Master's Degree

Master's in Nutrition (MS) Degree

Earn your master's in nutrition science (MS) degree and become part of the solution to our global health crisis. At Widener, you'll graduate prepared as registered dietitian nutritionist ready to make a difference in the field.

Dietician helps patient plan out a nutritional diet.

Program Overview

Widener’s master of science in nutrition science (MS) degree program prepares students to become work-ready registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) within the dynamic, evolving field of nutrition science. 

With nutrition and diet-related diseases such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes steadily on the rise, the role of qualified preventative services and disease management professionals has never been more important or more in demand. 

Through our multidisciplinary nutrition master's program, you'll receive close faculty mentorship, supervised experiential learning practice, research and publication opportunities, as well as a uniquely interprofessional, innovative education.

You'll graduate with the critical thinking and analytical skills needed for positions in advanced-level clinical practice, wellness, public health/community management, leadership, and advocacy.

ACEND Accreditation Program Information

The master’s in nutrition science at Widener University has been granted accreditation candidacy by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The program is eligible to enroll students to complete an advanced degree, supervised experiential learning, and sit for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) registration exam.  

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics:
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995
1-800-877-1600 ext. 5400
ACEND@eatright.org, www.eatright.org/ACEND

Master's in Nutrition Program Information

Curriculum & Coursework

The nutrition science master's program is a 21-month program that includes supervised experiential learning on- and off-campus. The program does not include a thesis requirement but a research project will be completed in the 5th semester. Students' schedule will follow and observe holidays and semester breaks based on the university's academic calendar.

  • Year 1: includes fall, spring, and summer semesters 
  • Year 2: fall and spring semesters

View the Loading... for a detailed list of classes and semester structure.

Student Requirements

Students are expected to complete 49 credit hours with a grade of "B" or higher. Competencies may be met in course work, simulation exercises, professional meetings, nutrition assessment lab, and supervised experiential learning activities. Students must complete the program within 21 months.

The Department of Nutrition Science Student Handbook will be posted soon for details regarding staying in good standing as a student, academic policies, and graduation requirements.

Program Mission

To prepare graduates to be leaders in the field of nutrition by excelling in research, evidence-based practice, community engagement, and advocating for public policies to improve health and wellness outcomes in diverse and underserved communities.

Program Outcomes

Program graduates will:

  • Provide culturally and ethnically sensitive nutrition service to diverse individuals and communities.  
  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior. 
  • Effectively communicate evidence-based health and nutrition information.
  • Demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Active participation in the conduct of research.
  • Assume leadership roles in nutrition science.
  • Use critical thinking and analytical skills to solve problems in nutrition sciences.
  • Advocate for and contribute to policy development to improve health and nutrition outcomes. 

Program Goals & Objectives

Goal 1: Program graduates will be competent, diverse, and culturally sensitive entry-level Registered Dietitians who serve in diverse and underserved communities.

  • Over a 5-year period, 80% of the graduates will pass the RDN/RD exam within one year (12 months) of their first attempt.  
  • Over a 5-year period, 60% of the program graduates will achieve a first-time pass rate.
  • Over a 5-year period, 80% of program graduates will take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • At least 80% of the students will complete supervised practice hours within 150% of two academic years.
  • At least 80% of program graduates who sought employment will be employed in a dietetics/nutrition related field within 12 months of graduation.
  • Program graduates’ employers will rate 80% of graduates as “very satisfied” to “extremely satisfied” with their preparation for entry level positions in the field of dietetics/nutrition. 
  • 80% of program graduates will rate their preparation as being “very satisfied” to “extremely satisfied” for entry level positions in the field of dietetics/nutrition. 
  • 80% of program graduates will rate their preparation to serve diverse clients as “very satisfied” to “extremely satisfied” 

Goal 2: Program graduates will pursue lifelong learning, research, and be leaders in nutrition/dietetics profession. 

  • 20% of the program graduates will serve in leadership positions in the field of dietetics/nutrition (job, local and/or national level) within two (2) years of completing the program.
  • At least 20% of the program graduates will serve as dietetic preceptors within two (2) years of completing the program.
  • Over a five (5) years period, 50% of the program graduates will publish at least one peer reviewed manuscript or conference proceedings.

External supervised experiential learning will begin at the end of your first year (summer semester) and continue into the fall and spring of your second year. Over the course of the program, you will complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised experiential learning in order to meet program requirements. Overall performance is competency-based and performance indicators will be evaluated to determine competency not the number of hours completed. 

