The Stanford MS Program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling began in 2008 and is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). This exciting translational two-year program is located in a world renowned Genetics department and a top 10 medical school alongside two nationally ranked hospitals in one of the most beautiful and culturally diverse areas of the country. This all-in-one campus allows students to learn from a range of academic and clinical experts and thought leaders.

Our faculty utilize state-of-the-art testing laboratories, research facilities, and genomics resources to train students to work with patients and clients in a wide range of settings and from multicultural backgrounds. The curriculum provides a balance of cutting-edge genomics technology with strong psychosocial counseling techniques and research training. We emphasize critical thinking skills that will be increasingly needed as genetics and genomics is translated into new professional settings. All aspects of the training are tailored so that content is clinically applicable from the start. 

Vision: Our vision is to build a genetic counseling community that embraces, empowers, includes, respects, educates, and supports patients, colleagues, students, and partners from all walks of life.
Mission: We are committed to prioritizing innovative, personalized, and applied genetic counseling education and practice, through a combination of dynamic coursework, fieldwork, research, introspection, and supportive mentoring.
Program objectives:

  1. Provide students with the appropriate knowledge and experience to become discerning, empathic, independent, openminded, adaptable, strategic, and inclusive genetic counselors.
  2. Utilize a cutting-edge curriculum that
    1. includes a balance of psychosocial, medical, scientific, and research components
    2. evolves dynamically with the students, faculty, and with the profession
    3. allows students to develop personalized areas of interest and expertise.
  3.  Prepare students to
    1. counsel effectively with all populations and cultures in a variety of clinical settings, including multilingual practice whenever possible
    2. critically evaluate information and conduct clinical research
    3. develop proficiency in inter- and intra-disciplinary teamwork, personal evaluation, goal-setting, and professional ethics
    4. establish strong oral and written communication skills
    5. demonstrate each of the ACGC Practice-Based competencies
    6. achieve ABGC certification, obtain licensure (in states where it is available), and sustain continuing education and self-reflective practices
    7. promote the field of genetic counseling through clinical care, teaching, research, advocacy, and leadership

To receive a Master of Science degree in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling from Stanford University, students must successfully complete the following:  

  1. 84 units, including all of the required coursework as listed below (minimum grades of B- or better, Satisfactory, or Credit)
    1. There are several additional required courses, including Clinical Embryology, Biomedical Ethics, and Research Ethics. The remaining required units can be completed through elective courses.
    2. Students are required to take a research elective to support your completion of the program’s research project requirements– the number of units is not important (i.e. it could be a 1 unit course or multiple 2-3 units courses). There is “space” in the curriculum to take additional elective courses. We strongly encourage students to sign up for S/NC for any elective courses to ensure that they are able to focus on learning the material rather than earning a specific grade. In the spirit of supporting tailored education, we are also willing to consider any online courses or webinar series in place of or in addition to other electives. Students must submit a 1-page summary of why it would meet your needs, and if approved, you would register for GENE 299 Directed Readings for the appropriate number of units. Your conference funding could be used to cover the cost.
  2. Approximately six quarters of rotations and independent study projects in diverse settings
  3. All required aspects of the Graduate Student Research Project
  4. All required aspects of the Service and Outreach Requirement
  5. Formal presentations in Medical Genetics Grand Rounds and Human Genetics Journal Club.

Students are also STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to attend when possible:   

  • Attendance at the Genetics Department Retreat (held yearly, usually in September in Monterey)
  • Human Genetics Journal Club (first Monday of the month, 12:30-1:15pm). Attendance is strongly encouraged unless you have a conflict, as you will all present in your second year, and you will improve your critical thinking skills by attending. 
  • Current Issues in Genetics (Fridays 4-5pm, followed by happy hour), Genetics Library M315.  This is the Genetics department’s version of ‘grand rounds,’ typically with a more bench-science focus (similar to the talks at the retreat). Great for staying aware of future trends in genomics technology.  
  • Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics Seminars (Brown Bags, Classic Topics, Writing Seminars) (Wednesdays 11-12), SCBE Conf Room
  • Other relevant Stanford events (e.g. occasional guest speakers or film screenings sponsored by the GC program or affiliated groups; events held with our sister genetic counseling program at the University of Manila in the Philippines). 
  • Work-study position with a genetics service at Stanford (unless you choose to opt out). All students are expected to work an average of four hours per week, or a total of 40 hours per quarter. You will negotiate the format and timeframes directly with your supervisor. 
  • Local, regional, and/or national genetics meetings. Our hope is that you will choose to attend a combination of events that provide education in both genetic counseling and medical genetics. If frugal, students are often able to attend more than one national conference. We most strongly encourage attending the NSGC Annual Conference during your second year and attending the local conferences (the Northern California Coalition for Genetic Counseling Conference (usually Fall), the Northern California Genetics Exchange (Spring - at Stanford in 2020), and the Western Society for Pediatric Research Annual Meeting (Winter)). Other options include ASHG (Fall) or ACMG (Spring), and various other conferences (with justification submitted to and approved by the program directors in advance). Please refer to the SUGC Program Handbook for details on student conference travel budgets and information on requesting reimbursements.

2020 Prospective Applicant Webinar

Our co-directors hosted live webinar for prospective applicants on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. The recording can be found HERE.

Genetic Counseling Student Interest Group @ Stanford

In the News

We are pleased to announce that Nivi Ahlawat '21 is one of the Stanford Alumni Association’s Community Impact Award recipients this year. This award is presented to students who have fostered a sense of belonging and inspired enthusiasm among fellow grad students, enhanced the Stanford community through their exemplary leadership of a student organization, created of an event or program, or for other unique campus contributions.

Cheyla Clark '20 shared her inspiring journey to becoming a genetic counselor on the Science Lives podcast:

Congratulations to Daniela Diaz Caro for receiving one of the 2020 Student AEC Scholarships!

Congratulations to Shana White for receiving the 2020 AGCPD Outstanding Sueprvisor award!

Stanford University's Master’s in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), located at 4400 College Blvd., Ste. 220, Overland Park, KS 66211, web address  ACGC can be reached by phone at 913.222.8668.