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Graduate Program in Nutrition/Dietetics (M.S., M.A.)

The master’s degree represents professional qualification for many practitioners in dietetics and community nutrition and has become the terminal degree for many students. Because of the varying backgrounds and professional interests of students, the master’s degree program is flexible.

The M.A. degree requires the completion of a minimum of 36 credits, and the M.S. degree requires the completion of a minimum of 30 credits and a thesis. The thesis involves investigative work on a specific topic, extensive examination and interpretation of nutrition literature on that topic, and the presentation of results in a clear and logical form. Completion of the thesis may require an additional year of study beyond completion of coursework. Students completing the DPD requirements will require a minimum of 40 credits.

Students selecting nutrition as a major field of study must have minimum proficiency in chemistry and physiology. A recent course in nutrition must be presented upon entrance. If you have a bachelor's degree outside nutritionand would like to become a registered dietitian, make an appointment with the director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) to obtain an evaluation of your DPD status. The evaluation might dictate classes you have to complete prior to starting the program. Both the M.A. and M.S. degrees should include coursework from the major area and supporting areas.

Graduate Course Requirements

Core Courses (15‐18 credits)
NSD 555 Food, Culture, and Environment
NSD 665 Vitamins and Minerals
NSD 666 Metabolism
NSD 654 Graduate Research Methods
NSD 695 Nutritional Status Evaluation

Courses of Special Interest (0‐9 credits)
NSD 511 Nutrition Education
NSD 512 Nutrition Counseling
NSD 648 Dietetics Practice Across the Life Span
NSD 680 Seminar in Food and Nutrition
NSD 681/682 Medical Nutrition Therapy I and Lab
NSD 683/684 Medical Nutrition Therapy II and Lab
NSD 755 Field Experience in Community Nutrition

Other Nutrition Courses (0‐9 credits)
NSD 610 Readings in Foods
NSD 655 Issues in Community Nutrition
NSD 658 Participatory Program Planning
NSD 660 Readings in Nutrition
NSD 670 Experience Credit
NSD 690 Independent Study
NSD 755 Field Experience in Community Nutrition
NSD 756 Food and Public Policy
NSD 765 Problems in Human Metabolism
NSD 885 Graduate Seminar

Supporting Area Courses

Six to 18 credits may be selected from any field(s) approved by the student’s advisor as being supportive of the total program. The program of study must be approved by the program’s graduate committee.


For the M.S. degree the topic for the thesis should be selected in a specific area of interest that is reflected by the selection of courses within the major and related fields. Students should register for six credits of NSD 997 Master’s Thesis. A written proposal for the thesis must be presented to the department for approval. Oral defense of the thesis is required.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer a maximum of 9 credits (with a grade of B or higher) with the approval of the graduate committee. A maximum of 12 credits (with a grade of B or higher) may be taken as a non‐matriculated student at Syracuse University.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination for both the M.A. and M.S. degrees consists of an essay test on advanced topics in nutrition and an oral examination.

Career Opportunities

The Department offers Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) degrees that lead to a variety of career options, including dietetics, community nutrition, nutrition/fitness and research. Students may also use this degree as a pre‐requisite for further academic and medical careers. Some students in the master’s program are registered dietitians, while others choose the program to obtain necessary coursework for academic verification by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Verification enables a student to apply for a supervised practice program or dietetic internship. Following this experience, upon successful completion of the national examination, students become registered dietitians and work in hospitals, outpatient and community settings or go into private practice.

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