Genetic Counseling, MSGC

The MSGC program provides a comprehensive educational environment for future genetic counselors that balances the importance of patient-focused care, scientific knowledge, research, and innovative technology. With an outstanding faculty and access to clinical opportunities at some of the nation's premier healthcare facilities, the program prepares students to be successful genetic counseling professionals in the rapidly evolving field of genetics.

Preparing to become a genetic counselor involves education in three areas: laboratory and clinical medicine, counseling, and research. Students in the University of Pennsylvania’s MSGC program will develop a comprehensive understanding of the complex clinical management of patients with genetic conditions as well as the options for diagnostic testing. Coursework in counseling helps students cultivate the knowledge and skills to address the needs of patients, families, community advocacy groups and other health professionals. The program has a strong emphasis on clinical, translational, and implementation research. Graduates will gain both the research and writing skills necessary to develop and publish literature relevant to the profession.

The University of Pennsylvania Master of Science in Genetic Counseling is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) through 2024. The program meets the requirements of the ACGC for curriculum content, clinical experience, and overall program design. Graduates of the program are qualified to sit for the certification examination offered by the American Board for Genetic Counseling (ABGC) and to apply for state licensure.


The program requires the completion of 14 required course units as well as clinical internships, genetic counseling rounds, professional development seminars, advocacy experiences, and an approved research master's thesis. Successful completion of each course requires a grade of B- or higher.

The curriculum covers advanced genetics, genetic testing technologies, clinical medicine and genetics, counseling techniques, case management, psychosocial assessment, principles of medical ethics and public health, patient advocacy, research design and professionalism. Many courses will have Penn and CHOP genetic counselors as course coordinators and lecturers. The core curriculum will provide the foundation necessary to prepare students for the ever-changing practice of clinical genetics.  

Year 1
Advanced Genetics and Genomics
Mechanisms of Disease
Introduction to Genetic Counseling
Foundations of Clinical Genetics and Genomic Technologies
Reproductive and Developmental Genetics
Cancer Genetics
Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice I
Introduction to Genetic Counseling Research
Year 2
Clinical Internship
Medical Genetics I
Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice II
Ethical Issues in Genetic Counseling
Clinical Internship
Spring Courses
Medical Genetics II
Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice III
Clinical Internship

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2020 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.