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 (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, cancer) has expanded the reach of genetics to include the entire population, there are great opportunities and complex challenges for genetic counseling, medical genetics and public health. Graduates of the M.P.H./M.S. dual-degree program will have a sophisticated understanding of these issues.

The University of Michigan (UM) program is available through the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) in the School of Public Health (SPH) and the Genetic Counseling Program (GCP), Department of Human Genetics (DHG) in the Medical School. It unites the following goals:

This program unites the following goals:

  • Promote health, prevent disease, and manage chronic illness.
  • Understand the genetic basis of common complex diseases.
  • Help individuals and families understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease.
  • Understand the impact of genetics on health.
  • Guide the evolving practice of genomic medicine and public health genomics.

Career Opportunities: The M.P.H./M.S. dual-degree is a novel, integrated and interdisciplinary training program unique to UM. 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. Students will have some flexibility in the sequencing of their program, which will be designed in consultation with the program directors. They will typically spend the 1st and 2nd year completing one year of training toward their public health degree and one year toward their genetic counseling degree. In the 3rd year, they combine training in genetic counseling and public health. Students will be able to develop a strong sense of community in both schools. The program includes academic coursework, an individual research project, and practical experience in genetic counseling and public health. Students are required to complete course work in each discipline.  The curriculum fulfills degree requirements, as mandated by the accrediting bodies, for genetic counseling (Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling) and public health (Council on Education for Public Health).

Applying: Prospective students interested in the M.P.H./M.S. Genetic Counseling 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.P.H./M.S. dual-degree program. Acceptance in one program does not guarantee acceptance in the other.

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

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 coverage for all students and tuition stipends for select students). These forms of support will also be available to M.P.H./M.S.students.

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