About this Program
The Hood College Nutrition and Dietetics Graduate 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 is designed to provide students with the 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 ACEND which is the independent accrediting arm of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy is the largest organization of nutrition and dietetics professionals in the world.
The Nutrition and Dietetics Graduate Program is a 42-credit program of graduate study and supervised experiential learning designed for individuals who wish to become Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists (RDN). RDNs work in a wide array of settings, ranging from hospitals and long-term care facilities, foodservice management settings like school lunch programs, community nutrition programs such as the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), public health departments and food banks, government agencies, research facilities, sports nutrition organizations, educational institutions and private practice.
The graduate coursework provides a foundation in nutritional biochemistry, pathophysiology and pharmacology, nutritional genomics and the microbiome, global health and nutrition and sustainable food systems and food security. Applied coursework in program planning, management and evaluation, health communication, nutrition status assessment and motivational counseling and medical nutrition therapy teaches the principles of developing interventions to address nutrition problems in individuals and communities. The second year of the program includes supervised experiential learning in professional work settings including hospitals, foodservice operations and community agencies and development of a non-thesis project.
The Hood College Nutrition and Dietetics Graduate Program has been granted candidacy accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (800) 877-1600 ext 5400 http://www.eatright.org/ACEND/
Becoming a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
To become an RDN, individuals have a variety of choices.
Until 2024, they 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, at least a Masters 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, or an ACEND-accredited DPD program, followed by an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program and a Masters 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 students 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.
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 and they will 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
Are you ready to go further?
Admission requirements to the Hood College Nutrition and Dietetics Graduate 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
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 Foodsystems Management course
To apply see the Hood College application procedures:
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 by way of 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 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 1000 hours of supervised experiential learning
Complete an exit interview with the program director
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.
Please find the current academic calendar here:
Cost to Students
Tuition for the program will be assessed according to Hood College guidelines that can be found here: https://www.hood.edu/graduate/admission/tuition-fees
Additional costs that students will incur include:
Application fee $50
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 Worshop $100
Automobile insurance $1000
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, students 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:
For additional information see the Office of Financial Aid website:
To prepare competent entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to be culturally sensitive practitioners who use an evidence-based approach to practice to promote the health and wellness of individuals and families that 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 3 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.