The Master of Science in Dietetics, an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)-accredited coordinated program, is a combination of residential classroom learning and supervised practice experience that results in eligibility to sit for the national Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). During the first year, our renowned faculty will provide foundational didactic knowledge. This will then prepare you to put your skills to practice during your second year in several pre-selected professional work settings throughout Indiana.

Applications are accepted from both internal and external applicants. Internal applicants, or Purdue students, will be given priority consideration. Applications for priority consideration from internal applicants are due Nov. 1 and will be reviewed starting in late November. Beginning in January, all applicants will be considered until all spots are filled. The MS in dietetics program engages in a holistic review process when reviewing applicants.

More information, including application information; program goals and objectives; program requirements, policies and procedures; estimated costs; transportation; and supervised practice requirements, is available in the program handbook.

2023-2025 Student Handbook
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Applicants to the Master of Science in dietetics program must meet the following admissions standards:

  • Have a minimum grade of C or better in all prerequisite courses with the exception of NUTR 43700 (or similar) and NUTR 43800 (or similar) where a minimum acceptable grade is C-. Students with a GPA below 3.0 or those who do not meet the grade requirements for pre-requisite courses may be considered for conditional admission.
  • Submit an application to the Graduate School. Be sure to include the following:
    • Academic Statement of Purpose
    • Personal History Statement
    • Resume
    • Three letters of recommendation: One letter from a work or volunteer supervisor, one letter from a faculty member who taught you in a medical nutrition therapy course, and one letter that is the applicant’s choice (no friends or family members).
  • Upon offer of admission to the program, you agree to follow all policies and procedures outlined in the program handbook.
    • A negative drug screen and a negative criminal history of convictions prohibiting placement in supervised practice facilities are required prior to your second year in order to be eligible to enroll in supervised practice courses (NUTR 53300, 53900, 54200 and 54300). A positive drug screen or criminal history may preclude you from continuing in the program.
    • A physical exam and required health screenings and immunizations must be completed prior to the start of supervised practice in the second year (due August 1)
  • The GRE is not required for admission.


A minimum grade of C is required in the following prerequisite courses except Micronutrient and Macronutrient Metabolism (NUTR 43700 and 43800 or similar) where a minimum acceptable grade is C-.

  • 2 semesters of undergraduate chemistry (CHEM 11100/11200 or CHEM 11500/ 11600 or similar)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHEM 25700 or similar)
  • Food Science (NUTR 20500 or similar)
  • Fundamentals of Nutrition (NUTR 31500 or similar)
  • Diet Selection and Planning (NUTR 33000 or similar)
  • Nutrition Counseling (NUTR 33200 or similar)
  • Dietetic Practicum in Quantity Food Production (NUTR 35000 or similar) or HTM Quantity Food Production Service Laboratory (HTM 29101 or similar)
  • Physiology and Nutrition During the Life Cycle (NUTR 36500 or similar)
  • Communication Techniques in Foods and Nutrition (NUTR 42400 or similar)
  • Public Health Nutrition (NUTR 43000 or similar)
  • Nutritional Assessment (NUTR 43600 or similar)
  • Macronutrient Metabolism in Human Health and Disease (NUTR 43700 or similar)
  • Micronutrient and Phytochemical Metabolism in Human Health and Disease (NUTR 43800 or similar)
  • Foodservice Systems Management (NUTR 44200 or similar)
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy 1 (NUTR 48000 or similar)
  • ServSafe Certification or equivalent

Students with a GPA below 3.00 or those who do not meet the grade requirements for pre-requisite courses, may be considered for conditional admission.

The Requirements to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

ACEND® sets the guidelines for what every registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) needs to know and do as an entry-level practitioner. The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is the governing agency that determines the eligibility requirements to take the RDN exam. As an ACEND®-accredited Coordinated Program, the MSD at Purdue University meets the first two requirements to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

  • In-class learning and supervised practice experience: Students applying to the MSD at Purdue University are in the process of completing or have completed prerequisite courses offered in a Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics (DPD) or similar coursework. Some of the ACEND® knowledge requirements are met in pre-requisite courses. Students accepted into the MSD must be enrolled in Graduate School at Purdue University and take 2 semesters of graduate-level didactic coursework specific to the MSD curriculum to meet all ACEND® knowledge requirements and prepare for supervised practice experiences in semesters three and four.

    In addition, students must complete a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised practice experience in an ACEND®-accredited program. Supervised practice provides hands-on experience in community nutrition, Medical Nutrition Therapy, foodservice management and engagement following prescribed guidelines and learning experiences to ensure mastery of all ACEND and program competencies. Students accepted into the MSD will complete supervised practice in the second-year courses of the program, after meeting all didactic course requirements in year-one.

