How to Apply

In light of the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford reaffirms its commitment to perform individualized, holistic review of each applicant to its graduate and professional programs. We recognize that students may have faced significant challenges during the period of disruption caused by the pandemic, and we will take such individual circumstances into account during application review. Importantly, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Credit/No Credit and other grading options during this unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruption, whether they are made by institutions or by individual students. Our goal remains to form graduate student cohorts that are excellent and encompass a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences that enrich the graduate educational experience.

Application Preparation

  1. Review our Resources for Applicants, our Admissions Timeline, and our FAQs on the program and the admissions process.
  2. Review the Office of Graduate Admissions FAQs.
  3. Read Stanford's Policy Statements and Stanford's Right of Verification.

Online Application

The online application is scheduled to go live by late 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.

Information on file upload requirements: Graduate Admissions - File upload requirements

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.

Updated policy for prerequisites and the GRE

(as of April 2020)

We have found that students who begin their genetic counseling training with a strong foundation in psychology, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, and statistics are the most prepared to successfully build upon their knowledge base once they arrive. Typically, this foundation comes in the form of traditional coursework in the areas above, and without it the first year of training may introduce a significant number of new topics at advanced levels. However, as of April 2020, we no longer require specific prerequisites. Rather, we encourage prospective students to obtain a depth and breadth of exposure in the areas above, as well as other related topics, so as to demonstrate solid preparation for the field, which will enhance the strength of their application. Therefore, please include details for any relevant courses and other exposures on your CV.

In addition, we no longer require GRE scores. We encourage applicants to demonstrate strong academic proficiency, but we recognize that this may come in the form of course grades (both undergraduate and/or graduate level), as well as standardized test scores. If you've already taken the GRE or are planning to take it in the near future, you are welcome to submit your GRE general examination scores to Stanford University using the score recipient number 4704. Individual department code numbers are not used.

Letters of Reference

The University requires 3 letters of reference, though you may have up to 4 references. 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 our FAQs for suggestions about your recommendation selections.

CV (Resume)

CV (Resume) - Please include your NMS number at the top of your CV. 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 experiences you have had - For observations and/or internships, please include the length of time. We recognize that it can be difficult to arrange direct shadowing experiences; therefore, we also support and encourage alternative exposure such as interviewing genetic counselors, talking with students, attending conferences, camps, webinars, and open houses, etc.
  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. Any volunteer or paid experiences supporting people and families impacted by disability
  7. Any volunteer or paid experiences supporting marginalized communities
  8. A list of relevant coursework (e.g. genetics/molecular biology, biochemistry, statistics, psychology), the institutions at which they were taken and your grades in each course.
  9. Please indicate your plans to complete any remaining courses between the application time and estimated time of matriculation
  10. Date and percentile scores from any standardized exams you have taken. Note: these are not required, but can be included

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 aptitude and motivation for genetic counseling. Please limit your personal statement to 2 pages. We prefer double spaced submissions.

Supplemental Essay

One of the most important skills of a genetic counselor is the ability to deal with fast moving topics, learn new things, and evaluate the quality of information available, including information that shows up in the media and popular press.

Therefore, we would like for you to read this article from Consumer Reports ( as well as the original paper it describes (Consumer Reports white paper:

Then pick 1 or 2 things in the article that you don’t understand or would like to learn more about (i.e. return of secondary findings), and spend no more than 1-2 hours doing some research to try to better understand the issue(s) you selected. Please keep in mind that we do not expect you to fully understand the articles or issues; in fact, that’s what graduate school is for!

Next please write an essay (2 pages max, 12 point font, 1” margins, double-spaced) describing your learning approach that you took to find out more, including which resources you looked into and how you decided which sources or references were reliable. Please note, we do not want you to explain to us what you know or learned about the topic, just HOW you learned about it and how effective the process was. Upload your essay to the 'Document Uploads' section of the online application.
Again, we want to stress this isn’t about showing us how well you understand a topic or writing an academic paper addressing the original journal article. Furthermore, we promise that there is no hidden answer or agenda, but rather we are genuinely open to different ways of approaching the essay. We just want to see how you think and learn!


Transcripts - Applicants are required to upload one scanned version of their unofficial transcripts/academic records (including any legends/keys) directly into the online application to their online application from every post-secondary institution you have attended for at least one year as a full-time student. Please also upload any transcripts for relevant coursework taken outside of your undergraduate institution. All records should clearly indicate the name under which you are applying to Stanford. Ensure that your scans are legible since the Admissions Committee will use them in their review process.

Only those who accept offer of admission to Stanford will need to have official transcripts sent to our program.


TOEFL Exam (if applicable)

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Evidence of adequate English proficiency must be submitted before enrollment is approved by Graduate Admissions. International students enrolled at Stanford must be able to read English with ease, understand rapid idiomatic English as used in lectures and group discussions, and express thoughts quickly and clearly in spoken and written English.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English. For detailed information, see the TOEFL information in Required Exams.

Please submit your TOEFL examination scores, if applicable, to Stanford University using the score recipient number 4704. Individual department code numbers are not used.

The minimum required TOEFL score is 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.