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Eligibility and Requirements

Interested in genetic counseling? Here are the requirements to be eligible for KU's program.

The genetic counseling program at KU Medical Center will be accepting applications in fall 2023 for the class entering in fall 2024. Additional information regarding applications, including opening and closing dates, will be available soon.

The information provided below may be used as a guide at this time and may change in the future.


Undergraduate Degree

To be eligible for KU's master's degree program in genetic counseling, you must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. The degree can be a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts, and it can be in any field (does not have to be in health or health care). Degrees earned outside the U.S. may be subject to additional verification (please see section lower on this page for details).

If you have not completed your undergraduate degree at the time of application, you will be required to have each academic institution provide official transcripts to KU prior to enrolling in courses in the genetic counseling program.


Prerequisite Coursework

KU's genetic counseling program requires students to have completed the following courses at the undergraduate level, each with a minimum grade of "C" and an overall grade of 3.0 or higher prior to matriculation.

  • Biology (two semesters)
  • Chemistry (one semester)
  • Biochemistry (one semester)
  • Genetics (one semester)
  • Psychology (one semester)
  • Statistics (one semester)

Prospective students may consider additional coursework in embryology, anatomy and physiology, developmental biology, organic chemistry, sociology and public health.


    Exposure to the field

    Prior to admission, applicants are encouraged to gain exposure to genetic counseling to educate themselves about the field. The goal of this exposure is to help the applicant understand the role of a genetic counselor and ensure they can articulate what the profession entails.

    There are numerous ways to accomplish this, and a strong applicant will demonstrate a wide breadth of experiences. Examples of experiences include the following:

    • Shadowing a genetic counselor.
    • Informational interviews with a genetic counselor.
    • Genetic counseling specific coursework.
    • Exposure to media including blogs, podcasts, and webinars about genetic counseling.
    • Genetic counseling program open houses/student information sessions.
    • Working with a clinical genetics division including as an intern or genetic counseling assistant.
    • Attendance at conferences, workshops and journal clubs.
    • Viewing videos of genetic counseling sessions.
    • Reading literature regarding the role of a genetic counselor.

    Here are some opportunities to obtain exposure to genetic counseling:

    Prospective Genetic Counselor Guidance Programs

    Minority Genetics Professionals Network Mentoring Program

    National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC)

    Discord

    Additional Resources


    Advocacy experience

    One major part of a genetic counselor’s role is to help individuals and families understand and adapt to information about genetic disease. Importantly, this is not just about disseminating scientific information; true genetic counseling involves advocacy.

    Advocacy means providing support to others through empathy, open communication, counseling, problem solving and identification/provision of appropriate resources. We encourage our applicants to have advocacy experience prior to admission. Examples of these experiences include the following:

    • Working with individuals who have disabilities.
    • Crisis counseling.
    • Grief and loss support organizations.
    • Patient care experience.
    • Reproductive healthcare.
    • Mentoring and peer counseling.
    • Working with individuals who have genetic conditions.
    • Support groups.
    • Social service work.

    Vaccine and Clinical Site Requirements

    Matriculated students will need to provide an immunization profile prior to participating in curricular and/or clinical experiences required by the program.

    The University of Kansas Medical Center requires various immunizations for its students. These immunization requirements help promote health and safety and facilitate clinical placement.

    Many, if not all, clinical sites who partner with the University of Kansas Medical Center require proof of these vaccines for students engaged in training or other programmatic experiences at clinical sites. Not being vaccinated may preclude students from participating in activities, potentially impeding their ability to complete all program requirements for degree completion. Applicants with questions should speak with a representative from the academic program to which they intend to apply.


    Background Check

    Incoming students must provide KU with a background check report. Once accepted into the program, students should start this process. The one-time fee must be paid directly to the company performing the background investigation.


    Computer

    Students are required to have a computer that meets the minimum software and hardware requirements.


    International Students

    The University of Kansas genetic counseling program hopes to admit and sponsor international students on the F1 visa soon, but we are not able to do so at this time. International students holding other visa types may be eligible for admission and enrollment. Please check with international programs at kconnelly@kumc.edu regarding your specific situation and visa type. We will update this page when the situation changes.


    English Language Proficiency

    English language requirements apply to any student who is not currently enrolled in a U.S. college or university. Earning a degree from an institution outside the U.S. where the language of instruction is English may not exempt students from this requirement, except when a bachelor's degree (or higher) is earned from an institution in one of the following countries: United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand or English-speaking provinces in Canada.

    To verify English language requirements, official exam results from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) must have been obtained within the two years prior to application:

    • Internet-based TOEFL minimum requirements: At least 23 or higher on the reading and listening sections; a score of 5.0 or 23 or higher on the writing section; a score of 26 or higher on the speaking section.
    • IELTS minimum requirements: Overall band score of 7.5 and no part score lower than 7.0.

    Official documentation of test scores must be sent directly from the administering agency to KU Medical Center. ETS school code for KUMC is 6895. Failure to submit official documentation will delay the admission process.

    Advising and Questions

    We're here to answer questions and provide assistance as you prepare for an exciting career in genetic counseling.

    CONTACT US

    KU School of Health Professions

    University of Kansas Medical Center
    Clinical Laboratory Science
    3901 Rainbow Boulevard
    Mailstop 4048
    Kansas City, KS 66160
    913-588-5220 • 711 TTY