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Frequently Asked Questions

If I earn an MS degree in Human Genetics, what are my career options?

Our graduates enter diverse career trajectories, with many taking positions as researchers in laboratories associated with academic institutions, medical centers, or private research organizations. Others go on to pursue advanced degrees (PhDs, MDs, etc.). 

The American Society of Human Genetics maintains a flowchart of the diverse and growing list of careers within the field of genetics, organized by level of education.

If I apply to the PhD program but am not accepted, can my application materials then be considered for enrollment in the MS program?

Yes.  PhD applicants can be considered for the MS program.

I am a current MS student.  Can I transfer to the PhD program?

Yes, current MS (and MPH) students can apply for promotion to the PhD program.  After demonstrating a period of sustained good academic standing, MS students with the desire to pursue a PhD degree within the Department shall submit directly to the Office of Student Affairs a dossier containing (1) a cover letter/statement of purpose indicating the applicant's motivation for pursuing a doctorate in Human Genetics and justification for promotion to the doctoral program, and (2) at least two letters of recommendation from local mentors/professors who can comment on the applicant's recent academic and research performance. Internal applicants are strongly encouraged to have identified a willing research mentor prior to applying for promotion to the doctoral program.

My GPA is a little low, can I still apply?

Yes. Application materials are reviewed as a whole, so allowances can be made for otherwise strong candidates who may be weak in certain areas such as GPA in previous studies. Successful applicants will describe how these weaknesses have been overcome, for example, in supplemental coursework, subsequent degree programs, or on-the-job experiences.

My GRE scores are not above the 70th percentile, can I still apply?

Yes. Application materials are reviewed as a whole, so allowances can be made for otherwise strong candidates who do not quite meet these criteria. Successful applicants will demonstrate how any deficiencies in one area are counterbalanced by superb qualifications in other areas and will describe a plan for remedying any current deficits.

What should I include in my personal statement to the admissions review committee?

The personal statement provides an opportunity for the applicant to shape the narrative of his or her application.  It should address the following questions:  1) How have your experiences informed your decision to pursue a degree in Human Genetics?  2) What qualifications and experiences have prepared you to succeed in your graduate work?  3) Why you have chosen Pitt Public Health?  4) What do you seek to gain from your graduate studies and how does this align with future career goals?

Can I apply after the admissions deadline?

Possibly. Admissions are rolling, so it may be possible to consider applications that are submitted after the deadline. The limiting factor is the administrative work required to process applications, which is somewhat quicker for US citizens or permanent residents than for international applicants. We can try, but cannot guarantee applications will be considered after the deadline. It may be possible to begin classes as a non-degree student and to apply for admission for the next semester.




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