Training High-Caliber Professionals
The MS in Genetic Counseling Program embraces 21st century genetics/genomics, integrates social contexts, has strong support locally and regionally, and will train high-caliber professionals.
Our program integrates strong academic grounding, direct fieldwork experiences with diverse patient populations, and independent research to prepare graduates for the dynamic field of genetic counseling.
Each cohort consists of 10 students. From matriculation to award of the degree, the normative time to degree is 21 months starting from the fall quarter of the first year through the spring quarter of the second year, including the summer quarter between the two years. The program is not set up to accept students on a part-time and/or online basis.
Admissions and Outreach Events
Learn about the program and virtually connect with our community through our online information sessions, application workshops, question-and-answer sessions with current students, and various conferences and career fairs listed on the right. All times are Pacific Time. Advanced registration may be required for some events.
Campus tours are not offered by the program but can be scheduled with the Graduate Division.
Applications for UCLA graduate programs are submitted through the Graduate Division. Detailed steps on how to apply to UCLA graduate programs can also be found with the Graduate Division.
Applications are received only once a year for admission to the program for the subsequent fall quarter.
Applicants must meet both UC-wide admissions requirements and program-specific admissions requirements. International applicants must also meet additional requirements for admission.
Applicants are expected to hold a bachelor's degree. Common bachelor's degrees include biology, physiology, biochemistry, and life sciences. However, we consider students with any major as long as all admissions requirements are met.
Applicants must complete at least one semester or quarter of college-level coursework in each of the following five fields, with any required topics outlined below, and assessed with a passing letter grade:
- Biochemistry. The course(s) must include the following topics: (1) structure and function of macromolecules (proteins, lipids carbohydrates, and nucleic acids); (2) signal transduction and membrane transport; (3) pathways involved in energy production and metabolism of glycogen, fatty acids, and amino acids.
- Genetics. Including Mendelian genetics and molecular biology. The course(s) must include the following topics: (1) structure and function of DNA; (2) amplification and sequencing of DNA; (3) structure of the human genome; (4) molecular mechanisms surrounding replication, recombination, and expression of genes and the genome.
- Psychology or Sociology.
- Statistics or Biostatistics.
College-level coursework in the following fields are also strongly recommended:
- Developmental Biology.
A prerequisite course can be in progress at the time of application. However, most courses required for admission should be completed at the time of application. Be sure to clarify within your application the status of any outstanding prerequisite courses. All prerequisite courses must be completed in order to matriculate into the program. Prerequisite courses do not need to be completed in conjunction with a degree and can be fulfilled from a community college or online. However, AP coursework cannot be counted towards coursework requirements.
Grade Point Average
In certain circumstances, the upper-division undergraduate GPA or a graduate GPA may be considered in lieu of the overall undergraduate GPA. To demonstrate an ability to improve upon past scholastic performance, we strongly recommend taking graduate-level courses at a four-year university.
Applicants are expected to demonstrate relevant experience in healthcare, teaching, counseling, and/or patient advocacy, preferably in a genetics-oriented setting, plus demonstrate (potential) contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education and/or the genetic counseling profession.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Applicants are expected to demonstrate potential or actual contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education and/or the genetic counseling profession.
Your curriculum vitae should include your NMS number; information that documents your genetic or general counseling experience, exposure to patients in clinical settings, research experience, leadership experience, exposure to individuals with disabilities, publications or abstracts, plus a list of courses that meet our prerequisites, including the institutions at which they were taken and your grades.
Statement of Purpose
An essay that integrates a description of how your experiences align with the program's focus and goals. Questions you can consider addressing in this essay include:
- What is your purpose in applying for graduate study in genetic counseling? Describe your area(s) of interest, including any sub-field(s) or interdisciplinary interests.
- What experiences have prepared you for advanced study in the genetic counseling graduate program? What relevant skills have you gained from these experiences? Have your experiences led to specific or tangible outcomes that would support your potential to contribute to this field?
- What additional information about your past experiences may aid the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study at UCLA? For example, you may wish to describe research, employment, teaching, service, artistic or international experiences through which you have developed skills in leadership, communication, project management, teamwork, or other areas.