Sites & Facilities

An attempt is made to match the students to sites and/or experiences to support their interests and career goals. Students will have the opportunity to gain additional experience based on their preference and interest in Self-select rotation. Students will be assigned to facilities/sites in Chester, PA and surrounding cities including Philadelphia, PA; Harrisburg, PA; and Camden, NJ. Supervised experiential learning will be completed at traditional sites (e.g. hospitals and nursing homes) and non-traditional (high-fidelity simulation labs, telehealth, and health coaching) practice.

Sites/facilities may include:

  • Hospitals
  • Bariatric Clinics
  • Dialysis Centers
  • School Districts
  • Public Health Departments
  • Community-based Organizations
  • Long-term Care Facilities

Widener University does not pay or provide a stipend or other forms of compensation to students for supervised experiential learning activities.

Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) establishes requirements for eligibility to take the entry-level registration examinations for dietitians and dietetic technicians. Current requirements include academic preparation, supervised practice, and confirmation of academic and practice requirements by verification. These requirements are periodically reviewed and are subject to change.

Academic Degree

Minimum of a baccalaureate degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college/university or foreign equivalent. Effective January 1, 2024, a graduate degree will be required for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credentialing.

Current Minimum Academic Requirements

Completion of an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Original DPD verification statement must submitted through the DICAS application process.  

Experiential Learning Requirements 

The supervised experiential learning is for educational purposes and that the students should not be used to replace or eliminate employees. Supervised experiential learning stipulates completion of one of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited pathways. Widener University offers the Future Education Graduate Model Degree (FEM) pathway. 

Future Education Graduate Model Degree (FEM)

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) released the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards Graduate (FG) Degree Programs in 2016. This a competency-based education (CBE) program that integrates classroom learning with hands-on supervised experiential learning activities. The model fosters work-readiness. In the Future Education Model (FEM), the curriculum is guided with the competencies and their respective performance indicators, which are clearly defined based on the desired behaviors and job skills targeted. Students are required to complete a minimum of one thousand (1,000) supervised experiential learning hours. 

Other pathways not offered at Widener include:

  • Accredited Dietetic Internship Program 

  • Accredited Coordinated Program

  • Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP)

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN visit eatrightpro.org

State Licensure

Forty-seven (47) states have enacted legislation regulating the practice of dietetics. State licensure and state certification are entirely separate and distinct from registration or certification by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Information on state licensure and certification is provided at https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure

Admissions Information

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree.

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). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited graduate program at Widener University are eligible to sit for the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Students of Widener University will be eligible for licensure in all states that requires a license to practice as a licensed dietitian. For more information about state licensure requirements visit cdrnet.org.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN visit eatrightpro.org

Application & Application Deadline

Widener University accepts applicants through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS).

The deadline to apply to the MS in nutrition science program is February 15.

Widener University welcomes and encourages students from diverse academic, cultural, and ethnical backgrounds to apply to our MS in nutrition science program.

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to obtain prior nutrition/health-related work experience (volunteer or paid) to demonstrate their ability to be confident communicators, team players, and self-directed learners in order to successfully complete the rigors of the program.

Admissions Requirements  

  • Bachelor's degree from an ACEND-accredited program
    • Original verification statement from an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP). If the applicant is completing a DPD program, the applicant may submit a Declaration of Intent Form instead of the verification statement at the time of submitting the DICAS application.
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Minimum DPD science GPA of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale* 
  • Minimum DPD professional GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale* 
  • Completed DICAS application, which includes:
    • Two (2) letters of recommendations – work or academic references
    • Resume
    • Personal statement
    • Official transcripts
  • Additional Requirements for International Students: International student applicants from non-English speaking countries a TOEFL minimum score of 79 internet based or 213 computer based is required.

The program does not require a GRE score for admission.

Application Review & Selection Process

All applications will be reviewed and interviewed by a selection committee which includes the program director, faculty, and preceptors. The selection committee members will have different areas of expertise (e.g. clinical, management, and public health). Applicants will be evaluated on academic performance, work and volunteer experience in the field, evidence of maturity, interpersonal skills, leadership potential, quality of reference, and compatibility of applicant’s goals with the mission of our program.

Interview

By early March, select applicants will be invited to attend a 15-20 minute virtual interview with the selection committee. Applicants selected for an interview will notified at least two (2) weeks prior to the interview.

