Oct 04, 2023  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 

Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

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The M.S. in nutrition and dietetics is designed to prepare students interested in community nutrition to work as registered dietitians in a variety of public and private health organizations in county, state, and government agencies or as patient-care dietitians in hospitals and other health-care settings. The program also prepares students to continue their studies in doctoral programs.

Students in this program may select additional courses in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and psychology for a concentration in biochemistry or biophysics. (For details, see “Center for Biochemical and Biophysical Studies.”)

Applicants are required to have completed a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Post-baccalaureate students who do not have DPD verification must consult with the NIU undergraduate DPD director prior to enrollment to determine required course work to earn this credential. To earn DPD verification through NIU, post-baccalaureate students must complete a minimum of 9 semester hours at NIU with a grade of B or better. Note that the post-baccalaureate students who complete DPD requirements at NIU may be eligible for a second bachelor’s degree. Consult with the College of Health and Human Sciences undergraduate academic advisor for degree requirements.

Students-at-large intending to take courses required by this program should meet with the program coordinator.

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.


Applicants are required to have completed a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and have had courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology or bacteriology, human biology, human physiology, science of nutrition, applied nutrition, two semesters of nutrition in clinical care, principles of food preparation, and statistics. A minimum 3.00 GPA in these courses is required. Applicants will be admitted according to the vacancies in the program. Vacancies are determined by the number of graduate students completing degrees each semester. Applicants with the highest GPA and GRE scores will be given priority for available positions.

A combined total of no more than 12 semester hours of graduate credit earned as a student-at-large plus transfer hours will be counted toward the M.S. degree.

The majority of vacancies in the program are filled shortly after February 15 for summer session, April 15 for fall semester, and September 15 for spring semester.


Students must complete the required courses listed here and fulfill the thesis or non-thesis option, with corresponding requirements listed below:

Thesis Option Requirements


In addition to the requirements listed above:

Graduate Credit

A minimum of 32 semester hours of graduate credit is required for the degree with the thesis option.

Non-Thesis Option Requirements


In addition to the requirements listed above, complete:

Additional requirements:

3 additional semester hours in consultation with the assigned graduate program adviser.

Students must also pass an oral comprehensive exam.

Graduate Credit

A minimum of 35 semester hours of graduate credit is required for the degree with the non-thesis option.

Dietetic Internship

The internship is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) and is available only to majors enrolled in the M.S. program in nutrition and dietetics. The dietetic internship offers on-site supervised practice experiences in dietetics, nutrition, and food service; completion fulfills the practice requirements to qualify for the Registration Examination of the Commission on Dietetics Registration.

The combined M.S. and internship program involves six terms: two orientation terms comprised of course work only, and four terms comprised of both on-site supervised practice experience (20-40 hours week) and graduate study. Students in the internship must have completed at least 15 semester hours toward the degree before they can be placed in a supervised practice site.


Admission is limited and competitive; admission to the major does not constitute admission to the internship. Although a student may apply for admission to the internship while acceptance to the major is pending, internship acceptance cannot be finalized until the student is accepted into the major.

Applicants must have completed the academic requirements for the DPD of the ADA. A B average in key course work is required. These courses are identified in the applications packet.

Applicants must have successfully completed 150 clock hours of paid work or volunteer experience related to the profession.

Students may apply in the spring semester. Applicants should inquire about application deadlines. Applications will be screened and ranked with the highest ranking applicants being invited to interview. Following the interviews, students are matched to this program through the ADA computer-matching process. Late applicants will be considered if openings are available after computer matching.


In addition to the courses required for the M.S. in nutrition and dietetics, including FCNS 652 (1) and FCNS 653 (1), students electing the practicum must complete the following internship courses:

Program Completion

When all requirements of both the M.S. degree and dietetic internship have been met, students will be issued the CADE Verification Statement of dietetic internship completion.

Special Requirements

Criminal background checks and drug screening are required prior to supervised practice. The dietetic internship program may be unable to place interns in supervised practice if they have positive drug screen results or if the student has a criminal record. Therefore, the intern may not be able to complete the dietetic internship program.

Dietetic interns are required to obtain certification in food sanitation, professional-level CPR certification and to provide proof of required immunizations prior to the supervised practice.

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