Genetic Counseling

Overview

Genetic counselors consult with individuals (and/or their families) with birth defects or genetic disorders or a family history of an inherited disorder. They serve as educators, resources, supportive counselors and investigators. They work in clinics, medical centers, and research facilities.

– Ted Johnson, Finding Your Way to a Career in the Health Professions

Prerequisites

Undergraduate requirements (varies by program):

 Biology (2 courses)  BIO 150, 233
 General Chemistry (2 courses)  CHEM 125, CHEM 126*
 Organic Chemistry (2 courses)  CHEM 247/253, CHEM 248/254
 Biochemistry  CHEM 379
 Psychology (2 courses)  PSYCH 125, PSYCH 241
 Calculus (1 course)  MATH 120
 English (1 course)  Variety of course options
 

*St. Olaf General Chemistry options:

  1. CHEM 125 (Fall), CHEM 126 (Spring)
  2. CHEM 121 (Fall), CHEM 123 (Interim), CHEM 126 (Spring)
  3. CH/BI 125 (Fall), CH/BI 126 (Interim), CH/BI 127 (Spring, also counts as a semester of general biology)
Be sure to check the admission requirements for the specific programs you will be applying to!
 

Experience:

Advocacy experience helps demonstrate a candidate’s comfort with taking on some of the responsibilities of a counseling or supportive role. This may be accomplished through a volunteer or paid position with a community-based agency such as a crisis intervention program, Planned Parenthood affiliate, domestic violence program, hospice program, etc.; through a position as a resident or student advisor; or through some related activity. The advocacy experience should provide sufficient opportunity to work in a responsible, one-on-one (in person or by telephone) relationship with a variety of individuals seeking information, resources, guidance, counseling or other support services made available through the sponsoring agency or organization. Advocacy experience typically includes some form of reporting or performance review in which the trainee receives training in interpersonal skills and ongoing supervision.

Entrance exam:

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Graduate programs are usually two years in length. 

Resources

Professional organizations:

Student organization:

List of graduate programs: