Prerequisite Courses

Applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent. Preferred degrees are in biology, genetics, chemistry, psychology, nursing, or related fields. The program has no required – or preferred – undergraduate major. UAMS recognizes that the study and practice of genetic counseling is enriched by the presence of students from a variety of academic backgrounds. However, a demonstrated amount of academic rigor is required to ensure that applicants can succeed with the scholastic demands of the genetic counseling curriculum. All listed courses must have been completed at a regionally accredited post-secondary academic institution or be recognized on the granting University official transcript. Courses must also fulfill all college requirements regarding acceptance of transfer credit. Applicant must earn a grade of “C” or better in all required prerequisite coursework. Admission to the program for applicants who have not completed all prerequisite courses will be conditional pending the completion of all prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or better before matriculation.

  • No more than 2 prerequisite courses can be from CLEP, AP, or IB credit and must be recognized on the granting University official transcript.
    • Although accepted, CLEP, AP and IB credits will not be considered in GPA calculations.

NOTE:  Admissions is aware that due to COVID-19 and the impact on colleges and universities, some students are being issued pass/fail, credit/no credit prerequisite grades. We are acceptable of that grading system during the semesters/quarters impacted by COVID-19 as long as the college or university documents “pass/P or credit/CR” and the credit hours on the transcript.  Students who believe they would have earned an A or B in a required prerequisite, particularly Genetics and/or Molecular Biology, are encouraged to request a brief letter from the professor who taught the course attesting to the student’s high performance in the course.  These letters can be submitted with the student’s application and do not replace the three letters of recommendation.

Our Advisor’s Manual, a guide to taking these prerequisites at various institutions in Arkansas, is available by clicking the button below.

Download the Advisor's Manual for Genetic Counseling
Required Course Work
A minimum of two quarters or one semester (or equivalent) in each of the following:
- Biology
- Chemistry
- Psychology
- Genetics (should include coverage of Mendelian and molecular genetics)
- Cell or Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry
- Statistics
- Laboratory Course (Biology, Genetics, Chemistry, or Biochemistry)
Recommended Course Work
- Abnormal Psychology
- Research Methods
- Human Anatomy
- Human or Vertebrate Physiology
- Human Genetics
- Child Development
- Medical Terminology; Greek and Latin usage in English Language
- Technical Writing

A competitive applicant will possess:

  1. An understanding of the profession obtained through, but not limited to: internship, job shadowing, reading, and interviewing genetics counselors.
  2. Training and experience (paid or volunteer) in direct client counseling. If you have questions about a setting, population, or your role, contact the program. These are a few examples:
    • Crisis Counseling: crisis/suicide hotline, domestic violence center, advocate for victims of sexual violence, crisis pregnancy center, resource and referral service;
    • Peer counseling: resident assistant, camp counselor, etc…;
  3. Training and experience (paid or volunteer) in one of more of the following three areas. Contact the program if you have questions. These are a few examples:
    • Direct client/patient care: center or program for people with genetic disorders, disabilities, mental illness or behavioral problems and medically fragile in outreach, community, treatment, rehabilitation, or chronic care facilities;
    • Educating: children to adult students, special needs populations, community groups; and
    • Advocating: patient advocate in a hospital or community program, non-profit agencies or state programs serving individuals and/or families with genetic disorders, disabilities, or chronic medical conditions.

Special considerations: Qualified applicants who are also Arkansas residents will be given priority.

*Applicants who are not United States citizens or permanent resident aliens or for whom English is not their native language must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  A total score of at least 570 on the TOEFL or the equivalent score of 230 on the computer version, with no less than 55 on the paper version or 20 on the computer version in each of the three subtest scores (listening, structure/writing, and reading) that comprise the total score must be earned for the applicant to be eligible for consideration for admission.  An official report of these scores must be received by the Graduate School prior to the application due date.  To obtain the Bulletin of Information to register to take the TOEFL, write directly to:  The Education Testing Service, P O Box 6155, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6155.  Their web address is:  ets.org.

If an applicant is basing his/her eligibility on credits from a foreign university, the official transcript or copy must first be evaluated by the Education Credential Evaluators, Inc., P O Box 514070, Milwaukee, WI, 53203-3470.  Their web address is:  ece.org.  An official copy of the evaluation from the Education Credential Service must be submitted with the application.  A fee list and application forms for this service may be obtained from the above agency.