M.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition for Pre-Professionals
UAA Graduate Program (GP) in Nutrition and Dietetics
Welcome to the UAA Master of Science (M.S.) in Dietetics and Nutrition program. (Note: if you are a RDN interested in obtaining a Dietetics and Nutrition Master's degree, please visit the M.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition for RDNs page.)
The M.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition program provides the education requirements for entry-level practice as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) for applicants who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a DPD verification statement (or the required prerequisite coursework) from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The M.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition is a Graduate Program (Future Education Model) that integrates the required coursework with supervised experiential learning (SEL) in one accredited program. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the CDR registration exam for dietitians. The UAA M.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition includes 1,000 hours of SEL integrated throughout the two-year (full-time) program. The UAA GP is accredited by ACEND.
Alternatively, the program provides additional study in dietetics and nutrition for Registered Dietitians (RDs)/Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) currently registered through the Commission on Dietetic Registration. This is a didactic only track.
The M.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition is an online program for the required classes. The supervised experiential learning rotations are currently only based in Alaska. Reliable computer and internet access are required. Some online classes have required meeting times. For more information about the technology that is needed to participate in the online program see the Online Class Requirements.
Program Description, Mission, Goals and Objectives
The UAA Graduate Program (GP) in Nutrition and Dietetics prepares students for entry-level nutrition and dietetics practice in current and future practice settings. Students in the program complete both the didactic and the supervised experiential learning requirements, in a cohort model, with a program length of two academic years, full-time (fall and spring for two years, plus one summer). Classes are online and students complete supervised experiential learning rotations for 16-20 hours per week, as arranged by the program director, at locations throughout Alaska. Applicants may discuss part-time options with the program director.
Possible rotation sites include, but are not limited to: Alaska Native Medical Center, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska Regional Hospital, JBER Hospital, MatSu Regional Medical Center, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Bartlett Regional Hospital (Juneau), Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, VA Clinic (Anchorage), Southcentral Foundation (Anchorage), WIC program, Tanana Valley Clinic Diabetes and Nutrition Program (Fairbanks), State of Alaska, Norton Sound Regional Corporation, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (Sitka, Juneau) and PeaceHealth Hospital (Ketchikan).
Mission Statement of the UAA GP (updated June 3, 2020): Guide the future of dietetics and nutrition in Alaska through the preparation of competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.
Program Goal 1: Graduates will be competent for entry-level practice as registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs).
- Program Completion: At least 80% of program students complete the program requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).
- Graduate Employment: Of graduates who seek employment, at least80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
- Graduate Performance on Registration Exam: At least90 percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
- Graduate Performance on Registration Exam: 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%.
- Employer Satisfaction: At least 80% of employers who respond to a survey will rate their satisfaction as satisfied or highly satisfied with the preparation of program graduates.
Program Goal 2: Graduates will be prepared for dietetics practice in the diverse practice settings in Alaska.
- At least 80% of alumni who respond to a survey will indicate they felt at least “competent” for entry-level practice as a RDN in their first dietetics-related position.
- At least 50% of alumni who respond to a survey will report they remained in Alaska, for one year, to work as an RDN upon graduation.
Program outcomes data are available upon request (once available).
Requirements and Process to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum degree requirement for eligibility to take the registration examination for dietitians will change from a bachelor’s degree to a graduate degree. According to the Commission on Dietetic Registration, “Elevating the entry-level RD education to a graduate level is consistent with the knowledge, skills, and research base required in the field of nutrition and dietetics.” For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website.
The current requirements for becoming an entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist include:
- Complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree at a US regionally accredited university of college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.* One option is the UAA Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics. Students may also complete a bachelor’s degree in any field and complete pre-requisite courses that are required for most graduate-level Future Education Model nutrition programs.
- Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a food service corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run 6 -12 months in length.
- Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR's website.