The interview will focus on interpersonal, communication, and critical thinking skills and ultimately give both the interviewee and selection committee a chance to know each other.

Tuition & Fees

A nonrefundable $100 down payment is due upon acceptance to the program (April). Refunds are based on the University’s policies will be found in the Department of Nutrition Science Student Handbook which will be published shortly. 

Students are responsible for their own living expenses, transportation, books, lab coats and other program required materials or expenses. During the program students are expected to attend a professional conference, the expense associated with this activity may be the graduate student’s responsibility. Students are eligible for on-campus housing.

Estimated Pre-Placement Expenses 

  • DICAS fee: $50

Estimated Budget

  • Tuition/credit: $1,029 
  • First-Year: est. $25,000*
  • Second-Year: est. $31,000*
  • *estimated costs include tuition, fees, books, supplies, and other student costs

Financial Resources

Students are eligible for financial aid through federal loans and grants. Students are also eligible to apply for scholarships.

  • Accessing Private Loans: Private loans are an option. If considering a private loan, verification of admission forms should be submitted to the director.
  • Loan Deferment: If considering loan deferment, submit verification of admission form to the program director.

Students are welcome to apply for academic scholarships offered by Widener as well as additional industry-related scholarships such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and other state or local dietetic associations. 

Widener University Nutrition Science Scholarship Program

Widener's Department of Nutrition Science offers annual scholarships to students in the master's in nutrition science program. The scholarships reflect the university's commitment to the program and student's success.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the DICAS application by February 15. No late applications will be accepted.
  • Submit all additional information electronically in one packet to nutrition@widener.edu
    • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
    • One (1) letter of recommendation from an employer (former or current) or from a Nutrition and Dietetics faculty member describing your qualifications to receive this scholarship (no more than one letter per application packet). 
    • Copy of DICAS GPA worksheet
    • A personal letter which includes:
      • Professional goals
      • Unique abilities and qualifications 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale
  • Minimum DPD science GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (from your DICAS application)
  • Minimum DPD professional GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale (from your DICAS application)
  • Demonstrate potential for a successful career in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Financial need may be considered but will not be a deciding factor

Nutrition Master's Program Highlights

BSN Degree Nursing Students in Simulation Lab at Widener University's School of Nursing. Explore our bachelor's degree in nursing and how you can earn your nursing BSN.

Student Learning & Success Resources

In our state-of-the-art simulation and assessment lab, you'll learn in an environment that simulates realistic clinical situations, preparing you for the real world sooner. With our expansive library and helpful library staff, you'll have the research you need at your fingertips.

There are a multitude of other resources for students including housing, financial aid, health services, career services, and counseling and psychological services.

Dietician is measuring patient's waist.

Innovative, Integrated Learning Experiences

You'll build a solid foundation and master skills to excel in your field through innovative, integrated learning experiences, research, supervised clinical rotations, and more.

Through close collaboration with faculty and students from other professional health care programs, such as nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, you'll graduate with an in-depth understanding of multi-disciplinary health fields to better support your patients and clients. 

Two health care professionals looking at patient charts in a hospital setting

A Culture of Leadership

We want to help establish you as a leader. That's why we'll provide you with multiple leadership opportunities to promote health, wellness, and equity. By utilizing the “train the trainer” model, you'll interact with a diverse group of leaders in the private, public, non-profit, and social sectors to gain hands-on practical and relevant experience.

Nutrition facts are displayed on a touch screen tablet.

Research & Publication Mentorship

At Widener, you'll develop research, presentation, and publication skills with the help of close faculty mentors. You'll conduct a research project and present your findings at a professional meeting or conference, and receive encouragement and guidance to submit your work for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

As a nutrition expert, you will graduate with the expertise you need to provide care as a dietitian or nutritionist.

Master's in Nutrition Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Dietitian Nutritionist
  • Health & Wellness Coach
  • Sustainable Food System Specialist
  • Precision Medicine Specialist

Top 25 Best Jobs

In 2021, U.S. News ranked dietitians and nutritionists in the top-25 best jobs in health care.

Source: U.S. News

Industry Connections

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Jefferson University Hospitals
  • Main Line Health System
  • Virtua Health System

More Industry Connections

  • Lancaster General
  • Lehigh Valley Health
  • Kennedy Health
  • Presbyterian Hospital

Take the Next Steps

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