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Nutrition Science (M.S), Dietetics Track

Graduate
  • Master's

About this Program

The dietetics track is your first step to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

Program Overview

Tuition & Fees

The dietetics track under the nutrition science M.S. program is designed to provide you with the advanced education and supervised experiential learning experience to be eligible to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) examination to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). The curriculum is based upon the competencies established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the largest organization of nutrition and dietetics professionals in the world.

Our program provides a foundation in nutritional biochemistry, pathophysiology and pharmacology, nutritional genomics, global health and nutrition, and sustainable food systems. You will learn the principles of developing interventions to address the nutritional wellness needs of individuals and communities.

The program totals 42 credits. Coursework includes program planning, management and evaluation, health communication, motivational counseling, medical nutrition therapy and more. The second year of the program includes supervised experiential learning in professional work settingshospitals, foodservice operations and community agenciesculminating in the completion of a non-thesis project.

Admission requirements to the Hood College nutrition science M.S. program include the following:

A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above and a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics.

or

A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above and completion of the following prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better: chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, human nutrition, food preparation, food science, life cycle nutrition, quantity foods or a food systems management course.

Click here to learn more about the application process.

Supervised Experiential Learning

ACEND requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised experiential learning with a minimum of 700 hours in professional work settings. Supervised experiential learning is provided throughout the curriculum via case studies, simulation, a graduate research project and other course projects.

In the last three semesters of the program, students take a dietetics clerkship course and are placed at various professional work settings for supervised experiential learning (SEL) in clinical, foodservice systems management and community/public health nutrition. Typically, students will be at their SEL site from Tuesday through Friday with Mondays reserved for classes.

Program Completion Requirements  

Students who complete each of the following requirements will earn a Master’s of Science and be granted a verification statement that will allow them to take the CDR registration examination to become an RDN.

  • Successfully pass each of the required graduate courses with a grade of C or better and earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Achieve all of the ACEND competencies.
  • Complete at least 1,000 hours of supervised experiential learning.
  • Complete an exit interview with the program director.

Academic  Calendar

The graduate coursework component of the program will follow the academic calendar of Hood College. When students are placed at supervised experiential learning sites during the last three semesters of the program, they will observe the working hours and calendar of the preceptor with whom they are placed.

Click here for the current academic calendar.

Cost to Students

Tuition for the program will be assessed according to Hood College guidelines here.

Additional costs that students may incur include:

  • Application fee: $50
  • Textbooks:$500-$1,000/semester
  • ServSafe certification (if not already certified): $150
  • Lab coats worn at some experiential learning sites: $100
  • Slip-resistant close-toed shoes: $65
  • Student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: $58
  • Costs for criminal background checks and drug tests: $100-150        
  • Medical exams and required immunizations: $100-150
  • Attendance at state meeting: $75
  • Attendance at Public Policy Workshop: $100
  • Automobile insurance: $1,000
  • Professional liability insurance: $75
  • RDN exam review course: $300
  • Travel to supervised experiential learning sites: Varies
  • Housing costs: Varies

Availability of Financial Aid

As fully matriculated graduate students, you may defer payment on undergraduate student loans and apply for financial aid through the Hood College Office of Financial Aid. For more information on funding your graduate education, click here.

 

Program Mission

To prepare competent entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to be culturally sensitive practitioners who use an evidence-based approach to practice and promote the health and wellness of individuals and families who make up the diverse global community.

Goal 1: Graduates will be competent entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who are culturally sensitive and provide health and nutrition services to diverse communities.

  • At least 80% of program graduates will complete program/degree requirements within three years (150% of the program length).
  • 80% of program graduates will take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
  • Of graduates who seek employment, 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • 80% of employers will respond “agree” to “strongly agree” that graduates are well prepared for entry level positions in the field of dietetics/nutrition.
  • 80% of employers will respond “agree” to “strongly agree” that graduates are culturally sensitive in their interactions with patients, clients, staff and the public.
  • 80% of program graduates will respond “agree” to “strongly agree” that they were well prepared for entry level positions in the field of dietetics/nutrition.
  • 80% of program graduates will respond “agree” to “strongly agree” that they were well prepared to deliver culturally sensitive nutrition services to diverse communities.

Goal 2:  Graduates will use an evidence-based approach to deliver nutrition services in the community.

  • 80% of employers will respond “agree” to “strongly agree” that graduates use an evidence-based approach to practice.
  • 80% of program graduates will respond “agree” to “strongly agree” that they were well prepared to deliver evidence-based nutrition services.

Program outcomes data are available upon request.

The Hood College nutrition science M.S. program is a "future graduate demonstration program" under the "future education model" of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

The program has been granted candidacy accreditation status by ACEND.

To become an RDN, you have a variety of choices. 

Until 2024, you must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited college or university and must complete an ACEND-accredited undergraduate or graduate Coordinated Program (CP), or a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), followed by an accredited supervised practice program.

After 2024, a master's degree will be required to take the CDR registration examination. Individuals may complete a "future graduate program" such as the Hood College program or an ACEND-accredited graduate "coordinated program." Alternatively, you may complete an ACEND-accredited DPD program, followed by an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program and a master’s degree program. The master’s degree can be in any subject.

After completion of the academic and supervised experiential learning hours, students who earn a verification statement are eligible to take the registration examination for RDNs. Once you successfully pass the exam, the RDN credential is conferred. To maintain the credential, RDNs must complete 75 hours of continuing professional education every five years. A visual depiction of the routes to registration after 2024 can be found here.

State Licensure

Many states require that individuals who practice nutrition and dietetics hold a license or a certificate granted by the state in which they practice. Typically, ACEND-accredited programs fulfill the requirements for licensure and individuals with the RDN credential are able to apply for a license, pay associated fees and submit documentation of their education and training to be granted a license. However, as each state has different requirements, you must check the laws in the state in which you plan to practice.

This link provides a map that indicates the type of state regulation required for nutrition and dietetics practitioners across the United States: https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure

The state of Maryland requires nutrition and dietetics practitioners to be licensed by the state. For more information about Maryland licensure: https://health.maryland.gov/dietetic/Pages/Index.aspx   

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11% growth for nutritionist and dietitian jobs by 2030, faster than the national average.

Top-Level Credentials

Our Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited program equips you with expert training as prioritized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society of Nutrition.

Local Connection

Frederick Health, Frederick County Public Schools, Adventist HealthCare and Kaiser Permanente are among numerous regional organizations that actively recruit dietitians and nutritionists.

Program Contact

Anne Davis

Program Director, Nutrition Science

Phone
301-696-3299
Nick Masucci

Nick Masucci

Assistant Director of Graduate Admission

Phone
Office: 301-696-3601 Cell/WhatsApp: 240-651-4015