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Program Information

Program Description:

This is a full-time, two-year Master of Science program, fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). Our objective is to provide students with the academic expertise and clinical skills necessary to enter the profession of Genetic Counseling. We integrate selected course work with first-hand diagnostic medical genetics laboratory and clinical genetics experiences. Graduates will hold a Master of Science degree through the graduate program of Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics in the department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, with an emphasis of study in Genetic Counseling. Upon graduation, all graduates will be eligible to apply to the ABGC for active candidate status.

Program Vision and Mission Statements


Year One Required Courses:

Fall Semester
GCD 6110Medical Genetics/Biochem6 credits
GCD 8911Introduction to Genetic Counseling Skills and Practice
(A-F grade base only)
3 credits
Psy 5137Intro to Behavioral Genetics3 credits
GCD 8993Directed Study - Section 1 Molecular Lab Rotation
(A-F grade base only)


2 credits
Spring Semester
GCD 8073Advanced Human Genetics and Genomics3 credits
GCD 8912Genetic Counseling in Practice4 credits
PubH 6040 or BTHX5000Dying & Death in Contemporary Society or Genetics & Assisted Reproduction: Law and Ethics2 credits
GCD 8993Directed Study - Section 2 Cytogenetics Lab Rotation
(A-F grade base only)
2 credits
GCD 8994Genetic Counseling Research Seminar (S/N)2 credits

Year Two Required Courses:

Summer Semester
GCD 8001Clinical Internship 1 (A-F grade base only)

3 credits

Phar 5201Health Sciences Applied Terminology (if needed)2 credits
Fall Semester
GCD 8920Counseling Pre-Practicum2 credits
GCD 8913Psychosocial Issues in Genetic Counseling3 credits
GCD 8002Clinical Internship 2
(A-F grade base only)
5 credits
Spring Semester
GCD 8914Ethical & Legal Issues in Genetic Counseling3 credits
GCD 8003Clinical Internship 3
(A-F grade base only)
5 credits
GCD 8994Research Project Paper (S/N)2 credits

Policy on Credit Requirements for Master's Degrees (see Plan B)


Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development
Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics
Center for Bioethics
Pediatric Grand Rounds
CBS Seminar Series


Most of our students receive support through Teaching Assistantships for at least two of their four semesters. These assistantships offer partial tuition remission and pay a monthly stipend. In addition, any out-of-state student working as a Teaching Assistant is eligible for in-state tuition for one semester after working for at least one semester.

Students also apply for loans to help support their studies. The University of Minnesota has an office of financial aid available to answer any questions about loans for graduate study at

For the most up-to-date information about costs for attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota, please check the tuition and fees website at

Current tuition for 2016-17

All students are covered by malpractice insurance and have health care insurance as graduate students enrolled in the program.

Affiliated Program Faculty:

Susan Berry, MD, Dept. of Pediatrics, Genetic Counseling Program Medical Director
Kathleen Conklin, PhD, Molecular Genetics
Betsy Hirsch, PhD, Director, Medical Cytogenetics Laboratory
Deb DeBruin, PhD, Director, Center for Bioethics
Amy Calhoun, MD, Dept. of Pediatrics
Michelle Dolan, MD, Cytogenetics & Molecular Diagnostics
Amy Gaviglio, MS, Minnesota Department of Health, Newborn Screening Program
Mark McCann, Minnesota Department of Health, Newborn Screening Program
Nancy Mendelsohn, MD, Clinical Genetics, Minneapolis Children's Hospital
Sue Petzel, PhD, Dept. of OB/GYN, Clinical Psychology
Mary Ella Pierpont, MD, PhD, Clinical Genetics, UMP
Patricia McCarthy Veach, PhD., Dept. of Education Psychology
Brian Van Ness, PhD, Genetics, Cell Biology and Development
Chet Whitley, MD, PhD, Dept. of Pediatrics

Graduate Minor in Bioethics

The Graduate Minor in Bioethics is designed for University of Minnesota graduate students interested in deepening their knowledge of the ethical issues surrounding health care and biomedical science. Administered by the Center for Bioethics in cooperation with the Department of Philosophy, the Graduate Minor program is open to students admitted to any department within the University of Minnesota Graduate School, for either an MA/MS or PhD program. Students can explore their interests in bioethics while also earning a degree in their home discipline.

Enrollment in the Graduate Minor in Bioethics program is contingent upon approval by the Director of Graduate Studies in Bioethics. Prior to enrollment, students are expected to have some relevant experience in philosophy or biomedicine and some familiarity with the field of bioethics. Graduate students in philosophy are expected to have successfully completed at least one graduate course in ethical theory.

Complete program and course descriptions: Graduate Minor in Bioethics