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Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics


In our dynamic health care environment, it is essential for dietetics practitioners to develop skills for fostering improved health outcomes. Designed for those who want to help others and make a positive difference in their communities, the M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program at Benedictine University develops one’s knowledge and skills on health-promotion and therapeutic and concerns. The non-thesis research component is applied, fostering development of skills in evaluating the outcomes of descriptive survey research. Learning at Benedictine University combines instructional expertise with individual initiative, creativity, research and field experience so that the adult learner will find the educational experience a stepping stone to professional success. In addition to professional preparation, the program also provides an excellent educational background for those who wish to pursue further study at the doctorate level.

We offer a high quality, fully online M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program. The interactive online format offers one the flexibility to earn a master's degree from an established, reputable university while continuing personal and professional pursuits. Or, students who reside close to campus can elect to take some courses in the blended face-to-face format, along with online courses.

Our program is specifically designed for dietetic interns and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, giving credit for accredited dietetics practice experiences (dietetic internship, ISPP, RDN credential) completed at Benedictine University and elsewhere (Refer to the Curriculum tab for information on the three tracks). Students typically enroll in one 8-week course at a time, with two per semester, completing the degree in about two years. Those who are not working may prefer to complete the degree at a faster pace, taking two courses per session (4 per term) to complete the degree in less time. Students begin their courses in the program in August or January to be part of a cohort.

Mission [Nutrition graduate programs]

The Nutrition masters' programs create and maintain a learning environment that encourages critical thinking, acquisition of evidence-based comprehensive knowledge of the interrelationships of food, nutrition, and health, and the development of ongoing professional skills that are necessary for becoming outstanding health professionals.


Upon successful completion of the Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics foundation courses, the student will:

  1. Demonstrate applications of nutritional sciences.
  2. Present evidence-based professional communications
  3. Demonstrate application of research for evidence-informed practice.

Students take an active role in their own learning process through shaping their curriculum through choice of electives. The M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program requires 35-36 semester credits of graduate coursework, depending upon one’s academic preparation. In this M.S., students earn credit for accredited dietetic practice experiences (e.g., dietetic internship, ISPP, RDN credential) completed at Benedictine University and elsewhere.

The Foundation courses are required of all, in addition to course requirements specific to a particular track.

PBHL 5502 Data Analytics (3)
NUTR 5539 Health & Wellness Research Planning (3)
NUTR 5581 Obesity: Theory & Practice Applications (3)
NUTR 5585 Complementary Nutrition Therapies (3)
NUTR 6693 Descriptive Research (3)

Track A provides the practice-based knowledge and experience for practice as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) combined with a life-science based health promotion graduate degree. This track includes an accredited Dietetic Internship experience. Courses are taught in the evenings as a blended face-to-face format and online. Dietetic interns normally complete this combined M.S./Dietetic Internship program in 16 months.

NUTR 5515 MNT Advanced Concepts and Outcome Measurement (3)
NUTR 5578 DI Skill & Practice Competence & Professional Issues (2)
NUTR 5589 Dietetic Internship (12)
NUTR elective (3) – refer to list of elective courses below.

Track B is designed for graduates of Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) who are accepted into and pursuing a Dietetic Internship program not affiliated with Benedictine University. This track has an entrepreneurial focus, more choice of electives, and these students earn six (6) semester hours of academic credit towards the equivalent completed practice experience*. Students can pursue this degree in a blended (face-to-face, online) or 100% online format.

NUTR 5557 Nutrition Communications (3)
NUTR 6658 Venture Planning in Nutrition (3)
NUTR 5687 Professional Practice in Dietetics* (6)
NUTR elective (9) – refer to list of elective courses below.

Track C is designed for USA CDR credentialed Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) who seek a nutrition program with an entrepreneurial focus and more choice in their program. In addition, RDNs earn nine (9) semester hours of academic credit towards the completed equivalent practice experience*. Students can pursue this degree in a blended (face-to-face, online) or 100% online format.

NUTR 5557 Nutrition Communications (3)
NUTR 6658 Venture Planning in Nutrition (3)
NUTR 5687 Professional Practice in Dietetics* (9)
NUTR elective (6) – refer to list of elective courses below.

