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    • Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Faculty of Graduate Studies

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    • Master of Science

  • icon graduate

    Expected duration

    • 2 years

Program details

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences offer a two-year program of study leading to a Genetic Counselling (MSc).

Expected duration: 2 years

Tuition and fees: two years tuition, then continuing fees in subsequent years (refer to Graduate tuition and fees). Students are expected to complete the genetic counselling program requirements by June of the second year.

In addition to the minimum course requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, found in the Graduate Studies Regulations Section, students must:

  • Complete 30 credit hours of coursework
  • Submit an acceptable thesis and pass an oral examination
  • Meet the essential skills and abilities for admission, promotion and graduation from the genetic counselling program listed in the bona fide academic requirements (PDF).

At the end of the program, our graduates will be eligible to undergo certification with the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) and the Canadian Board of Genetic Counselling (CBGC).

Clinical education details

The Shared Health Genetics and Metabolism Program is the major site for all rotations.

Our students have an exceptional and diverse experience, providing consultations for patients from diverse cultural backgrounds living in urban, rural, and remote regions.

Students commence their early exposure in the first semester to appreciate clinic flow and counselling styles. Rotation options include prenatal, medical genetics, cancer, metabolics/newborn screening, cardiac, multi-disciplinary and subspecialty clinics, and laboratories. Students also arrange an external summer elective between first and second year.

Research details

The Genetic Counselling (MSc) program is thesis-based. Our centralized program provides the network to design projects that are interdisciplinary and/or provincial initiatives.

Summary of thesis milestones (PDF)

Sample course offerings

  • BGEN 7142: Clinical Genetics 1
  • BGEN 7090: Principles and Practice of Human Genetics
  • BGEN 7144: Clinical Genetics 2
  • BGEN 7130: Genetic Epidemiology of Human Populations
  • BGEN 7160: Theory and Practice of Genetic Counselling 
  • BGEN 7040: Seminars in Human Genetics
  • BGEN 7000: Research Seminar
  • BGEN 7270: Introduction to Genetic Counselling Clinical Rotation
  • BGEN 7280: Advanced Genetic Counselling Clinical Rotation
  • Courses in the Applied Counselling Program
  • Research Elective

For full course descriptions, please visit the Academic Calendar.

Admission requirements

The following are minimum requirements to be considered for entry into the Genetic Counselling (MSc) program. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

  • There are a high number of qualified applicants every year for the Genetic Counselling (MSc) program. Successful candidates demonstrate a focused interest in and understanding of genetic counselling in their applications and generally exceed minimum application requirements. To be considered for admission to the Genetic Counselling (MSc) program, you must have:

    • A four-year year bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) that includes undergraduate courses in genetics (at least 3 credits) and psychology (at least 3 credits)
    • Minimum 3.7 GPA or equivalent in the last 60 credit hours of university study.
    • Practical counselling training and experience. This includes applying counselling skills and techniques to support individuals with personal, social or psychological problem and/or difficulties.
      • Candidate may have paid or volunteer experiences with social service agencies such as planned parenthood, crisis programs or peer-to-peer counselling. In person/video/telephone experiences preferred, but text/chat accepted.

    In addition to the admission requirements described here, all applicants must meet the minimum admission and English language proficiency requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

    Due to COVID-19, the University of Manitoba Genetic Counselling (MSc) program will accept a "pass" or "complete" grade in required/recommended courses for the Spring 2020 term, with appropriate explanation noted on the official transcript. Grades of "pass" or "complete" will not be included in the GPA calculation.

Admission recommendations

In addition to minimum requirements, the following experiences are recommended to support a successful application:

  • Coursework such as statistics, human embryology or developmental biology, human genetics and molecular biology
  • Research experience such as graduate, undergraduate, work or volunteer experiences which provide exposure to the research process, study design and scientific inquiry.
  • Exposures to the field of genetic counselling such as shadowing of live or simulated genetic counselling sessions, interviews, courses/webinars, social media/blogs/podcasts, volunteer/work, etc.
  • Advocacy experiences such as those with advocacy/support groups, community outreach/foundations, professional organizations, etc.

How to apply

The Genetic Counselling (MSc) program accepts three students for Fall entry only. The application process includes an online application and personal interview for select applicants in March and April. Depending on the evolving public health and travel recommendations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, interviews may occur remotely. Applications must include the following:

  • $100 application fee (non-refundable)
  • CV/resumé
  • Unofficial copies of transcripts and degree certificates (For non-credit courses, a letter from the instructor is permitted)
  • Registration in the Genetic Admission Counselling Match. The genetic counselling program offers three spots under track 12710
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • Noting your skills and suitability for the program. One must be a ‘Counselling Reference’ where the individual describes the applicant's counselling abilities and experiences.
  • Statement of purpose
    • Demonstrating a focused interest and relevant experiences as they relate to your preparedness to enter the genetic counselling profession (maximum two single-spaced pages). Applicants are encouraged to consider their unique experiences, values and attributes to express how they are personally suited for providing genetic counselling to a diverse population

Please read the Faculty of Graduate Studies online application instructions and Tips for Applicants (PDF) before beginning your application.

Application deadlines

Applications are reviewed on a committee basis. Students selected for in-person interview will be notified in February.

Canadian, US and International applicants

Term Applications open Annual application deadline
Fall (September) November 15  January 11

Applicants must submit their online application with supporting documentation and application fee by the deadline date indicated.

Start or continue your application

Admission fee waivers and bursaries

The following bursary and match fee waivers are available to applicants who identify as First Nations, Metis and Inuit or applicants with demonstrated financial need:

Program leaders, the admissions committee, and interviewers have received education in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion supporting a fair review process for each applicant. In selection for in-person interviews, the Genetic Counselling Program Admissions Committee gives first priority to Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Learn more

Contact us

Admission and application inquiries

Faculty of Graduate Studies
Room 500 UMSU University Centre
65 Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
Phone: 204-474-9377

Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Genetic Counselling Program inquiries

The Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
Room 336 Basic Medical Sciences Building
745 Bannatyne Avenue
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0J9 Canada