Loma Linda University School of Medicine offers a Master of Science in Genetics Counseling (MSGC).  The two-year program provides graduates with the skills and values to excel in clinical genetics and genomics using adaptive expertise through academic rigor, field rotations, introspection, and diversity in didactic and experiential curriculum.

What is genetic counseling?

Genetic counseling is a process of communicating medical and scientific information to an individual or family with a genetic condition or birth defect. One of the main objectives is to assist families and individuals to understand complex genetic and medical information in the simplest way possible. 

Who are genetic counselors?

Genetic counselors (GCs) are health professionals with specialized training and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Most GCs enter the field from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health and social work.

What separates genetic counseling from other health care professionals is the unique combination of expertise in medical and molecular genetics and skills in psychosocial counseling. This awareness of and concern for the psychological aspects of the impact of genetic testing and inherited conditions has been integral to the development of the field from the beginning and resonates with Loma Linda University Health’s mission of whole person care.  

Program Learning Outcomes

The program learning outcomes are designed to ensure that students meet the practice-based competencies defined by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). Students who successfully complete the program will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate strong clinical genetics and genomics knowledge and expertise and clinical reasoning to provide evidence-based genetic counseling. 
  • Provide client-centered care, facilitate informed decision-making in an inclusive and values-based manner and advocate for individuals, families and diverse communities. 
  • Illustrate critical thinking in designing and implementing research projects, develop oral and written communication skills to report information related to genetics, genomics and genetic counseling practice. 
  • Act in accordance with the ethical, legal and philosophical principles of the genetic counseling profession.
  • Develop a professional identity to advocate for genetic counseling in the healthcare infrastructure and promote interdisciplinary relationships across varied settings- clinics, laboratories, and industry. 
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the 4 domains of the Practice-Based Competencies for Genetic Counselors delineated by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling. 
  • Achieve successful certification via the American Board of Genetic Counseling’s certification exam. 

Program Requirements

Fieldwork experience

Students will have placements for fieldwork observation in each quarter of the first year and will start fieldwork rotations in the summer after the first year. Each fieldwork rotation will be for approximately 180- 200 hours every quarter. Two of the placements can be for a shorter duration of time in any quarter to provide supplemental experiences. Time spent in placements will vary according to the academic year, site availability, student interest and other program guidelines.  

Capstone project 

Students are required to complete a Capstone research project individually under the guidance of a Capstone Committee. Students will present the completed project orally and in writing after final approval from the Committee just prior to graduation. Students will also present the findings at Loma Linda University School of Medicine's Annual Postgraduate Convention and will submit an abstract at a regional or national professional conference.  

Comprehensive exams

A comprehensive exam (board-style) will be administered each at the end of the first year and at the end of the second year of the program. Students will also be required to take self-assessment modules throughout the second year in preparation for board certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. 


All students in the MSGC program are required to complete the coursework listed below.  Supplementary experiences are included - attendance and participation in case conferences, patient review meetings, journal clubs etc. NOTE: There are no transfers of credit into MSGC Program.  All courses in the curriculum must be completed at Loma Linda University. 



