Frequently Asked Questions

This page features the questions most frequently asked of our program staff. It is divided into sections covering Admission Requirements, Financial Considerations, Characteristics of Accepted Students, and Other Considerations.

Admission Requirements

  • What is required for admission to the Cincinnati Genetic Counseling Program?

To be accepted into the Genetic Counseling Program, students must have:

  • A Bachelor's degree in any subject documented by formal transcripts from all educational institutions attended.


  • Are any prerequisite courses required for admission?

We expect accepted students to have a foundation in the basic sciences. We suggest that undergraduates consider what science courses fit into their major and schedule that may also serve as a firm foundation for graduate study in genetic counseling. Consider taking some (not necessarily all) of the following courses--basic and advanced biology, genetics, human genetics, molecular genetics, human anatomy and physiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and statistics. When reviewing applications, we always look for some exposure to genetics.

  • Should I submit my high school transcript as part of my application?

No. Submit transcripts reflecting your education after high school, only.

  • I already have a masters (or doctoral) degree in another field.  Am I "over-qualified" to apply to your program?

No, an applicant with a higher degree from another field is not over-qualified. We have admitted and graduated many students who had already earned one or more previous advanced degrees. If you want to be a genetic counselor, you must train in an accredited master's degree program in genetic counseling. Previous academic training may make you even more qualified than the average applicant to succeed in our program. We are delighted to help such candidates define a unique future in the genetic counseling profession.

  • What is the minimum GRE score required to gain admission to your program?

We don't expect any set minimum GRE score. Of course, good scores, combined with great grades and relevant interests and experiences, may place a student in a better position than mediocre scores. If your GRE scores do not match your expectations or academic abilities, try taking them again and/or explain in your application what factors may be relevant to your less than expected performance on this exam. Scores between the 50th-99th percentiles are competitive.

  • I took the GRE exam about eight years ago. May I submit those old scores?

No, the University of Cincinnati Graduate School requires all applicants to submit GRE scores that are less than five years old. You will need to re-take the GRE exam.

  • What happens after I submit my application?

  1. You will be contacted in late February or March if you have been selected to interview in Cincinnati.
  2. If you have not been selected to interview, you will receive a letter in April stating this.
  3. Interviews are held on days in March and April that are set by our Admissions Committee. Interviewees indicate their preferred dates to meet with the Admissions Committee, students and others over approximately 1.5 days.
  4. Interviewees are contacted by email or telephone to learn if they have been accepted, rejected or placed on our waiting list.

Financial Considerations

  • What financial opportunities are available to help fund my education?

Every year, many applicants qualify for a University Graduate Scholarship (UGS), which provides a partial tuition waiver. An estimate of the scholarship dollar amount is shared with the applicants when they are accepted into the Genetic Counseling Program. International students may qualify for UGS awards.

There are opportunities for students to receive a Graduate Assistantship (GA), a stipend to help pay for living expenses. Graduate Assistantships are awarded to a limited number of students every year. Students funded with a GA stipend must work for 8 hours a week throughout the academic year, by assisting faculty with research projects, clerical tasks, and/or teaching.

A few students have received Teaching or Research Assistantships through grants or other departments at UC or Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Characteristics of Accepted Students

  • What is the average GPA of students accepted to the program?

The average undergraduate GPA of students accepted to the Genetic Counseling Program is 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. However, accepted students have presented a wide range of GPAs from a variety of institutions in their applications. Students with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 should demonstrate strong credentials in other areas of the application for the applicant to be competitive.

  • What is the average GRE score of applicants accepted to the program?

Accepted students have presented a wide range of GRE scores in their applications. In general, GRE scores ranging anywhere from the 50th to 99th percentiles are competitive.

  • What degrees do accepted applicants hold?

Most students have bachelor's degrees in biology, genetics, or psychology, but any undergraduate four year degree is acceptable.

  • What are typical extracurricular and volunteer activities?

Crisis hotline or counseling experience

Resident assistant

Teaching assistant

Planned Parenthood

Working with people who have genetic conditions

Shadowing a genetic counselor

Leadership and/or involvement in campus groups or community projects

Other Considerations

  • What would make me a good candidate for the Cincinnati Genetic Counseling Program?

The best candidates have grades and GRE scores reflecting that they are academically capable and focused students. They will also demonstrate the following: knowledge of genetics (through courses, lab work or other experiences), exposure to counseling and/or working with people in crisis or with disabilities, volunteer or work exposure to clinical genetics or genetic counseling services. It is important to be knowledgeable about the genetic counseling field so you can be sure it is the best career option for you. Motivation, preparation, intelligence, good interpersonal skills, and enthusiasm are also welcomed attributes!

  • Do Genetic Counseling Program students have mentors/supervisors during their clinical work?

Students will participate in clinic from the outset of the program. Students participate in 5 week clinical rotations where they are assigned to a mentoring/supervising genetic counselor. The student is expected to gradually assume additional clinical roles. By the end of the first year, students are counseling entire sessions by themselves. The supervising genetic counselors serve as mentors and teachers during this process. Supervisors observe each case and provide the student with feedback on his/her counseling skills. In the past, mentors have been able to share their genetic counseling expertise in prenatal, pediatric, cancer, research, and fetal intervention settings.

During the summer between the first and second years of study, students participate in a seven week full time internship in another genetics center. As long as a genetics center is staffed by genetic counselors and/or clinical geneticists certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling, American College of Medical Genetics or Canadian College of Medical Genetics, the student can go anywhere in the country (or the world) for the summer internship. This is a good opportunity for students to work in potential future job settings, work close to home, or live/work somewhere exciting!

  • Can you tell me more about your program's emphasis on diversity?

The Cincinnati Genetic Counseling Program is a leader in proactively addressing the need for genetic counselors to work effectively with a growing ethno-culturally diverse patient population. We place emphasis not only on recruiting culturally diverse students into the program, but also on launching and supporting all of our students on their journey to become culturally competent practitioners. Each student is unique in terms of his/her age, personal experiences, family background, religion, worldviews, etc, and we encourage applicants to reflect on their own experiences via their essay and/or references. Supported by institutional grants and other funds, our program is nationally recognized for recruiting underrepresented minority students and improving the cultural competence of faculty, supervisors and students. Since becoming a culturally competent practitioner involves an ongoing journey of self-awareness and learning/demonstrating skills and knowledge, there is no defined endpoint. Our program's goal is to facilitate the student's personal and professional growth process.