Admissions Requirements

The application portal for 2017 applicants is now open! The application deadline is December 14, 2016.

  • Prior to beginning your application, please carefully review the instructions and requirements below.
  • When you are ready to apply go to the BU Graduate Medical Sciences Admissions page, review the instructions, and click “Apply Now”.
  • Invitations for admission interviews will be extended by the end of February 2017. Interview dates are scheduled for March 13th, 17th, 20th, 31st, April 3rd, and 7th. All interviewed candidates will be notified of their status on the genetic counseling program universal acceptance date of April 24th, 2017 with final decisions required by April 26th, 2017. 

Application Process

The online application portal for each admissions cycle opens in September and closes on December 14. The online application portal allows you to view the status of your pending documents. Therefore, you DO NOT need to contact us to inquire about the status of your application or the receipt of application materials. If you have questions that cannot be answered on this page or in the application portal, you are welcome to contact us at for assistance.

In early February, all applicants will be notified about whether they have been selected for an interview. Candidates who are selected for an interview will be scheduled for a visit in March or April, at which time they will meet with our students and faculty. Notices of acceptance will be provided by telephone on the national acceptance date designated by the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (typically in late April or early May).

Special Instructions for Previous Applicants

Please note in your application that you have previously applied to our program. 

Admissions Requirements

1)Undergraduate Transcript & Prerequisite Courses

Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. The majority of students will enter the program with an undergraduate degree in biology, genetics, psychology, nursing, social work, or public health. However, this program is available to individuals from all majors as long as the following college-level prerequisites have been completed:

  • one quarter or semester of genetics
  • one quarter or semester of psychology
  • one year of biology
  • one year of chemistry
  • one quarter or semester of biochemistry
  • one quarter or semester of statistics

Additional considerations regarding prerequisites:

  • One prerequisite may be fulfilled through Advanced Placement credit OR online through a credit-granting institution. However, genetics and psychology may not be fulfilled this way.
  • At the application deadline, you may also have up to two outstanding prerequisites that you plan to complete in the upcoming spring or summer.  However, this may not include genetics or psychology, which must be completed at the time of application.  Please list your plans for any pending prerequisite courses on your application.
  • If you are enrolled in Fall courses for which you will not receive a grade prior to the admissions deadline, they are not considered outstanding if you send an updated unofficial transcript to as soon as your grades are available. We ask that you contact us if for any reason your grades will not be available prior to early January.

Additional coursework in related fields (e.g. human genetics, psychology, public health, epidemiology, anthropology, sociology, neuroscience, maternal and child health, bioinformatics, computer science, eNSGC 2011tc.) can further strengthen your application. We do not have a minimum GPA requirement; however, the average GPA for candidates that are selected for interviews is 3.5.


  • Transcripts should be provided from every post-secondary institution you have attended for at least one year as a full-time student and from schools that document fulfillment of prerequisite courses.  Transcripts from any other schools are optional.
  • If your transcript does not reflect your cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale and your individual grades on an A-F grading scale please provide us with this information or consult a transcript service company.
  • Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application process. If you are offered admission at BU, official transcripts will be required at that time and additional transcripts may be requested.
  • If you are currently completing your undergraduate degree, you should upload an unofficial transcript with your application and do not need to request an official transcript. If you are offered admission, official transcripts will be required at that time.
  • If you are enrolled in courses that will be completed in December or January, please email an unofficial copy of those course grades or transcripts to as soon as they become available.

Official Transcripts may be sent to:
BU Graduate Medical Sciences Transcript Department
P.O. Box 9204
Watertown, MA 02471

2) Satisfactory Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

  • The general GRE must be taken prior to the application deadline
  • GRE scores cannot be more than five years old
  • Subject GRE scores are optional
  • We do not have a minimum GRE requirement; however, the average GRE scores for candidates that are selected for interviews are at the 70th percentile in each category
  • Our GRE institution code is 3087.  You do not need to list a separate Department Code.

Because genetic counseling requires strong written and spoken English skills, we require very high TOEFL or IELTS scores from international applicants. If you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have received a degree from an English-speaking institution than a TOEFL score is not required by Boston University Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

3) Personal Experiences

Personal experiences relevant to genetic counseling are also required.  These may include:

  • Shadowing, interviewing, or meeting with a genetic counselor
  • Volunteer or advocacy experience (support groups, summer camps, fund-raising events, etc.)
  • Counseling experience (crisis hotlines, Planned Parenthood, etc.)
  • Laboratory experience (academic or commercial)
  • Research experience
  • Related industry experience

4) Three Letters of Recommendation

There are no requirements regarding the background of your recommenders, but you are encouraged to choose individuals who can comment on different strengths.  Please submit only three letters of recommendation.

BU grads Kat and Diana, now both lab genetic counselors, dressed as a variant of unknown significance for Halloween!

BU grads Kat and Diana, now both lab genetic counselors, dressed as a variant of unknown significance for Halloween!

5) Personal Statement

Topics to be addressed in your personal statement include the academic, inter-personal, and extracurricular experiences that led to your interest in the field, and the personal characteristics that will contribute to your success as a genetic counselor. The personal statement should be 3-4 pages (double-spaced).

6) Resume / Curriculum Vitae

As part of your online application submission, attach a resume or CV that includes the following.  Please note, not all of these items are required, but all are considered in the selection of interview candidates. You are welcome to include additional information that you think highlights the strength and diversity of your application.

  • Undergraduate institution, degree, major, minor/concentration (if applicable) and cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale).  If you have a graduate degree, please include this information as well.
  • Your GRE percentile scores for all three sections
  • A list of the course titles, numbers, and grades received for any courses you have taken to fulfill our prerequisite requirements
  • A list of any courses that you plan to take this coming winter/spring/summer
  • Any genetic counseling observations or internships (including location, supervisor, and length of time)
  • Any volunteer or paid experience related to genetics, disabilities, or healthcare (including location and length of time)
  • Any peer or crisis counseling experience (including location and length of time)
  • Any bench or clinical research experience (including location and length of time)
  • Any publications or abstracts on which you are named as an author
  • Any other work or volunteer experiences related to the field of genetic counseling or which support your candidacy for this program