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Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Admissions Process

Q: Are GRE scores required?

No. GRE scores are not required and will not be reviewed. We request that you do not add GRE scores to your application.

Q: What is the minimum GPA requirement for applicants?

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above (4.0 scale) is highly recommended, however, waiving of this requirement may be considered for otherwise highly qualified candidates. National data regarding average GPA scores of students is available through the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match statistics page. 2022 Admissions Match data indicates that the average GPA of registered applicants who matched with a program was 3.61. The 2023 Admissions Match data indicates that the average GPA of registered applicants who matched with a program was 3.66. 

Q: When must my prerequisite courses be completed by?

All prerequisite courses must be completed and submitted for review by the University of Rochester MSGC application deadline of January 5th, 2024. Applications are not considered complete without these courses, and will not be reviewed.

Q: I took AP courses in high school.  Can an AP course be used to fulfill my prerequisite requirements?

Yes. AP courses can be utilized for prerequisites, however, they must appear as credit equivalent on an undergraduate transcript.

Q: Are official transcripts required for my application?

No. Unofficial electronic transcripts may be submitted for the purpose of the application. However, once enrolled in the MSGC program, students are required to provide official university transcripts.

Q: Do you require shadowing with a genetic counselor?

Exposure to the genetic counseling profession is a required application component, however, this can be achieved in a number of ways. Shadowing of genetic counselors is not specifically required, but is highly encouraged. Exposure to the genetic counseling profession can also be obtained through activities such as a genetic counseling internship, work as a genetic counseling assistant (GCA), work in a research setting directly relevant to the field of genetic counseling, informational interviews with genetic counselors, participation in genetic counseling career fairs, and attendance at professional educational presentations/seminars.

Q: What other types of experiences are recommended for applicants?

In addition to exposure to the genetic counseling profession (as summarized for question above), a wide range of other experiences can also be valuable in preparing for the program, such as mentoring, tutoring/teaching, advocacy experience, counseling experience, and other research experiences. Many applicants will have paid or volunteer work experience with community health organizations, reproductive health clinics, crisis or suicide hotlines, domestic abuse shelters or hotlines, and organizations serving individuals/families with developmental disabilities. We look forward to seeing the unique experiences from each of our applicants!

Q: I am an international applicant. Where can I find more information about applying?

International applicants are encouraged to apply to the University of Rochester MSGC program! Information for international applicants can be found at: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/education/graduate/masters-degrees/faq.aspx#InternationalApplicants

If you are interested in determining whether the English Language test requirement can be waived, please see this page for English Language test waiver guidelines. Waivers are considered only for submitted applications with transcripts on file; please complete and submit your application and academic documents for test waiver consideration. If you feel that you meet the guidelines for an English Language test waiver, please allow 10 business days after the submission of your complete application for a completed preliminary review. Check your application portal ten business days after application submission to see if a test waiver has been posted to your checklist. If you have allowed 10 business days and your checklist still shows an English Language test requirement, please proceed to submit official English Language test scores. You may additionally send an email to our Graduate Education office at gradadm@urmc.rochester.edu with notification of your request for English Language test waiver. Please keep in mind that all application components must be completed and submitted for review by the University of Rochester MSGC application deadline of January 5th, 2024. 

Our genetic counseling program is coded as a STEM program, thus eligible for STEM OPT Extension.

Information regarding international student applications is also provided by:

Q: When will I be notified if I have been invited to interview?

Invitations to interview will be extended (via email) by mid February. Interviews will be conducted in late February and March. 

Q: Can I interview in person?

No. All of our interviews will be held virtually.

General MSGC Program Questions

Q: Is the program accredited?

Yes, the program received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) in 2022. 

Q: How many students are enrolled per year?

For Fall 2023 admission, 6 students were accepted. For Fall 2024 admission, 7 students will be accepted.

Q: Can I enroll as a part-time student?

Due to the schedule of the Program’s course design, clinical rotations, and other components, full-time enrollment is required for the entire 21-month duration of the program.

Q: What are the classes like?

