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Master's Degree

Master of Science (ScM) in Genetic Counseling

Offered By: Department of Health, Behavior and Society

Onsite | Full-Time | 2.5 years

About the ScM in Genetic Counseling Program

The Johns Hopkins/National Institutes of Health Genetic Counseling Training Program is a joint effort of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society and the National Institutes of Health through the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The ScM in Genetic Counseling prepares graduates for a career in genetic counseling with an emphasis on clients’ psychological and educational needs. The program provides a solid foundation for conducting social and behavioral research related to genetic counseling and equips students with the necessary skills to educate health care providers, policymakers, and the public about genetics and related health and social issues.

The curriculum consists of coursework in the areas of human genetics, genetic counseling, health education, communication, ethics, public policy, and research methodology. The program also requires a minimum of 600+ contact hours of supervised clinical rotations in a variety of settings across more than 25 sites and a thesis study worthy of publication.

Accreditation: The ScM in Genetic Counseling is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, and graduates are eligible to sit for the American Board of Genetic Counseling certification examination after completion of the program and a clinical log book demonstrating significant involvement in the evaluation and counseling of patients seen in approved clinical rotation sites.

ScM in Genetic Counseling Program Highlights

Psychotherapeutic Counseling Training Model

with 600+ contact hours of supervised clinical rotations

Genetic Counseling Research and Scholarship

requiring completion of a publishable thesis

Emphasis on Clinical Genomics and Precision Health

with a focus on critical thinking and applications to healthcare

Transdisciplinary Learning and Practice

incorporating perspectives from public health, policy, ethics, and advocacy

What Can You Do With a Graduate Degree In Genetic Counseling?

Graduates of the JHU/NIH Genetic Counseling Training Program are qualified to work as genetic counselors in many different settings. Many will provide clinical genetic counseling services, but genetic counselors are increasingly working with genetic testing laboratories, advocacy organizations, or insurers. In addition, our graduates are well-positioned to work as genetic counselors in research settings, and almost a third of our alumni currently have a research element to their positions. For more information about genetic counseling careers, visit

Curriculum for the ScM in Genetic Counseling

The curriculum for the master's degree consists of at least 149 credit hours of didactic coursework in the areas of genetic counseling, human genetics, public health, public policy, research methodology, bioethics and health communication and decision-making. For a list of courses and links to course descriptions, please click on the links below.

Browse an overview of the requirements for this master's program in the JHU Academic Catalogue, explore all course offerings in the Bloomberg School Course Directory, and find many more details in the program's Student Handbook.

Admissions Requirements

For general admissions requirements, please visit the How to Apply page. This specific program also requires:

Prior Work Experience

Prior counseling experience (paid or voluntary) working with individuals in emotional distress

Prior Coursework

College-level courses in biochemistry and genetics; psychology and statistics strongly recommended

Important Note

We regret that we will be unable to consider applications this year from individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents unless the applicant has already received a doctoral degree. Please contact us if you have questions.

Standardized Test Scores

Standardized test scores (GRE) are optional for this program. The admissions committee will make no assumptions if a standardized test score is omitted from an application, but will require evidence of quantitative/analytical ability through other application components such as academic transcripts and/or supplemental questions. Applications will be reviewed holistically based on all application components.

Program Faculty Spotlight

Debra Roter
- Emeritus
Health, Behavior and Society

Debra Roter, DrPH '77, MPH '75, is an expert on patient-provider communication and author of the widely used Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS).

Assistant Professor
- Adjunct

Leila Jamal, ScM '12, PhD '17, is a genetic counselor/bioethicist who studies ethical issues raised by the implementation of genomic medicine. Her primary appointment is at the NCI.

Tuition and Funding

Funding is determined annually by an agreement with NIH. Typically, we are able to offer the following:

30% reduction in tuition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health;
$10,000 scholarship in the first year;
Citizens and permanent residents of the US, an NIH intramural research fellowship with amounts dictated by the following federal program:

Information regarding the cost of tuition and fees can be found on the Bloomberg School's Tuition & Fees page.

Contact Us

Questions about the program? We're happy to help.

Application and Admissions Procedural Questions

Please direct questions about application and admissions procedures to the BSPH Admissions Office.

Phone: 410-955-3543

Program-Specific Questions

Please direct program-specific questions to

General Academic Questions

For general academic questions, please contact our Department's academic program administrator, L. Robin Newcomb.


Additional Program Information

For additional information about the program, please visit: