Genetic Counseling Program

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Frequently Asked Questions


Below are some questions that are frequently asked by prospective applicants to our program.  They are arranged by category.  We hope that you are able to find answers to most of your questions here.  You are always welcome to contact us phone (336-256-0175) or email if you have additional questions.

Nancy Callanan, MS, CGC
Program Director
Nancy_Callanan@uncg.edu

Randi Stewart, MS, CGC
Assistant Program Director
Randi.Stewart@uncg.edu

 

FAQ: General Admission Requirements

FAQ: Application Procedures

FAQ: Admission Interviews

FAQ:  Prerequisite Course Requirements

FAQ: Recommended Experiences

Other Frequently Asked Questions

 

Frequently Asked Questions about General Admission Requirements

Do you require a specific undergraduate major?
No.  We do not require a specific undergraduate major as long as an applicant has completed the 3 required prerequisite courses.

What are your GRE requirements?
We require the GRE (general tests only) and these must have been taken within 5 years of the application deadline.

How high are the GPA and GRE scores of applicants that are admitted to your program? 
We require a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.  We do not have a set “cut-off” for GRE scores:  the Admissions Committee will evaluate your GRE scores in the context of your entire application.  The Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors compiles national data about the average GPA and GRE scores of students admitted to accredited programs.  Students admitted to our program typically meet or exceed these standards. 

My undergraduate GPA is less than the required 3.0.  Can I still be considered for admission to your program?
In cases where an applicant is otherwise well-qualified we may be able to waive this requirement.  In this situation, we encourage applicants to demonstrate their academic abilities by completing additional relevant upper level undergraduate or graduate level courses. 

I completed an undergraduate research project.  Will this make my application more competitive?
Yes.  Although this is not a firm requirement for admission to our program, we do consider undergraduate research experience in reviewing applications.  This can be in the form of an independent student research project, capstone experience, or working as a research assistant as an undergraduate.  Research experience obtained after you completed your undergraduate degree will also be considered.

Do you require any specific types of laboratory experiences?
No.  However, most competitive applicants have completed laboratory courses and many gained other laboratory experience as an under graduate research assistant or by completing an undergraduate research project.

Do you require genetic counseling internship/shadowing experience or crisis counseling/advocacy experiences?
While these are not required for admission to our program, they are strongly encouraged.  You can find more information about this in the “Additional Experiences FAQ” section.

Are there any additional requirements for international applicants?
Yes. International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English. Transcrips must be submitted in English and must be accompanied by a NACES-affiliated credential evaluation service, preferably Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), Educational Perspectives (EP), International Education Research Foundation (IREF), or World Education Services (WES). You can learn more about these requirments by viewing Information for International Applicants at the Graduate School Website.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Applying to the MS Genetic Counseling Program

How do I apply?
All applications should be submitted online.  You can find detailed information about general admission requirements and submitting your application at the Graduate School website

What is the application deadline?
The application deadline for admission to our program is December 1st.  We only admit students in the Fall.  So, if you are applying for Fall 2014, your application is due December 1, 2013.

How do I send my GRE scores?
GRE scores are required for admission to our program.  Information about the GRE can be found at the GRE website. 
Note:  The UNC Greensboro Testing Code is 5913.

What needs to be included in the application?
You should view information on the Graduate School website to learn what must be included in your application.  In addition, the MS Genetic Counseling Program requires that you submit a Personal Statement and Resume.  See "Instructions for Applicants" for more details about these.

Are there any additional requirements for international applicants?
Yes. International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English. Transcrips must be submitted in English and must be accompanied by a NACES-affiliated credential evaluation service, preferably Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), Educational Perspectives (EP), International Education Research Foundation (IREF), or World Education Services (WES). You can learn more about these requirments by viewing Information for International Applicants at the Graduate School Website.

What types of recommendations should I include?
Three recommendations are required for admission to our program.  Instructions for submitting these can be found on the Graduate School website.  There is an online form that recommenders can complete.  They are also able to upload a letter of recommendation
At least one of the three recommendations should be from an instructor who is able to comment on your academic abilities.  We welcome recommendations from people who have supervised your research/laboratory, volunteer, shadowing or internship experiences. 

