FAQ's

Prerequisite Courses

  • For the embryology course requirement would the clinical embryology course offered online by the University of Cincinnati be accepted? The University of Cincinnati provides a letter with the grade upon completion of the course, not a transcript.

Yes, we accept the online course in Clinical Embryology offered by the University of Cincinnati. In your uApply application, you could upload the registration letter or the final grade letter as a transcript for this course.

  • What type of psychology courses do I need to have taken?

Any two psychology courses at 100- or 200-level, basic/introductory or specialized psychology courses would meet the requirement. Each course must be equivalent to one semester of a university course. If your university degree program does not offer or allow you to take psychology courses, we will accept an online course, as long as it is granted from an accredited institution of higher learning, such as Athabasca University (www.athabascau.ca) or Oxford University (www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/online-courses). The student must be graded by a professor and this grade must be shown on a transcript or other type of certificate along with the course credits. MOOCs (massive open online courses) are not acceptable to meet course requirements.

  • The list mentions advanced genetics as a requirement. What qualifies as an advanced genetics course?

A 300-level (3rd-year) or above – anything that builds on your 2nd year Molecular and Medical Genetics course.

  • At the time of the application deadline, some prerequisite courses in my application are still in progress. Will this affect my ability to gain admission into the program? Is there a preference for the completion of required courses before the application deadline?

As long as a student can demonstrate that they are registered for one of the courses at the time of the application deadline, this can count as eligible and the file will be considered and reviewed by the admissions committee.

  • Will you still review my application if I am missing a prerequisite course?

If you are missing a prerequisite course, your application will not be reviewed by the admissions committee. If you are an undergraduate student and are registered to take a prerequisite course in your final semester, we will need to see evidence of enrollment in order to review your application. You may need to upload a current version of your transcript after the application deadline in January.

  • How important is it to have completed the required courses within 5 years of applying?

As long as you have continued to study or work in a related field, the courses you have taken would still be considered relevant. If you have been away from this area of study/work for several years, then taking an upper-level human genetics course to become current again would be recommended.

  • Do students need to complete Bachelor of Science degree to be considered for the program?

You do not need to have a Bachelor of Science degree to apply to the Program. A Bachelor of Arts or other degree is acceptable, provided you have met all of the prerequisite courses. Keep in mind, however, that some of these build on previous courses. (For example, advanced genetics courses are 3rd year courses that build on 2nd year basic genetics, which itself builds on 1st year general biology. Biochemistry is often a 3rd year course for which 2nd year organic chemistry is required, which itself builds on 1st year chemistry.) Moreover, you will be applying for graduate studies in Human Genetics, so the more upper level science courses you have, the better your preparation will be.

  • Does the program accept persons who do not hold Canadian citizenship status?

Yes, in theory, but it is rare for international applicants to be admitted. The main reasons are the competitiveness of the program and the fact that most of our patients speak French in Montreal. Each year the program receives about 100 applications and but has only 5 spots, of which 4 out of the 5 are dedicated for students who are bilingual English-French. It can be very challenging for candidates from different educational and national backgrounds to meet the requirements.

  • How important is to be bilingual in French and English?

Since most of the patients in Montreal are French speaking, 4 out of 5 spots available every year for admission to our program are dedicated for applicants who can speak French at (or close to) the bilingual level. This element of an application is taken into consideration is selecting candidates for interview. A small part of the interview is conducted in French to assess candidates’ speaking abilities.

  • Is the graduate record exam (GRE) an entry requirement?

Not for our program.

 

Counselling Volunteer Experience

  • How important is it to have volunteer and counselling experience?

One-on-one volunteer counselling experience with adults, ideally in a crisis setting, is required for consideration by the McGill Genetic Counselling Program. Volunteering with or shadowing genetic counsellors in clinical or research settings can enhance an already strong application but is not required. Examples of acceptable counselling volunteer settings include sexual assault centers, distress telephone support lines, support centers for addictions, eating disorders, LGBTQ+ issues or bereavement, drop-in counselling centers for university students, and support lines via texting services. Telephone counselling is just as acceptable as in-person counselling. In general, the organization should require that volunteers undertake a training that typically involves live teaching sessions, discussions, readings and role plays; these often add up to at least 35 hours and are evidence that the roles volunteers will be taking on are more meaningful and representative of future genetic counselling roles than are information-giving roles.

 

Program Competitiveness

  • How competitive is admission to the Program?

The Program is highly competitive. We receive about 100 applications but can accept only 5 students each year. For an application to be considered, all the prerequisite courses must be present on the transcripts, volunteer experience is essential, and candidates must have a minimum CGPA of 3.2 out of 4, or 3.4 out of 4 in the last 2 years of full-time study. Following the first round of review, 20 candidates are offered an interview. While many candidates apply directly after their undergraduate program, a number apply following an MSc or other professional work and a few with PhDs are seeking to change their career. What is considered by the admissions committee, however, is overall preparedness and fit for the genetic counselling role, no matter the age or the degrees of the applicant.

  • Will interviews be in person or by Zoom in 2022?

Interviews in 2022 will be held virtually. Candidates wishing to visit our program may do so after the NMS ranking deadline of April 13, 2022. Further information on this option will be posted later.

  • Can acceptances be deferred?

No, we cannot allow deferrals of acceptance. The program participates in the National Matching Service. The GC Admissions Match has been established to enhance the process of placing applicants into positions in masters-level genetic counseling programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). Please note that turning down an acceptance after Match Day might result in an ineligibility to apply in future years.

  • Are there any possibilities of students receiving scholarships (or stipends from professors) as they do in other types of MSc programs?

You can certainly apply for scholarships, but there is no stipend option from professors as the program is not research based but clinical in nature. Regarding funding opportunities, visit:https://www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/funding and https://www.mcgill.ca/studentaid/scholarships-aid.

  • Could you please connect me to one of the current MSc in Genetic Counseling students so I can understand a day in the life of a student and ask a few questions?

We cannot provide the contact information for one of our students. However, you may contact the Program Director, Jennifer Fitzpatrick, at jennifer.fitzpatrick [at] mcgill.ca to discuss the options.

  • Does the Program offer assistance with job opportunities after graduation?

Yes, we certainly do. But students rarely need this, as there are currently more job openings than there are genetic counselling graduates.

 

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