UK Launches Online Masters in Nutrition to Meet New Industry Demands

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (August 5, 2022) — The Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition (DHN) at the University of Kentucky recently launched a flexible online Master of Science degree to meet an imminent need for future Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

“From January 2024, in addition to following a supervised practice programme, prospective dietitians must hold an advanced degree before they can sit the registration exam,” said Dawn Brewer, associate professor at the UK DHN and director of graduate studies.

This new requirement, mandated by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is intended to improve dietitians’ earnings, as well as their advancement and esteem in the healthcare industry. And while UK DHN has offered an on-campus masters degree for over 15 years, the new online option will enable many more to work in the field.

“The online Master’s in Nutrition and Food Systems differs from our traditional program in that a thesis is not required,” Brewer said. “Instead, students complete an evidence-based practice project based on their personal passions and professional goals.”

The practice project, where online students develop a unique community program or tackle a clinical problem related to nutrition, is indicative of the real-world approach that students experience in all DHN courses in the UK.

“In addition to award-winning teaching, our faculty regularly leads community projects funded by the CDC, US Department of Agriculture and other federal and state agencies,” said Tammy Stephenson, Chair of UK DHN. “These multidimensional research activities enable our students to learn from frontline practitioners, gain meaningful expertise, and strengthen their commercialization across many industries.”

Although all DHN graduates develop a specific set of applied expertise, their career paths vary across healthcare, government, education, nonprofits, and many other sectors.

Paths to the online master’s may also vary. Depending on their schedule and desired pace, students can complete the degree in 12 to 24 months. Current UK dietetics students can start the program online during their undergraduate course by applying for the University Scholarship Scheme.

“This program may be suitable for dietitians-in-training or currently practicing dietitian nutritionists who seek advanced training with a graduate degree,” Brewer says. “But it’s also a great fit for health care and food systems advocates seeking leadership roles in their profession.”

The online Master in Nutrition and Food Systems is now accepting applications without a GRE requirement. Visit https://dhn.ca.uky.edu/online-ms-degree to learn more. Send your questions to [email protected]

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