November 15, 2019
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Top 25 Campus Based Genetic Counseling Master’s Programs

May 2019

Genetic Counseling is best explained as a process individuals or families go through to determine and understand their risk of inherited medical conditions. Genetic counselors meet with patients, order genetic testing, and follow up with results. Some genetic counselors also work in research-gathering information and sharing their unique perspective with other members of their research team. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for genetic counselors is expected to grow by 29% through 2026, much faster than average for all occupations.

A master’s degree in genetic counseling is the standard degree in the field. Students should look for a program accredited by Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling to be eligible to sit for the genetic counseling board exam. Programs offer didactic coursework, clinical training, and a research opportunity. Almost all programs are offered as full-time, campus-based programs.

Finding the Top 25 Campus Based Genetic Counseling Master’s Programs

How did we determine the top genetic counseling master’s degree programs? We used College Navigator and the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling website to find schools that offer genetic counseling master’s degree programs. We decided to include only those programs holding ACGC accreditation since most students will want to sit for the genetic counseling board exam. From that list, we narrowed our focus to campus based programs.

From there, we personally examined each school’s program, using three points to determine its effective value:

  • Affordability of Education, as determined by the graduate tuition rate posted on College Navigator.
  • Student to Faculty Ratio, as determined by College Navigator.
  • Overall Graduation Rate, as determined by College Navigator. We recognize that these figures are for undergrad students, but we felt the graduation rate was an indicator of support students received to complete their program and achieve their academic goals.

Ranking is as follows:
Student to Faculty Ratio

  • 15:1 or less= 5 Points
  • 16:1 to 20:1= 3 Points
  • Greater than 20:1= 1 Point

Average Graduate Tuition

  • Less than $10,000 per year= 5 Points
  • $10,000 to $15,000 per year= 4 Points
  • $15,000 to $20,000 per year= 3 Points
  • $20,000 to $25,000 per year= 2 Points
  • Greater than $25,000 per year= 1 Point

Overall Graduation Rate

  • 75% to 90%= 3 Points
  • Greater than 90%= 5 Points

25. University of South Florida – Tampa, Florida

Master’s of Science in Public Health with a concentration in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,350/yr in-state and $19,048/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 22:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 71%
Score:6
The genetic counseling top master’s program at USF Health is the first program of its kind in the state. Students benefit from a unique combination of training in:

  • public health
  • counseling and communication
  • medical genetics/genomics

This 21-month, full-time program includes both didactic and skill-based coursework, clinical rotations, field experiences, and a thesis research requirement. Courses cover areas like:

  • embryology
  • quantitative genomics and genetics
  • patient centered communication and professionalism
  • health education and counseling

Due to the limited number of genetic counselors in the Tampa area, the program accepts approximately four new students each year.

24. Indiana State University – Terre Haute, Indiana

Master of Science in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,416/yr in-state and $14,562/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 21:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 39%
Score:6
The two-year top genetic counseling master’s degree program at Indiana State University is a highly competitive program. It’s designed to meet the growing demand for health care professionals with genetic knowledge. Students are engaged in a variety of classroom, laboratory, and hands-on clinical experiences. Clinical rotations give students the opportunity to work in specialty genetic clinics focused on areas such as:

  • cardiology
  • neurology
  • pediatric
  • prenatal
  • ophthalmology

Students spend the first year of the program taking on-campus courses and the second year online to accommodate travel for clinical rotations. Approximately eight new students are accepted each year.

23. Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond, Virginia

M.S. in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $12,217/yr in-state and $25,032/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 18:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 63%
Score:7
The Department of Human and Molecular Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University features a top master’s in genetic counseling It includes: didactic clinical and research activity. Students are engaged in clinical experience beginning in their first semester of study. Courses cover:

  • cancer genetic counseling
  • medical genetics
  • human embryology
  • responsible scientific conduct

Students participate in community and education programs that may include lectures and presentations in the community, including DNA Day on the Hill in Washington, DC.

22. Rutgers University – Newark, New Jersey

Genetic Counseling Master’s Program

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $17,232/yr in-state and $29,304/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 15:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 68%
Score:8
The 22-month top genetic counseling master’s program at Rutgers University is the only genetic counseling training program in New Jersey. This rigorous program prepares students for a variety of jobs in clinical and non-clinical settings. Students are engaged with Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. They gain knowledge and experience in different clinical and research specialty areas. Courses cover:

  • clinical cancer genetic counseling
  • counseling techniques for genetic counselors
  • epidemiology
  • reproductive genetic counseling.

