University of Minnesota admissions philosophy

We encourage applicants from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to consider our program. We approach admissions in a strengths-based manner and are committed to holistic review of candidates’ applications. We value the varied paths applicants have followed to genetic counseling and seek to recruit cohorts of students who bring a variety of strengths to our program. A strong background in biological sciences is important, but this does not mean you have to be a biology major (we have alumni whose undergraduate majors have ranged from public health or psychology to music or theater). Our program strives for innovation, cultural engagement, self-awareness, leadership, and ongoing professional development, so we are looking for applicants with strengths in one or more of these areas.

We embrace the University of Minnesota's position that promoting and supporting diversity among the student body is central to the academic mission of the University. Our goal in the admissions process is for the overall diversity of the applicant pool to continue to be reflected at each stage of the admissions process. We define diversity broadly, including but not limited to race/ethnicity, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, religious/spiritual community, disability, first-generation college student, rural communities, and socioeconomic status. To this end, we:

  • Provide training for all admissions committee members on implicit biases in selection
  • Seek to implement best practices in candidate selection
  • Check in on our diversity goals regularly during the admissions process
  • Evaluate our process each year for ways to improve.

University of Minnesota admissions criteria

Required criteria

  • A four-year Bachelor's degree (or comparable degree from another country).
  • Completion of prerequisite courses:
    • Genetics
    • Psychology
    • Biochemistry
    • Statistics

Notes about required coursework. All prerequisites should be taken for a letter grade (see below for COVID-related exceptions). The statistics and psychology requirements can be met using AP exams if you received college credit. Any course in the psychology department covering psychological theories and principles will meet the requirement, though most applicants use an Introductory/General Psychology course. Classes may currently be in progress - for grades received in December after the application deadline, forward a copy of your transcript on to as soon as grades are available. One remaining prerequisite may be completed in the spring semester if needed (the same year you intend to begin school in the fall).

Recommended criteria

  • Strong academics with a GPA above a 3.0.
  • Experiences where you have developed skills transferable to genetic counseling practice. There are numerous skill-based components of genetic counseling and many ways to develop these skills. For example, you might develop counseling skills by volunteering with people in distress, patient-education skills by working as a teacher or tutor, confidential data management skills from time spent as a research assistant, collaboration/teamwork skills from organizing events, or advocacy skills from helping your family navigate the medical system. In your application, help us see how your experiences will inform your work as a genetic counselor.
  • Strong understanding of the field of genetic counseling, including the varied roles available to genetic counselors, the dynamics of providing both education and counseling in our work, and current issues/debates. This may be from shadowing experiences, informational interviews, webinars, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, or many other avenues. See our Prospective Student Resources section on our Resources page for some ideas to get started.

Note on the GRE. Based on careful examination of recent evidence regarding the predictive validity of the GRE for performance on the ABGC Certification Exam using both national and our own program data, as well as our pilot experience of not reviewing GRE scores, we will no longer collect GRE scores. Any GRE information submitted by applicants will be removed from applications prior to review by our admissions committee, so please do not include this information via sending official scores or including scores in your application materials.

University of Minnesota admissions process

Stage 1: Application review. At the University of Minnesota, we receive more than 250 applications each year. Applications are read by multiple members of the admissions committee, who score the submission on multiple dimensions as well as provide feedback on overall strengths of the applicant. We typically select approximately 45 to interview.

Stage 2: Interviews. Interview typically take place from late January to mid-March. We conduct all interviews virtually using video conference software. We moved to all virtual interviews due to our commitment to improving accessibility and reducing the financial burden for applicants. Applicants will interview with three members of the admissions committee, including at least one member of our program leadership team. Applicants interested in the Mayo Clinic Fieldwork Track will also have an interview with representatives from the Mayo Program. We will also provide opportunities to interact with current students and include virtual tours of our program spaces.

Stage 3: OPTIONAL Campus Visit. We understand that having the opportunity to see the campus and Twin Cities area may play an important role in the decision-making process for some applicants, so all candidates are welcome to visit in person if they wish. Choosing to visit the UMN campus will also not factor into our ranking of candidates. You are, of course, welcome to visit the Twin Cities or the University of Minnesota on your own, but we will not conduct office or program visits during the application process.

