Admissions - MS in Genetic Counseling

Application Checklist

All new genetic counseling MS and/or dual-degree genetic counseling MS/MPH applicants must apply through SOPHAS Express.

  • Complete necessary prerequisites
    • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum quality point average (QPA) of 3.0.
  • Completion of an undergraduate course in each of the following:
    • genetics
    • organic chemistry
    • general biochemistry
    • statistics
    • behavioral or social science

An applicant does not necessarily need to complete all prerequisites by the time they submit their application. However, if accepted to the program, a student must complete all prerequisites prior to enrollment with an official transcript sent to the Office of Student Affairs.

  • Register for NMS Match
    • The SOPHAS Express application includes a supplementary question that prompts you to enter your National Matching Services (NMS) number. Applicants are required to register with NMS before they apply to the Pitt program. Once you are registered, you will receive an identification number which you must include as the response to this question.
  • Apply online through SOPHAS Express.
  • Submit personal statement through SOPHAS Express
    • Discuss your interest in becoming a genetic counselor at the University of Pittsburgh Genetic Counseling Program. Drawing upon your lived and professional experiences, please elaborate on how these have shaped your journet to becoming a genetic counselor with an emphasis on how this will inform your practice as a future genetic counselor.
    • Applicants who have experienced a specific hardship can include a statement after the personal statement that describes the hardship. This is not required and will not count toward the page number recommendation for the personal statement.
  • Submit resume/CV through SOPHAS Express
  • Submit GC experience tracking form through SOPHAS Express.
    • Applicants are encouraged to gain exposure to the field of genetic counseling by volunteering at clinical genetic centers, speaking with practicing genetic counselors, and/or pursuing other opportunities to educate themselves about the field prior to admission. Many applicable experiences can shape your understanding of the field of genetic counseling. Such experiences may include podcasts, webinars, interviewing of genetic counselors, shadowing/observational experiences, conferences, selected journals and textbooks, relevant literature, etc.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation (evaluation) through SOPHAS Express.
  • Upload unofficial transcripts for all education in the United States and/or Canada directly to SOPHAS Express.
  • Submit a response to the school's DEI prompt in SOPHAS Express.
    • Pitt Public Health is committed to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion and enacting change for social justice. How can you contribute to this commitment?
  • Pay application fee ($50) directly to SOPHAS Express.
  • Submit a course-by-course WES evaluation for all education outside of the United States (not including study abroad but including non-English speaking Canadian institutions) directly ot the Pitt Public Health student affairs office. See our web information and WES for more information.
  • Submit official TOEFL scores (if applicable) to University of Pittsburgh code 2927. IELTSS or Duolingo scores may be substituted for the TOEFL. Additional information
    • A minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the IBT, a minimum IELTS score of Band 65 or a minimum Duolingo English Test score of 105, if applicable. TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo must be taken within two years of application.
  • All sections of the SOPHAS Express application must be filled out. Make sure to fill out dates and hours for work and volunteer experiences. The admissions team uses the information from SOPHAS' Experience section, along with other application materials, to score applicants.

Special note: Pitt Public Health holds its applicants and students to the high ethical standards expected of public health professionals. Any form of misrepresentation or plagiarism discovered in an application will result in immediate rejection of the applicant. The incident also will be reported to SOPHAS Express, the public health shared application service, and the genetic counseling program.

International Applicants

In addition to the application materials required of all students, most international students must submit an official score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or the Duolingo English Test and a WES evaluation

International Applicants

Holistic Admissions Process

The genetic counseling program uses a holistic admissions process, reviewing both traditional academic achievements and unique experiences. The program has an admissions committee made up of the program leadership team and local genetic counselors. Each application is reviewed by at least two different committee members using a scoring rubric to limit potential bias in the process. Interviews are offered based on overall application scores. All interviews will take place virtually.

