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Graduate Studies in Genetic Counseling

Providing students with the academic expertise and clinical skills essential for success in the genetic counseling profession.

"Employment of genetic counselors is projected to grow 41 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Genetic counselors should have better than average job prospects overall." - Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15
  • At the University of Minnesota, we have one of 35 graduate programs accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling to educate genetic counseling practitioners in North America. The program at the University of Minnesota was established in 1989 and has admitted over 150 students since its inception. The program was awarded full re-accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling in 2014.
  • The program currently accepts 8 new students each year. Most of our students secure teaching assistantships in their first year that helps to fund a portion of their studies with partial tuition remission and a stipend.
  • We have over 80 genetic counselors practicing in a wide variety of settings in Minnesota and most participate in the clinical preparation of our students. Students in our program typically graduate having had experience with more than 150 clinical cases in a broad range of traditional and nontraditional settings.
  • In the past 8 years, 39 of our graduates have had an abstract accepted from their research work by the National Society of Genetic Counselors or the American Society of Human Genetics for either a platform or poster presentation at the annual education meeting. In addition, 14 of our students over the last 8 years have gone on to work with program faculty to publish their master’s degree work in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Our graduates perform well on the national certification board exams - 95.7% of graduates who were eligible and elected to sit the boards are certified.
  • Our graduates remain in the profession - 84% of graduates are working in the field in some capacity.
  • Currently there appears to be a good job market for genetic counselors and many of our students secure a position prior to graduation. Our graduates are employed in a wide variety of positions in clinical settings, research, public health and industry both nationally and internationally.
  • Many of our graduates have attained leadership roles in this rapidly expanding profession.


Genetic Counseling Program Information Sheet

We are very excited to announce the Richard King Genetic Counseling Fund, which will help genetic counseling students with their research and other scholarly activities. You can give online using this link:

Mary Ahrens, Richard King, and Bonnie LeRoy at the program graduation brunch in May 2015

Alumni News:

April 2015 - Whiwon Lee (2013) and Julianne Hartmann (2009) had their articles published in the April 2015 issue of The Journal of Genetic Counseling. Whiwon's article is entitled "Who is at Risk for Compassion Fatigue? An Investigation of Genetic Counselor Demographics, Anxiety, Compassion Satisfaction, and Burnout." Julianne's article is entitled "Genetic Counselor Perceptions of Genetic Counseling Session Goals: A Validation Study of the Reciprocal-Engagement Model."

March 2015 - Stephanie Goettl (2013) was featured on Phoenix local news discussing breast and ovarian cancer screening.

December 2014 - Matt Bower (2001) and Joline Dalton (2000) have both written chapters in a recent book called Genetic Counseling for Adult Neurogenic Disease: A Casebook for Clinicians. Matt and Joline are also clinical supervisors for our program.

December 2014 - Heather Zierhut (2006) and Rebecca Tryon (2013) recently had their review paper on Fanconi anemia published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Genetic Counseling. Heather is the associate program director and Rebecca is a clinical supervisor for our program.

Congratulations to NSGC Award Winners!
  • 2014 Outstanding Volunteer Award: Heather Zierhut (U of MN, 2006)
  • New Leader: Sara Pirzadeh (U of MN, 2005)
  • New Leader: Heather Zierhut (U of MN, 2006)
  • 2003-2007 ABGC Board of Directors: Troy Becker (U of MN, 1992)
  • 2008 NSGC President: Angela Trepanier (U of MN, 1994)
  • 2013 NSGC President: Rebecca Nagy (U of MN, 1996)
  • 2013 ABGC Board of Directors: Karen Powell (U of MN, 1994)