Stage 4: The Match. The University of Minnesota Genetic Counseling Program is participating in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS). The GC 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 at ( to register for the Match, review detailed information about the matching process, and to view a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.

The Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors has established a waiver for the $100 fee associated with the NMS 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 an NMS number. The Match Fee Waiver application will go live September 7, 2022 via the NMS website (link below).

Applications for the match fee waiver for this year's application cycle are due by October 5, 2022. Applicants will be notified on October 26, 2022 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 NMS match will be provided to those who receive a waiver.

Waivers are non-transferable to future match cycles or other prospective students. 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:

  1. A copy of a letter verifying unemployment benefits received within the past two years.
  2. 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
  3. A copy of your financial aid award letter from another / previous institution dated within 5 the past years
  4. A copy of your approved GRE fee waiver (for tests taken within 5 years of the application deadline)
  5. 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

To apply, visit:

Fieldwork tracks

Students have the opportunity to spend their second year at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN instead of the Twin Cities for all of their fieldwork rotations. To be considered for this rotation track, you must indicate your interest using the question in the application. More information about the Mayo track can be found on our Fieldwork Training page. If you advance to the interview stage, we will discuss how to indicate your preferences for the Twin Cities vs. Mayo tracks.

Applying to the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program

Below are important instructions to follow for applying to the genetic counseling program. These ensure that your application is directed to us in the program in time to be considered for admission.  Please e-mail with any questions: . 

Application Deadline

  • December 1 is the application deadline—we admit for fall semester only.
  • Applications open in mid-September

How to Apply

Submit all application materials electronically through the online application system. See the chart below for specific instructions.

Required Materials How to Submit


Major: Select "Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology and Genetics-Genetic Counseling-MS." Please note that you MUST have your Match ID before completing and submitting your application.

Proposed Term of Entry: Select Fall of the next year.

Required sections : Biographical Information, Personal Background, Genetic Counseling, Academic History, Test Scores, Employment, Materials (Personal Statement and Resume/CV only), and Recommendations.

Optional sections : The only additional document we will review is a short essay about extenuating circumstances. Please do not submit any other documents. There will be an option to submit a separate diversity statement, but we have a specific diversity-related prompt in the personal statement and that is how we will assess this portion of the application. 

Access the online application.

Application Fee

Click here for more information about fees.


Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the online application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts, there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review. If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material. Click here for important information about uploading your transcripts and credentials. Transcripts from institutions outside the US do NOT need to go through foreign transcript evaluation (e.g., WES).

Letters of Recommendation

Acceptable recommendations will come from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work. Other recommenders, such as employers, are also acceptable and encouraged. We require 3 letters. We will only review 3 letters so do not send more. If more than 3 are submitted we will only read the first 3 letters listed in the application.

English Language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)

International students from countries where English is not the first language must submit documentation of English language proficiency.

Click here for more information about English language test scores.

Resume or CV

Please attach your resume to the "Resume/CV" area of the Materials section.

Personal statement

Attach this statement to Personal Statement under Materials. The other Statements/Other Materials sections can be left blank (except for Resume). Please limit your statement to no more than 4 double-spaced pages.

In your personal statement, we want to see your ability to critically reflect on your experiences and apply what you’ve learned to your future as a genetic counselor. We ask you to answer the following questions in your statement:

·How did you become interested in pursuing a career in genetic counseling?

·What have your previous experiences taught you about your interest in genetic counseling? How have these experiences prepared you to be a genetic counselor?

·How have you engaged with the issues of ·justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion? How have your experiences prepared you to engage with these issues in training and as a genetic counselor?

·Why is the University of Minnesota a good fit for your training goals? Be specific about aspects of our program.


Mailing address

Graduate Program of Study in Genetic Counseling
Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development
University of Minnesota
321 Church Street
6-160 Jackson Hall
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Admissions questions?

We have an FAQ page with common questions. Please direct additional questions to or our Director of Admissions, Dr. Ian MacFarlane, at