Genetic Counseling

Genetic counselors are health care professionals who support individuals seeking information about inherited diseases. The workforce demand for genetic counselors continues to accelerate nationally, alongside the tremendous explosion of knowledge in the field of genetics and genetic testing.

Checkout KU's Genetic Counseling Program

Genetic Counseling at a Glance

Genetic counseling is a great career choice for students interested in science, who enjoy interacting with patients and want to help improve the lives of people in our community. They receive specialized graduate-level education in medical genetics and psychosocial counseling following their four years of undergraduate study.

Commonly employed by hospitals, clinics, labs, and many other health care and research settings, a genetic counselor will assess individual or family risk of an inherited condition, such as a genetic disorder or a birth defect. They educate patients and other providers about genetic conditions and testing options, and they advise patients on social and ethical issues related to a disorder or test result.

Pre-Admission CourseworkCheck Sheet (PDF), Accessible Check Sheet (DOC)

References: Three letters of recommendation.

Exposure to the field: Prior to admission, applicants are encouraged to gain exposure to genetic counseling to educate themselves about the field. The goal of this exposure is to help the applicant understand the role of a genetic counselor and ensure they can articulate what the profession entails.

Advocacy experience: One major part of a genetic counselor’s role is to help individuals and families understand and adapt to information about genetic disease. Importantly, this is not just about disseminating scientific information; true genetic counseling involves advocacy.

Advocacy means providing support to others through empathy, open communication, counseling, problem solving and identification/provision of appropriate resources. We encourage our applicants to have advocacy experience prior to admission. Examples of these experiences include the following:

  • Working with individuals who have disabilities.
  • Crisis counseling.
  • Grief and loss support organizations.
  • Patient care experience.
  • Reproductive healthcare.
  • Mentoring and peer counseling.
  • Working with individuals who have genetic conditions.
  • Support groups.
  • Social service work.

Community Service/Leadership Experience: Not required, but recommended

Research Experience: Not required, but recommended

Pre-Admission Standardized Tests: Not required

Application Window: Application opens September 1 to December 31

Resume Required: Yes

Essay: Yes

Centralized Application Service: National Matching Services Inc.

Early Decision Option: No

Interview Required: Yes

Rolling Admissions: No