Frequently Asked Questions

If I earn an MS degree in human genetics, what are my career options?

Our graduates enter diverse career trajectories, with many taking positions as researchers in laboratories associated with academic institutions, medical centers, or private research organizations. Others go on to pursue advanced degrees (PhDs, MDs, etc.).

The American Society of Human Genetics maintains a flowchart of the diverse and growing list of careers within the field of genetics, organized by level of education.

If I apply to the PhD program but am not accepted, can my application materials then be considered for enrollment in the MS program?

Yes. PhD applicants can be considered for the MS program.

I am a current MS student. Can I transfer to the PhD program?

Yes, current MS (and MPH) students can apply for promotion to the PhD program. After demonstrating a period of sustained good academic standing, MS students with the desire to pursue a PhD degree within the department shall submit directly to the office of student affairs a dossier containing (1) a cover letter/statement of purpose indicating the applicant's motivation for pursuing a doctorate in human genetics and justification for promotion to the doctoral program, and (2) at least two letters of recommendation from local mentors/professors who can comment on the applicant's recent academic and research performance. Internal applicants are strongly encouraged to have identified a willing research mentor prior to applying for promotion to the doctoral program.

My GPA is a little low. Can I still apply?

Yes. Application materials are reviewed as a whole, so allowances can be made for otherwise strong candidates who may be weak in certain areas such as GPA in previous studies. Successful applicants will describe how these weaknesses have been overcome, for example, in supplemental coursework, subsequent degree programs, or on-the-job experiences.

What GRE scores are required for admission?

Submission of GRE scores is optional. There are not specific minimum GRE scores required for admission. If you choose to submit GRE scores they will be reviewed holistically as part of the entire application. Including superb GRE scores may benefit your application, however, choosing not to submit GRE scores will not adversely affect your application.

What should I include in my personal statement to the admissions review committee?

The personal statement provides an opportunity for the applicant to shape the narrative of his or her application.  It should address the following questions:  (1) How have your experiences informed your decision to pursue a degree in human genetics?  (2) What qualifications and experiences have prepared you to succeed in your graduate work?  (3) Why you have chosen Pitt Public Health?  4) What do you seek to gain from your graduate studies and how does this align with future career goals?

Can I apply after the admissions deadline?

Possibly. Admissions decisions to the MS program are made twice per year, for Fall and Spring matriculation. New students are strongly encouraged to apply for Fall admission. We can often make accommodations for late applicants to the MS program, but not always. The safest option is to apply before the deadline. It is fine if third-party application materials, such as letters of recommendation, are submitted after the deadline as long as there is not a long delay.