The application committee reviews all complete applications received by the deadline. Once the review process has been completed, 25 to 30 applicants are invited for individual virtual interviews, which usually occur during the first two weeks of March. After the interviews have been completed, the committee determines the ranking order of applicants and submits this list to the NMS Match. This is usually completed by mid-March. Applicants who successfully match to UBC will be offered a seat for the following September start date. Applicants who wish to tour the physical facilities will be able to do so after the program has submitted their ranking order to the NMS Match.
Six students are accepted into the program each year to begin their studies in September.
Applicants for the program come with a wide range of life experiences and communication skills, which are evaluated along with the individual’s academic transcript.
It is important that candidates possess knowledge of the profession and, if possible, experience in a clinical genetics unit. This may be obtained through volunteer work, a Work Study position or a Directed Study project.
This year, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected grading practices at some universities. Specifically, some courses obtained in 2019-2020 were graded as pass/fail instead of with a numerical or letter grade. For molecular genetics courses that were graded as pass/fail, we will be requesting further information regarding competency. Please provide a letter from the course professor speaking to the applicant’s overall performance in the course and how this compares to other students in the cohort, or provide the course professor’s contact information. Please note that a letter provided speaking to the applicant’s performance in the molecular genetics course will not be considered a reference letter, and 3 letters of reference are still required. For courses other than molecular genetics that have a pass/fail grade, we will be assessing grade performance in previous coursework to inform the application review.
Exposure to the profession of genetic counselling:
We recognize that opportunities to gain exposure to the field are challenging, made more so by the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage applicants to find alternate ways of gaining insight into the field. This can include informational interviews with genetic counsellors across different practice areas, reading the Journal of Genetic Counselling to understand the issues and the research that are active in the field, and online sources such as NSGC, CAGC, Master Genetic Counselor videos and the BCCHR Mini Med School 2016 session on genetic counselling. Additional resources, provided by the NSGC, can be found here, though we cannot guarantee these materials to be fully comprehensive or up-to-date.
MATCH for the UBC MSc. in Genetic Counselling Program:
The UBC MSc. Genetic Counselling Graduate Program is participating in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match through National Matching Services (NMS). The GC Admissions Match has been established to enhance the process of placing applicants into positions in masters-level genetic counselling programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The Match uses a process that takes into account both applicants’ and programs’ preferences. All applicants must first register for the Match with NMS before applying to the participating genetic counselling graduate programs. At the conclusion of all program interviews, both applicants and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements to NMS according to deadlines posted on the NMS website. The binding results of the Match will be released to both applicants and programs simultaneously in late April.
Please visit the NMS website to register for the match, review detailed information about the matching process, and to view a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.
UBC’s MATCH number is: 123
Applicants must have a minimum of a BSc or equivalent degree, and have:
- One course in Biochemistry (an introductory course is acceptable).
- One course in Statistics (an introductory course is acceptable).
- One course in (Clinical) Embryology – If not offered at your institution, an online college or university course that provides a grade, such as the Clinical Embryology course offered by the University of Cincinnati (Non-credit Option), is acceptable. Developmental Biology does NOT meet this requirement unless the course focuses heavily on human development.
- One course in Molecular Genetics.
- A minimum overall average in the B+ range (equivalent to 76% at UBC) in all third and fourth year courses.
- Academic standing with at least 12 credits of third or fourth year courses (equivalent to 4 courses at UBC) in the A grade range (80% or higher at UBC) in the field of study*.
*For the Genetic Counselling Masters Program, this could include courses such as genetics, genomics, psychology, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, embryology, cell biology, and bioinformatics.
- A minimum of 3 months of one-on-one counselling experience (prior to entry into the program) in a setting such as a distress line, peer counselling, text support, or rape relief centre. This experience can either be paid or volunteer. However, to be considered, your experience must include a formal training process prior to beginning your counselling experience.
As genetics is a rapidly evolving sphere, we require grades in genetics courses within the past five years. If you have completed the genetics courses more than five years ago, we strongly require that you to re-take/update the genetics courses, especially, the courses in molecular genetics, unless you can demonstrate recent related experience in this area, in which case we require you show a recent grade in a course related to the field of study.
Note: UBC is subject to the requirements of the Criminal Records Review Act, which means that all students who are enrolled in programs that include a practicum component involving work with children or vulnerable adults will have to undergo a criminal record check before they will be permitted to register in the practicum. If you are found to present a risk of physical or sexual abuse to children or physical, sexual or financial abuse to vulnerable adults, as a result of the CRRA Check, you will not be permitted to register in the practicum. In our program, the practicum is a required component. Therefore, you should consider this requirement carefully before applying to this program.