What do I need to include in my Resume?
Guidelines for preparing your Resume can be found in the “Instructions for Applicants”.

Are there guidelines for writing my Personal Statement?
Yes.  Guidelines for preparing your Personal Statement can be found in the “Instructions for Applicants”. 

What happens after I submit my application?
When your application is submitted, an Admissions Specialist in the Graduate School review your file to make sure that all information required by the Graduate School has been submitted.  When your application is complete the MS Genetic Counseling Program will be notified.  It may take a few weeks from the time you submit your application online for the program to be notified that your application is complete.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Admission Interviews

When will I know if I am invited to interview?
The Admissions Committee typically meets in early to mid-January to make these decisions.  You will be notified by email following this meeting. 

When do the interviews take place?
We typically schedule our interviews on Fridays and Saturdays in late February and early March.  Details about the available dates are sent with your invitation to interview.  If you are invited to interview you should respond as soon as you can to ensure that you will be able to be interviewed on your preferred date.

What happens when I come to interview at UNCG?
Interviews are conducted on four dates (Fridays and Saturdays) in late February or early March.  On each of the four dates there is a morning and afternoon session that includes a presentation by the Program Director, individual interviews with all members of the Admissions Committee and an opportunity to meet informally with other applicants and current students during lunch.

Does UNCG provide any help with the costs for traveling to Greensboro to interview?
We are not able to provide any reimbursement for your travel costs.  However, typically several of our current students are willing to provide you with housing during your stay.  When you confirm your interview you should let us know if you would like to stay with a current student.  Requests are honored in the order in which they are received.

The students also organize informal social gatherings for applicants in the evenings.  This may be a pot-luck supper (students provide the meal), pizza party or other such gathering.  You will receive information about this once you confirm your interview. 

When will I know if I am offered admission to the program?
All accredited programs offer admission on the same date which is established by the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD).  Applicants are made aware of this date and provided with AGCPD Guidelines for Admissions during their interview.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Prerequisite Course Requirements

Are there courses that applicants are required to take in order to be eligible for admission?
Yes.  There are four required pre-requisite courses that an applicant must complete in order to qualify for admission to our program.  These are described below.

  • Genetics.   This must be an upper level course in general genetics.  At most institutions, a student must first complete one or more semesters of general biology before they are able to enroll in an upper level genetics course.  Please note that courses in Human Genetics, survey courses (i.e. Molecular Biology and Genetics) do not meet this requirement. 
  • Biochemistry.  This must be an upper level course in Biochemistry.  At most institutions a student must first complete one or more semesters of organic chemistry.  Survey courses (i.e. Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry) do not meet this requirement.
  • Embryology.  An undergraduate course in embryology (or developmental biology) is required. This is a new requirement for students admitted Fall 2015 or later.
  • Statistics.  A general statistics course is required.

I took AP Statistics in high school.  Will this satisfy the requirement for an undergraduate course in Statistics?
If your undergraduate institution accepted the credits earned for an AP Statistics course you took in high school, and this is listed on your official undergraduate transcript we will evaluate this as meeting our requirement. 

Biochemistry is only offered in the Spring at my university.  If I take this course in my final semester, do I still qualify for admission to your program?
Yes.  We allow for one of the 4 prerequisite courses to be “in progress” during the semester in which your application is being reviewed.  For example, if you apply for Fall 2014 admission, it is fine if you are enrolled in 1 of the 4 prerequisite courses during your Spring 2014 semester.

What if I am not able to complete one of the required prerequisite courses until the summer before I enter the program?  Will I still be eligible for admission?
No.  All prerequisite course requirements must be completed by the end of the Spring semester.

Will courses taken at other institutions (i.e. community colleges) or online course meet the prerequisite course requirements?
Yes, as long as the course is taken at an accredited institution and otherwise meets the requirements.