The majority of the courses for the Program have been developed specifically for our MSGC students. This means that most class sizes are small (6-12 students) and consist of only MSGC students. There are a few required courses that students will take alongside medical students, nursing students, or others. For example, the Molecules to Cells course that MSGC students take in Spring semester of first year is taken alongside the first-year medical students. The majority of courses take place in-person.

Q: Where are the clinical rotations located?

We are fortunate to have a number of robust and unique clinical rotation sites available for students to complete their formal clinical training. The majority of the clinical rotations are located at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC)/Strong Memorial Hospital main medical campus, which is on the same campus as the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. Some rotations also take place at a nearby URMC location within a 10-15 minute drive, or with one of our regional affiliated rotation sites such as Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (located just over an hour drive west in Buffalo, NY).

At the beginning of the program, students will meet one-on-one with the Clinical Fieldwork Coordinator to ensure that each student has adequate transportation to get to all assigned rotation sites.

Q: I am interested in doing an away rotation, is this feasible?

Students who are interested in a rotation at a site that is not currently part of the MSGC program should discuss this with the Clinical Fieldwork Coordinator as early as possible in the program. Our program will try to accommodate a request for an away rotation, however, this cannot be guaranteed. There is an approximate 4-week gap between rotations at the end of the Summer semester (between Year 1 and Year 2 of the program) that could allow for an away rotation.

Q: Do I need my own transportation to attend?

While it is not required, we highly recommend having a personal vehicle while enrolled in the program. This is particularly important for clinical rotations. If you are unable to have your own vehicle, alternative options include: public bus lines (through Regional Transit Service), ride shares such as Uber or Lyft, and the University of Rochester Shuttle Service. Students may also use a bike for transportation, however, that can be challenging in the winter months.

Q: I am interested in working while enrolled in the program. Is that permitted?

Part-time work is permitted. Students interested in part-time positions can seek opportunities either within the University or outside the University. Part-time positions through the University are available and may be accessed through UR Student (student portal). We encourage students to discuss any University/URMC employment plans with Program Leadership to ensure that the hiring process enables students to utilize the 30% tuition scholarship for MSGC students (should that be of interest to students), and since work time commitments can vary. There are additional considerations for students when exploring federal work study, or while on a student visa.

Q: What are the student health and immunization requirements for the program? 

Information about health requirements can be viewed through the following University website: Health Requirements for Entering Students - University Health Service (rochester.edu). MSGC students fall within the umbrella of Health Profession Students. 

Q: Where can I find out more about the genetic counseling profession?

Genetic Counseling Professional Organizations:

National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC)

American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC)

Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC)

Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD)

URMC Genetic Counseling Informational Meetings

Individuals may also learn more about the genetic counseling field by participating in one of the informational meetings coordinated and hosted by genetic counselors within the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). These virtual interest meetings are held throughout the year for individuals who are interested in learning more about the genetic counseling profession and/or planning to apply to genetic counseling graduate schools. Typically, at least 2-3 genetic counselors representing different genetic services within the medical center (i.e., pediatrics, neurology, ocular genetics, reproductive genetics, etc) are present for each meeting. Topics such as genetic counselor roles, applying to graduate programs, and what to expect in graduate programs will be discussed. Time will be allowed for Q&A.

Please note that this is not an informational meeting that is specific to the University of Rochester MSGC program; you are encouraged to contact the MSGC program director if you have specific questions about the University's application process, requirements, curriculum, or other program components.

Upcoming meetings:

  • Friday, April 5, 2024 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, August 2, 2024 at 3:30 p.m.

*You will receive detailed information via email including the Zoom link to join as the meeting date gets closer.

Sign Up for an Informational Meeting

Note: Registration for any given session closes one week prior to the session.

Q: I am interested in gaining more experience within the genetic counseling field. Are there any genetic counselor assistant (GCA) or other positions available through URMC?

There is currently a full-time GCA position within the URMC Division of Clinical Genetics (Job ID 251001). All applicants must apply online: Careers (rochester.edu)