COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

What will I learn?

Our M.S. program in human genetics prepares students for careers in research and teaching by developing their knowledge of the field and skills in laboratory techniques as well as writing, critical thinking, data interpretation, study design, and literature research. Many who graduate from our M.S. program work in academic, governmental or industrial research laboratories or teach at the high school or college level. Additionally, many of our graduates further their training by completing doctoral or other advanced degrees at VCU or other leading research-based institutions.

The M.S. degree requires at least two years of study for students entering with a B.S. or B.A. degree, and must be completed within five years.

Students working toward the M.S. degree focus on their coursework during the first year and then primarily focus on their original research project during the second year, although students enroll in courses and perform laboratory research during both years of M.S. training. Each student must conduct an original investigation under the supervision of an adviser, prepare a thesis reporting the results of their research project and analyze its significance in relation to existing scientific knowledge. Students are expected to develop knowledge of their chosen area of inquiry and a mastery of laboratory research skills to a level that makes them competitive for additional graduate training, a career in laboratory research, or a career in teaching.

Concentrations available

  • Genomic Data Science
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics


M.S. students in Human Genetics are trained to integrate existing fundamental knowledge with their own creative, novel research findings. The M.S. in Human Genetics curriculum helps students develop a solid background in the biomedical sciences through coursework in biochemistry, cell biology, statistics and scientific integrity. Additionally, students develop a broad knowledge base in the field of human genetics through introductory and advanced coursework that covers Mendelian genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, statistical genetics, genomics, disease pathogenesis and the study of complex disorders. A one credit course in clinical genetics is also part of the curriculum. Students also take two electives within their specific discipline of study and participate in journal clubs and seminars to learn to critically read the original scientific literature as well as develop skills in oral communication. To help students get started in the research component of their training, students perform small research projects during rotations in laboratories during their first year. Students choose a laboratory and a mentor for their M.S. research based on their rotations and then continue training with that mentor until completion of their thesis research project.

Which department am I in?

School of Medicine

Study options

Full Time (At least two years)

Tuition fees
US$24,741.00 per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

Expected August 2021


School of Medicine

VCU Medical Center,

1201 E Marshall St,



23298, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants for admission to VCU graduate programs must hold the academic equivalent of a U.S. baccalaureate degree from an accredited university.

For international students

Applicants to our M.S. program must have earned a baccalaureate (i.e. bachelor’s) degree (or its equivalent) in the biological, chemical or related sciences by the time of enrollment. Successful applicants will have completed undergraduate courses in biology, chemistry through organic chemistry, genetics and mathematics through calculus. Typically, we target applicants with previous grade point averages of at least 3.0, verbal and quantitative GRE scores at the 45th percentile or higher, and at least some research experience.

International applicants must have demonstrated an acceptable level of English proficiency by achieving a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL or 6.5 on the IELTS. The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 (paper-based). The PTE is also accepted with a minimum score of 65. Deadline: Fall - May 1.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About this uni

Virginia Commonwealth University is a top 100 research university and number one public postgraduate arts school in the US.

  • VCU is one of the top 3 research universities in Virginia
  • 21% growth in sponsored awards in a 10-year period
  • 1,600 international students from 108 countries
  • 173-acre campus in downtown Richmond