- Obtain state licensure through an application process (in most states, including Alaska). For more information about state licensure requirements, visit https://www.cdrnet.org/licensure.
For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN, visit the ACEND website.
*In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor's degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
- Distance Education
The UAA DN graduate program is an online program. Some of the classes do have scheduled meeting times which will be published in the course schedule and available at the time of course registration.
Supervised experiential learning (SEL) rotations are scheduled primarily in Anchorage and Fairbanks, with additional options throughout the state of Alaska.
Students may be able to spend up to three weeks in one rural Alaska location for a rural healthcare rotation (e.g., Nome, Kotzebue, Kodiak, Sitka, Juneau, Utqiaġvik, and other locations). Travel, room, and board expenses are the responsibility of the student. All program locations are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If this type of rotation is of interest to you, email the program director as soon as possible.
The estimated costs related to online education in this program include up to $2500 for computer hardware (i.e., laptop with webcam) and internet service for the duration of the program. Specific requirements for online courses, including hardware, are available at Online Class Requirements.
Additional travel and distance education opportunities may be available throughout the program. Please inquire with the program director.
- Assessment of Prior Learning
UAA offers several routes in which academic credit may be awarded to students who demonstrate mastery of knowledge or skills that were acquired outside of an accredited college or university. The Dietetics and Nutrition Graduate Program uses the UAA Nontraditional Credit Policies, the Local Credit by Examination or Portfolio. Through this process, the student’s prior learning (i.e., work experience, volunteer experience, or professional training) is assessed for achievement of ACEND required competencies and consideration of awarding academic credit for courses or supervised experiential learning hours. Experiences in clinical (inpatient medical nutrition therapy) or outpatient counseling are typically not eligible for APL unless the student completed these experiences as a licensed healthcare professional. Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis. If an admitted student is interested in preparing an application for the assessment of prior learning, they are directed to make an appointment with the Graduate Program director, Dr. Carrie King, to discuss the options available to them.
The application deadline for the Master of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition is February 15. The maximum class size is 10 for each cohort admitted in the fall semester.
- Non-UAA students are required to apply to the Dietetics Inclusive Centralized Application Service (DICAS) and also the UAA Office of Admissions.
- UAA students who are only applying to the UAA MS Dietetics and Nutrition program only need to apply to UAA through the UAA Office of Admissions.
All applicants who meet the admission criteria will be reviewed by the selection committee.
- Admissions Requirements
- Satisfy admission requirements for graduate degrees:
a. Awarded a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution (submission of an official transcript showing conferral of a bachelor’s degree is required prior to starting the program)
b. Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Verification Statement or submission of official
transcripts to the UAA Office of Admissions demonstrating completion of all prerequisites
listed below (with a minimum grade of "C"):
BIOL A108 Principles and Methods in Biology, with lab (6 cr)
BIOL A111 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, with lab (4 cr)
BIOL A112 Human Anatomy and Physiology II, with lab (4 cr)
BIOL A240 Introduction to Microbiology for Health Sciences, with lab (4 cr)
CHEM A105 General Chemistry I, with lab (4 cr)
CHEM A106 General Chemistry II, with lab (4 cr)
CHEM A321 Organic Chemistry (no lab, 3 cr)
CHEM A441 Principles of Biochemistry (no lab, 3 cr)
DN A151 Nutrition through the Lifecycle (3 cr) or PSY A150 Lifespan Development (3 cr)
DN A203 Nutrition for Health Sciences (3 cr)
DN A270 Culinary Nutrition (3 cr)
DN A275 Intro to Culinary Medicine (3 cr)
DN A325 Food and Nutrition in Modern Alaska (3 cr)
DN A350 Foodservice Systems and Quantity Foods (4 cr)
DN A401 Medical Nutrition Therapy I (3 cr) and DN A402 Medical Nutrition Therapy II (3 cr)
STAT A200 Elementary Statistics (3 cr)
Also: ServSafe Food Manager Certificate
Based on a review of your previous coursework, work experience, volunteer experience and professional training, the list of prerequisites may be adjusted.
