Establishing a New Program
Applying for New Program Accreditation is a process initiated by the sponsoring institution in conjunction with the proposed program. The ACGC accredits qualified, Masters-level genetic counseling training programs located within institutions chartered by and physically located within the United States and Canada. ACGC recommends that all universities and/or institutions who are considering developing a master’s degree in genetic counseling become familiar with the Standards of Accreditation and the Practice Based Competencies as a first step in understanding the components of an accredited program.
Sponsoring institutions must be accredited by, and in good standing with, a recognized regional accrediting agency in the United States or approved by the Canadian Ministry of Education and must be authorized by that agency to confer upon graduates of the Genetic Counseling program a graduate degree. Institutions considering developing a program may wish to contact the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors (AGCPD). AGCPD is a membership association for program directors of accredited master’s degree programs and those looking to develop a new program, and has a membership category for individuals developing a program.
The required application materials enable the ACGC to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the developing program’s proposed structure and educational plan to determine if these should enable it to comply with the Standards. New program accreditation is a two-step application process including the Application for Candidacy followed by the New Program Application for Accreditation.
STEP ONE: CANDIDACY
Prospective programs and institutions must submit an Application for Candidacy. Upon approval, the proposed program becomes an ACGC Candidate. Achieving Candidate status does not mean that the proposed program will become accredited, but means it is progressing towards accreditation.
Fee: A $2,500 non-refundable fee must be paid upon submission of the Application for Candidacy.
Submission Deadline: An Application for Candidacy may be submitted at any time.
Materials for Submission: A complete Application for Candidacy.
Review Timeline: ACGC will respond to the Application for Candidacy within 6 weeks from the date of receipt. At this time, the sponsoring institution may receive Candidate status, or a request for additional information may be made before a decision can be rendered. The time for first response is not equivalent to the timeline for approval.
If the Application for Candidacy is insufficient, the sponsoring institution will be notified of the issues to be addressed. The institution will have 60 days to respond and submit requested materials/information. If the institution does not fully address all issues raised in the initial ACGC review, the Application for Candidacy will be considered abandoned and a new Application for Candidacy must then be submitted to reinitiate Step One of the process of new program accreditation.
STEP TWO: NEW PROGRAM ACCREDITATION
Once a proposed program becomes an ACGC Candidate, the proposed program is invited to submit a New Program Application for Accreditation. New Program Applications will be accepted twice per year (January 15 and May 15) and a maximum of three applications will be reviewed in each cycle.
New Program Application reviews that have been scheduled and review slots still available are indicated in the table below.
|Application Deadline||Scheduled Reviews||Available Review Slots|
|May 15, 2019||University of California, Los Angeles||2|
|January 15, 2020||None||3|
|May 15, 2020||None||3|
|January 15, 2021||None||3|
|May 15, 2021||None||3|
|January 15, 2022||None||3|
|May 15, 2022||None||3|
Fee: A $4,500 fee is due at the time of submission.
Submission Deadline: At the time a Candidate is invited to submit a New Program Application, they will be notified of the dates for the next three review cycles with an opening. Programs must select one of the three review cycle dates provided. Space in the cycle will not be considered reserved until the $4,500 fee is received by ACGC.
Materials for Submission: A complete New Program Application for Accreditation. The tables for appendices can be found here. Include both forms when submitting the application. Please use the ACGC biosketch template in place of a Curriculum Vitae (CV).
Review Timeline: Proposed programs reviewed in the January 15 cycle will receive their first response from ACGC by April 1. Proposed programs reviewed in the May 15 cycle will receive the first response by August 1. First response is not equivalent to approval. The majority of New Program Applications go through more than one round of review prior to receiving a final accreditation decision. The overall review timeline for this step is dependent on the quality of the application, the time taken by proposed programs to respond to requests for additional information, and the number of communications required between the board and the proposed program. The average time for a final accreditation decision on a New Program Application is 8-12 months, however, ACGC does not guarantee an accreditation decision by any specific date.
Request for change in review cycle: Once a review cycle date has been selected and reserved, proposed programs may file a written request to change their review cycles. Requests must be accompanied by a fee as outlined below and are subject to availability:
- Less than three months prior to application deadline: $1,000
- Three to six months prior to application deadline: $500
- More than seven months prior to application deadline: $250
Any program that fails to submit a completed New Program Application by its review cycle date, or a written request to change review cycles, will forfeit any and all fees paid and will have its Candidacy status removed. A new Application for Candidacy and fee would then be required if the program wishes to continue working towards accreditation.
A program achieving Accredited New Program accreditation may admit students, who, upon successfully completing their degree, will be deemed to have graduated from an ACGC-accredited program.
A program whose application for Accredited New Program accreditation is subject to a final denial decision may re-apply as a new program no sooner than six months from the original date of reconsideration and/or appeal.
Please review the Accreditation Manual for complete information on the New Program Review policy.
These programs are not yet accredited by ACGC, but have demonstrated sufficient development to be invited to submit a New Program Application by achieving Candidacy status. Once a New Program Application is submitted, the average timeline to an accreditation decision is 8-12 months.