Dual Degree Programs

Master of  Science (M.S.) in Genetic Counseling / Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Purpose: The M.P.H./M.S. dual-degree program provides students with an innovative learning experience that includes academic training, research skill development, and clinical instruction focused on addressing issues that occur at the intersection of the fields of Health Behavior & Health Education and Genetic Counseling. Given that the genetic basis of common disease has expanded the reach of genetics to include the entire population, there are great opportunities and complex challenges for the fields of genetic counseling, medical genetics and genomics, and public health. Graduates of the M.S.-M.P.H. Dual Degree program will have a sophisticated understanding of these issues and will be poised to develop innovative solutions.

The program is available through the Genetic Counseling Program (GCP), Department of Human Genetics (DHG) in the Medical School, and the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) in the School of Public Health (SPH). The University of Michigan School of Public Health is currently ranked 5th in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

This program unites the following goals:

  • Help individuals and families understand and adapt to medical, psychological, and familial implications of genetic and genomic contributions to disease
  • Improve health and limit the impacts of disease for populations and individuals
  • Ensure health equity for all people
  • Understand the genetic/genomic basis of common complex diseases
  • Understand the impact of genetics and genomics on health
  • Guide the evolving practice of genetic medicine and public health genomics

Career Opportunities: The M.S.-M.P.H. Dual Degree is a novel, interdisciplinary training program unique to the University of Michigan. It is anticipated that graduates of this program will become “cross-trained” leaders in their professions who are able to work as both clinicians and public health professionals in academic, community, and industry settings.

Curriculum: A 3-year course of study provides students with academic, research, and clinical training. The program includes academic coursework, a thesis, and practical experiences in both genetic counseling and public health. Students have flexibility in the sequencing of their program, which is designed in consultation with the program directors. Typically, dual degree trainees spend the 1st year working in the genetic counseling program, the 2nd year in public health in the 3rd year, training in genetic counseling and public health is combined. The number of credit hours required to complete both degrees is less than the combined totals for both individual degrees due to content overlap between the two programs and the fact that electives are a required component of genetic counseling training. Dual degree students develop a strong sense of community in both schools.

The curriculum fulfills degree requirements, as mandated by the accrediting bodies, for genetic counseling (Accreditation Council of Genetic Counseling) and public health (Council on Education for Public Health).

Applying to the Dual Degree Program: Prospective students interested in the MS GC - MPH Dual Degree program will be required to meet each school’s entry requirements and standards of admission. Prospective students must apply separately to both the HBHE and GC programs, and be accepted into both in order to enroll in the M.S. - M.P.H. Dual Degree program. Acceptance in one program does not guarantee acceptance in the other.

Timeline for application (with admission for the Fall term):

  • Admission to the GCP is available through Rackham Graduate School, with a deadline of January 5, 2020
  • Admission to the MPH is available through SOPHAS, with a deadline of December 1, 2019. Check the HBHE application deadline for more details.

Financial Plan: At present, many students in HBHE-SPH receive financial support in the form of quarter, half and full scholarships, and students in GCP-DHG receive limited financial support (including health care/dental coverage for all students and selected tuition stipends). These forms of support will also be available to M.S. - M.P.H. students.

Additional Information: Those wishing for additional information on the M.S. - M.P.H. Dual Degree program should contact the program’s co-directors: Beverly Yashar, M.S., Ph.D. (Clinical Associate Professor in Human Genetics) at yashar@umich.edu and/or Scott Roberts, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor in Health Behavior & Health Education) at jscottr@umich.edu.

The Michigan campus is home to a wide variety of other academic programs that are relevant to the practice of genetic counseling and genomic medicine. Interested students can develop a student-initiated dual degree program that would allow them to pursue a novel interdisciplinary program, resulting in an M.S. in Genetic Counseling and a second graduate degree in the student's field of interest. Please speak directly with the Program Director if this option is of interest to you.