The University of South Florida (USF) is proud to offer the first Genetic Counseling Graduate Program in the State of Florida. Our program includes a unique combination of training in medical genetics/genomics, public health, and communication and counseling skills. Students of this program will gain the technical knowledge and clinical experience needed to compete in the rapidly growing field of genetic counseling and the emerging field of precision medicine.
In October 2016, our program received accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The Genetic Counseling degree is a comprehensive, 21-month, full-time program that consists of didactic and skill-based courses, multiple clinical rotations and field experiences beginning in the first semester, independent learning opportunities, and a thesis research requirement. Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a Master’s of Science in Public Health with a concentration in Genetic Counseling (MSPH-GC) and will be eligible to sit for the national board certification exam that is administered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC).
Genetic Counseling is a growing profession with a wide array of employment opportunities. Genetic counselors work in a variety of clinical, laboratory, industry, and research settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of genetic counselors is expected to grow 29%, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. You can learn more about the genetic counseling profession by visiting the website of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC).
The mission of the USF Health Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling is to train genetic counselors to evaluate, understand, and meet the evolving needs of genomic health care service delivery. Our goal is to prepare program graduates to provide compassionate clinical care to individuals and families and to engage in educational, research, and policy efforts to ensure that genomic technologies and genetic counseling positively and equitably benefit individuals, families, institutions, communities, and diverse populations.
Leadership from the USF College of Public Health have teamed up with faculty across the University and beyond to create the Genetic Counseling Program. USF’s Division of Genetics & Metabolism, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Orlando Health, Integrated Genetics and other community partners will provide students with the hands-on counseling experience required for graduation.
Given the competitive nature of the Genetic Counseling MSPH program, we suggest that you review the recommendations for strengthening your application in the FAQ section below.The GRE is required for MSPH applications. However, applicants for MSPH programs, except for the Genetic Counseling concentration, are strongly recommended to apply for a GRE waiver.
Process and Deadline
Interested individuals who meet the minimum requirements must complete and pay fees that are associated with each of the following three tasks that are described in more detail below.
a) Submit an application through SOPHAS
b) Submit an application to USF’s Graduate Admissions
c) Register for the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match
a) SOPHAS application - http://sophas.org/
Application materials to be submitted to SOPHAS include:
b) USF Graduate Admissions - http://www.usf.edu/admissions/graduate/index.aspx
- All original transcripts from all colleges/universities attended (even if the credit was transferred to or is reflected on another transcript)
- Official GRE scores
- Resume or curriculum vitae
- Statement of purpose or objectives (approximately 2 pages double spaced)
- 3 Letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional sources
- TOEFL scores (if applicable)
- WES evaluation (www.wes.org) for applicants with degrees earned from outside of US.
Applicants must also complete a short graduate school application using the above link.
c) Genetic Counseling Match Registration - https://natmatch.com/gcadmissions/
All applicants must register and pay a fee online to participate in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match that will be administered by National Matching Services. Only applicants registered for the match can have their applications reviewed. Please visit the website above for more information about the matching process and to register with this service.
Please note that applicants to the MSPH who are interested in the Genetic Counseling Concentration must submit all application materials by December 15 to be competitive for admission in the following fall semester. This is based on the admission timeline as determined by the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you submit your application in November or Early December and check with SOPHAS often to ensure that the application has been verified.
According to a 2017 national report (http://www.bestmedicaldegrees.com/most-affordable-genetic-counseling-programs/), our program was listed as the 5th most affordable Master’s Degree in Genetic counseling.
Please visit https://www.usf.edu/business-finance/controller/student-services/tuition-rates.aspx to view current graduate tuition rates. The USF Genetic Counseling Program requires a total of 42 credit hours (21 per year).
Rotations are routinely held at several different locations throughout the Tampa Bay area and Orlando. Students will complete two 7-week Preparatory rotations in the spring semester of their first year, a 6-week full-time summer rotation (can be within or outside of Florida), and four 7-week core rotations during their second year (two rotations per semester). These rotations will be in the areas of cancer, pediatrics, and prenatal. While there are no specialty rotations at this time, many of the sites where students rotate have specialty clinics that are included in the overall rotation. Students are also required to complete two 1-week rotations with each a Laboratory GC and an Industry GC.
All USF Genetic Counseling students are required to complete a formal Master’s thesis. Although most genetic counselors do not go into research, the objective of conducting research is to help students develop skills in succinctly summarizing existing literature, problem-solving, data analysis, writing, evaluation, and critical thinking, which are useful skills in any setting they may practice.
Each student will work with guidance from their Committee Chair and Supervisory Committee members to create a defined research project for which the student is the principal investigator. During their first semester as part of PHC 6756 Population Assessment I, students will conduct a literature review. Then in the second semester students begin a 3-part clinical research course series, where they will refine or develop the research question and hypothesis, write the specific aims and research plan, and complete IRB forms (in some cases these may be amendments to existing studies). After this, the student will collect data, analyze data, and write a manuscript that is suitable to submit to a peer-reviewed journal. This step-by-step process over the course of their two years will help facilitate the publishing of student research.
Board Examination Practice Test
All USF Genetic Counseling students are required to complete a practice boards exam. To do this, students must have 1) No “I” incomplete or “M” missing grades, 2) Completed all or is currently enrolled in required concentration area courses, 3) Attained a 3.0+ GPA and be in good academic standing, and 4) Met with their advisor to determine eligibility. The exam will either be developed by the Program Leadership or COPH will purchase an ABGC practice examination for each student.
USF's Genetic Counseling Program hosts an open house each Fall semester. The Open House is an opportunity for anyone who is interested in learning more about the field of genetic counseling and our program. Prospective students will have the opportunity to hear from our program director and other leadership, current students, and many of our clinical supervisors. Registration is required. The date for the Fall 2021 Open House will be posted here by the start of the fall semester.
Previous Open Houses have been recorded and are available for viewing on web browsers:
2019 Open House, Wednesday, September 25 from 6:00-8:00 pm
2020 Virtual Open House, Wednesday, October 21 from 5:00-8:00 pm, Co-hosted with the Florida Association of Genetic Counselors
To learn more about USF graduate programs or general admissions information, please contact an academic advisor at (813) 974-6505 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions about the Genetic Counseling Program and requests to be added to the USF Genetic Counseling prospective student mailing list can be sent to email@example.com.
Follow our students on Instagram at usfgcprogram.
The Genetic Counseling MSPH Program at the University of South Florida is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, Inc. 7918 Jones Branch Drive, Ste. 300, McLean, VA 22102, Telephone: (703) 506-7667