Varied clinical experiences, interprofessional approach
Evolving technologies have created an important transition in genetic counseling with a newer emphasis on genomics. Other training includes preparing you to manage an increasing number of available genetic tests and the development of new reimbursable service delivery models that can serve larger communities.
Genetic counselors are increasingly being recognized for their contributions to primary care, and the vital role they play in today's healthcare settings. Your studies will prepare you to understand how individuals engage cognitively and emotionally with genomic information, how they cope with the information, and how they make decisions regarding use of the information.
Gain access to top clinical sites in Boston and throughout New England and learn in interprofessional teams of students at our graduate school - focused exclusively on the health professions.
The MS Genetic Counseling Program at MGH Institute of Health Professions prepares genetic counselors to be leaders in the field of genetics and genomics. Outstanding clinical and non-clinical fieldwork experiences, expansive research opportunities, dedicated faculty, and an active-learning curriculum create an engaging learning environment that equips genetic counseling students to provide exemplary patient care, recognize and attend to the needs of their clients, effectively communicate complex genetic information, and advance genomics research.
Team-based learning (TBL) is at the heart of our program. Throughout your course of study, you'll work with a team of students with diverse skills and backgrounds. Rather than sitting in lecture all day, class time is spent with your team under expert faculty guidance working through real-life clinical problems and scenarios. This TBL approach:
- Promotes lifelong learning and critical-thinking skills
- Integrates the basic sciences, medicine, and clinical skills
- Aims to foster compassion and improve patient care by incorporating the humanities, ethics, mindfulness and personal resilience
- Prepares you for collaborative practice as a Genetics Counselor.
As part of Mass General Brigham, New England’s largest health care organization, the MGH Institute offers you unparalleled access to leading academic medical centers and health care sites across New England and beyond.
The M.S. Genetic Counseling Program at the MGH IHP is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), Inc.
1660 International Drive Suite 600
McLean, VA 22102 USA
Telephone: (703) 506-7667
The program is five semesters in length, with the first year primarily focused on didactic and team-based education, observational fieldwork, simulated patient sessions, and initiation of the Capstone research process. The second year includes didactic work with a focus on clinical and non-clinical fieldwork experiences and completion of the Capstone project. Interprofessional training is infused throughout the curriculum. The curriculum consists of 66 credits of didactic, team-based learning, clinical, and research coursework.
Diverse Fieldwork Experiences
Fieldwork experiences are one day per week the first and second semesters and build to longer placements during the summer and second year. Students each have a unique fieldwork plan that can be tailored to their interests.
Clinical placement opportunities for our students within Mass General Brigham include:
- Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Newton-Wellesley Hospital
- Massachusetts Eye and Ear
- Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
These institutions are regularly ranked as the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
In addition to prenatal, pediatric, adult, oncology, and various specialty clinical fieldwork placements at some of the top hospitals in the country, IHP knows the value of training for non-clinical roles and learning from genetic counselors who have both clinical and non-clinical responsibilities. First and second year research, laboratory, industry, advocacy, and public health experiences are integrated into the curriculum and fieldwork training.
IHP is dedicated to training genetic counselors for the future of genetics and genomics. Fieldwork opportunities exist within the MGH Center for Genomic Medicine, BWH Genomes2People (G2P) Research in Translational Genomics and Health Outcomes, and Mass General Brigham Personalized Medicine (which includes the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine and Translational Genomics Core).
How do students receive direct support from the IHP GC Program?
You will meet with your advisor on a regular basis and receive support from the program leadership team.
First year students are placed in small groups with second year students for peer support and mentorship.
We help you develop a Capstone project of interest to you and assist with assembling a Capstone committee dedicated to your project.
We assist you to determine a fieldwork schedule to best meet your interests and needs.
IHP genetic counseling graduate students will:
- Demonstrate competency and effective communication in the delivery of evidence-based genetic counseling services to patients/clients throughout the lifespan.
- Adhere to the Code of Ethics of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.
- Establish strong interprofessional relationships to support the provision of client-centered, team-based care.
- Demonstrate social responsibility, serve as an advocate, and develop skills to influence public policy to improve genetic counseling services and quality healthcare.
- Serve a diverse society and address the healthcare needs of communities and individuals of various backgrounds with cultural humility and sensitivity.
- Participate in scholarship that contributes to the body of knowledge in genetics and genomics.
- Commit to lifelong learning and leadership in the field through participation in professional development activities.
The Master of Science Genetic Counseling Program at the MGH Institute of Health Professions prepares genetic counselors to be leaders of interprofessional teams, in the field of genetics and genomics, and in advancing justice, equity, and inclusion in health care. Outstanding clinical and non-clinical fieldwork experiences, expansive research opportunities, dedicated faculty, and an active-learning curriculum create an engaging learning environment that equips genetic counseling students to provide exemplary, competent, inclusive, and compassionate patient care; recognize and attend to the needs of patients and clients; effectively communicate complex genetic information; and advance genomics research.