  • Earn graduate degree: Upon successful completion of the MSD curriculum, students earn a Master of Science in Dietetics and are issued an official verification statement by the program director. The verification statement documents achievement of the graduate degree, attainment of all ACEND knowledge requirements and competencies and 1000 hours of supervised practice which are the requirements to be eligible to sit for the national registered dietitian nutritionist examination.
  • Pass the exam: Program graduates who are issued a verification statement are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists. Prior to graduation with a Master of Science in Dietetics, interns will receive all information required to complete the eligibility requirements to take the RDN exam. Successful completion of this exam allows individuals to indicate that they are credentialed and to use the initials RDN after their name.

The MSD at Purdue University is designed to meet all mandated steps leading to eligibility to take the exam for dietitian nutritionists. The MSD meets the Educational (IC 25-14.5-3-1) and Practice Experience Requirements (IC 25-14.5-3.3) to become a Licensed Dietitian (LD) in the state of Indiana. While state interpretations of statutes may vary, it is ACEND’s considered opinion that the program meets the educational requirements for dietetics licensure and certification in all states. However, completing an ACEND-accredited program alone does not qualify an individual for licensure or certification as a dietitian in any state. Individuals should review their state’s licensing statues and regulations to understand the specific requirements including supervised practice and examinations, needed to obtain a dietetics license. More information on state licensure and certification can be found at this link:

Interviews for Admission

All applications will be initially reviewed to determine if the minimum application requirements are met. All eligible applicants will be invited for a personal interview with the admissions committee as part of the application procedure. The admissions committee consists of the program director, faculty members and preceptors. You will be informed of the day, time and location of the interview. Interviews are typically 10-15 minutes in length. The purpose of the interview is to ascertain your level of knowledge and interest in dietetics. The interview also enables the admissions committee to assess your level of maturity, communication skills, poise, professional behavior, human-relation skills and understanding of the rigors of the program.

Program Highlights

  • During your first year, you’ll have opportunities to counsel real clients under the direction of a faculty member through a course in applied nutrition counseling.
  • During your supervised practice, your final rotation is flexible, allowing you to choose the type of practice and site that aligns with your interests.
  • Experienced faculty locate a broad network of practice sites to help you get the most from your supervised practice experience.

Potential Careers

  • Clinical dietitian in a healthcare facility
  • Foodservice management
  • Clinical nutrition management
  • Community nutrition and public health programs
  • Sports nutrition
  • Corporate wellness
  • Telehealth
  • Industry (food, pharmaceuticals, etc.)
  • Nutrition communications/journalism
  • Private practice/consultant
  • Academia

Mission, Goals and Objectives

Mission Statement

The mission of the CPD is to provide an integrated academic/supervised practice curriculum to prepare competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists to promote optimal health and nutritional status of individuals and groups. The curriculum provides the foundation knowledge and skills, and the practice-based competencies to perform the specialized functions of entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists. The Purdue CPD prepares competent dietitian nutritionists for positions in nutrition and dietetics or related fields. This broad approach is supported by our engagement concentration.

Program Goals and Objectives

The program has two broad goals and specific objectives tied to each goal.

Program GOAL 1. Graduates will practice effectively as entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists in nutrition and dietetics or related fields.

Program Objectives for Goal 1:

  1. At least 80% percent of students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).
  2. At least 90 percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  3. 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%.
  4. Of graduates who seek employment, 80 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  5. At least 50% of employers who respond to a survey on program graduates in their first year of employment will rate them as above average in professional knowledge, skills and problem solving as compared with other entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.
  6. At the one-year post graduation survey, 80% of the graduates who respond to the survey will indicate adequate preparation to practice effectively as an entry level dietitian nutritionist.

Program GOAL 2. Graduates will participate in life-long learning and/or advancement in dietetics through professional activities and self-development.

 Program Objectives for Goal 2:

  1. At the one-year post graduation survey, 90% of the graduates who respond to the survey will indicate active membership in at least one nutrition and dietetics-related state or national professional organization (e.g. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, American Diabetes Association).
  2. At the one-year post graduation survey, 80% of the graduates who respond to the survey will have started their professional development portfolio.

Program outcomes data are available by submitting a written request to the Program Director.


The Purdue University Coordinated Program in Dietetics is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®️) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995

Phone: 800-877-1600, Ext. 5400.

“With as many directions as one can go in the field of dietetics, Purdue’s program offers a well-rounded curriculum that helps us not only gain experience but also confidence in each realm while we approach our supervised practice rotations. Purdue’s program also allows for an additional “flexible” rotation, providing us with the advantage of furthering our knowledge and connections in the field of our choice.

— Arianna

Dinah Dalder

Dinah Dalder | Program Director

For questions regarding the Master of Science in dietetics program, please contact Clinical Associate Professor Dinah Dalder

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