Course number 

Name of course 






Fall Quarter 1 

14 credits 

ATGC 521 

Prenatal and Perinatal Genetics 

ANAT 544 

Human Embryology 

ATGC 501 

Foundations of Genetic Counseling 

EPDM 520 

Data Collection Methods 

EPDM 509 

Principles of Epidemiology 

ATGC 701 

Practicum: Observation  



Winter Quarter 2 

10 credits 

ATGC 522 

Clinical Genetics 

ATGC 523 

Genetic and Genomic Testing and Interpretation 

ATGC 524 

Biochemical and Therapeutic Genetics 

ATGC 502 

Advanced Psychosocial Genetic Counseling 

ATGC 702 

Practicum: Observation  


Spring Quarter 3 

11 credits 


ATGC 525 

Population Genetics and Common Diseases 

ATGC 526 

Cancer Genetics 

ATGC 527 

Specialty Genetics 

ATGC 503 

Genetic Counseling and the Community 

RELE 505* 

Clinical Ethics* 

ATGC 703 

Practicum: Observation  

Summer Quarter 4 

9 credits 

AHRM 604 

Research Proposal Writing 

ATGC 721 

Fieldwork rotation 1 


Fall Quarter 5 

14 credits 

ATGC 561 

Capstone Project 1 

ATGC 528 

Evaluation of Healthcare Literature 

ATGC 541 

GC Professional Development 1 

CHLS 505** 

Cross-cultural Perspectives in Healthcare** 

ATGC 722 

Fieldwork Rotation 2 

Winter Quarter 6 

11 units 

ATGC 562 

Capstone Project 2 

ATGC 571 

Medical Genetics Seminar 1: Health Systems 

ATGC 542 

GC Professional Development 2 

ATGC 723 

Fieldwork Rotation 3 

Spring Quarter 7 

11 units 

ATGC 563 

Capstone Project 3 

ATGC 572 

Medical Genetics Seminar 2: Genetics and Genomics 

ATGC 543 

GC Professional Development 3 

ATGC 724 

Fieldwork Rotation 3 






* Fulfills LLU School of Religion requirement 

** Fulfills LLU service-learning requirement 

Credit is recorded in quarter units. A credit hour is defined as 50 minutes of direct faculty instruction per week for 10 weeks in a quarter (11 weeks including finals week) and two to three hours of out-of-class assignments for each unit of credit. All the coursework will be offered in the traditional 10-week quarter system.  


Applicants to the Master of Science in Genetics Counseling  program are individuals with an undergraduate degree who can balance high academic achievement with excellent written and verbal communication skills, adequate advocacy experiences and insight into their choice of genetic counseling as a career.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institutionally accredited college or university or equivalent  

  • Required: At least one quarter or semester of college-level coursework in genetics (designed for life science majors such as biology, molecular and cell biology) to be completed at an institutionally accredited college or university within USA or Canada or its equivalent 

  • Recommended: At least one quarter or semester of college-level biochemistry, psychology or sociology and statistics or biostatistics 

  • Unofficial transcripts should be submitted from all post-secondary colleges or universities attended, including from those at which the candidate took only one or a few courses to satisfy pre-requisites. Admitted students must submit official transcripts 

  • All prerequisite science courses must be taken within the last 10 years from the time of application 

International students

Minimum overall GPA of 3.00 

Curriculum Vita 

  • Personal Statement (500 words): Describing personal motivating factors in genetic counseling as a career choice and a self-assessment of strengths and potential anticipated challenges 
  • Advocacy Experience: Compensated or volunteer advocacy experience(s) in a counseling or support role in health care, health behaviors or similar agencies. Applicants may have experiences in different settings, both in-person and remote, including crisis hotlines, Planned Parenthood, domestic abuse shelters, homeless shelters, hospice care facilities or facilities catering to individuals with physical or intellectual impairments, interviewing participants in a research setting etc. 
  • Shadowing experiences and internships: Shadowing or interning with a genetic counselor is ideal, but not required.  
  • Three Letters of Recommendation: Letters must be from individuals who can address the readiness of the applicant for graduate school and for the profession. One letter must be from a mentor in the applicant’s advocacy or counseling experience, which should be of substantial duration. All letters to be submitted electronically. 
  • National Matching Services (NMS): All applicants must register with the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS) and must provide a Match ID number to be considered for admission. 
  • GRE: The GRE is not required for admission. 
  • Interviews: Personal interviews with the Loma Linda University MSGC Program Admissions Committee will be scheduled between February and early April. Deadlines for the GC Admissions Match Process is usually available in the fall of the previous year.   

Accreditation and Outcomes

Loma Linda University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) 

1080 Marina Village Parkway
Suite 500
Alameda, CA 94501
Phone: 510-748-9001
Fax: 510-748-9797 
Website:  http://www.wscuc.org 

Master of Science in Genetic Counseling accreditation 

The program has applied for Candidacy Status at the accrediting body, Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) in February 2023.

1660 International Drive
Suite 600 
McLean, VA 22102 USA 

Phone: 703.506.7667 
Email: info@gceducation.org 
Website: www.gceducation.org 

The program anticipates submitting a full application requesting Accredited New Program status from the ACGC on January 15, 2024. The accrediting body’s timeline for approval decisions is 8 to 12 months. 

Certification and Licensure 

Graduates of the LLU MSGC Program will be eligible to take the board certification examination administered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. 

330 North Wabash Avenue 
Suite 2000 
Chicago, IL 60611 
Phone: 313-321-6879 
Email: info@abgc.net 
Website: www.abgc.net 

Requirements for genetic counseling licensure vary slightly from state to state in those that require a license to practice as a Certified Genetic Counselor (CGC®). More information available at the ABGC and the NSGC.