Genetic Counseling Training Program


The Genetic Counseling Training Program offers two tracks:

The Master of Science degree in Genetic Counseling is either a a two-year or three-year academic program comprised of didactic coursework, laboratory exposure, research experience and extensive clinical training. The 21-month track is for students who complete the program as a full-time student, devoting 5 days a week to the genetic counseling program. The 33- month track is reserved for students who may need a part-time track due to family obligations, work obligations, or disability. Students in the 33-month track are typically expected to devote 2.5 days a week to the genetic counseling program.

The dual degree program provides a comprehensive curriculum integrating foundational principles of genetics and bioethics. The goal of the program is to train Genetic Counselors who wish to apply additional Bioethics expertise into their clinical practice and/or research.

Fast Facts

  1. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling since 1998. Reaccredited in 2018 for 8 years.
  2. Accepts 9 students per year for the 21-month program. Accepts 2 students per year for the 33-month program.
  3. Students who match with the genetic counseling program have until the end of their first year to decide if they would like to pursue the dual degree program.
  4. 117 graduates from 2000 to 2023.
  5. Attrition rate for past 10 years is 0.
  6. 97% overall pass rate (n=112/115) on the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) certification examination.
    • Most recent 3-year first time pass rate is 82% (n=18/22)
    • Overall, first time pass rate is 92% (n=106/115)
    • National average first time pass rate = 82%
  7. 100% of our graduates have been employed as genetic counselors within 3-4 months of graduation, with most employed prior to graduation.


The mission of the Genetic Counseling Training Program is to prepare students with the appropriate knowledge and experiences to function as competent and empathetic genetic counselors in a wide range of settings and roles. With unprecedented advances in our understanding of the genetic and molecular control of gene expression and development, and in our ability to apply this knowledge clinically, the program strives to train students who can interface between patients, clinicians, laboratories, and molecular and human geneticists. Students gain insightful and multifaceted skills that will enable them to be effective genetic counselors, aware of the many new technical advances and often-difficult ethical, legal and social issues that have surfaced in light of the continuous advances in the field. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work in a variety of settings including both adult and pediatric genetics clinics, specialty clinics such as cancer genetics, cardiovascular genetics, and metabolic clinics, and prenatal diagnosis clinics, as well as in areas of research, clinical laboratory, or commercial genetics laboratories relevant to genetic counseling and human genetics.

Diversity Statement

The Genetic Counseling Training Program supports and upholds CWRU’s commitment to diversity. Case Western Reserve University aspires to be an inclusive environment, believing that the creative energy and variety of insights that result from diversity are a vital component of the intellectual rigor and social fabric of the university. As a scholarly community, Case Western Reserve is inclusive of people of all racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, national and international backgrounds, welcoming diversity of thought, pedagogy, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, political affiliation and ability. We believe in a culture of inclusion that encourages relationships and interactions among people of different backgrounds, a culture that enhances human dignity, actively diminishes prejudice and discrimination and improves the quality of life for everyone in our community.


A unique aspect of the Genetic Counseling Training Program is that it is housed within Case Western Reserve's Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, which is internationally known for both its clinical expertise and cutting-edge research in molecular genetics, model organisms and human genetics. The Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at CWRU provides an interface between human and medical genetics with basic genetics and provides an exciting atmosphere in which to learn and develop professionally. The direct access to both clinical resources and advanced technologies in human and model organisms affords students with an unparalleled environment for achievement.

The Graduate Program in Genetics in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences provides an interactive and collaborative environment for both pre-doctoral (genetic counseling and PhD students) and post-doctoral trainees to come together in a collegial atmosphere. By fostering interactions between all trainees in genetic counseling, medical genetics, clinical laboratory, and basic research at an early stage of their careers, graduates will become well- rounded professionals with an understanding of the importance of both clinical and basic research endeavors. Moreover, such resources as the Department of Biomedical Ethics, the Bioethics Center for Community Health and Genomic Equity, the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, and the Law-Medicine Center provide an enriched learning experience for students.

The program, co-directed by Rebecca Darrah, PhD and Michelle Merrill, MS, is an integral component of the teaching and research programs in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at CWRU under the overall leadership of Zhenghe Wang, PhD, chairman of the department. Program leadership also includes Monica Nardini, MS, Associate Director and coordinator of clinical training, the program's medical director, Anna Mitchell, MD, PhD, who is Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences and Medical Director of the Center for Human Genetics, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Aaron Goldenberg, PhD, Director of Research and Associate Professor of Bioethics and Genetics & Genome Sciences. The dual degree track in Genetic Counseling and Bioethics is co-directed by Drs. Rebecca Darrah and Aaron Goldenberg..

The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC) and graduates of the program are eligible to apply for Active Candidate Status and sit for the American Board of Genetic Counseling certification examination. We are extremely proud of our pass rate for graduates who sat for the ABGC examination.