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  

The Master of Genetic Counselor Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is participating in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS) beginning with admissions for fall 2018.

All applicants must first register for the Match with NMS before applying to participating genetic counseling graduate programs.

The GC Admissions Match has been established to enhance the process of placing applicants into positions in masters-level genetic counseling programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The Match uses a process that takes into account both applicants’ and programs’ preferences. Please visit the NMS website to register for the match, review detailed information about the matching process and to view a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.

Once registered for the Match with NMS, applicants must then apply online through our admissions website, FluidReview, for the Master of Genetic Counselor Studies Program. 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 1.

The Admissions Committee reviews all application materials and invites the most promising applicants to a mandatory, preadmission, on-site interview early spring. At the conclusion of all program interviews, both applicants and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements to NMS according to deadlines posted on the NMS website. The binding results of the Match will be released to both applicants and programs simultaneously in late April. Accepted students begin classes in the fall.

Promoting diversity and cultural awareness is critical in the training of genetic counselors 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.

Transfer students 

Summary of our policy: The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health offers innovative and highly integrated courses of study that are not conducive to accepting transfer students. Therefore, it is the School of Medicine and Public Health’s policy that transfer students generally are not accepted.

View the complete health profession student transfer policy (pdf)

International students

We are unable to consider any applicants who are not currently United States citizens or permanent residents. There is insufficient time to ensure necessary VISA approval between the dates of the match window and required dates of enrollment to our program. In addition, the training program does not have funds, such as financial aid or scholarships, to support international applicants or students who do not already have documented permanent United States residency or citizenship status.

This means that ALL international and domestic applicants who are not currently United States citizens must provide evidence of:

  • permanent residency status in the United States
  • adequate financial resources to cover all tuition, fee, housing, and other living expenses for the duration of the program

Further information for international students is available from the International Student Services website.