Fall 2017 application deadline: December 6, 2016


To be eligible for admission to any graduate program at Stanford, applicants must meet one of the following conditions:

  • completion of a bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association; or
  • completion of an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree from a college or university of recognized standing. More information on Stanford's academic credential requirements for international applicants can be found here: Graduate Admissions: International Academic Credentials. Please direct all questions to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Course Prerequisites

  • 1 semester or quarter of biochemistry
  • 1 semester or quarter of psychology  (preferrably counseling psych or developmental psych)
  • 1 semester or quarter of genetics (includes molecular biology)
  • 1 semester or quarter of statistics

You are not required to take organic chemistry or physics to apply to this program.  AP courses do not satisfy any of the pre-requsites.

Please see our FAQs (Q28) for information on grades and GRE scores of our competitive applicants. Competitive applicants will also have a strong sense of what the profession of genetic counseling is all about, and ideally will have job shadowed or completed a genetic counseling internship before applying. In recognition of the difficulty arranging such experiences, we minimally suggest that applicants who are unable to job shadow or complete genetic counseling internships view the Master Genetic Counselor Series, meet or speak with local genetic counselors, and/or attend online or in-person genetic counseling seminars, courses, summer camps, or workshops. Other application strengths include having worked in a counseling setting where one receives training and supervision in providing counseling to peers or other individuals; example settings include a peer counseling setting, a crisis or suicide hotline, a domestic violence shelter or hotline, or a pregnancy counseling center such as Planned Parenthood. Experience teaching, conducting research, and/or working with individuals with disabilities are also helpful to applicants. 

All applicants will be required to submit an online application and application fee, official transcripts, GRE scores (general exam only, must be official scores from past 5 years), and 3 letters of reference  - as required by the university. Supporting documents include a CV and a personal statement which explains why the candidate is interested in genetic counseling as a profession, and why they will be a strong addition to the field.  Please note details about the application preparation below:

Application Preparation

  1. Read our FAQs on the program and the admissions process.
  2. Read the Office of Graduate Admissions FAQs.
  3. Additional information about applying to the university can be found at:

Online Application

  • The online application is scheduled to go live by mid-September and can be found on the Graduate Admissions website:
  • Online application and fee:  Submit your application via Stanford's application web site at Apply to "Human Genetics MS" Program
  •  Online application fee. The application fee is $125.00 for all applicants.  Applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. are eligible for a waiver of the $125 application fee if they can obtain a GRE fee waiver for the current academic year. 
  • GRE scores, and any additional TOEFL and/or TSE scores as required.  Please submit your GRE general (required) and subject (optional) examination scores, and if applicable TOEFL and TSE scores to Stanford University using the score recipient number 4704.  Individual department code numbers are not used. GRE scores must be from the last 5 years.

Minimum TOEFL scores are 600 (paper based) or 100 (internet based). Scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English. Exceptions are granted for applicants who have earned a U.S. bachelor's or master's degree by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the equivalent of either degree from a non-U.S. college or university of recognized standing where all instruction is provided in English. Being a U.S. citizen does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking the TOEFL.

  • Recommendations (3) – Your references must be submitted online.  You can enter your recommender’s contact information into the online application even before you “submit” your application. See the FAQ document for suggestions about your recommendation selections.
  • Official transcripts - Two official transcripts should be sent from every post-secondary institution you have attended for at least one year as a full-time student.  Transcripts from any other schools are optional unless they document fulfillment of course pre-requisites, in which case they are required to be sent.  Transcripts must bear the official seal of the institution and the signature of the Registrar. All records should clearly indicate the name under which you are applying to Stanford.  Request that your hard copy transcripts be sent directly to the following address (DO NOT mail application materials to the Office of Graduate Admissions):

MS Program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling
Stanford University
300 Pasteur Drive, H315
MC 5208
Stanford, CA 94305-5208

CV (Resume) - In order for us to most equitably compare our applicants, please attach as part of your online application a resume or CV that specifically includes the following.  Please note, not all are required, but all are considered in the selection of interview candidates. 

  1. Information about any genetic counseling observations or internships you have performed – including the length of time
  2. Any bench or clinical research experience
  3. Any publications or abstracts on which you are named as an author, including full citations. (Please do NOT attach such documents)
  4. Any volunteer or paid counseling experiences (e.g. peer counselor, crisis counselor, sexual assault or domestic violence counseling)
  5. Any volunteer or paid experiences with patients in a medical setting (e.g. patient advocate, health educator, clinical research recruiter)
  6. Exposure to persons with disability

A list of your specific courses which meet our pre-requisites   (Genetics/molecular biology, biochemistry, statistics, psychology), the institutions at which they were taken and your grades in each relevant course.  Include (separately) a plan for any missing courses that are required. 

Personal Statement (Statement of Purpose) - The Statement of Purpose should succinctly describe your reasons for applying to the genetic counseling program, your preparation for this field, research interests, future career plans, and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the review committee in evaluating your aptititude and motivation for genetic counseling. Please limit your personal statement to 500-750 words maximum. We prefer double spaced submissions.

Information on file upload requirements can be found at: Graduate Admissions - File upload requirements

Finally, Stanford will communicate with you primarily via email; it is therefore essential that you have a reliable email account that you check on a regular basis.  Application materials, once submitted as part of your application, become the property of Stanford University. Materials will not be returned, and copies will not be provided for applicants nor released to other institutions. Please keep a copy for your records.

Statement regarding diversity in graduate education

The University believes that a graduate student body that is both highly qualified and diverse is essential to the educational process.  Because of its strong belief in the value of diversity, Stanford especially encourages applicants whose culture, socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity, skills, and interests provide additional dimensions to the University's programs. Each of the University's seven schools has faculty and staff specifically charged with addressing the concerns and needs of the school's diverse populations.  The University works to provide an environment of support responsive to the needs of its diverse graduate students as they pursue advanced degrees. Programs including symposia, interdisciplinary research opportunities, career preparation, and social and cultural events are offered by individual campus units or offices working collaboratively. Even though the University is large and decentralized, students have access to relevant members of the campus community who are resourceful, helpful, and work together to provide a network of support.  Additional information may be obtained from the Graduate Student Services offices in the respective schools.

We encourage any applicants from diverse backgrounds, especially those from under-represented backgrounds, to call us and discuss the specifics of their application.

Application Process