The Three Major Tracks
The Dietetics track is for students who wish to apply for an internship to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). RDs are registered and licensed health care professionals who work in hospitals and other health care facilities such as nursing homes. Hospitals require that their nutrition health care professionals be RD’s. Dietitians in hospitals are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the diet most suitable to their conditions. A hospital dietitian’s duties range from the therapeutic aspects of dietetics (helping the patient understand how specific diets can influence their disease and how they can best modify their eating habits) to the administrative aspects (such as supervising food production, planning of special diets, and management of food service systems). The hospital dietitian also acts as a source of nutrition information for outpatients and the community.
Additionally, RDs are also qualified to work in the food development and food service industries, in the supplement industry, in community service agencies, in educational and research institutions, and in private practice as consultants to individuals, corporations, medical care groups, and nursing homes.
The Dietetics track is accredited by the Accreditation Council of Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly American Dietetic Association). This track fulfills the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) requirements, which gives students a Verification Statement. Students with this background, without the RD credential can work in community based nutrition programs such as the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Food Program (WIC) and School Meals Programs. Dietetic Registration requires the successful completion of a Dietetic Internship following graduation from the Dietetics track, and the passing of a national Registration Examination. Admission to Dietetic Internships is very competitive with the national acceptance rate at about 50%. Students interested in following the Dietetics track, begin as Nutrition majors with an undeclared track. In order to be admitted into the Dietetics track, students must earn at least a B in Nutrition 230 and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. This GPA must be maintained to remain in the Dietetics track. For more information on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the dietetics profession, please visit the AND web site at www.eatright.org.
Nutrition and Health Sciences
The Nutrition and Health Sciences track prepares students to pursue careers or graduate training in nutrition, medicine, physician assistant programs, pharmacy, dentistry, and other health science related careers. Students will be prepared to work in the health or food industries, or work in nutrition research. In addition to the core nutrition and science courses that are common for all nutrition majors, students in this track will receive more science and laboratory based training. Students who are interested in medical, dental school, PA school or other advanced medical education may have additional requirements as recommended by the Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental/Pre-Health advising program.
Nutrition in a Global Society
The Nutrition in a Global Society track prepares students to pursue careers or graduate training in nutrition, public health, social work, education, and other applied professional careers. Students will be prepared to work in community nutrition programs such as Head Start, Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP), Elderly Nutrition Program, and other community based programs. Students are also able to join the Peace Corps; pursue careers in teaching health or science; wellness or consumer industries; help develop food policies locally or internationally; or pursue an entrepreneurial nutrition practice. In addition to the core nutrition and science courses, students in this track will take community nutrition and international nutrition courses, plus can choose among many relevant electives in public health, kinesiology, sociology, food science, plant and soil science, resource economics, anthropology, or hospitality and tourism management.
For those students who do not wish to work in areas where an RD is required, Massachusetts offers a pathway to become a Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist (LDN). This licensure is specific to Massachusetts and is not transferrable to other states.
Students who earn a B.S. in the Nutrition and Health Sciences or Nutrition in a Global Society tracks are eligible to become an LDN if they meet these additional criteria:
- Complete a B.S. degree in Nutrition.
- Complete a 1200-hour dietetic internship or three years of post-B.S. paid work experience.
- Receive a passing grade on the RD exam or other test approved by the licensure board.
For more information please contact the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure at mass.gov/dpl (Click on “Division of Professional Licensure Boards” and then “Dietitians and Nutritionists”).