Graduate Division

Genetic Counseling MS

Section 1


The Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling at UC Irvine:

  • Is committed to provided education and professional training in counseling and medical genetics, leading to a Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling.
  • Is one of the pioneers in genetic counseling education, beginning in 1973 as one of the first six programs in the nation.
  • Graduates are eligible to apply for certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) and for licensure in states that have implemented licensure.
  • Program alumni are employed in academic and private medical centers, research, education, industry, and public health, and maintain a strong network of support.

What Sets Us Apart?

The graduate program is based within an active clinical unit, the Division of Genetic and Genomic Medicine in the School of Medicine at UC Irvine.  This has many advantages for graduate students:

  • Beginning in their first quarter in the program, students are actively engaged in clinical work together with their faculty supervisors, and quickly become valued team members.
  • Our experience is that students learn best by gaining early practical experience in the clinic, in addition to rigorous and challenging didactic coursework.  This combination gives the students an opportunity to apply the information that they are learning in class, as they work with their supervisors to help people understand and adapt to the implications of genetic variation for their health.
  • Students rotate in clinics which cover the spectrum of genetic counseling practice, including prenatal, cancer, pediatric, adult, and metabolic clinics, as well as specialty clinics devoted to providing care for patients with specific conditions such as cystic fibrosis or lysosomal storage diseases.
  • Orange County and the adjacent areas in Southern California are home to a vibrant and culturally diverse population.  This affords our students the opportunity to work with people from many varied backgrounds, which is essential for developing flexible and strong professional skills.
  • The network of genetic counselors in Southern California (including many UC Irvine alumnae/i) provides graduate students with valuable opportunities to interact with counselors who are working in many different settings, including in laboratory-based and other non-clinical settings.  
  • By the completion of the program, students are functioning as independent professionals, and are sought after by employers who are seeking counselors ready to step directly into the workforce.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Professional Master's Program

Normative Time to Degree

2 years

Capstone Type


Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

Recommended undergraduate preparation: Coursework in the biological and behavioral sciences, particularly in:

  • Genetics, biochemistry
  • Molecular biology and cell biology
  • Human anatomy or embryology
  • Biochemistry
  • Psychology and human development
  • Statistics or research design

Fluency in Spanish or a Southeast Asian language is an advantage in admissions decisions and patient-care opportunities.

Extracurricular or employment experiences: Work or other experiences that show evidence of the student's maturity, interpersonal skills and commitment to genetic counseling figure prominently in the admissions decision are advisable. Many successful applicants have had volunteer experiences that involve counseling, such as being a resident advisor or peer counselor in college, working on a crisis telephone hotline or helping disabled individuals. Others have come to the program after working as a teacher, researcher, nurse, Peace Corps volunteer or social worker. These sorts of experiences help develop valuable skills and perspectives that enhance one’s ability as a genetic counselor.

GPA: The University of California requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 for graduate admission. In special circumstances, the GPA in the major for the last two years or the GPA for a graduate degree may be considered in lieu of the overall undergraduate GPA.

GRE: General test scores must be submitted. Subject test scores in any area will be considered if they are available. Since there is no GRE code for the Department of Pediatrics, applicants should use the general UCI GRE code: 4859. Official GRE scores will be forwarded to the Division by Research and Graduate Studies. To avoid delay in application review, candidates should record their scores in the appropriate place on the application or send a photocopy directly to the division as soon as they receive them. There is no specific minimum score, but the average GRE scores for admitted applicants are typically in the 70th percentile or above.

Supporting documents needed:

  • Transcripts should be submitted from all post-secondary colleges or universities attended. This includes transcripts from institutions at which the candidate took only one or a few courses (e.g., post-baccalaureate coursework, extension or online courses). 
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation is required. References should come from professors, employers, supervisors or others who know the candidate well and who can provide evidence of the applicant’s academic ability, interpersonal skills, maturity and promise as a genetic counselor.  The letters may be submitted online.

More general information about genetic counseling can be obtained from the National Society of Genetic Counselors' website. Many applicants find it helpful to get in touch with genetic counselors who practice in their area to become more familiar with the career.

Genetic Counseling Admissions "MATCH" program: For applicants applying for admission to genetic counseling programs in 2018 and beyond, a GC Admissions Match program has been established to place applicants into programs based on a fair process that takes into account both the applicants' and programs' preferences. This is similar to the process of matching physicians to residency training programs. To register and learn more about the match program, visit the GC Admissions Match website.

Click HERE for the online application and further information on applying for graduate study at UC Irvine. Please include your match ID in the "Statement of Purpose" section of the application.

Financial Support

We encourage you to learn more about the array of financial support resources, such as fellowship competitions open to incoming and current UCI students, and funding workshops and writing tutors available through the Graduate Resource CenterMaster’s students are typically self-supported but may be eligible for these resources.

For information on funding opportunities for international graduate students, read more here.

Click here to access the associated nomination and application deadlines for various fellowship opportunities.

Click here for a summary of funding eligibility for UCI graduate students who meet AB540 and/or DACA criteria.

Tuition & Fees

MS Genetic Counseling Fees 2019-20 Fall 2019 Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition 3,829.00 3,829.00 3,829.00 11,487.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 139.69 139.69 139.68 419.06
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
Document Fee * 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,459.18 1,459.18 1,459.18 4,377.54
Total California Resident $ 9,737.87 $ 9,737.87 $ 9,737.86 $ 29,213.60
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 4,082.00 4,082.00 4,081.00 12,245.00
Total Nonresident $ 13,819.87 $ 13,819.87 $ 13,818.86 $ 41,458.60

Posted 17 July 2019:

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

* The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Maureen E. Bocian, M.D., M.S. University of Illinois Medical Center, Senate Emerita of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Elizabeth Chao, M.D. University of California, Irvine, Assistant Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Kenneth W. Dumars, M.D. University of Colorado Boulder, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Pamela L. Flodman, M.S. University of California, Irvine, Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Kathryn Steinhaus French, M.S. University of Colorado Denver, Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Natalie Gallant, M.D. University of Southern California, Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

John Jay Gargus, M.D. Ph.D. Yale University, Director of the Center for Autism Research and Translation and Professor of Physiology and Biophysics; Genetic Counseling; Pediatrics

June-Anne Gold, M.B.B.S., D.C.H., M.R.C.P. University of London, Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Taosheng Huang, Ph.D. City University of New York, Mount Sinai, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Virginia Kimonis, M.B.B.S., D.C.H., M.R.C.P. University of Southampton, Professor of Pediatrics; Environmental Health Sciences; Genetic Counseling

Rebecca Leshay, M.S. University of North Carolina, Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Angela Myers, M.C.H., M.D. Stanford University, Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Deepika Nathan, M.S. Northwestern University, Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Leslie Raffel, M.D. Medical College of Pennsylvania, Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Kathryn Singh, M.P.H., M.S. University of California, Irvine, Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Moyra Smith, M.D., Ph.D., M.F.A. University of Pretoria, Professor Emerita of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

M. Anne Spence, Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Professor Emerita of Pediatrics; Genetic Counseling

Michael V. Zaragoza, M.D., Ph.D. Case Western Reserve University, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics; Biological Chemistry; Genetic Counseling