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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. 

At the University of Minnesota, we receive more than 150 applications each year and from that group we select about 40 applicants for an interview. Applicants come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Most have a Biology major but this is not necessary. We have accepted students with other majors such as chemistry, music, public health, etc.

Students have the opportunity to spend their second year at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for all of their clinical rotations; there is a question in the application where applicants can express their interest in this option. Mayo website for the 2nd year clinical internship

Due to the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 during spring/summer 2020, our graduate program will accept S/N grades for prerequisites during that timeframe. However, we advise students to take the prerequisite courses as A-F whenever possible. You will have an opportunity to briefly outline your situation in the application such as if your university automatically converted classes to satisfactory/unsatisfactory or if you experienced extenuating circumstances. 

Successful applicants have
  • Strong academics with a GPA above a 3.0 - average GPA of 3.4
  • Strong GRE scores - usually above 70 percentile
  • Required coursework in biochemistry, general genetics, intro statistics and probability, and intro psychology. 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).
  • Some type of client advocacy experience such as volunteer work with troubled teens, working in a domestic violence shelter or a suicide prevention hotline, etc.
Additional areas of strength in an application include
  • Work experience of any kind
  • Research experience in any area
  • Applicant has a good understanding of genetic counseling through a shadowing experience in the clinic or by interviewing a practicing genetic counselor or has done research about the profession that is adequate to afford the applicant a real-life understanding of the profession. (link to shadowing application if you're in Minnesota)

Applying to the University of Minnesota Genetic Counseling 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 call or e-mail with any questions at (612) 626-3267 or Please follow these steps carefully!

Admissions Requirements
  • A four-year Bachelor's degree with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for admission. Applicants who have a Master's degree or PhD (received in the US) may not need to submit GRE scores. The program has the right to consider requiring or waiving the GREs with students who have other circumstances - please contact
  • Completion of prerequisite courses: biochemistry, general genetics, intro statistics and probability, and intro psychology.
Application Deadline
  • December 1 is the application deadline, and we admit for fall semester only.
Application Process - 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:
    ApplicationMajor: Select "Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology and Genetics-Genetic Counseling-MS."
    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: All other sections of Materials are optional, but will be taken into consideration if submitted.

    Access the online application.
    Application FeeClick here for more information about fees.
    TranscriptsUnofficial 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.
    Letters of RecommendationAcceptable 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. The online application the preferred method for recommendations, but letters can also be emailed to Three letters are required - if you are reapplying, only two are necessary. Recommendations do not need to be received by the December 1st deadline, but they should be received by December 15th.
    GRE ScoresScores should be sent to the University of Minnesota. Institutional code: 6874, departmental code: 0210. It takes about two weeks for scores to interface with the online application. Official scores do not need to be received by the December 1st deadline, but they should be received by December 15th.
    English Language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)Click here for more information about English language test scores.

    International students from countries where English is not the first language must include TOEFL scores.
    Resume or CVPlease 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. Please use the following questions to guide your statement:

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

    • Tell us something unique about yourself that helps us better understand why genetic counseling is a good fit for you.

    • Describe what you are looking for in a career.

    • Describe what you are looking for in a graduate program.

Mailing address

Heather Zierhut, PhD, MS, CGC
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

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.