Students are involved in lab and clinical rotations throughout the program.

21. Wayne State University – Detroit, Michigan

MS in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $15,780/yr in-state and $34,180/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 14:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 47%
Score:8
The top master’s in genetic counseling at the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at Wayne State University features:

  • state-of-the-art research laboratories
  • internationally recognized patient clinics
  • the latest in genetic research

The program is rich with clinical experiences and hands-on training. Students can complete their degree in just two years of full-time study. Courses cover:

  • human development and teratology
  • advanced human genetics
  • theory and practice of genetic counseling

Admission is competitive with approximately eight new students admitted each year.

20. University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, Alabama

Master of Science in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,100/yr in-state and $18,540/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 19:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 53%
Score:8
The Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences at The University of Alabama at Birmingham features a top master’s in genetic counseling. It takes 21 months to complete. This full-time program admits just six to 10 students each year, keeping class size small. First year students complete classes, clinical preparation, and begin their graduate project. Second year students complete clinical rotations, participate in seminar classes (in-person or online) and finish their graduate project. Courses cover areas like:

  • genetics in medicine
  • prenatal genetics
  • cancer and adult genetics

Students work closely with the UAB Department of Genetics, a world-renowned center for cutting edge genetic and genomic research.

19. University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah

Genetic Counseling Master’s Program

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,988/yr in-state and $24,665/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 16:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 67%
Score:8
The University of Utah features a two-year top master’s in genetic counseling that prepares students to pass the ABGC certification exam after graduation. The program incorporates coursework, clinical rotations, and community activities to give students a well-rounded experience. Courses are offered on-campus and in a hybrid format to foster active learning and engagement. The curriculum includes courses in:

  • cancer genetics
  • psychosocial genetic counseling
  • multicultural counseling
  • clinical embryology
  • ethical and legal issues in human genetics.

18. University of Colorado Denver – Denver, Colorado

Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,786/yr in-state and $22,590/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 17:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 45%
Score:8
The ACGC accredited top master’s in genetic counseling program offered by the University of Colorado Denver is a comprehensive program. It prepares students for success as a genetic counselor. The program includes didactic coursework and hands-on clinical experience in a variety of clinical settings. Clinical rotations take place at Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Regional Genetics Outreach Clinics in Colorado, and the University of Colorado Hospital in the Anschutz Centers for Advanced Medicine and University of Colorado Cancer Center. Admission to the program is competitive with only six new students accepted each year.

17. Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts

MS Genetic Counseling Program

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $52,816/yr
Faculty to Student Ratio: 10:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 87%
Score:9
Boston University School of Medicine offers the only genetic counseling top master’s program  in New England located in an academic medical center. Students benefit from a variety of educational experiences including:

  • clinical training, research
  • coursework
  • professional development opportunities

Coursework covers areas like:

  • counseling techniques and helping relationships
  • clinical applications in human genetics
  • professional issues in genetic counseling
  • cancer genetic counseling

While the first year of the program focused primarily on coursework, the second year is focused on clinical experience and research project development.

16. Brandeis University – Waltham, Massachusetts

Online Leadership in Nursing, MSN

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $50,184
Faculty to Student Ratio: 10:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 90%
Score:9
The genetic counseling top master’s program at Brandeis University is a full-time, 21-month program. It’s focused on clinical experience, didactic coursework, and close mentoring. Coursework emphasizes scientific knowledge and solid counseling skills. Courses cover:

  • human genetics
  • molecular biotechnology
  • human reproductive and developmental biology
  • counseling theory and technique

Students complete fieldwork before a 30-day summer genetic counseling internship experience. This internship may be completed in the Boston area or outside the area to gain exposure to a variety of different healthcare systems and patient populations.

15. University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Graduate Studies in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $17,064/yr in-state and $26,412/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 17:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 80%
Score:9
The graduate studies in genetic counseling program at the University of Minnesota was established in 1989. Students have the unique opportunity to complete all clinical training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Admission is highly competitive with only 10 new students accepted each year. This full-time program covers areas like:

  • behavioral genetics
  • medical genetics/biochem
  • ethical and legal issues in genetic counseling
  • psychosocial issues in genetic counseling

Most students receive Teaching Assistantships that pay a monthly stipend and cover at least part of their tuition for at least two semesters.

