Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Applications are Typically Received for the JHU/NIH Genetic Counseling Training Program? How Many Students are Admitted to the Program?
There are generally 100 to 130 applications per year for the program. Currently, six students are admitted each year.
Do Most Students Entering the Program Have a Strong Background in Biology or Genetics?
No. Many successful applicants have backgrounds in other areas, including psychology, sociology or education. Many successful applicants have had some work or research experience beyond college that has helped to focus their interest in genetic counseling.
May I Request an Interview if I am Applying to the Program?
We do not normally schedule formal interviews at the applicant’s request, but please feel free to contact genetic counseling program assistant and PhD student, Chenery Lowe, if you have any questions.
Interviews are offered to a subset of the most qualified applicants. Interviews typically are scheduled for March. Only applicants who have been interviewed are accepted into the program. We are unable to pay for expenses associated with interviewing.
Which Application Form Do I Use to Apply to the Genetic Counseling Training Program? Where Do I Send my Application Materials?
Prospective applicants can find more information about how to apply here.
Do I Really Need to Take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) in Order to Be Accepted?
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.
Is it Necessary to Have Taken the Required Courses in Biochemistry and Genetics in Order to Apply?
We require that students entering the program have completed at least one course in biochemistry and one in genetics. Occasionally, a student may be enrolled in one of these required courses at the time of applying to the program, or may even be planning to take a course over the summer, before matriculating in the Genetic Counseling Training Program. If one of the required courses does not appear on a transcript that accompanies the application, an explanation of the plan for completing the required prerequisite should be appended to the application.
What Type of Counseling Experience Fulfills the Pre-Requisite of "One-on-One Counseling"?
We specifically require counseling experience to involve offering some emotional or psychological support, usually with some prior training. The goal of this is to allow applicants to experience what it is like to be in a helping relationship when someone is experiencing difficulties; i.e., the applicant is required to respond to the person's emotional/psychological difficulties in a way that may or may not always happen in other kinds of caregiving interactions.
Many of our applicants will fulfill the counseling prerequisite by volunteering with a crisis support line, a suicide line, a domestic violence or rape crisis line, Planned Parenthood, a general mental health counseling hotline, or a local peer counseling service. However, if such a local resource is unavailable, although different from in-person or phone counseling in many ways, the text lines (such as Crisis Text Line and 7 Cups) still offer the experience of sitting on the other side of someone's pain. Classroom teaching and work as a camp counselor do not generally fulfill this requirement.
May I Enroll in the Program as a Part-time Student? May I Transfer Credits From Another School or Program if I Am Accepted into the Genetic Counseling Training Program?
The JHU/NIH Genetic Counseling Training Program requires two and one half years of full-time study. Due to the complexity of scheduling clinical rotations and sequences of required courses, we cannot accept part-time students at this time. Occasionally, a course required as a part of the program might be waived if the student has taken a comparable graduate-level course elsewhere. Even if this were possible, the degree program would not likely be shortened to less than two and half years.
How Successful are Your Graduates in Finding Jobs After Graduation?
All of our current graduates are employed in the field of genetic counseling. In general, there continue to be more genetic counseling job openings than there are qualified counselors to fill them.
How Do I Get More Information About a Career in Genetic Counseling?
The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) has prepared a career information packet that can be obtained by calling the NSGC at 312-321-6834. Additional information is available through the NSGC website.
Who Can I Contact For More Information?
Dr. Lori Erby
Dr. Debra Roter
Genetic Counseling Program Assistant and PhD student