Step 1: Submit the application with the payment of application fee
Step 2: Upload Required Supplemental Documents
After submitting your application and making the payment, you will receive an email with your log-in information and a link to upload all the required supplemental documents. You can view your application status and pending supplemental documents as well.
All applicants are required to submit a completed online application form along with the non-refundable $100 application fee. If you received a Pell Grant during your undergraduate studies or are a McNair Scholar, you may qualify for an application fee waiver. Please contact the Genetic Counseling Program to confirm eligibility for this waiver.
Important Application Dates
For Program Starting: Fall 2024
Application opens on September 6, 2023
Application closes on December 15, 2023
The MGH Institute is participating in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS). The 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. All applicants must first register for the Match with NMS before applying to participating genetic counseling graduate programs. 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.
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.
AGCPD/GCEA has established a waiver for the $100 fee associated with the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match. Prospective students who demonstrate financial need AND have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater can apply for a Match fee waiver. Prospective students should apply for a fee waiver BEFORE registering for a Match Code Number.
Applications for the Match fee waiver are due by October 4, 2023. Applicants will be notified by October 30, 2023 as to whether they have received a waiver. There are a limited number of waivers, so not all applicants will receive a waiver. Instructions for how to register for the GC Admissions Match will be provided to those who receive a waiver.
Waivers are non-transferable to future Match cycles and cannot be transferred by the recipient to another prospective student. Prospective students who are granted fee waivers must register for the Match by January 1, 2024. Any waiver not used by January 1, 2024 will be rescinded and may be granted by AGCPD to a different prospective student.
Prospective students who are applying for a match fee waiver will be required to write a short essay and to upload at least one of the following documents demonstrating financial need:
- A copy of a letter verifying unemployment benefits received within the past two years.
- A copy of a letter on official letterhead from a government agency verifying that you or your family have qualified for public assistance based on low income criteria anytime within the past 5 years
- A copy of your financial aid award letter from another / previous institution dated within 5 the past years
- A copy of your approved GRE fee waiver (for tests taken within 5 years of the application deadline)
- A copy of your federal Student Aid Report (SAR) that verifies you qualified for financial aid within the past 5 years based on a family contribution of:
- Not more than $1,500 if the student is a dependent student
- Not more than $1,900 if the student is an independent student
Any questions about the Match Fee Waiver process or requirements should be directed to: gcmatchwaivers [at] gcea.onmicrosoft.com
Bachelor's degree (BS or BA) from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or recognized international equivalent.
Applicants must successfully complete the following courses at a fully accredited institution.
- Two Biology courses
- Two Chemistry courses, not including Biochemistry
- One Biochemistry course
- One Statistics course
- One Psychology course
- One Genetics course
- A general genetics course meets the genetics course requirement; however, additional coursework in human and molecular genetics is suggested.
- Additional coursework in psychology, statistics, embryology, anatomy/physiology, molecular biology, and related fields (e.g. public health, epidemiology, maternal and child health, anthropology, sociology, computer science, bioinformatics, and neuroscience) will strengthen your application.
- Advanced Placement ("AP") credit may only be applied to one Biology or Chemistry course.
- All prerequisite courses must be satisfactorily completed prior to the start of the program; please list on your CV plans to complete any pending prerequisite courses.
- Applicants may be asked to submit mid-term reports for pending prerequisite courses.
- Prerequisite credit cannot be given for courses with a grade of Pass/Fail, with the exception of the COVID-19 Temporary Policies.
Applicants with questions about prerequisite course equivalency and/or acceptability should complete and submit the MS in GC Prerequisite Inquiry Form. Upon submission of the form, replies can be expected by email in 7-10 business days.
All prerequisite courses must be taken at an institution that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies. Please refer to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website for additional information.
Applicants are required to submit a transcript from each college and/or university attended, even if a degree was not received from that institution. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted throughout the application process, and official transcripts will only be required prior to enrolling in the program.
The Office of Admissions strongly encourages the use of online electronic transcript ordering which can be sent directly via email to admissions [at] mghihp.edu. If this is not an option and your institution does not participate in electronic transcript delivery, please request official transcripts to be sent to the mailing address listed below. For transcripts to be considered official they must be in their original signed and sealed envelopes when received.
MGH Institute of Health Professions
36 First Avenue
Boston, MA 02129
Applicants that have earned a degree from a non-US institution are required to submit a course-by-course credential evaluation from one of the following NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) members: Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., SpanTran: The Evaluation Company, World Education Services (WES), or the Center for Educational Documentation. If you earned your bachelor's degree outside of the U.S. this credential evaluation must document minimum equivalency of a US baccalaureate degree or higher.
