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Genetic Counseling

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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 new Genetic Counseling degree is a comprehensive, 21-month, full-time program that consists of didactic and skill-based course work, 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 ofGenetic Counseling (ABGC)

Multiple Professional Opportunities

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).

Our Mission

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. 

  • Our Team

    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.


    • Genetic Counseling Program Director – Deborah Cragun, PhD, MS, CGC
    • Genetic Counseling Medical Director – Kathleen Pope, MD, MS, FABMG, FABP

    Concentration Faculty

    • Deborah Cragun, PhD,  Assistant Professor and USF Genetic Counseling Program Director
    • Rays Jiang, PhD, Course Director, USF College of Public Health

    Additional Course Faculty, Clinical Supervisors, and Research Mentors

    • Laura V. Barton, MS, CGC – Course Instructor and Clinical Supervisor, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
    • Katie Sullivan Bellia, MS, CGC – Winnie Palmer Hospital
    • Stephanie Benedict, MS – Clinical Supervisor, Integrated Genetics
    • Ryan Bisson, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health
    • Christine Bruha, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
    • Jennifer Brzosowicz, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
    • Jennifer Claus, MS – Clinical Supervisor, Integrated Genetics
    • Carrie Crain, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, Winnie Palmer Hospital
    • Carolyn Garby Haskins, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
    • Christopher Griffith, MD  – Course Lecturer and Clinical Supervisor, USF Department of Pediatrics
    • Devon Haynes, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, Arnold Palmer Hospital
    • Russell Kirby, PhD, - Research mentor, USF College of Public Health
    • Marleah Dean Kruzel, PhD – Course Director and Research Mentor, USF Department of Communication
    • Jennifer Marshall, PhD - Research mentor, USF College of Public Health
    • Kristan Moxley, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, Winnie Palmer Hospital
    • Patricia Newkirk, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, USF Department of Pediatrics
    • Tuya Pal, MD – Research mentor, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
    • Melissa Racobaldo, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, USF Department of Pediatrics
    • Judith Ranells, MD – Course Lecturer and Clinical Supervisor, USF Department of Pediatrics
    • Kathleen Ray, MS, CGC – Clinical Supervisor, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
    • Amarillis Sanchez-Valle, MD  –Course Lecturer and Clinical Supervisor, USF Department of Pediatrics
    • Darrow Speyer, MGC, CGC – Course Lecturer, GeneDx
    • Susan Vadaparampil, PhD – Research mentor, Moffitt Cancer Center
    • Xia Wang, MD – Clinical Supervisor, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center

    Genetic Counseling Program Advisory Board

    The Executive Committee for Precision Medicine (ECPM) Workforce Development was created to oversee the Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling and to lead USF Health efforts in precision medicine workforce development and continuing education for healthcare professionals.
    • Dr. Deborah Cragun, Assistant Professor and USF Genetic Counseling Program Director
    • Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Distinguished USF Health Professor, USF College of Public Health
    • Dr. Judith Ranells, Chief, Division of Genetics and Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics
    • Dr. Jerome Yankowitz, Chair & Professor, College of Medicine OB/GYN
    • Dr. Stephanie Romero, Assistant Professor, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine (OB/GYN)
    • Dr. Tuya Pal, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center 
    • Dr. Kathleen Pope, Assistant Professor and Medical Director
    • Dr. Heather Zierhut, University of Minnesota Genetic Counseling Associate Program Director
    • Ms. Darrow Speyer, CGC, Vice President Florida Association of Genetic Counselors

  • Admissions and Degree Requirements

    We encourage applicants from any undergraduate major who meet the following criteria:

    Minimum requirements to apply for all MSPH concentrations:

    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
    • Minimum undergraduate GPA 3.0
    • GRE taken within the previous five years (may substitute MCAT scores)
    • TOEFL score of 79 or higher (only applies to applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the U.S.)

    Strongly preferred coursework, experiences and scores for the Genetic Counseling concentration:

    • 1 to 2 semesters of Biology
    • 1 semester of Genetics/genomics (or equivalent)
    • 1 semester of Psychology or Counseling (or equivalent)
    • GRE: 50th percentile or above in verbal and quantitative or equivalent (Applicants may substitute a combined MCAT score of 500)
    • 1 semester of Statistics or Probability (or equivalent)
    • Prior counseling or advocacy experience. Examples include: peer counseling, crisis hotlines, a pregnancy counseling center, or working with individuals who have genetic conditions or disabilities.
    • Applicants should have a good understanding of the Genetic Counseling profession. Many applicants have accomplished this by shadowing and/or visiting with genetic counselors and by attending one of USF’s annual genetic counseling open houses or similar events at other institutions. A clear understanding of the genetic counseling profession can be conveyed through volunteer/shadowing/internship experiences and through a well-written statement of purpose.

    Application 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 -
    Application materials to be submitted to SOPHAS include:
    • 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 ( for applicants with degrees earned from outside of US.
    b)     USF Graduate Admissions -
    Applicants must also complete a short graduate school application using the above link.

    c)     Genetic Counseling Match Registration -
    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, 2018 to be competitive. 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.

    Genetic Counseling Courses
    View the genetic counseling course listing here
    View frequently asked questions here




  • Program Cost

    According to a 2017 national report (, our program was listed as the 5th most affordable Master’s Degree in Genetic counseling. Please visit to learn more.
  • Open House

    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 meet our program director and other leadership, current students, and many of our clinical supervisors. This event will be held at:
    Interdisciplinary Research Building (IDRB)
    3720 Spectrum Blvd, Suite 302
    Tampa FL, 33612

    Registration is required to attend the Open House and to view the live stream of the event. 

    Register Here

    The 2019 Open House will be Wednesday, September 25 from 6:00-8:00 pm.

  • Contact Us

    To learn more about USF graduate programs or general admissions information, please contact an academic advisor at (813) 974-6505 or email at

    Questions about the Genetic Counseling Program can be sent to

The Genetic Counseling MSPH Program at the University of South Florida is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, Inc. 7918 Jones Brange Drive, Ste. 300, McLean, VA 22102, Telephone: (703) 506-7667