Professional Studies in Dietetics-Future Education Model Master of Science (M.S.)
The Master's Degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences-Professional Studies in Dietetics (PSD) Specialization is a professional master's degree program, with a competency-based curriculum, offered through the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences. The program provides a total of 45 semester credit hours of didactic and supervised experiential learning during a 16-month period (three semesters and one summer) and prepares graduates for entry-level positions in the dietetic profession by providing didactic and supervised experiential learning in management, community nutrition, and medical nutrition therapy. The program culminates in a graduate degree and a verification statement leading to the ability to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionists.
In addition to becoming employed as a registered dietitian nutritionist, graduates are eligible for active membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and will be eligible to obtain the Licensed Medical Nutrition Therapist credential in the state of Nebraska and licensure or certification in all states regulating the practice of dietetics.
The program does not have a distance education component. Arrangements for preceptors and supervised experiential learning sites are established and maintained by the program.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences-Professional Studies in Dietetics Specialization has been granted accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040, Ext. 5400, as a demonstration program under the Future Education Model Accreditation standards. ACEND is the only accrediting agency for dietetics education recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE).
The mission of the Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences-Professional Studies in Dietetics Specialization is to produce a competent graduate with an integrated theoretical and experiential learning education who can utilize critical thinking and analytical skills to practice successfully as a registered dietitian nutritionist. The program will culminate in a master’s degree and will assist in meeting the need for dietitian nutritionists in both rural and urban areas in Nebraska and outside its borders.
Program Goals and Objectives
Goal 1: The program will prepare graduates to be competent and ready for practice as a registered dietitian nutritionist.
- At least 80% of program graduates complete program/degree requirements within 2 years (150% of program length).
- One hundred percent of program graduates 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 the first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
- Over a three-year period, a minimum of 90% of employers of program graduates who respond to the survey will rate graduates well-prepared for entry level practice.
- Over a five-year period, the first-time pass rate for the registration exam will be at least 80%.
Goal 2: The program will prepare graduates to meet the need for registered dietitian nutritionists in both rural and urban areas of Nebraska and will contribute to the number of registered dietitian nutritionists with graduate degrees in the state.
- Of graduates who seek employment, 100 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
- Over a three-year period, 80% or more of the program graduates will be employed in rural or urban areas of Nebraska.
Program outcomes data are available upon request. Please contact program director:
Requirements and Process for Becoming a Registered Dietitian via Completion of a Future Education Model Graduate Program
- Attain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college and meet the prerequisites and admission requirements for the future education model graduate degree program for which you are applying.
- Attain a graduate degree and verification statement from an ACEND-accredited future education model graduate degree program.
- Obtain a passing score on the Commission on Dietetic Registration examination for the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) credential.
- Follow state laws that regulate the practice of dietetics (laws that regulate dietitians/nutritionists can be found here.
Program Calendar and Schedule
The program will follow the University of Nebraska-Lincoln academic calendar for each semester and the summer (three-week pre-session, first five-week session and second five-week session). Students will receive all breaks as identified in the academic calendar. The program will begin on August 23, 2021 and end with graduation on December 16, 2022. Academic calendar details can be found here.
Program Courses and Supervised Experiential Learning
The Professional Studies in Dietetics Specialization is a 16-month program (three academic semesters and one summer) culminating in a master's degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences. Students will complete 45 semester credit hours and complete a minimum of 1260 supervised experiential learning hours.
Year 1 Fall Semester
NUTR 860 Health Behavior Theories and Approaches
NUTR 956 Community Nutrition
NUTR 859 Nutrition: A Focus on Life Stages
NUTR 986 Graduate Seminar
NUTR 875 Applied Dietetics Practice Concepts (Food Service Modules and Food Service Practicum)
Total: 12 credit hours and 170 hours of supervised experiential learning
Year 1 Spring Semester
NUTR 805 Research Methods
NUTR 952 Applied Clinical Nutrition
NUTR 976 Organization and Management in Community Nutrition and Health Promotion
NUTR 975 Supervised Experiential Practicum (Food Service Management and Community Nutrition)
Total: 12 credit hours and 375 hours of supervised experiential learning
Year 1 Summer
EDPS 859 Statistical Methods
NUTR 875 Applied Dietetic Practice Concepts (Counseling Modules and Counseling Practicum)
NUTR 975 Supervised Experiential Practicum (Research and Medical Nutrition Therapy)
Total: 9 credit hours and 270 hours of supervised experiential learning
Year 2 Fall Semester
NUTR 955 Applied Clinical Nutrition II
NUTR 975 Supervised Experiential Practicum (Research, Community Nutrition and Medical Nutrition Therapy)
Total: 12 credit hours and 445 hours of supervised experiential learning
45 semester credit hours
1260 hours of supervised experiential learning
Food Service Management, 190 hours
Community Nutrition, 450 hours
Medical Nutrition Therapy, 535 hours
Research, 85 hours
Application to this program
- Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university of college in the United States
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Grade of C (C- will not be accepted) or higher in the following required prerequisite courses:
General Chemistry with lab
Organic Chemistry with lab
General Biology with lab
Microbiology or Food Safety and Sanitation
Human Physiology or 2 semesters of a combined Anatomy-Physiology course
General or Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Nutrition
Food Science with lab or Food Preparation with lab
Advanced Nutrition or Nutrient Metabolism (300 or 400 level)
Two courses of Medical Nutrition Therapy
Not all prerequisite courses need to be completed at the time of application. However, completion of all prerequisites with a grade of C or higher will be required before program initiation. To request a review of existing or planned courses to determine equivalency, email the Program Director with the courses(s) in question with relevant syllabi attached.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores: No minimum GRE score is required to be accepted into the program. However, preference will be given to applicants with scores equal to or greater than a score of 140 for Verbal Reasoning, 144 for Quantitative Reasoning, and 3.0 for Analytical Writing. The GRE must have been completed within the last 10 years. Official scores for the GRE must be received for your application to be reviewed.
