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Degree Offered

Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling (MGC)

Length of Program

Our program consists of 62 credit hours over 21 months beginning in August and ending in May.

Degree Requirements

All students must successfully complete the entire curriculum of the program in order to be considered for the Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling. Successful completion requires an average of 80% or above on all didactic and clinical courses unless specified otherwise in the syllabus. Students must have 50 logbook cases as defined by ACGC Standards. Finally, students must complete a capstone project as a requirement for graduation.

What is a Genetic Counselor?

Genetic counseling is a profession combining medical genetics and counseling that supports individuals and families seeking information about how inherited diseases may impact their health. Genetic counselors work with patients to offer guidance in genetic testing as well as interpretation of results. These providers provide psychosocial support to patients who are navigating the complexities of genomic medicine and decision making.

As professionals whose training in both genetics and psychosocial sciences allows them to understand how patients make decisions, genetic counselors can look at the stresses patients face and explain the genetic test results in layman-friendly terms.

Counselors also can help providers optimize genetic testing, as providers are increasingly recognizing that genetic testing is a key component of precision medicine.

Genetic Counseling

​Admission Requirements

Enrollment in the Genetic Counseling Education program is limited and competitive. The Genetic Counseling admissions committee, composed of program faculty and administration, evaluates the qualifications of each applicant and makes the final selections for admission.

Prerequisites

Degree and GPA

Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree and a minimum cumulative overall grade point average of 3.0 (based on 4.0 scale) and a minimum of 3.0 in their last 30 semester hours in the sciences (defined as any courses in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and genetics). Specific degree not required but the genetics and psychology pre-requisites must be met at the time of the application. Most applicants have a degree in biology, genetics, chemistry, psychology, social work, nursing or related field.

Notes:

  1. Admission to the program will be dependent on the successful completion of all prerequisite coursework. While a prerequisite course can be in progress, genetics and psychology must be completed prior to submitting your application.
  2. Any repeated course grades (original and repeated) will be averaged in the GPA calculations and used accordingly in the evaluation of the application.
  3. Any graduate-level work in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and/or genetics will be reviewed.

Required Coursework

One semester of AP, CLEP, and DSST credit can count toward the general biology and chemistry requirements but cannot completely fill this requirement. In addition, these courses will not satisfy the genetics, biochemistry, statistics, or psychology requirements.

·       2 semesters or equivalent of general biology with lab (biology for majors)

·       2 semesters or equivalent of general chemistry with lab (chemistry for majors)

·       1 semester or equivalent of upper-level biochemistry* where organic chemistry is a prerequisite for the course *Note: content must include 1) metabolism of glycogen, fatty acids, and amino acids, 2) structure and function of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids

·       1 semester or equivalent of general psychology

·       1 semester or equivalent of general/introductory genetics

·       1 semester or equivalent of statistics

·       1 semester or equivalent of molecular or cell biology

Coursework that may strengthen an applicant’s experience includes advanced science lab (biochemistry, molecular, and/or genetics), anatomy and physiology, abnormal psychology, developmental biology, advanced genetics courses.  [Exceptions to this policy due to COVID-19]

GRE

Scores from the general aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test are required. Scores must be from the last five years. Subject exam is not required. The UNMC Institution Code for GRE is 6896.

Supporting Materials

  1. Official transcripts from all institutions attended.
  2. AdMISSION bio: eight questions that help us learn more about you.
  3. Three professional or educational individuals to serve as a reference via an online evaluation.
  4. Personal statement – see application for more details
  5. Targeted Resume
    1. Specific Sections: 1) Counseling/Client Advocacy Experience 2) Lab/Research Experience and 3)
      Exposure to the genetic counseling field.
    2. Format: Name and National Match Number in top right-hand corner
    3. Times New Roman, 12 pt font, 1" margins, maximum of 2 pages

Recommended Experiences

1.     Counseling/Client Advocacy Experience: We strongly recommend potential applicants have experience in counseling or client advocacy. This can include working or volunteering with a crisis center, individuals with disabilities, or persons with medical needs.

2.     Exposure to the field of Genetic Counseling: Applicants should understand the role of a genetic counselor.

3.     Laboratory/research experience

Admission Committee will review the entire application when selecting applicants to interview. These interviews will take place the second week in March. The interview is an opportunity for us to get to know each other better.

For more information on national averages for successful applicants, please visit the GC Admissions FAQ page available at the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors website.

National Match Service

All genetic counseling programs are now participating in a National Match Service, an electronic genetic counseling match. Applicants must first register for the Match with NMS before applying to participating programs as the NMS identifier is required for the application. Similarly, our program will have an identifier code. Once admission interviews are complete, both applicants and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements prior to the final deadline. A computerized matching algorithm will determine final placements. This Match list will be released both to applicants and programs simultaneously. The results of the Match are binding.
For more information on this process, please visit the National Match Service page.

Application Deadlines

Curriculum

Our curriculum consists of 62 credit hours over 21 months. We have defined 5 specific categories for our curriculum based on the practice-based competencies and content required by ACGC:

  1. Genetic counseling skills, advanced topics, and professional development
  2. Genetics Knowledge
  3. Clinical Application
  4. Clinical Rotations
  5. Research
    Plan of Study Grid
    First Year
    FallCredit Hours
    GENC 610 FOUNDATIONS IN GENETIC COUNSELING I 3
    GENC 641 PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF GENETIC PRINCIPLES 1
    GENC 645 EMBRYOLOGY & TERATOLOGY 3
    GENC 682 PRENATAL GENETICS 2
    GENC 708 CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN GENETIC COUNSELING 1
    CAHP 723 PRINCIPLES OF CRITICAL INQUIRY 2
    MMI 911 HUMAN GENETICS AND CYTOGENETICS PRINCIPLES 2
     Credit Hours14
    Spring
    GENC 611 FOUNDATIONS IN GENETIC COUNSELING II 3
    GENC 649 MOLECULAR GENETICS & GENOMICS 3
    GENC 688 CLINICAL CANCER GENETICS 3
    GENC 720 RESEARCH DESIGN 1
    GENC 780 MEDICAL GENETICS I 3
    GENC 708 CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN GENETIC COUNSELING 1
     Credit Hours14
    Summer
    GENC 750 CLINICAL ROTATION I 6
     Credit Hours6
    Second Year
    Fall
    GENC 710 ADVANCED GENETIC COUNSELING I 2
    GENC 721 CAPSTONE PROJECT I 2
    GENC 751 CLINICAL ROTATION II 3
    GENC 752 CLINICAL ROTATION III 3
    GENC 781 MEDICAL GENETICS II 3
    GENC 708 CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN GENETIC COUNSELING 1
     Credit Hours14
    Spring
    GENC 711 ADVANCED GENETIC COUNSELING II 2
    GENC 718 GENETIC COUNSELING & THE COMMUNITY 3
    GENC 722 CAPSTONE PROJECT II 2
    GENC 753 CLINICAL ROTATION IV 3
    GENC 754 CLINICAL ROTATION V 3
    GENC 708 CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN GENETIC COUNSELING 1
     Credit Hours14
     Total Credit Hours62