Aside from the 4 required courses, are their other courses that you recommend an applicant complete?
The Admissions Committee reviews your entire transcript.  The most competitive applicants are those who have done well in a challenging curriculum, that includes relevant coursework in Biology (i.e. Anatomy and Physiology), Genetics, Chemistry, Counseling/Psychology, Health Sciences and Ethics. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Recommended Experiences

What types of additional experiences are recommended for applicants to your program?
We recommend that applicants gain exposure to the field of genetic counseling by completing internships and/or shadowing experiences.  A good way to find these opportunities is to use the “Find a Counselor” feature on the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) website to identify genetic counselors in your area.  You can then contact these genetic counselors to see if they offer opportunities for shadowing or internship experiences.

We also recommend that applicants gain experience in crisis counseling and advocacy.  These experiences help you to determine if a profession like genetic counseling is a good fit for you.

Both types of experiences should be noted on the resume that you submit with your application.  Include information about the frequency and duration of each type of experience.

There are limited opportunities for shadowing or internship experiences in my area.  What should I do?
We understand that it is sometimes not possible to arrange for internship and/or shadowing experiences.  There are a few things you can do if you are in this situation to gain some exposure to the field of genetic counseling:

You should document these experiences on the resume that you submit with your application.

How do I find opportunities to obtain crisis counseling experience?  What types of experiences are best?
Many applicants gain this type of experience by volunteering at a crisis hotline.  The best experiences are those that include training.  You can find these opportunities by checking local listings.  Any type of experience that involves supportive counseling or crisis intervention (phone or in person) will meet this requirement. 

What other types of experiences should I try to obtain?
Many applicants also gain experience in advocacy by volunteering at a social service agency (i.e. homeless shelter, domestic abuse program), Planned Parenthood or similar agency, or support group.  These experiences help you gain perspective about people facing challenging situations and experience in providing help and support to these individuals.

Applicants also gain experience working with individuals with disabilities and their families by volunteering in programs that offer services and/or support to these individuals. 

You should document these types of experiences on the resume that you submit with your application, including the frequency and duration of the experiences. 

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Other Frequently Asked Questions

What does it cost to attend the UNCG MS Genetic Counseling Program?
You can find the most up to date information about the tuition and fees by following the links in the “Estimated Costs” section on the Graduate School website.

Some additional costs to keep in mind include:

  • Transportation to clinical sites – automobile is necessary as public transportation is not available to most clinical sites
  • Liability Insurance – estimated cost is $20 per semester (First year: Spring Semester;  Second year: Summer, Fall, and Spring) – total $80
  • Name tags for clinical sites (about $15 year)
  • Estimated costs for drug screening and background checks (as required by some clinical rotation sites) (~$100-$150)

Is financial aid available?
The MS Genetic Counseling Program is able to provide out of state tuition waivers and Graduate Assistantships for some admitted students.  These are awarded on a competitive basis as part of the admissions process.
Additionally, the Graduate School awards some scholarships and fellowships to admitted students.  You can find more information about these by clicking on the link.  

There is no separate application for these awards – you will be considered for both MS Genetic Counseling Program Awards and Graduate School awards as part of the admissions process.

What about residency?
You will be classified as either a resident or nonresident for tuition purposes by the Graduate School Admissions office.
Some out of state students choose to petition a reclassification of residence status after completing the first year of the program.  You can find information about residency requirements by clicking on the link.

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  • "I chose to attend UNCG because of its shared learning environment and the access to some of the leading institutions in the country. "



  • "UNCG is a great fit for me. The program directors have extensive experience in the world of genetic counseling and provide you with opportunities to work with some of the best medical centers in the country. Our location allows us to have expert guest lecturers, many of whom you also get to work alongside or observe in your clinical rotations in your second year. We also have some really wonderful and unique opportunities as a part of this program: we observe in syndrome specific support groups and clinics, tour genetic laboratories, and are matched with a family with a genetic disease to learn what it is like to live with a genetic condition. Finally, our directors are genuinely invested in each of us, and care about our success and getting to know each of us personally."




  • "The director and assistant director do their best to ensure that our program provides a collaborative learning experience.  Both are active members of the Genetic Counseling community and strive to introduce you to all aspects of this field.  We also have renowned clinical sites and the beautiful state of North Carolina at our disposal.”