Dietetics M.S.D.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Master's Degree.

Overview

The Master of Science in Dietetics (M.S.D.) Program, housed in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences under the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont, is a 30-hour graduate credit degree that includes didactic coursework, an evidence-based practice project, and supervised practice experience culminating in student eligibility to write the exam for registered dietitians. Since its inception in 2007, the M.S.D. Program has maintained a 100% pass rate on the first attempt at sitting for the exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

The mission of the M.S.D. is to prepare and educate graduate students who will successfully function as entry-level dietitians with specialized knowledge of and ability to apply the principles of sustainable food systems across all professional practice settings. Students will also develop competence in research methodology. Students will take graduate level courses throughout the University of Vermont as well as advanced nutrition courses offered in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. For more information about the program, please visit the Dietetics website.

The Master of Science in Dietetics is accredited by:

Accreditation Council for Education and Dietetics (ACEND)
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
312-899-0040, extension 5400

More information about ACEND and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is available at their websites.

Following completion of the supervised practice experience and all requirements for the M.S.D., students will be issued a verification statement of completion of the program and will be eligible to write the exam for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission for the Degree of Master of Science in Dietetics

Minimum GPA of 3.00 in college-level courses with an overall science GPA of 2.50 in required courses with no required science grade less than 2.00. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Exam, general (aptitude) portion. The application deadline is mid-February. For a specific date, as well as prerequisite admission requirements for the two-year and three-year programs, please visit the Dietetics webpage.

Didactic Curriculum

The M.S.D. Program provides three tracks for entrance into the program to accommodate the needs of a variety of students including those interested in remaining in Vermont and those who do not have all the requirements to directly enter a dietetic internship or supervised practice.

  • Track One is for students who have completed a Didactic Program in Dietetics and have obtained a verification statement from an accredited program (these students would also be eligible to apply for any dietetic internship).
  • Track Two is for students in the third year of the dietetics major at the University of Vermont who are interested in completing their dietetics major and then remaining at the University of Vermont to obtain a master’s degree with supervised practice (these students would be assured of a position during their junior year but would need to apply to the Graduate College in their senior year and would successfully complete the dietetics major and receive a verification statement).
  • Track Three is for students who have a baccalaureate (B.A. or B.S.) degree in areas other than dietetics or nutrition or have a dietetics or nutrition degree that is more than five years old (these students would need to complete a set of prerequisite courses prior to applying to the program).

The M.S.D. committee strongly believes that there is a set of requisite knowledge and skills necessary prior to entering the M.S.D. This requisite knowledge is obtained through the receipt of a verification statement or through prerequisite course work and individual transcript and work experience evaluation. Further description of each track, the entrance requirements, curriculum requirements, sample course work schedules, and application procedures can be found on the M.S.D. website.

Minimum Degree Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Dietetics

Satisfactory completion of thirty credits of graduate-level courses including research methods, statistics, evidence-based research project, ethics, and dietetics practice in addition to all supervised practice requirements.

Supervised Practice Experiences

The supervised practice portion of the curriculum is integrated with graduate course work. During the two semesters of supervised practice experience, NFS 311 Dietetics Practice I and NFS 312 Dietetics Practice II are coordinated so that class time is 5-6 hours per week on Monday, and the reminder of the week (Tuesday – Friday) is spent in supervised practice settings  (for a total of at least 32 hours/week).

Between NFS 311 and NFS 312 (at least 150 hours) and the supervised practice (1248 hours) the M.S.D. Program exceeds the 1200-hour requirement established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

The program also includes approximately 40 hours of orientation to the M.S.D. Program and supervised practice experience. All students will complete 15 weeks in clinical rotations, seven weeks in foodservice management rotations, and 15 weeks in community rotations, including three weeks in a school nutrition program. After completing all rotations, students will select a rotation of their choice for further skill and knowledge development (staff relief). The staff relief rotation must be a minimum of two weeks but it can be longer if a student desires and the preceptor agrees.

Community Health and Nutrition Concentration

The M.S.D. Program will prepare entry-level dietetics practitioners with a concentration in community health and nutrition. The program concentration will prepare students to incorporate, promote and support the principles of sustainable food systems across all areas of professional practice.  The sustainable food system thread will be embedded in the curriculum and highlighted throughout the supervised practice experiences. Another priority of the M.S.D. Program is to develop entry-level RDN practitioners with advanced knowledge of food and nutrition assistance programs and supportive services available in communities, and skills in providing seamless nutrition care for all individuals, including patients/clients transitioning from the inpatient/rehab setting to their homes.

Graduation Completion Requirements

M.S.D. students must successfully complete all coursework, the comprehensive exam, supervised practice rotations, and the evidenced-based community project in order to receive the M.S.D. degree and verification statement of eligibility to write the exam for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

Comprehensive Examination

Candidates will defend an oral comprehensive exam during their 3rd semester of the M.S.D. Program. The exam will test the candidate's ability to develop systems based solutions to practice problems in all areas of dietetic practice.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Science in Dietetics

Completion of requirements as outlined in program description.