MD Anderson Cancer Center - UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

The University of Texas Genetic Counseling Program at Houston

The University of Texas Genetic Counseling Program (UTGCP) offers a challenging and unique program in genetic counseling, which is administered through the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in association with the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics at the McGovern Medical School. The UTGCP was founded in 1989 and has graduated over 130 students. The selection process involves submission of an application and an interview in Houston. Approximately 40 people are selected to interview from a pool of over 200 applicants. Interviews are held in the spring and final notification of admission to the program is carried out in compliance with guidelines set forth by the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD). Applicants must register for the electronic genetic counseling match with National Matching Service prior to the interview process. See detailed information on https://natmatch.com/gcadmissions/ and https://www.agcpd.org/AdmissionsInfo.  Rankings from applicants and programs are due by April 16, 2019 and results are expected to be released on April 26, 2019.

The UT Genetic Counseling Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), located at 4400 College Blvd., Ste. 220, Overland Park, KS 66211.  ACGC can be reached by phone at 913-222-8668 or via the internet at www.gceducation.org.

Genetic counseling is an exciting career choice. Genetic counselors work with families to help them understand and cope with the complex medical options and decisions which they now face. In order to determine if genetic counseling is an appropriate career move for you, visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ website at www.nsgc.org or visit with a genetic counselor in your community. For more information on becoming a competitive applicant, please click here.

Master of Science Degree in Genetic Counseling

What makes UT GCP special?

Students

They come from all over the U.S. and have many different experiences. They have worked in labs and volunteered their time in varied experiences that contribute to their becoming successful genetic counselors.

Surroundings

The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in U.S. and provides unique training experiences. Training sites for the Genetic Counseling Program include McGovern Medical School,The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Shriners Hospital for Children, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, numerous outreach clinics located in industry, private clinics and public health settings. TMC hosts numerous scholarly events and is the workplace of many renowned genetics professionals

Staff

All of the healthcare personnel working with the Program do so because they love genetics and teaching. We all put our hearts into the Program, and it shows!

Supervision

Students begin seeing patients in January of their first year, working with the guidance of experienced supervisors. Rotation experiences are varied, student autonomy is fostered, and successful clinical experiences are achieved.

Support

From the Program Directors to your fellow students, we have developed an extensive network of support, guidance and camaraderie for each student. This goal is achieved through mentoring and advising programs, social functions, and one-on-one meetings with Program Directors.

Scholastic. Courses are challenging, and the thesis research is akin to research performed by seasoned genetic counselors. Our goal is to provide a world-class education preparing you for success in your profession and on the national board examinations, with over 90% passing on their first board examination.

Scholarships

Scholarships are available to several incoming students on a competitive basis and are awarded at the time of admission. Qualifying out-of-state students will receive in-state tuition that helps offset educational costs. In-state tuition and fees are approximately $10,070 over the two year program.  Out of state tuition and fees are approximately $29,650 total over the two years. Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Psychosocial

(Doesn't start with an s but sounds like it does.) Practicing genetic counselors and experienced professionals will lead you through didactic coursework, standardized patient exams, and practice-based seminars to hone your counseling skills. Our goal is to enable you to become competent, empathetic providers of short-term psychosocial counseling.


Genetic Counseling May 5, 2016 event photo

In honor of its 25th graduating class, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston Genetic Counseling Program held a symposium and celebration on May 6, 2016. Click to view a video celebrating our 25 years!

GSBS is home to the two-year specialized master’s program which was founded in 1989 in association with the Department of Pediatrics at  McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. There are approximately 43 accredited genetic counseling programs across the United States and Canada, but the program here is the only one in Texas. Leading the program is Director and Associate Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences at  McGovern Medical School, Claire Singletary, MS, CGC.

“At GSBS, our students benefit from the wisdom of over 25 years of training, while at the same time having program leadership who are nimble and responsive to change,” said Singletary.  “I am proud of the strong didactic background that we provide our students coupled with the chance to see such diverse patients in the country’s largest medical center.” 

The traditional role of the genetic counselor has changed over the years to meet the needs and demands of the medical community. While prenatal, cancer and medical genetics remain common areas of focus for genetic counselors, the opportunities outside of these realms continue to expand. Many genetic counselors now work in diagnostic laboratories, industry, private practice and other specialty areas such as cardiovascular genetics.

“The field of genetic counseling is dynamic; our knowledge of genetics changes constantly and the application of the unique genetic counseling skill set to new opportunities continues at a rapid pace,” said Singletary. “I am honored to be a part of such an amazing field with limitless opportunities.” 

Each year, the GC program receives approximately 200 applications, interviews roughly 40 candidates and accepts 10 students into the program.

To date, the GC program has graduated 138 graduates and Genetic counseling alumni experience success with the American Board of Genetic Counseling board examination, with over 94 percent passing on the first sitting. The program has also done an excellent job adding to the workforce in Texas, with 70 percent of graduates staying in state to practice over the last three years. 

As of 2014, about 4,000 certified genetic counselors work in the U.S., according to the National Society of Genetic Counselors; an increase of 75 percent since 2006, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the field will grow 29 percent by 2024.