Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

The M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program at NIU is designed to prepare you for work in community nutrition as a registered dietitian in public or private health organizations in county, state and government agencies or as patient-care dietitians in hospitals and other health care settings. This program also sets you up for success in doctoral programs.

Your coursework will focus on both prevention and treatment of nutrition-related diseases, with course topics including maternal and infant nutrition, geriatric nutrition, obesity and eating disorders and counseling skills and strategies. Courses outside the discipline include topics in behavior change and the health care system.

To become a registered dietitian you’ll need to complete a dietetic internship, and our program helps you get the experience through one of more than 45 practicum sites. You’ll have the opportunity to work in medical clinics, nursing homes, wellness and health promotion sites, diabetes education and business sites throughout northern Illinois.

A Certificate of Graduate Study in Eating Disorders and Obesity and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Sports Nutrition are available.

Prerequisites to the program include a bachelor’s degree and completion of a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD).

For students who wish to pursue the M.S. in Nutrition only, program prerequisites include:

  • Three credit hours courses in general chemistry
  • Three credit hours in organic chemistry
  • Three credit hours in biochemistry
  • Three credit hours in microbiology or bacteriology
  • Three credit hours in human biology
  • Five credit hours in human anatomy and physiology
  • Three credit hours in nutrition
  • Three credit hours in statistics

A minimum 3.00 GPA in these courses is required.

When you are admitted to the graduate program, you will be assigned to a graduate faculty member who will serve as your academic advisor. Students work with their advisor to individualize the M.S. program and make course selections among requirement options to reflect the student's personal and professional goals. Transfer credits of up to 12 hours toward the M.S. is permitted, but the acceptance of specific course work is subject to the advisor's assessment of the contribution to the total graduate program. The combined M.S. degree and Dietetic Internship program courses are sequenced for simultaneous completion of both programs. Five semesters of coursework are required to complete both the M.S. degree program and Dietetic Internship. The time required to complete the M.S. degree program without the dietetic internship is variable, but generally a full-time student without deficiencies can complete the M.S. degree program in four semesters (not including summers).

The M.S. degree program allows students to choose between a thesis or non-thesis option. A thesis is an original research project that each student completes under the supervision of a faculty member in the department. The thesis topic is determined by the interests of the student, the adviser, the resources required, and knowledge needs of the profession. The research interests of the faculty members are described on their respective web pages. Thesis requires six credits.

Students who select the non-thesis option will be required to take an additional six semester hours of nutrition coursework. This will include a community-based research project participation.

For up-to-date costs, visit the graduate tuition and fees webpage.

All applicants may apply for a graduate assistantship. Graduate assistantships require that a student work for a faculty person for 10 to 20 hours per week assisting with teaching and/or research. Each semester, a limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Please send your completed graduate assistantship application (PDF) and current resume to

Admission to the M.S. program and the Dietetic Internship are separate, but related processes. Not all students admitted to the M.S. program are interested in or are eligible for the internship.

The priority application deadline to the M.S. degree in nutrition and dietetics is January 15.

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