- Why is the UCLA genetic counseling graduate program the best place for you to pursue your academic and professional goals?
- What are your plans for your career after earning this degree?
An essay that gives you the opportunity to provide additional information that may aid the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study at UCLA. The personal statement will also be used to consider candidates for the Track B Fellowship and the Graduate Opportunity Fellowship Program (GOFP). You will be asked to respond to one or more of the following prompts. To be considered for the Track B Fellowship and/or the GOFP, be sure to describe your contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The University of California Diversity Statement can be used for reference.
- Are there educational, personal, cultural, economic, or social experiences not described in your statement of purpose that have shaped your academic and professional journey? If so, how? Have any of these experiences provided unique perspectives that you would contribute to your program, field, or profession?
- Describe challenges or barriers that you have faced in your pursuit of higher education. What motivated you to persist, and how did you overcome them? What is the evidence of your persistence, progress, or success?
- How have your life experiences and educational background informed your understanding of the barriers facing groups that are underrepresented in higher education?
- How have you been actively engaged (e.g., through participation, employment, service, or teaching) in programs or activities focused on increasing participation by groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education?
- How do you intend to engage in scholarly discourse, research, teaching, creative efforts, and/or community engagement during your graduate program that have the potential to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education?
- How do you see yourself contributing to diversity in the genetic counseling profession after you earn your advanced degree at UCLA?
Unofficial transcripts are permissible. Matched applicants should be prepared to request official, electronic transcripts from their institutions prior to matriculation into the program.
Letters of Recommendation
A minimum of three letters of recommendation are required, although up to four can be submitted. Letters of recommendation should come from individuals competent to evaluate qualifications for pursuit of graduate study and a genetic counseling career.
Optional Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
Applicants are not required to take the GRE. However, applicants may submit their GRE General Test scores from the verbal, quantitative, and analytic sections, which will be considered as part of the holistic review process. Applications with GRE scores will not be given greater weight than those without GRE scores. UCLA's GRE institution code is 4837. The Genetic Counseling major code is 0389.
The Genetic Counseling 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 register with National Matching Services (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 NMS to view additional details about the matching process and a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.
The Match registration fee is $100.00. Even if you subsequently decide not to participate in the Match, the fee is non-refundable and not transferable to future Matches or other applicants.
The Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors has established a waiver for the fee associated with the 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. 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:
- A copy of a letter verifying unemployment benefits received within the past two years.
- 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
- A copy of your financial aid award letter from another / previous institution dated within 5 the past years
- A copy of your approved GRE fee waiver (for tests taken within 5 years of the application deadline)
- 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 $1,500.00 for dependent students or not more than $1,900.00 for independent students.
Visit NMS to apply for a Match fee waiver.
Applicants being considered for admission will be invited to a virtual interview day.
Online Information Sessions
Tuesday, July 26, 2022: 12:00pm-1:00pm. Register here.
Wednesday, August 31, 2022: 12:00pm-1:00pm. Register here.
Online Application Workshops
Thursday, October 6, 2022: 12:00pm-1:00pm. Register here.
Wednesday, October 19, 2022: 12:00pm-1:00pm. Register here.
Tuesday, November 1, 2022: 12:00pm-1:00pm. Register here.
Online Q&A Sessions with Current Students
Wednesday, October 12, 2022: 5:00pm-6:00pm. Register here.
Thursday, October 27, 2022: 5:00pm-6:00pm. Register here.
Western States Regional Genetics Network (WSRGN) Virtual Genetic Counseling Career Fair
Tuesday, September 20, 2022: 9:00am-12:00pm. Register here.
Thursday, October 6, 2022: 11:00am-2:00pm. Register here.
September 7, 2022: National Matching Services (NMS) registration opens
September 7, 2022: NMS fee waiver application opens
September 14, 2022: UCLA graduate admissions application opens
October 5, 2022: NMS fee waiver application closes
Thursday, December 1, 2022: UCLA graduate admissions application closes
December 2022 through January 2023: Application review
February 2023: Interview invitations released
March 2023: Virtual interview days
Mid April 2023: NMS rank order list deadline for applicants and programs
Late April 2023: Match Day