Elective Course Options include:
NUTR 5501 Dimentions of Wellness (3)
NUTR 5530 Science of Sports Nutrition (3)
NUTR 5890 Selected Topics
NUTR 6688 Research Internship [on campus only; not online option] (3)
NUTR 6890 Selected Topics
PBHL 5506 Leadership and Management Organizations OR PBHL 6201 Health Communications and Marketing OR PBHL 6502 Public Health Grant Writing

* Students must submit a Petition for External Credit Form available on the Office of the Registrar website to receive Work/Life Experience credit. A $150 Work/Life Experience Fee is assessed per credit hour awarded for equivalent dietetic practice experience as transfer credit. Students who received graduate academic credit from an university for the practice experience, and/or who have completed additional graduate courses, should contact the program director at .

Financial Assistance

Benedictine University offers graduate scholarships – for more information, visit: Many opportunities exist for nutrition students in need of financial assistance. You are strongly encouraged to apply for grant money, low interest bank loans, and scholarships - may be available from the government, corporations, community or civic groups, philanthropic and religious organizations. 

To start the financial aid process, please complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at

  • Students must register for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) with the U.S. Department of Education. Your PIN will serve as your electronic signature. You can apply for a PIN online at:
  • Benedictine University's school code is: 001767.

If you are entering the university to pursue the Lisle campus degree program, contact a representative in the University Financial Aid Office at (630) 829-6100 for a consultation.

For more information on how to begin the financial aid application process for the online program, please request more information or call (866) 295-3104 to speak with an Admissions Advisor.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy) offers students the opportunity to apply for Academy scholarships. To qualify, students must be at least junior standing and enrolled in an accredited undergraduate nutrition program (Didactic Program in Dietetics), Dietetic Internship program, or master degree program, depending upon the scholarship. Due to the limited number of available scholarships, these are quite competitive and thus prestigious to receive. Refer to the September Supplement of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or the Academy website for more information. Generally, you must be a member of the Academy to receive an Academy or local dietetic association scholarship. Membership information is available on the Academy website or through the Nutrition Department.


Procedures for applying to graduate programs, including an online Graduate Application, are at: All applicants must have earned a grade of “C” or better in specific prerequisite coursework. Prerequisite courses for this master’s degree include undergraduate (or graduate) courses in each of the following: physiology or combined anatomy and physiology (if part of a two course sequence, need both anatomy and physiology I and II), biochemistry (or nutrient metabolism), and medical nutrition therapy.

All applicants should have a minimum 3.000/4.000 cumulative GPA.

GRE results are optional but welcomed with a recommended minimum score of 30th percentile in each of the three areas of the GRE: verbal, quantitative and analytical. Applications without GRE scores will have more weight on grades and references.

Request TWO instructors and/or employers to complete and submit letters of reference, found online at:

Submit a 1-2 pages well-written personal statement. Your reflective statement assists the program Admissions Committee in understanding your professional career interests and motivation, while demonstrating your writing skills. Your statement should answer the following questions:

  • Succinctly describe why (motivation) you want to become a Registered Dietitian [Tracks A and B] or what motivates you to work in the field of nutrition and dietetics [Track C].
  • Succinctly describe your vision of your future, focusing on your career goals (5 or 10 years).
  • Why are you pursuing a graduate degree (what is your motivation)?
  • Why did you choose to apply to this program at Benedictine University? Which aspects are a “fit” with your interests or needs?
  • How will completion of this program help meet your personal and/or career goals?
  • Why are you a good candidate for this program? Describe your strengths.

Resumes or curriculum vitas are optional but can be submitted as part of the application.

The Admissions process for Track A is through either (a) pre-match of Benedictine University students and alumni with a DPD or (b) computer matching. Unless applying for pre-match, students should submit their application to the Dietetic Internship (DI) program, along with all requirements including references, using DICAS and D&D Digital Systems. Applicants must have completed an Accreditation Council of Education for Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) prior to starting this master degree. Applicants must submit a DPD Verification Statement or DPD Declaration of Intent at the time of application, and a DPD Verification Statement is required prior to the start of this MS program. Additional coursework in medical nutrition therapy is typically required when a degree has been completed five or more years prior to Dietetic Internship application. Prerequisite courses may be taken at Benedictine University. Refer to the Dietetic Internship Information Packet online for more information.

