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Master of Science – Genetic Counseling Program

The Genetic Counseling Graduate Program at IU School of Medicine is a 21-month Master’s level program that’s accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The program offers comprehensive training and hands-on clinical experience to prepare students for a challenging and rewarding career in genetic counseling. The program’s faculty and staff are proud to have contributed to the training of accomplished genetic counselors for more than 25 years.

Students learn through a variety of courses on genetics, laboratory and psychosocial topics as well as through extensive clinical experience and individual clinical research. Graduates of this MS program are accomplished in all areas of genetic counseling, including cancer, prenatal, cardiovascular and pediatric genetics, public health genomics and industry, and they have a strong record of success on the ABGC board examination.

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The IU School of Medicine Genetic Counseling Graduate Program participates in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS). All applicants must register for the Match with NMS before applying to genetic counseling graduate programs.

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Curriculum

The Genetic Counseling Graduate Program curriculum begins with a fall semester of didactic courses and clinical observations that focus on the basics of human genetics and enable students to begin practical application of skills in clinical case research and preparation, medical documentation, and patient counseling in the clinical setting. Clinical rotations begin in the spring semester of the first year and continue throughout the summer semester and entire second academic year. Successful completion of the Genetic Counseling graduate program at IU School of Medicine leads to a Master of Science degree in medical and molecular genetics.

Accomplished Faculty Educators

Students in this program are supervised by supportive, experienced, licensed certified genetic counselors and board-certified medical geneticists. The curriculum offers deep clinical experience, which requires active participation in all aspects of the case preparation, counseling and follow-up as well as experience across numerous specialty areas, including pediatrics, cancer, prenatal diagnosis, metabolism, cardiovascular genetics, neurogenetics, and more.

Faculty Spotlight

14415-Delk, Paula

Paula R. Delk, MS

Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical & Molecular Genetics

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10873-Torres-Martinez, Wilfredo

Wilfredo Torres-Martinez, MD

Associate Professor of Clinical Medical & Molecular Genetics

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Clinical Facilities

Designed to be completed entirely in Indianapolis for students who choose to do so, this MS program is situated in the heart of the IU Health Medical Campus in Indianapolis. Academic facilities are a short walk from three major hospitals and many clinical rotation sites. Prenatal and cancer specialty clinics on the St. Vincent Hospital Campus and Community Health Network in northern Indianapolis as well as cancer specialty clinics at Franciscan St. Francis Health to the city’s south also serve as busy training sites for students in this program.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Estimated total tuition and fees for this two-year graduate program based on the 2019-2020 tuition rate is approximately $21,350 for in-state students and $49,200 for out-of-state students. Parking permits, if desired, are $350 per academic year. Students admitted through the 2020 Genetic Counseling Admissions Match will be awarded a scholarship of $5000 in both their first and second years of study. A limited number of student employment opportunities may be available, including the possibility of work-study positions. Additional job opportunities are available on the medical campus and surrounding community. Financial aid and scholarship information is available through the IUPUI Student Central website at https://studentcentral.iupui.edu/funding/index.html.

Student and Alumni Spotlight

The Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is pleased to have welcomed students from both the Hoosier state as well as from across the country to the “crossroads of America” to complete their genetic counseling graduate training. Students typically comprise a relatively even mix of individuals who join the program immediately after earning their undergraduate degrees and those who have either taken a gap year or who are pursuing genetic counseling as a second career. Most students have completed undergraduate degrees in biology, genetics, neuroscience, medical sciences, psychology or related subjects. Integrity, self-motivation, collaboration and determination are among a few of the characteristics that are valued in students. It is believed that these traits contribute to the program’s high graduation rate. Over the past three graduating classes, all students who matriculated have completed the program successfully. The program’s long-term attrition rate is also strong at 2.6% over the course of twenty-seven graduating classes. This dedication to genetic counseling extends beyond graduation, and most alumni enjoy much longevity in their professional genetic counseling careers.

The Genetic Counseling Graduate Program is proud to have a strong network of alumni across the country working in a wide variety of clinical and non-clinical genetic counseling roles in academic and private medical centers, clinical research facilities and industry. Many students begin their job search early in their second year of study, with the majority (88% of the past three graduating classes) accepting job offers prior to graduation, some as early as December of their second year. 100% of the graduates in these recent classes have accepted a genetic counseling position no later than one month after their graduation. Nearly all graduates have elected to begin their careers as clinical genetic counselors, although nearly 20% of alumni from the classes of 2013 to 2016 transitioned to non-clinical genetic counseling positions after gaining experience in a clinical role. Many alumni continue their involvement in genetic counseling education by supervising graduate students in diverse specialty areas. Most alumni take the American Board of Genetic Counseling board exam in their first year following graduation. Among program graduates, 96% of first time test takers from the classes of 2017-2019 passed the American Board of Genetic Counseling; board exam, and across all graduating classes, the alumni pass rate is >98%.

Career Opportunities

IU School of Medicine offers a one-day event (Genetic Counseling 101) annually in August for those interested in learning more about the genetic counseling profession and the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program. Attendees can explore the field of genetic counseling with Indianapolis-area genetic counselors and obtain information about the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program from program director Paula Delk, MS, LCGC.

The Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics offers several options for students age 18 or older who are interested in shadowing a genetic counselor. Learn more about these opportunities.

Accreditation

The Genetic Counseling graduate program at IU School of Medicine is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, Inc. (ACGC), 7918 Jones Branch Drive, Ste. 300, McLean, VA 22102 (703-506-7667). Information on careers in genetic counseling is available from the National Society of Genetic Counselors (312-321-6834).