- The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), taken within the last two years, is required of all applicants for whom English is not their native language. Official scores from ETS for the TOEFL must be received for your application to be reviewed. A score of at least 550 (pBT) or 79 (iBT) is required. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln institution code is 6877.
- Three recommendation letters (two must be from a collegiate academic reference and one must be from a supervisor at a current or former place of employment).
- Meet recency of education requirements if applicable
Recency of Education Requirements
Additional courses in nutrition and the sciences are required to update a degree which was completed five or more years prior to the current application deadline. Before registering and completing the coursework, contact the program director to confirm that the courses used to meet recency of education requirements are acceptable.
Five to 10 years since degree was completed (Grades must be B- or higher)
- Three semester hours of medical nutrition therapy or clinical nutrition
- Three semester hours of human physiology
More than 10 years since degree was completed (Grades must be B- or higher)
- Three semester hours of medical nutrition therapy of clinical nutrition
- Three semester hours of physiology
- Three semester hours of advanced nutrition
The following documents are needed for a complete application:
- Application to Graduate School
- Personal statement
To be addressed in the personal statement (limit of 1000 words):
- Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
- What experiences have you had that have helped to prepare you for your career?
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
- What are your strengths and areas needing improvement?
- Any other information you consider important for the selection decision.
- Official GRE scores
- Unofficial (scanned) transcripts from each institution where courses were taken
- List of prerequisite courses with credit number and grade received for each
- Three recommendation letters. Two letters must be from a collegiate academic reference and one must be from a supervisor at a current or former place of employment.
Applications will be accepted through December 2, 2020. Applicants will be notified in January 2021 if they have been accepted to the program.
Estimated Costs to Student
The following is a list of some of the expenses incurred during the experience component of the program. As there are many variables that determine final program cost, expenses are at best only approximations of various expenses during the year.
Total tuition, without fees, for the 45-credit program is $15,345 for residents and $44,820 for non-residents. Tuition costs reflect the 2020-2021 tuition rates of $341.00 per graduate credit hour for residents and $996.00 per graduate credit hour for non-residents. In addition, you will need to pay approximately $1000.00 in university and facilities fees for the academic year.
Room and Board
Students provide their own living arrangements.
Students must have a car and auto insurance. All transportation to meetings and rotation assignments will be at the student's own expense. Some experiences will be completed in Omaha, and students will need in incur associated gas costs.
Tuition/Application Fee to Graduate College
There is a $50.00 application fee for admission to the Graduate College.
Lab coats or Approved Scrubs
Students provide their own lab coats or approved scrubs (if required). Students are expected to adhere to the appropriate dress code for each facility and to dress in a professional manner.
Food Handler's Permit
Students will be required to have a current food handler's permit, which can be obtained by successful completion of an online training program through the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department. Cost is $20.00.
Health insurance is required. Students are eligible for the University's Student Health Insurance Plan.
Criminal and Abuse Background Check
While not required for application, final admission to the program is dependent upon completing a criminal and abuse background check. The College of Education and Human Sciences contracts with an outside vendor to conduct criminal and abuse background checks for incoming UNL students. Students are responsible for the cost of this process; current cost is $33.17. The results of the checks will be maintained in the student’s file. If the criminal and abuse background checks reveal questionable information, a student may be denied direct patient/client access in facilities. This could result in unsuccessful completion of the program.
Professional Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is required and will be provided by the internship program.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Membership
Students are required to become student members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The $58.00 membership fee includes membership in the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Upon successful completion of the program. Cost: $200.00.
Financial Aid and Loan Deferment
Students are full-time students each semester and during the summer. Consequently, students are eligible to apply for financial aid and qualify for loan deferments every semester and during the summer. Students who need to borrow funds for college expenses should inquire at the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, 102 Canfield Administration Building, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0411, (402) 472-2030.
Ruby Linn Fellowship
The Ruby Linn Fellowship is awarded to all students at the beginning of the program. The fellowship amount varies each year depending on fund availability.START THE APPLICATION PROCESS AT GRADUATE STUDIES
To earn the Master of Nutrition and Health Sciences-Professional Studies in Dietetics Specialization Degree and verification statement, the student must:
- Complete all graduate courses and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Complete all supervised experiential learning hours and demonstrate attainment of all accreditation competencies as documented by specific assessment method for each competency
- Perform in a professional and ethical manner