How to Apply

Application Preparation

  1. Read our FAQs on the program and the admissions process.
  2. Read 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 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.

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.

Course Prerequisites

  • 1 semester or quarter of genetics (includes molecular biology)
  • 1 semester or quarter of psychology  (preferrably counseling psych or developmental psych)
  • 1 semester or quarter of biochemistry
  • 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 review our FAQs before you contact us with questions regarding fulfilling prerequisites and for information on grades of our competitive applicants.

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 FAQ 15 for suggestions about your recommendation selections.

Required Exams (GRE and TOEFL)

Please submit your GRE general (required) 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. We will accept GRE scores from exams taken 5+ years ago.

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.

Please see our FAQs for additional information on the GRE and TOEFL exam requirements (including scores of our competitive applicants and information on waivers).

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. Exposure to persons with disability
  7. 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 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. 

  • Therefore, we would like for you to read this article from the Washington Post ( as well as the original paper it describes (Journal of Clinical Oncology - attached).
  • Then pick 1 or 2 things in the article that you don’t understand (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; 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 the issue(s) you selected to learn more about and the learning approach that you took in terms of finding 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. Upload your essay to the 'Additional Information' 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!



Official transcripts - Applicants are required to upload one scanned version of official transcript(s) to their online application and 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. All records should clearly indicate the name under which you are applying to Stanford. An official transcript must be an original document bearing the institutional seal and official signature of the Registrar or copies verified by a school administrative officer and is one that is sent to Stanford in one of the following ways:

  • Electronic delivery (send to The use of secure electronically-delivered transcripts that are pass code protected is necessary. The document's certified digital signature embedded in the document PDF assures us that it has been prepared by the college/university and that the document is original and unaltered. Please check with the registrar's office of your college/university to see if they provide secure electronic certified transcript service. Note: Transcripts sent as email attachments from applicants are not accepted.
  • Postal service If sending paper transcripts, two sets are required; an official transcript is one that has been signed and sealed by the college/university registrar and is received by Stanford in its original, sealed envelope. 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