All aspects of the application are used to assess an applicant's:

  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills
  • Commitment/long-term dedication to a job, club or activity
  • Research experience
  • Volunteer experience
  • Advocacy experience
  • Development of counseling skills
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts

An applicant's transcript is used to assess their GPA and success in pre-requisite coursework.

The GC experience tracking form is used to assess an applicant's exposure to the genetic counseling field.

The admissions committee assesses an applicant's understanding of the genetic counseling profession and their specific interest in the Pitt program through their personal statement.

The essay question in SOPHAS about commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice is evaluated by the admissions committee. Applicants should respond to this question in 1-2 paragraphs, and the admissions committee uses this essay to assess an applicant's commitment to these efforts. Additionally, this provides applicants a place to reflect on how these factors have shaped their journey. 

Admissions Timeline

Genetic Counseling Admissions Match

The Pitt genetic counseling program is participating in the genetic counseling admissions match through National Matching Services (NMS) beginning with admissions for fall 2018. The GC admissions match has been established to enhance the process of placing applicants into positions in masters-level genetic counseling programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The match uses a process that takes into account both applicants’ and programs’ preferences. All applicants must first register for the match with NMS before applying to participating genetic counseling graduate programs. At the conclusion of all program interviews, both applicants and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements to NMS according to deadlines posted on the NMS Web site. The binding results of the match will be released to both applicants and programs simultaneously in late April.

The following are the track codes for the University of Pittsburgh genetic counseling program that applicants should use when ranking programs:

13310 2-Academic Yr - MS program - Scholarship
13311 2-Academic Yr - MS program

Visit the NMS website to register for the match, review detailed information about the matching process, and to view a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.

For additional information, visit the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD) website.

Match Fee Waiver Application

AGCPD/GCEA has established a waiver for the $100 fee associated with the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match. Prospective students who demonstrate financial need AND have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater can apply for a Match fee waiver. Prospective students should apply for a fee waiver BEFORE registering for a Match Code Number.

Applications for the Match fee waiver are due by October 4, 2023. Applicants will be notified by October 30, 2023 as to whether they have received a waiver. There are a limited number of waivers, so not all applicants will receive a waiver. Instructions for how to register for the GC Admissions Match will be provided to those who receive a waiver.

Waivers are non-transferable to future Match cycles and cannot be transferred by the recipient to another prospective student. Prospective students who are granted fee waivers must register for the Match by January 1, 2024. Any waiver not used by January 1, 2024 will be rescinded and may be granted by AGCPD to a different prospective student.

Prospective students who are applying for a Match fee waiver will be required to write a short essay and to upload at least one of the following documents demonstrating financial need:

  1. A copy of a letter verifying unemployment benefits received within the past two years.
  2. A copy of a letter on official letterhead from a government agency verifying that you or your family have qualified for public assistance based on low income criteria anytime within the past 5 years
  3. A copy of your financial aid award letter from another / previous institution dated within 5 the past years
  4. A copy of your approved GRE fee waiver (for tests taken within 5 years of the application deadline)
  5. A copy of your federal Student Aid Report (SAR) that verifies you qualified for financial aid within the past 5 years based on a family contribution of: 
    • Not more than $1,500 if the student is a dependent student
    • Not more than $1,900 if the student is an independent student


Please direct any questions about the Match Fee Waiver process or requirements to


SOPHAS Application Fee Waiver 

Application fee waivers are available on a limited, first-come, first serve basis. Applicants that have applied and received an NMS Match Fee Waiver from AGCPD are eligible to apply for a waiver for the University of Pittsburgh’s application fee. If you are interested in applying for an application fee waiver, please submit proof of NMS Match Fee Waiver award (email or letter correspondence is sufficient) to by 11/6/23. Applicants will be notified by 11/17/23 as to whether they have received a waiver. Waivers are non-transferable to future application cycles and cannot be transferred by the recipient to another prospective student. Prospective students who are granted application fee waivers in November must complete their application by the stated due date of 12/1/23. Please direct any questions about the application fee waiver process or requirements to