14. University of Maryland School of Medicine – Baltimore, Maryland

Master’s in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,550/yr in-state and $31,703/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 7:1
Overall Graduation Rate: N/A
Score:9
The University of Maryland School of Medicine features a master’s in genetic counseling training program. It addresses the growing need for individuals who understand the impact of genetics on individuals, families, and their communities. This full-time, two year program offers students a variety of clinical rotations and lab experiences throughout the Baltimore area. The program is intentionally kept small, with only six to eight students. Courses cover areas like:

  • clinical genetics
  • research
  • genetic counseling
  • cancer genetic counseling

Most students are offered jobs before they even graduate.

13. University of Arizona – Tucson, Arizona

Genetic Counseling Graduate Program

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,716/yr in-state and $32,065/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 15:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 64%
Score:9
The genetic counseling top graduate program at the Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine at the University of Arizona is a new program. It combines classroom-based coursework with hands-on experience. This 22-month program gives students the opportunity to train with clinicians, researchers, and industry experts in both Tucson and Phoenix. Courses cover:

  • embryology
  • teratology
  • birth defects
  • modern genetics
  • genetic counseling research

All students complete a summer internship and clinical practicum experiences that prepare them for their career. A maximum of five students are accepted to the program each year.

12. University of California Irvine – Irvine, California

Master’s in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,442/yr in-state and $26,544/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 18:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 85%
Score:10
The Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine features a top master’s in genetic counseling based in the Division of Genetic and Genomic Medicine. This two-year, full-time program began in 1973 and has over 150 graduates. Courses cover:

  • cytogenetics
  • teratology and embryology
  • screening
  • quantitative genetics

Clinical rotations are available in a variety of settings including prenatal, pediatric, cancer, and adult clinics. Students must complete a thesis which demonstrates their knowledge and professional skills in genetic counseling.

11. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin

Master of Genetic Counselor Studies Program

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,728/yr in-state and $24,054/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 18:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 87%
Score:10
The School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison features a top master’s in genetic counselor studies. It takes 21 months to complete. Unique course offerings include:

  • genetic counseling for inborn errors of metabolism
  • cancer risk assessment and counseling
  • clinical embryology and prenatal diagnosis, and human cytogenetics
  • molecular diagnostics.

Clinical rotations include a cancer center, perinatal care center, and children’s hospital. Students work closely with ABGC and ABMG certified genetic counselors during their rotations.

10. University of Nebraska Medical Center- Omaha, Nebraska

Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,721/yr in-state and $24,975/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 2:1
Overall Graduation Rate: N/A
Score: 10
The University of Nebraska Medical Center features a top genetic counseling master’s degree that takes just 21 months to complete. Courses cover areas such as:

  • embryology and teratology
  • prenatal genetics
  • human genetics and cytogenetics principles
  • clinical cancer genetics

Students have a six-week summer clinical rotation at the end of their first year. During their second year, students have four, eight-week rotations working in both direct and non-direct patient care. Clinical opportunities are available in prenatal, pediatric, and adult/cancer care genetic clinics.

9. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – Little Rock, Arkansas

Master of Science in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,687/yr in-state and $15,817/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 10:1
Overall Graduation Rate: : N/A
Score:10
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences features a top genetic counseling master’s degree. It’s a full-time day program that takes four semesters to complete. Students complete four fall/spring semesters and one intervening summer session. Unlike other genetic counseling programs, UAMS can accommodate students living in various locations by offering three tracks.

  • Track 1 students spend their semesters in Little Rock and their intervening summer outside of Arkansas.
  • Track 2 students spend their semesters in Fayetteville and their intervening summer outside of Arkansas.
  • Track 3 students spend their first year in Little Rock and their second year in Louisville Kentucky, while their intervening summer session is completed outside of Arkansas.

The program accepts eight new students to begin their studies in the fall.

8. Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois

Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $54,120/yr
Faculty to Student Ratio: 6:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 94%
Score:11
The top graduate program in genetic counseling at Northwestern University is a 18 month program fully accredited by the ACGC. Students complete six, 10-week quarters and graduate in mid-March, before most of their peers graduating from other universities. A variety of rotations and supplemental activities are available that support students’ professional goals. Unique course offerings cover:

  • dysmorphology
  • cancer and adult genetics
  • disability studies
  • risk assessment and communication.