Track B applicants must provide evidence of acceptance into an external (i.e., not through Benedictine University, BenU) Dietetic Internship (DI) program to the BenU Nutrition Department Chair. Students accepted into this track must provide progress reports to the BenU Nutrition Department Chair demonstrating continuing evidence of success in his or her external DI program. Upon verification by his or her DI program director that 95% of the DI is complete, the credit for NUTR 5687 (*) will be approved for processing. Students who do not successfully complete at least 95% of an external DI will not receive any credits for practice experience, but can transfer to the BenU MS in Nutrition and Wellness program, upon which his/her credits will count towards that program completion.

Per the USA Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR; CDR now has reciprocity agreements with only the following four foreign regulatory boards:

  • Dietitians of Canada (DC)
  • Dutch Association of Dietitians/Ministry of Welfare, Public Health and Culture (NVD)
  • Philippine Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
  • Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Association (INDI)

Dietitians with one of these foreign credentials who have not completed the USA CDR RD/RDN Exam can provide the proper document stated on the CDR website to the BenU Nutrition Department Chair, who will certify the equivalent experience for BenU. Graduates of other international dietetic programs should follow the steps on the CDR website to become eligible for an accredited Dietetic Internship in the US.

Acceptance into or completion of Track B does not constitute, imply, or guarantee acceptance into, or completion of, the accredited BenU Dietetic Internship program. Nor does it imply completion of an accredited Dietetic Internship experience or ISPP.

Track C applicants must already have the credential of Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) by the USA Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR), as evidenced by submission of a notarized copy of their CDR card.

For graduate school, submit all application documents, including official transcripts for all colleges/universities attended, to:

Benedictine University
Adult and Graduate Admissions
5700 College Road, Lownik Hall
Lisle, IL 60532

Brief Summary of Application Requirements per Track

Track A

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Verification Statement from USA ACEMD accredited program, and as a separate application process, acceptance into the BenU Dietetic Internship Program.

3.00/4.00 cumulative GPA
3.20/4.0 DPD GPA

GRE optional

2 references

Personal statement

Track B

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Verification Statement from USA ACEND accredited program, and verified acceptance into an external (not BenU) Dietetic Internship program. Or dietitians from specified foreign countries (refer to details in text).

3.00/4.00 cumulative GPA

GRE optional

2 references

Personal statement

Track C

USA Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) RDN credential

3.00/4.00 cumulative GPA

GRE optional

2 references

Personal statement



Toby Mussman Smithson
Online M.S./Class of 2014

"I love the flexibility of the online program. Every course I have taken thus far has been relevant to my day to day job in public health, media interviews, and my business. It is exciting to bring what I am learning in the 'classroom' to the many conversations I have with clients, fellow RDs, media, and my employer."

"This master degree serves as a portal to careers in health promotion and risk reduction, community-based education programming and therapeutic intervention, as well as an excellent background for those who plan to pursue a doctorate."

Need More Information?

The Benedictine University Nutrition Programs will be recognized at the community, state, national, and international level for their leadership in developing optimal teaching and learning within nutrition programs. The programs will prepare future nutritionists, registered dietitians, and nutrition managers to address important food and nutrition issues that impact the quality of life of people.

Mission [graduate programs]

The Master's Program in Nutrition and Wellness focuses on creating and maintaining a learning environment that encourages critical thinking, acquisition of comprehensive knowledge of the interrelationships of food, nutrition, and health, and the development of ongoing professional skills that are necessary for becoming outstanding health professionals.


For Admissions Inquiries:

Myskeshia Leon
(630) 829-6311

For Graduate Admissions Information:

Graduate Admissions

For Graduate Tuition Information:

Current Graduate Tuition and Fees at Benedictine University


Department of Nutrition
Benedictine University

Catherine Arnold, MS, EdD, RD.
Department Chair


Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

By Mail:
Benedictine University
5700 College Road
Kindlon Hall, Room 224
Lisle, IL 60532

Fax: (630) 829-6595