligence, good interpersonal skills and enthusiasm are also important attributes.

Students will participate in clinic from the outset of the program. Students participate in five-week clinical rotations where they are assigned to a supervising genetic counselor. The student is expected to gradually assume additional clinical roles as they progress through the program. By the end of the first year, students are counseling entire sessions by themselves. The supervising genetic counselors serve as mentors and teachers during this process. Supervisors observe each case and provide the student with feedback on his/her counseling skills.

During the summer between the first and second years of study, students participate in a seven-week, full-time internship usually in another genetics center. As long as a genetics center is staffed by genetic counselors and/or clinical geneticists certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling, American College of Medical Genetics or Canadian College of Medical Genetics, the student can go anywhere in the country (or the world) for the summer internship. This is a good opportunity for students to work in potential future job settings, work close to home, or live/work somewhere exciting. We encourage students to start thinking about where they might like to do their summer internship before starting the program.

The Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is a leader in proactively addressing the need for the genetic counseling profession to better reflect the patients we serve. In addition, we recognize the need for all genetic counselors to have the skills to work effectively with a growing ethno-culturally diverse patient population.

The cultural experiences and diversity of students are respected and valued. We place emphasis not only on recruiting culturally diverse students into the program, but also on launching and supporting all of our students on their journey to become culturally competent practitioners. Each student is unique in terms of their age, personal experiences, cultural and family background, beliefs and worldviews.

We encourage applicants to reflect on their own unique perspectives via their essay and/or references. Supported by institutional grants and other funds, our program is committed to recruiting under-represented minority students and improving the cultural competence of faculty, supervisors and students. Since becoming a culturally competent practitioner involves an ongoing journey of self-awareness and learning and demonstration of skills and knowledge, there is no defined endpoint. Our program's goal is to facilitate the student's personal and professional growth process.

The Cincinnati GCGP welcomes applications from international students. More information about recourses for international students at the University of Cincinnati can be found here.

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Deadline is Jan. 5.

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