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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. 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 principals 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 starting with 2021 applicants. 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. However, the program will not be hosting any formal events or open houses for the Fall 2022 admissions cycle and are unable to coordinate specific meetings with candidates should they choose to visit in person. 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.

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.

Impact of COVID-19 on Admissions

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 if your university automatically converted classes to satisfactory/unsatisfactory or if you experienced extenuating circumstances.

We also recognize that many non-essential activities were cancelled due to COVID, so opportunities to engage in volunteer, employment, or professional development experiences have been increasingly difficult to come by. Shadowing of genetic counselors has been virtually non-existent as well. The admissions committee is keeping this in mind as we review applications.

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 e-mail with any questions: . 

Application Deadline

  • December 1 is the application deadline, and we admit for fall semester only.

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:
Application Major: Select "Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology and Genetics-Genetic Counseling-MS." Applicants who are applying to the combined PhD/MS program will need to fill out the MS application as well as the "Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology and Genetics-PhD" application. The application content should be the same (recommendation letters will need to be uploaded twice by letter writers - once for each application). PhD/MS applicants will also need to fill in "9999" for the Match ID found in the Genetic Counseling section of the MS application, since the PhD track does not participate in the Match.
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 Fee Click here for more information about fees.
Transcripts 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.
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. The online application the preferred method for recommendations, but letters can also be emailed to Three letters are required. Recommendations 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 or IELTS scores, unless you have completed a degree from an English-speaking institution.
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?

·What does justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion mean to you? 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