How to Apply

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.

Online Application

The online application is scheduled to go live by late September and can be found on the Graduate Admissions website:

Make sure you select "Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling (MS)" Program in the online application.

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.

SUGC policy for prerequisites and the GRE

We have found that students who begin their genetic counseling training with a strong foundation in psychology,  biochemistry, molecular biology, 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 review 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 other academic experiences.

Letters of Reference

We will only review 3 letters of reference in support of your application. You can enter your recommender’s contact information into the online application before you “submit” your application. Please review the Office of Graduate Admissions' website for more information. See our FAQs for suggestions about your recommendation selections.

CV (Resume)

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 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

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 1000 words.

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 and pick several things in the article which you would like to learn more about to help you understand the article better. Spend no more than 1-2 hours doing some research to try to better understand the issues you selected. Then, briefly describe the issues and explain your research process. Please note that we do not expect you to fully understand the article or issues (that’s what graduate school is for), so your essay does not need to include extensive details about the content that you learn. However, please include enough detail to help us understand your approach to learning, and how you find, make sense of, and evaluate new information.  

Your statement should use 12 point font, 1” margins, double-spacing and be no more than 2 pages. Your references should use APA style formatting and may be included as a third page.


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 the university. Instructions will be provided to matched students.


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.