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Genetic Counseling Graduate Program

Admissions

The UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is designed for those who want to earn a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling and pursue a career in genetic counseling.

Admissions Process and Timeline

The GCCP matriculated its first class of 14 students in the autumn of 2021 and its second class of 16 students in the autumn of 2022. The application deadline for autumn 2023 is December 7, 2022. 

Admission to all genetic counseling training programs in the United States and Canada happens through a match process. All applicants to the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program must register with the National Matching Service before applying.

After the GCGP reviews its applications, the strongest applicants will be invited to interview in February or March 2023. All interviews will be conducted virtually. Once interviews are completed, each applicant and genetic counseling program will submit their rank order list to the NMS. Final rank order lists are due by April 11, 2023, and Match Day takes place on April 19, 2023. The UW GCGP plans to matriculate 18 students in autumn 2023. 

Minimum Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet minimum admission requirements set by the UW Graduate School.

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or its equivalent from an accredited foreign institution. The degree can be in any field of study.
  • A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours of college or university coursework.
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English.

Prerequisite Coursework

The UW GCGP has a rigorous curriculum delivered over a condensed 18-month period. To support success in our program, we require applicants to have taken the prerequisite courses below or to have a plan to complete them before starting the program. In general, we don’t teach the concepts covered in these prerequisite courses in our curriculum. We expect you to begin your training already understanding these concepts, so that you can apply that knowledge to the practice of genetic counseling.

Guidance on Prerequisite Courses

In your application, you'll select courses from your previous academic work that demonstrate your fulfillment of each of our required prerequisite courses. The table below contains guidance about our expectations for the content of each prerequisite course. Please reflect on how thoroughly your previous coursework has covered these topics. Some courses may seem suitable but, in fact, don't cover the core concept areas in sufficient depth. You may have completed multiple higher-level classes above the listed prerequisites (e.g., an upper-level psychology course after completing an introductory-level psychology course). Please DON'T list these higher-level courses as satisfying the prerequisite. Instead, list the course that most closely matches the prerequisite description. If you have questions about course equivalency, please send the course syllabus to Brad Rolf for review. 

Prerequisite Required Topic Areas Other Course Requirements
Genetics: One semester/quarter of upper-level genetics
  • Mendelian inheritance
  • Gene expression, transcription and translation
  • Chromosomes
  • Population genetics
  • Genetic variation
Your genetics course should be rigorous and should have required prerequisites, including general biology (at a minimum). Genetics for non-majors is not adequate preparation for our program.
Biochemistry: One semester/quarter of upper-level biochemistry
  • Membranes and signal transduction
  • Amino acids and protein synthesis
  • Enzymes
  • Carbohydrates and lipids
  • Metabolism
  • Nucleic acids, DNA and RNA
Your biochemistry course should be rigorous and should have required prerequisites, including general biology and chemistry (at a minimum). A strong biochemistry course will also require organic chemistry as a prerequisite.
Psychology: One semester/quarter of introductory-level psychology
  • Biological psychology
  • Consciousness and memory
  • Human development across the lifespan
  • Learning and memory
  • Motivation and emotion
  • Social psychology
  • Self and personality
Abnormal psychology does NOT satisfy this prerequisite requirement.
Statistics: One semester/quarter of introductory-level statistics
  • Principles of probability and sampling
  • Descriptive statistics (e.g., correlation and regression)
  • Knowledge of binomial and normal distributions
  • Applications of hypothesis testing, estimation, confidence intervals and statistical tests (e.g., t-tests and chi-square tests)
  • Interpretation of statistical data to answer research questions
Other math classes (e.g., calculus) do NOT satisfy this prerequisite requirement.
Laboratory coursework: Two semesters/quarters of laboratory coursework in any scientific discipline (e.g., biology, chemistry, etc.)
  • Experience applying the scientific method
  • Experience with analytical methods
  • Principles of experimental design
  • Experience writing lab reports

Virtual labs are acceptable as long as they meet the listed requirements and learning objectives.

Meeting the Prerequisite Requirements

All courses must be completed at a regionally accredited institution of higher education or its foreign equivalent. Online courses are acceptable. 

In the admissions process, the UW GCGP doesn’t consider when you completed your prerequisite coursework. Please reflect on your knowledge and preparation, and determine whether it’s complete and up to date. For example, if the last genetics course you took was five to 10 years ago, you should carefully consider how prepared you are to enter a master’s degree program in genetic counseling. How have you kept up with advances in the field? If you feel that your current knowledge may not be at the level necessary for a fast-paced, science-intensive curriculum, you should consider filling those knowledge gaps by repeating the relevant course.

Advanced Placement Exams

Under specific circumstances, the UW GCGP will accept scores from Advanced Placement (AP) exams in fulfillment of the psychology and/or statistics prerequisites. For your AP exam score to satisfy our prerequisite course requirement, it must meet the following criteria: 

  • You must have been awarded credit (because of your AP exam score) for either an undergraduate-level statistics or psychology course from a regionally accredited institution of higher education or foreign equivalent.
  • Credit for that course must appear on your college or university transcript.

Recommended Coursework

We recommend but don't require a minimum of one quarter or semester in the following subjects:

Human Anatomy BIOL 310 or the equivalent
Developmental Psychology PSYCH 206 or the equivalent
Molecular Cell Biology BIOL 355 or the equivalent

Recommended Experience

Highly competitive applicants will have personal experience in at least one setting that emphasizes skills applicable to genetic counseling. While this experience is not required, it is strongly recommended. Some examples of relevant experiences include:

  • Volunteering or working in a health care setting
  • Volunteering or working with individuals with special needs
  • Teaching, tutoring, mentoring or counseling experience
  • Advocacy experience
  • Shadowing a genetic counselor
  • Research experience

Required Application Materials

  • UW Graduate School online application and fee
  • Unofficial transcripts from each college or university attended
  • Genetic Counseling Admissions Match Code Number
  • Three recommendations
  • Supplemental application form
  • Personal statement
  • Responses to three short answer questions
  • Proof of English language proficiency if English is not your native language

Application Steps

Step One: Review Instructions 

Read the GCGP application instructions. These instructions provide details about every element of the application and guidance for how best to highlight your skills and accomplishments in your application.

Step Two: Prepare Your Application Materials

Register for the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match. You’ll need to include your Match Code Number in your application.

Get transcripts. Download unofficial transcripts or scan printed copies from every college or university you've attended.

Identify three people who can recommend you to the program. You'll need to include their contact information in the Graduate School application. They'll each be sent an email directing them to a secure website where they'll submit their recommendations.

Complete the supplemental application. This form contains many components of your application, including your personal statement and short answer responses. Please refer to the application instructions for writing prompts, word limits and other details. 

Step Three: Apply to the GCGP

Start your online application to the UW Graduate School.

Upload all required documents.

Designate the people who have agreed to write recommendations for you.

Pay the nonrefundable application fee and submit your application.