Why study genetic counseling at Penn?

Housed within a dynamic, world-renowned medical center in the historic, diverse and vibrant city of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program provides a comprehensive educational environment for future genetic counselors that balances the importance of patient-focused care, scientific knowledge, research, and innovative technology. With an outstanding faculty and access to clinical opportunities at some of the nation's premier healthcare facilities, we prepare students to be successful genetic counseling professionals in the rapidly evolving field of genetics.

  • Our internationally recognized Penn faculty are actively engaged with issues relevant to genetic counseling diagnostics and therapeutics, which offers a unique opportunity to establish a strong curriculum across disciplines including public health, bioethics, translational medicine, and social policy and practice. These programs will foster novel opportunities for student research.
  • The curriculum is structured to include clinical internships and professional experiences in all semesters so that didactic learning can be quickly applied and counseling skills tested and practiced throughout the course of the program.  First year students begin their clinical rotations in their first semester in the program.
  • More than 130 experienced clinical supervisors, more than 85 at Penn and CHOP alone, work with our program in a wide array of clinical sites, affording students a more individualized experience tailored to their interests.
  • Penn Medicine has long been a leader in creating innovative and cutting-edge programs that enhance the roles of genetic counselors.
  • The Penn Telegenetics Program is one of the national leaders in NIH funding and in researching new technologies to improve delivery of this critical service.
  • Cutting edge programs at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia including the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, the Mitochondrial Medicine Frontier Program, the 22q and You Center and the Roberts Individualized Medical Genetics Center
  • The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) fellowship provides education for all of our students and an intensive fellowship for two students each year to develop leadership skills in a multidisciplinary environment.
  • An elective rotation allows students to focus on particular areas of interest
  • The Penn Medicine Clinical Simulation Center provides outstanding practice opportunities at all stages of learning.
  • The program has a strong emphasis on clinical, translational, and implementation research
  • The breadth of resources at Penn provides numerous opportunities to introduce students to the commercial and policy contexts of genetic counseling and testing processes and to help them more critically understand how genetic counseling practice continues to evolve.
  • Students are well prepared upon graduation to find employment in diverse settings and sit for the American Board of Genetic Counselors (ABGC) certification exam.  The University of Pennsylvania assumed sponsorship of the Arcadia University Masters in Genetic Counseling Program in 2019. Since 2019, 100% of graduates are employed as genetic counselors. The majority found positions before graduation, and all had positions within three months of graduation. Eighty-four percent of individuals who graduated since 2019 and took the ABGC exam passed it on their first attempt, and our graduates have a 97% overall pass rate. 

  • We provide a highly supportive environment for our students. The degree completion rate is 100% (0% attrition) for the three most recent classes (Classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021).

  • Mentorship relationships are central to success in the program.  All incoming students are matched with student mentors (Penn Pals) from the second-year class as well as with genetic counselors practicing in the Penn and CHOP genetics community. 

  • Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love, is a vibrant, diverse city, full of history, restaurants, parks, and cultural attractions, and the West Philly location of the Penn campus puts you right in the middle of it all.

Graphic showing reasons to apply to the UPenn MSGC program