- Personal statement, addressing the following items:
- Significant professional or volunteer responsibilities you have held,
- Professional goals and reasons for desiring to enroll in this program,
- Strengths that will help you succeed in this program and in reaching your professional goals,
- Personal interests in research and dietetics and nutrition,
- Research is required for all students in this program, either through a graduate project
or thesis. List which DN faculty member you would most like to work with for academic advising. The DN faculty professional and research interests are as follows:
Dr. Carrie King (firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-786-6597): evidence-based practice, research involvement, research capacity building, research self-efficacy, profession of dietetics, dietetics education, practice-based research, culinary medicine, culinary literacy, pediatric nutrition, diabetes
Dr. Emily Faerber (email@example.com, 907-786-4490): food security, infant and young child feeding, nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, food systems, diet quality, global health, program evaluation
Dr. Amanda Walch (firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-786-1362): diet quality, community-based participatory research (CBPR), public health, traditional foods, food security, nutrition education, nutrition counseling
- Rank the order of your preference of primary supervised practice location (Anchorage or Fairbanks).
- Provide any previous names your application materials may be submitted under.
- Current resume or CV, including documentation of the following:
Paid work experience(s), including duration in position and hours worked per week
Volunteer or community service experience(s), including duration in position and hours worked per week
Professional organization membership(s)
- Two letters of recommendation that meet the following criteria:
- Letters must address prior academic, work or volunteer experience, with evidence of ability and willingness to work productively.
- Individuals who are qualified to address your professional, volunteer or academic experience and abilities.
- Written by a non-personal reference (i.e., not a family friend) and non-UAA DN faculty.
- When you complete your application using the online process through the UAA Office
of Admissions, you will enter the contact information for your references. References
will receive an email with a link and form to complete.
- Interview: Applicants to the MS Dietetics and Nutrition pre-professional track will complete an online interview assessment. You will be sent a link via email that will provide instructions on how to complete the interview. It will take 30-60 minutes to complete and you will complete this on your own time. The interview assessment must be completed before the application deadline.
- Satisfy admission requirements for graduate degrees:
Additional admission requirements (after program acceptance)
Upon acceptance into the UAA Graduate Program, students will be required to complete/obtain the following before the fall semester start date (check with the program director for the most current list or requirements):
- Complete financial aid requirements (if needed)
- Submit an official transcript(s) indicating a conferred baccalaureate degree and all prerequisite coursework (if not already submitted with application)
- Required by the clinical rotation sites for most facilities: Proof of current immunizations or titers including TB (2-step, current 30 days prior to start of any rotation at Providence facilities - see Program Director for clarification, OR the quantiferon test), Hep B series, t-DAP (within the past 10 years), MMR (2 shot series or titer), Varicella (2 shot series or titer), flu shot (available seasonally after September 1st), and the COVID-19 vaccine series.
- Recommended: Hep A series for rural Alaska travel
- Proof of health insurance (for the duration of the program)
- ServSafe Food Manager Certificate (must be current for the duration of the program)
- Current CPR card (must be current for the duration of the program)
- State of Alaska background check (including fingerprinting)
- Drug testing (10-panel drug test)
- Completion of UAA Title IX training
- Additional requirements may be added due to the COVID-19 situation
Graduation and Program Completion Requirements
The student will be eligible for graduation with a Master of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition and receipt of a Verification Statement in order to apply for the CDR registration exam for dietitians upon successful completion of the following:
- all university requirements (i.e., a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0);
- all required coursework;
- all supervised experiential learning rotations and hours with satisfactory evaluations from preceptors and the UAA DN graduate program director (a minimum score of 5 for each ACEND competency);
- documentation of the achievement of each competency in the student ePortfolio
- all graduate project or thesis requirements and revisions; and
- apply for graduation.