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How to Apply

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health offers a graduate program specifically designed to train genetic counselors. Upon successful completion of the 21-month training program, graduates receive a Master of Genetic Counselor Studies. Graduates from the program are eligible to sit for the national certifying exam sponsored by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Our administrative, academic and clinical home is the Department of Pediatrics.


Application Process 


All applicants must apply through the online Master of Genetic Counselor Studies FluidReview website. Below is a summary of the components that must be included in your application and how to submit them. Please see our program requirements for additional details. To be considered for admission, we must receive your completed application by January 15.


The Admissions Committee reviews all application materials and invites the most promising applicants to a mandatory, preadmission, on-site interview during March or April. Applicants are notified of the offer of admission typically by the end of April, on the universal acceptance date. Accepted students begin classes in the fall.


The Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD) has created these 2015 Admissions Guidelines (pdf) to “clarify the acceptance process for applicants to ACGC accredited graduate programs in genetic counseling.”


Promoting diversity and cultural awareness is critical in the training of Genetic Counselors so as to provide the best possible care for the families of Wisconsin and beyond. There are a variety of organizations and initiatives in the School of Medicine and Public Health, the Laboratory of Genetics and the Graduate School that help support this mission. 


1. Personal Statement / Reasons for Graduate Study in Medical Genetics


To help us with the difficult task of assessing your potential success as a genetic counselor, you must submit a written statement that summarizes your perception of what a genetic counselor does and your reasons for choosing this field of study. Personal insight into related experiences and how they have influenced your decision to pursue this profession is helpful.


Be aware that admission to a master’s degree program in genetic counseling is very competitive nationally. We carefully evaluate your statement for indications of maturity (which is not a simple reflection of age) and readiness for graduate study. Please prepare your statement thoughtfully. The essay should be no longer than three pages, 12-point, Times New Roman font. Please upload as a PDF in the online application.


2. Official Transcript(s)


Request that one official transcript be mailed from each institution you attended to our Admissions Coordinator (see address below). International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Documents must be issued by the school with the official seal/stamp and an official signature.


3. Three Letters of Recommendation


Have three letters of recommendation, preferably from supervisors of advocacy experience, genetic counselors, teachers of relevant courses or other professional experiences who can assess your potential for a career in genetic counseling. Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically through the online application process. 


4. Science GPA


To help us evaluate your academic record, a science GPA (SGPA) must be calculated. There is a link to an online SGPA calculator within the application. Please list all genetic, biology, chemistry and statistic courses. Please list most recent courses first. Do not list social science or physical science courses.


5. Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)


We require the verbal, quantitative and analytical-writing sections of the general Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). The subject GRE is not required. Please arrange to take the GRE before November so that the results are available by the application deadline. When you take the GRE, indicate to the examiners that you wish to have the scores sent directly to UW-Madison (institution code 1846). Please also include the score in the online application.


6. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL or IELTS)


Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). When you take the exam, indicate to the examiners that you wish to have the scores sent directly to UW-Madison (institution code 1846). Please also include the score in the online application.


7. Resume


You must submit a personal CV or resume. Be sure to include shadowing or exposure to genetic counseling and any advocacy experiences. Please upload your resume (preferably as a PDF) in the online application. 




If you have any questions, please contact our graduate admissions coordinator, April Meiller:


April Meiller

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH)

465 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706

Fax: (608) 265-5070


For questions about program requirements and curriculum, please contact us at:


Catherine Reiser, MS CGC

Associate Professor (CHS)

Director, Genetic Counselor Studies

University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health


Laura Birkeland, MS CGC

Assistant Director, Genetic Counselor Studies

How to Apply

Last updated: 08/19/2016
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