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Health, Behavior and Society

Master of Science (ScM) in Genetic Counseling

The ScM in Genetic Counseling is designed to prepare graduates to provide genetic counseling with an emphasis on clients’ psychological and educational needs.

A joint effort of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society and the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the program provides a solid foundation in conducting social and behavioral research related to genetic counseling and teaches the skills necessary for graduates to educate health care providers, policymakers and the public about genetics and related health and social issues.

The two-and-a-half-year, full-time program consists of coursework taken at the East Baltimore campus of the Bloomberg School and at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.

The curriculum consists of didactic coursework in the areas of human genetics, genetic counseling, health education, communication, ethics, public policy and research methodology. Please view the curriculum and program competencies.

The program also requires a minimum of 400 contact hours of supervised clinical rotations. Students in the program have access to more than 25 adult, pediatric, prenatal and specialty genetic clinical training sites in a variety of settings in the Baltimore-Washington area. Students may elect to complete their summer rotations in the Baltimore-Washington area or elsewhere. Many students choose to do a summer rotation outside of the United States, as an international summer rotation is an opportunity to see how genetics is practiced in another country and to expand the profile of genetic counseling. For other students, the summer is an opportunity to rotate at a genetics clinic near their home.

Clinical rotations begin in the second term of the program and are required throughout. These rotations provide a critical opportunity for students to learn directly about genetic conditions and their impact on individuals and families and to receive an introduction to the breadth of services and variety of counselor responsibilities. Students are required to pass a written departmental comprehensive exam and complete a thesis project.

Read more about the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program.

Student Handbook

View the Department of Health, Behavior and Society's ScM Student Handbook.

An update on GRE requirements and COVID-19

The Department of Health, Behavior & Society recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic may significantly impede prospective students’ ability to complete standardized testing requirements. To help address the unique challenges the pandemic has presented, the Department of Health, Behavior & Society has opted to alter our policy requiring GRE scores for applicants to the 2021-2022 academic year.

For prospective students applying to all HBS academic programs for the 2021-2022 academic year, GRE scores will be optional, but highly recommended. We encourage applicants with existing GRE scores to include them as part of their applications. However, applications will still be reviewed without GRE scores. 

Applicants may submit GRE scores to JHSPH using the SOPHAS code 3738.

For additional questions related to admissions requirements and applications, please contact L. Robin Newcomb (