Master of Science in Genetic Counselling (MSc)
Over the past decade, advances in genomic medicine and genetic technology have been dramatic. Genetic counsellors have an integral role to play in helping patients and other healthcare professionals understand the options, benefits and limitations of this rapidly changing landscape. Established in 1996, the University of British Columbia’s Genetic Counselling Program is dedicated to equipping the next generation of genetic counsellors with the skills, knowledge and mindset to flourish as part of an inter-disciplinary team and work across a broad range of health care settings and specialties. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, graduates are eligible for certification and/or licensure across North America.
What makes the program unique?
Based in the heart of Vancouver at Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia, the tertiary care provider for clinical medical genetics services, UBC's Genetic Counselling Program is one of only five programs in Canada, and one of the largest.
The program balances strong academic grounding and direct clinical experiences with independent research, preparing graduates for the dynamic field of genetic counselling.
With only six students accepted into the program every year, students receive close mentorship and one-on-one support from award-winning faculty in the Department of Medical Genetics.
Program curriculum and learning opportunities are constantly evolving to equip students with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed and adapt to advances in the field of genomic medicine.
Students have the opportunity to gain a specialized skillset and work toward a genetic counselling degree with diverse clinical placements including prenatal, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, neurology and psychiatric genetics.
Starting in the first week, students learn through a combination of direct classroom and hands-on experience working with genetic counselors, medical geneticists and other health care professionals.
Through collaboration with the College of Health Disciplines, UBC's Genetic Counselling program also offers students a number of inter-professional health education experiences, including:
- The Health Mentorship Program: A unique educational experience in which teams of students from different disciplines learn together, from and with a patient.
- The Integrated Curriculum: Interprofessional learning activities where you learn with and from students from across the health professional programs at UBC. Hilights include the Indigenous Cultural Safety modules, and Collaborative Decision Making.
- The Interprofessional Education (IPE) Passport: An online tool that enables students to register and keep track of additional interprofessional learning, and sign up for a variety of activities.
Admission Information & Requirements
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 103
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date31 October 2022
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Course-based programs may assign academic advisors to cohorts of students, but usually do not require applicants to reach out to individual professors / faculty members to seek commitment as their supervisor. Please do not contact faculty members if you are applying to this program.
Criminal Record Check
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$8,569.46||$9,536.69|
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||Not applicable|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options.
Organizations may provide their employees with tuition benefits as part of an employment package to support lifelong learning of their workforce.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
Professional / course-based programs usually do not provide merit-based funding. Some programs may offer bursaries.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Science in Genetic Counselling (MSc). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
Over the past decade, advances in genomic medicine and genetic technology have been dramatic. Genetic counsellors have an integral role to play in helping patients and other healthcare professionals understand the options, benefits and limitations of this rapidly changing landscape. The University of British Columbia’s Genetic Counselling Program — the largest in Canada — is dedicated to equipping the next generation of genetic counsellors with the skills, knowledge and mindset to flourish as part of an inter-disciplinary team and work across a broad range of health care settings and specialties.
The program balances strong academic grounding, direct clinical experiences and independent research to prepare graduates for the dynamic field of genetic counselling. Academic coursework is concentrated in the first year of study, followed by a focus on experiential learning in the second year of study.