The general test (GRE) is not required for this program. GRE scores will not be reviewed.
The language of instruction and clinical education at the MGH Institute is English and a high level of proficiency in both written and spoken English is required. Applicants who have not completed either an undergraduate or graduate program where English is the language of instruction must demonstrate English Language proficiency as part of your application to the MGH Institute of Health Professions. If you have questions about the language requirements, please contact the Office of Admissions.
- Applicants who are citizens of Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Guyana, an Anglophone country of Africa, or an English-speaking country of the Caribbean are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.
- Applicants who are candidates for graduation from an accredited degree-granting program in the United States or at an English-speaking school in one of the countries listed above are also not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Acceptance to the IHP will be contingent upon successful completion of this degree prior to matriculation.
Please note that in some circumstances, demonstrating English language proficiency may be required by the academic program even if you are a citizen of a country in which the (or one of the) national language(s) is English. Decisions about the need for TOEFL or IELTS scores are at the discretion of the academic program to which you are applying in coordination with the department of OES.
The IHP accepts either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The test must have been taken within two years of the application deadline and official score reports are required. The minimum TOEFL (internet-based) score accepted is 89 and the minimum IELTS score accepted is 6.5.
- To forward your TOEFL score please contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The MGH Institute of Health Professions code is 3513.
- For IELTS, a Test Report Form may be mailed to MGH Institute of Health Professions and score information will be verified by the IHP directly. You may designate up to 5 schools to receive Test Report Forms at the time you register for the test. To request additional Test Report Forms, contact your test center.
Please contact the Office of Admissions if you have any questions about the MGH Institute’s English Language requirements.
All applicants are required to submit three (3) letters of recommendation. Letters should address your potential for graduate education and your experiences and strengths as they relate to the field of genetic counseling. Please consider requesting recommendations from individuals who know you from different contexts and settings, when possible.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Please minimally include:
Your National Matching Services (NMS) match code number
Undergraduate and any graduate institutions, degree(s), major, minor/concentration (if applicable), and cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
A list of course titles, numbers, and grades received for prerequisite courses
A list of any pending courses (prerequisite or other)
Please include any of the following experiences. Include location, supervisor(s), and length of time, as applicable.
Genetic counseling observations and/or internships
Attendance (in-person or virtual) at genetic counseling career fairs, regional meetings, or national meetings, etc.
Media viewed related to genetic counseling
Formal meetings (including virtual) with genetic counselors
Advocacy related to genetics, disabilities, support groups, and/or healthcare
Peer or crisis counseling
Clinical research, bench research, other laboratory roles
Authored publications or abstracts
Other experiences related to the field of genetic counseling
Please discuss the following in your Personal Statement:
- Any academic, personal and/or extracurricular experiences that have been meaningful in your pursuit of genetic counseling as a career path. This can include but is not limited to telling us about areas where you excel, or times you have faced challenges, or times you have demonstrated resilience.
- What excites you most about becoming a genetic counselor? Address how and why you feel the MGH Institute of Health Professions can help you achieve your academic and professional goals.
Include any other information you believe is relevant but please limit your Personal Statement to 3 pages (double spaced).
The MGH Institute is committed to advancing equity and anti-oppressive practice in healthcare higher education. To learn more, see our JEDI Office and Commitment to Equity and Anti-Oppression sections.
The MGH Institute believes it is important for a practitioner to reflect on how social justice applies to them personally and what stake they have in anti-oppressive practice. Please share an experience that illustrates your personal commitment and/or relationship to social justice in healthcare, education, or any other areas. Include ways in which your own social identities shape your perspective on inclusion and social justice, beliefs that inform your stake, or actions you have taken.
The Inclusivity Statement should be no longer than 2 pages (double spaced).
Applicants invited for an interview will be contacted by email in mid-February. Interviews dates will be in early March-early April. These half-day interviews give applicants an opportunity to meet current students and faculty and get an in-depth view of the IHP Genetic Counseling Program. All interviews will be conducted virtually for Spring 2024. Please note that invitations to interview might not all be sent on one day.
We encourage candidates to check out the latest information offered by Admissions on Live Virtual Campus Tours and chats with Admissions Ambassadors.
The MGH Institute, as mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, requires completion of the hepatitis B vaccination series prior to matriculation. For applicants who have not been vaccinated, the three-dose hepatitis B series must be initiated prior to February 1st preceding the intended September matriculation.
months to earn your degree
job growth projected over next 10 years
You will be mentored by faculty who are scholars and leaders in the field, across a wide range of specialties. Our faculty are recognized nationally and internationally and are practicing clinicians.