The program accepts just 20 students each year.

7. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

Genetic Counseling Training Program

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $53,740/yr
Faculty to Student Ratio: 7:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 93%
Score:11
This top genetic counseling training program is at the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins University. It  addresses the growing need for genetic counselors. The program takes about two and a half years to complete and only full-time students are accepted. Coursework covers a variety of areas including:

  • genetic counseling
  • facilitating family adaption to loss and disability
  • developmental biology and human malformations
  • medical genetics health judgement and decision-making

Admission is very competitive with just four or five students admitted each year.

6. Stanford University – Stanford, California

Master’s Program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $50,703/yr
Faculty to Student Ratio: 12:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 94%
Score:11
The master’s program in human genetics and genetic counseling at Stanford University is a full-time, 21 month program. While students must be on-campus during the first year, distance training is possible for part of the second year of the program. Courses cover:

  • prenatal genetic counseling
  • human molecular genetics
  • research
  • clinical embryology

During the summer between the first and second year, students complete full-time clinical rotations and work on their research projects. Stanford accepts up to 11 new students each year for admission to the program.

5. Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee

Master of Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $47,208/yr
Faculty to Student Ratio: 7:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 92%
Score:11
Built on a foundation of excellence, the top genetic counseling master’s degree at Vanderbilt University offers students an intellectual challenge. Courses in this 21-month program cover:

  • human development
  • genomics in public health
  • research
  • laboratory sciences in medical genetics
  • applied genetic counseling theory

During January and February of the first year, students spend time completing rotations and gaining an on-site introduction in prenatal, pediatrics, cancer, specialty and laboratory clinics. All rotations are completed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Sites. Off-campus rotations are also available as electives.

4. Columbia University – New York, New York

MS in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $46,216/yr
Faculty to Student Ratio: 6:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 95%
Score:11
The future in genomic medicine and health care is the top master’s in genetic counseling program at Columbia University. This 21-month, full-time program features an innovative and challenging curriculum that prepares students to become genetic counselors. Fieldwork begins during the first year and continues throughout the program. Courses cover:

  • family history and risk assessment
  • reproductive genetics
  • clinical ethics
  • foundations of counseling skills.

3. Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia

Genetic Counseling Training Program

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $41,800/yr
Faculty to Student Ratio: 9:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 91%
Score:11
The genetic counseling training program at Emory University School of Medicine is an innovative and rigorous training program. It prepares students to serve the healthcare community. Emory offers the only genetic counseling program in Georgia. The highlight of the program is a five-semester focused internship that allows students to explore a related specialty area. Courses cover:

  • developmental bio/human malformation
  • current topics in genetic testing
  • biostatistics
  • biomedical ethics
  • research

The program accepts just 11-12 new students each year.

2. Indiana University – Bloomington, Indiana

Master of Science in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,225/yr in-state and $31,932/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 17:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 77%
Score:11
The genetic counseling top master’s degree program at Indiana University is a 21-month program accredited by the ACGC. Courses cover areas such as:

  • human cytogenetics
  • cardiovascular genetic counseling
  • cancer genetic counseling
  • communication techniques in genetic counseling

Students complete clinical rotations in a variety of areas including:

  • adult genetics
  • biochemical genetics
  • neurogenetics,
  • pediatric genetics

A professional development/research project completes the program, giving students valuable teaching experience that will be helpful in their career.

1. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Master’s in Genetic Counseling

Website
Average Graduate Tuition: $23,128/yr in-state and $46.678/year out-of-state
Faculty to Student Ratio: 11:1
Overall Graduation Rate: 92%
Score:12
Our top choice for a master’s in genetic counseling is offered by The University of Michigan. As one of the most established programs in the country, UM has a long history of educating genetic counselors. The rigorous curriculum provides students with a variety of clinical experiences in both cutting edge and traditional genetics and genomics settings. Courses cover areas such as:

  • cancer genetics
  • pediatric genetics and interdisciplinary care
  • reproductive genetics
  • research skills

Clinical training begins during the first semester and students can expect to log over 150 cases during their clinical training experience. This highly competitive program only accepts between eight and 10 students each year. This  allows faculty to focus on the individual needs of each student.