Future Learn course: What is Genetic Counselling

MSc (Med) Genetic Counselling Overview

Application Details for 2023

Frequently Asked Questions 

Genetic Counselling Programme

The Division of Human Genetics offers 6-month long semester courses in Medical Genetics and Principles of Genetic Counselling as stand-alone courses.  Students register as occasional students at UCT. These courses are NQF level 9 credit bearing courses and can contribute towards the full-time MMedSc Genetic Counselling degree, within a 4-year time period (subject to selection process).

These part-time courses are aimed at health-care professionals who want to broaden their knowledge about Medical Genetics and gain insight into the theory that supports the process of Genetic Counselling. The courses are taught by distance/online learning with contact time at UCT and formal assessments.

Candidates who hold a NQF level 8 qualification, that is acceptable to the Health Science Faculty of the University of Cape Town are eligible.  These degrees include an MBChB degree, BSc (Hons) or BA (Hons) equivalent in biological science, nursing, psychology, or social work.  Knowledge of genetics is essential, and participants may be required to write an entrance examination.  All applications from participants with other qualifications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Specialty of medicine involved with diagnosis, care and prevention of birth defects and genetic disorders.
Medical Genetics 1 (PTY5005F) 12 credits
        (Registration: December)
Medical Genetics 2 (PTY5006S) 12 credits
       (Registration: June)
Process of helping people understand and adapt to having/being at risk of a genetic condition.
Prin of Gen Couns: Coursework (PTY5003F) 10 credits
      (Registration: December)
Prin of Gen Couns: Appl learning (PTY5004S) 10 credits
      (Registration: June)

Candidates who are interested in a career as a Genetic Counsellor can apply for the 2-year full-time professional Master’s degree. Unlike the occasional courses, successful completion of this degree and meeting the HPCSA intern requirements, individuals are able to practice as Genetic Counsellors once they are registered with the HPCSA. The entry requirements are the same as for the occasional courses.

Other options

Candidates who are interested in research only, can conduct research on relevant topics to broaden or contribute to the field of Genetic Counselling and can enrol in our Masters by dissertation or PhD degrees.  Candidates who have a proven research record and the appropriate undergraduate degrees will be considered.


It needs to be noted that the courses and dissertation and PhD degrees do not equip participants to register or practice as Genetic Counsellors or Medical Geneticists Further information on the HPCSA Scope of Practice for Registered Genetic Counsellors can be found online.