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Admissions Process and Program Information

The Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program was launched in 2012 as the first program of its kind in the state of Georgia. The program is housed within the Department of Human Genetics of the School of Medicine, part of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

The program is 22.5 months duration which initiates with a 6 week summer introductory semester, followed by 5 contiguous semesters of training.  Students graduate with a Master of Medical Science degree (MMSc) in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling.

The curriculum blends cutting-edge didactic training in human/medical genetics and psychosocial counseling, along with extensive clinical training opportunities.   A novel aspect of the program is the focus internship, which provides an in-depth practice and research experience designed to embrace the ways in which the profession of genetic counseling is evolving.  Students are also required to complete a capstone project, which includes grant writing, data analysis/interpretation and manuscript preparation.

The Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program has been granted Provisional Accreditation Status through the Accreditation Council of Genetic Counseling.  Provisional Accreditation is awarded initially to all new training programs, and fully qualifies any graduate to sit for the American Board of Genetic Counseling certification examination.

Our Mission

To provide an innovative and rigorous program of training that prepares genetic counselors to serve the needs of the healthcare community today, while paving the way for incorporating the genomic medicine advances of tomorrow.

Program Administration/Faculty/Staff

Program Director: Cecelia A. Bellcross, PhD, MS, CGC 

Program Assistant Director: Christine Stanislaw, MS, CGC

Program Medical Director: Richard Olney, MD, MPH

Program Coordinator: Christi Bell

Primary Faculty/Course Coordinators

  • Nadia Ali, PhD
  • Lora Bean, PhD
  • Brad Coffee, PhD
  • Kathryn Garber, PhD
  • Karen Grinzaid, MS, CGC
  • Dawn Laney, MS, CGC
  • Patricia Page, MS, CGC
  • Katie Rudd, PhD

Admissions

A new class of approximately 10 students is admitted each year.  The Admissions Committee makes every attempt to select those candidates who show promise of becoming outstanding genetic counselors.  Decisions are made based on a thorough evaluation of the applicant's academic record, written narrative statement, letters of recommendation, performance on the Graduate Record Exam, previous exposure to the field of genetic counseling and experience with psychosocial care, and a personal formal interview. Applicants are assessed on the qualifications without regard to gender, sexual orientation, color, age, disability, race, religion, veteran status or national origin.  Enrollment is limited and competitive; all qualified applicants may not be admitted.

Requirements

To be eligible for admission, applicants must:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Submit official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended (minimum GPA for acceptance of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  • Demonstrate successful completion of course prerequisites:
    • 1 semester or quarter of biochemistry
    • 1 semester or quarter of psychology  ( preferably counseling psychology or developmental psychology )
    • 1 semester or quarter of genetics
    • 1 semester or quarter of statistics
    • Submit GRE scores ( general required, specialty optional)
      • The test must have been taken within the past five years and must be taken early enough so that official scores are received in the GC Training Program office by the application deadline. Testing information may be obtained from: Educational Testing Service, Graduate Record Examination, Rosendale Road, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6004, 609-921-9000, www.gre.org.  When making application to take the GRE, please specify Code No. R-5187, Emory University, Allied Health Programs.
  • Complete and submit all required application materials by December 15th of the year preceding entry.
  1. Application Form
  2. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  3. Photograph (head and shoulders)
  4. Narrative Statement
  5. Signed Acceptance Guidelines Form
  6. $50.00 Application Fee payable to Emory University (International students must send a money order or cashier's check in US currency)
  7. Letters of Recommendations (4)
  • Complete a personal interview with the Program Admissions Committee. The interview is by invitation only and is conducted on the Emory University campus to assess maturity, awareness of the professional role of the genetic counselor, and career goals consistent with the program's mission. Notification of applicant selection for the interview process will occur by January 31st of the entry year.

The Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program adheres to the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors Acceptances Guidelines. The common acceptance date for entry into the program typically occurs in the 3rd week of April of the same year.

Medical History and Physical Examination

A medical history, physical examination report, and updated immunization record, recorded on University forms, are required upon matriculation to the School of Medicine. Students are not fully registered until those records are on file with the Emory University Student Health Service. An updated medical history is required for reenrollment after a year or more lapse in attendance. For readmission after withdrawal for medical reasons, medical clearance by designated University health officials is required.

Criminal Background Check (CBC)

Prior to matriculation, all students must undergo a criminal background check.  Any adverse findings will be reviewed by the program director and, depending on severity of the infraction, may result in the withdrawal of an admission offer. 

Degree Requirements

To obtain the degree of MMSc in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling students will be required to complete in residence the full 6 semesters of academic study.  Students will be expected to devote a minimum of 40 hours per week to classroom, clinical, and focus experiences.  External employment will be strongly discouraged. 

Students must successfully complete all courses and clinical rotations in the sequence outlined. Exceptions will be considered for students who can demonstrate completion of a comparable graduate level course within the last 3 years.  Satisfactory performance includes completion of the minimum of 75 credit hours with an overall average of B or above (a grade of B or above must be earned in all courses); successful completion of clinical rotation requirements with a grade B or above; successful completion of focus internship - including capstone project as approved by mentor and two additional faculty/staff members; and recommendation for continuation each semester by the program administrators.

Evaluation of Student Performance

Student performance will be evaluated by the Program Directors each semester based on course grades, clinical rotation evaluations, and focus mentor reports.  Decisions regarding academic probation, dismissal, and reinstatement will require a vote of the Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program Advisory Board, which is made up of faculty, clinical supervisors, and external genetics professionals.

Due Process and Right of Appeal

In all cases involving disciplinary decisions either for academic or nonacademic reasons, due process is followed. Likewise, in all cases, whether the problem is academic or conduct related, the student has the right to request a hearing of an appeals committee and/or to appeal to the dean of the School of Medicine.

General University Regulations

An applicant's registration and class attendance are considered an agreement to comply with the rules and regulations of Emory University and the School of Medicine as published in the catalogs and other official publications, including any amendments and revisions made during the student's continued enrollment.