University of Vermont

Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Master of Science in Dietetics Program

The Master of Science in Dietetics (MSD) Program in the Department of Nutrition and Food 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 culminating in student eligibility to write the exam for registered dietitians.

The mission of the MSD program 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 community health and nutrition pracitcice settings. 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.

The University of Vermont (UVM) has a long-standing committment to food systems research and education with the belief that nutrition professionals must practice through a lens of sustainable food systems; that theme is embedded throughout the curriculum. The Community Health and Nutrition program concentration will prepare students to incorporate, promote and support the principles of sustainable food systems across all areas of professional practice.  Additionally, UVM faculty and students actively engage in many public health and community initiatives that support sustainable food systems and promote health, wellness, and disease prevention across the lifespan.

Further, UVM forms a strong alliance with the nationally renowned academic medical center, the University of Vermont Health Network, formerly known as Fletcher Allen Health Care.  Both institutions share the mission of providing advanced learning, training and development of students and practitioners of medicine and in the allied health fields. Students have access to the vast array of state-of-the-art resources including the medical library network, national medical data banks and renowned guest lecturer seminars.

The MSD program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312-899-0040 extension 5400.

Upon completion of the supervised practice and all requirements for the MSD, students will be issued a verification statement of completion of the program and will be eligible to write the exam for dietitians.

Didactic Curriculum

The MSD Program has three tracks for entrance into the program and is able to accommodates 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 experience.

Deadline for all application materials is in December each year, with decisions made in January, for acceptance the following fall semester. Specific dates are listed in each links to the Track I, II and III pdfs below.

Please note there are two (2) separate application processes:

1) Hard copy application to the Supervised Practice mailed to the MSD Program Director, Amy Nickerson

2) On-line application required for admittance into the Graduate College

Both of these application processes must be completed by the deadline for an application to be considered.

In addition, all applicants are required to interview on campus or via Skype/video conference prior to the final acceptance decisions. Contact Amy Nickerson, MSD Program Director, for more details regarding the interview.

MSD Program Tracks

  • Track One info (pdf) is for students who successfully complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics and obtain a verification statement from an an ACEND-accredited program

  • Track Two info (pdf) is for students in the third year of the NFS Dietetic's major at the University of Vermont who are interested in completing their undergraduate degree and then remaining at the University of Vermont to obtain a Master's Degree with supervised practice. These students are assured an MSD position while still a junior, but must to apply to and be accepted by the Graduate College during their senior year, successfully complete the Dietetic's major and receive a verification statement.

  • Track Three info (pdf) is for students with a Bachelor's (BA or BS) degree in areas other than dietetics or have a dietetics degree that is more than five years old. These students must complete a set of prerequisite courses prior to applying to the program. Additionally, these applicants must have the Track III Academic Requirement Evaluation Form (pdf) completed and signed by Professor Lizzy Pope, PhD, RD, UVM Didactic Program Director following review of the applicant's transcript.

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 (1184 hours) the MSD Program provides more than 1300 hours, thus satisfying 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 MSD Program and supervised practice experience. All students will complete 14 weeks in clinical rotations, seven weeks in foodservice management rotations, and 14 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 MSD 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 MSD Program is to develop entry-level RD 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

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

For more information contact: Amy Nickerson, MS, RD, Director of MSD


Last modified September 23 2014 12:17 PM