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 150 students. The selection process involves submission of an application and an interview in Houston. Approximately 45 people are selected to interview from a pool of over 250 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/.
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.The UT Genetic Counseling Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), located at 7918 Jones Branch Drive. Ste 300, McLean, VA 22102. ACGC can be reached by phone at 703-506-7667 or via the internet at www.gceducation.org.
UTGCP Strategic Plan, Mission, and Vision 2021-2026
The UTGCP will be the leader in the education of genetic counseling students who support and advance genetics in healthcare.
The UTGCP excels in the training of versatile genetic counselors by facilitating competency-based learning, supporting personalized growth, and immersing students in the depth and breadth of genetic counseling practice.
UTGCP 2021-2026 Strategic Plan:
- Ensure graduates are prepared for the multitude of roles in the constantly evolving genetic counseling field by developing a framework for teaching counselor adaptability that incorporates emerging trends and allows for flexibility beyond the practice-based competencies.
- Graduate a student body that consistently includes underrepresented minorities specific to the genetic counseling field by increasing the diversity of the qualified applicant pool, minimizing admission bias, and expanding the community participating in the education of our students.
- Evaluate opportunities for acquiring new sources of revenue to support faculty and students and develop a plan for pursuing selected funding sources.
The UT Genetic Counseling Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling. Upon completion of the program, graduates are expected to be proficient in the Practice Based Competencies set forth by the ACGC. By graduating from an accredited genetic counseling program, alumni are eligible to sit for the board certification examination from the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
Graduates of the UT GCP pass the board exam on the first sitting over 90% of the time, well above the national average. In the preceding 3 years, the cumulative board pass rate was 94%.
Attrition and Job Placement
Graduates of the UTGCP are successful in obtaining positions in their desired practice areas and geographic locations. In the previous 3 years, 97% (29/30) of graduates have become practicing genetic counselors and all (29/29) were able to obtain positions prior to or within one month of graduation. No students have left the UTGCP in the most recent 3 cohorts (100% retention, 0% attrition).
Master of Science Degree in Genetic Counseling
What makes UT GCP special?
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.
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
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!
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.
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 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 $30,000 total over the two years. Tuition and fees are subject to change.
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.
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 50 accredited genetic counseling programs across the United States and Canada. Leading the program is Director and 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 250 applications, interviews roughly 45 candidates and accepts 10 students into the program.
To date, the GC program has graduated over 150 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 2020, about 5,000 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.