​Have questions about the MS in Genetic Counseling? We have answers.

What makes the Columbia University GC Program unique?

In this program you will not only develop a strong foundation in genetic and genomic sciences and their application to health in the era of precision medicine but will also explore the social implications of these advancing technologies. Our program emphasizes the skills genetic counselors need in practice, as well as to assess, evaluate, and engage with questions about how genetic and genomic medicine impact us as individuals, families, communities, and as a society. Topics such as health disparities, risk perception and numeracy, decision science, health literacy, and policy/systemic influences are woven throughout curricular courses in genetics, genomics, counseling, medicine, education, and research.

Is the program full-time or part-time?

The program is a full-time, 21-month program.

What type of course fulfills the writing-intensive prerequisite?

Courses designated 'writing-intensive' by the undergraduate institution will be accepted if they meet the following criteria:

1) at least 70% of the course grade is based on the student's essays (as opposed to exams or other forms of assessment)

2) students are required to hand in at least four essays as part of the course requirements

3) the course fulfills a writing requirement at the undergraduate institution

Is the Columbia University GC Program accredited?

The program holds Full Accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC).

Do genetic counseling students take classes with students in other programs?

The majority of courses are specific to genetic counseling students, however some classes are taken with graduate students from the Department of Human Genetics, the Mailman School of Public Health, the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S), and others. Genetic counselors often work in multidisciplinary settings, and students are strongly encouraged to learn from people in other disciplines during their time at Columbia.

Do you accept international students?

Yes, we accept international students. You must complete a baccalaureate and/or graduate degree from a regionally accredited college in the US or Canada prior to applying, in addition to submitting scores from the TOEFL/IELTS as applicable. Learn more about our application requirements here.

I already have graduate training in a related field, can I receive credit for any of this coursework?

This may be an option, contact us directly to learn more.

Is an undergraduate science degree required to enter the program?

No. All students must have successfully completed the prerequisite coursework to enter the program, but many genetic counselors have undergraduate degrees in fields such as psychology, social work, and education.

Do high school advanced placement (AP) courses count as prerequisite courses for the program?

No, see our admissions requirements for more information.

When is the application deadline?

Applications are due in January and interviews for qualified candidates are typically scheduled for February/March. You can learn more about our admissions process and timeline here.

When will I know if I am invited for an interview?

We extend invitations for interviews via email in January/February. You can learn more about our admissions process and timeline here.

When will I know the final decision on my application?

All applicants are notified of their acceptance on Match Day. The Genetic Counseling Admissions Match notification date changes from year to year, though it typically occurs in late April.

Do you accept re-applicants?

Yes, we accept re-applicants.

Is a CV the same as a résumé?

Even though the format and function of a curriculum vitae (CV) can differ from a résumé, we accept both and have no preference about which is submitted.

What if I have not completed the prerequisite courses prior to the application deadline?

If you are currently enrolled in a course or plan in the future to take a course that is a prerequisite for admission, please make this clear on your application. You should have completed most prerequisites prior to applying but can be planning to take a course or two after you apply. You will need to successfully complete all prerequisites by the time you are enrolled into the program, which is typically May/June following Match Day.

How can I arrange to shadow or interview a genetic counselor to obtain more information?

Exposure to the profession of genetic counseling and/or meeting with a genetic counselor to discuss the career is an important step prior to applying to the program. We have a Pre-Genetic Counselor Experiential Practicum at Columbia. To find a counselor in your area, visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSCG) website and click the “Find a Genetic Counselor” link.

How can I learn more about genetic counseling?

The genetic counseling profession is rapidly expanding and diversifying. You can visit the NSGC website for more career information or contact us to talk further. You are also encouraged to shadow a genetic counselor, which is discussed above in the previous question.

Does VP&S offer financial aid?

Yes, scholarships and work study positions are available to students enrolling in the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, which can reduce the total cost of attendance. Learn more here.

Can I work while completing my genetic counseling degree?

The program curriculum is rigorous and courses are scheduled to allow ample time for coursework, fieldwork, and research experiences. If you elect to work while in the program, you are invited to discuss scheduling with program leadership in advance.

Is housing available on campus?

Yes, VP&S has several on-campus housing options for students. For more information about both on- and off-campus housing, please visit our Office of Housing Services.

What is the VP&S Club?

Our students are remarkably active, involved, socially committed, and diverse. The VP&S Club is an umbrella student-activities organization sponsoring more than 70 clubs, the most comprehensive of any student-activities group in American medical education. For more information, please visit the VP&S Club website.

What service-learning opportunities exist at VP&S?

Washington Heights offers students the opportunity to work with underserved communities to help alleviate health-care disparities among underserved, immigrant, and low-income populations. There are also numerous opportunities to participate in community education and community-building programs established by Washington Heights and Harlem organizations as well as by VP&S, including: