Master of Science in Genetic Counseling
Brandeis University's Master of Science (MS) in Genetic Counseling is a two-year course of study integrating coursework with clinical experience in an environment that encourages close student/faculty interaction. Ordinarily the program is completed in two academic years and the intervening summer. The program places a strong emphasis on human molecular genetics, while providing in-depth course work in counseling theory and technique as well as extensive clinical training.
Fieldwork and clinical internships are an integral part of the program. First-year students carry out a clinical genetics laboratory rotation during one semester and a community-based rotation during the other semester. Starting in the summer following the first year and continuing through the second year, students participate in three intensive clinical internships at prenatal, pediatric, general, or specialty genetics clinics. Satisfactory completion of the three clinical internships is required for graduation from the program (read more about fieldwork and clinical training).
Students who successfully complete the Program will be able to:
- Demonstrate a strong knowledge base in human and molecular genetics and genomics
- Identify the clinical features, natural history, inheritance, and available treatment for a variety of congenital anomalies and genetic conditions
- Gather, document and assess pregnancy, medical and family history information
- Evaluate, appropriately select, interpret and explain results of laboratory tests utilized across multiple clinical settings
- Apply short term counseling techniques to help patients understand complex information, facilitate decision-making and adjust to difficult news
- Support individuals and families from diverse backgrounds who are impacted by genetic conditions
- Address the social, legal and ethical issues surrounding genetic testing and counseling
- Design and implement a quantitative and/or qualitative research project
- Appreciate the role of a genetic counselor in patient-facing, laboratory, research, and industry settings
- Demonstrate proficiency of all required content areas within the Practice Based Competencies put forth by Accreditation Counsel of Genetic Counseling (ACGC)
- Successfully sit for the American Board of Genetic Counseling’s Certification exam
The program is accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and prepares graduates for the certification examination in genetic counseling and employment as genetic counselors.
We encourage you to explore one of the department’s greatest assets through our faculty pages.
For the most updated course listing, course descriptions, and degree requirements, please visit the Registrar.
In addition to a Bachelor's degree, applicants should have completed the following courses:
one year of general chemistry;
one year of biology;
one semester of genetics (course should include both Mendelian and molecular); and
one semester each of organic chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, and statistics.
Applicants lacking one or more of these courses are invited to consult the program's director on how to fulfill these requirements. Volunteer or work experience in an area related to counseling, developmental disabilities, or genetics is also recommended.
After initial review of applications, potential candidates will be invited to Brandeis for a personal interview. Brandeis notifies applicants the same day as other schools accredited by American Board of Genetic Counselors (ABGC), usually end of April/beginning of May.
Fall semester (starts in late August): January 1
To apply for the M.A. in Genetic Counseling, you need to submit:
An application fee;
Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended must be uploaded to your application; do not mail official transcripts to our office. For more information, visit Frequently Asked Questions
Three letters of recommendation, submitted electronically
A curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé
A statement of purpose/personal statement describing your interest in the field of Genetic Counseling
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. Our GRE institution code is 3092 (please note: this institution code only applies to GRE scores).
Applicants should be prepared to list prerequisite courses and their relevant grades in the online application
International applicants: Additional requirements for international applicants (non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents), minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores, and important information regarding visas. If you are submitting TOEFL scores, please note that our TOEFL institution code is 3261.
For a more comprehensive description of application requirements, please visit Frequently Asked Questions.
Generous scholarships and financial aid are available; for more information please visit Financial Aid.