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Master of Public Health Dietetics Focus Area

coordinated program in dietetics

The MPH in Dietetics is intended for students who want to become Registered Dietitians (RDs). The dietetics option is an accredited Coordinated Program in Dietetics, which is a highly regarded degree option that combines the academic and supervised practice experience to qualify graduates to become RDs. 

The UMass Lowell MPH Dietetics option is the only MPH coordinated program offered in New England. 


Career Opportunities

The MPH in Dietetics prepares students for new, unique careers by combining two professional fields – dietetics and public heath. Both fields are projected to grow substantially in the next decade. With the MPH and RD credentials, you will be specifically trained to examine the intersection of food access, diet choices and public health. 

You will be qualified for any traditional RD career pathway in clinical nutrition, food service and community nutrition, but can also find employment in health promotion, public health research, public health program development, design and evaluation, and policy analysis. 


Goals of the MPH in Dietetics

We prepare graduates to: 

  • Practice as successful Registered Dietitians uniquely trained to address the health and nutrition needs of diverse populations. 
  • Act as critical members of the health care team. 
  • Design and deliver nutrition and wellness focused preventive services in community settings. 
  • Advocate for policy and programmatic initiatives. 
  • Lead research in disease prevention and health promotion. 
  • Coordinate and implement nutrition policies and programs.

View the courses in the graduate academic catalog.

Master of Public Health Dietetics Option Focus Area

Accreditation

Logo for Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics

The UMass Lowell MPH Coordinated Program in Dietetics has been granted Candidacy Status for Accreditation by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). 

Accreditation includes self-analysis, preparation of a self-study report, and an on-site evaluation visit by a team of professional peers. Dietetics educators and practitioners, appointed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) board, participate in the peer review process to determine if a program is achieving its own educational objectives and meeting the accreditation standards. 

The ACEND board accredits programs that are able to meet these standards. Candidacy status is awarded after review of an eligibility application and self-study report and an on-site evaluation indicate that the program is progressing toward compliance with the Accreditation Standards and demonstrates institutional readiness to implement the proposed program. After candidacy for accreditation is granted, the program may enroll students. 

Students on premises and enrolled after candidacy is granted will be considered graduates of an accredited program on successful completion of the program. 

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition & Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Email: ACEND@eatright.org
Tel: (312) 899-0040 ext 5400/Fax: (312) 899-4817

Admissions

Students wishing to become Registered Dietitians (RDs) should apply to the Master of Public Health (MPH) Coordinated Program in Dietetics option, which will be referred to as the Dietetics option. The students following the Dietetics option receive a Verification Statement upon graduation, which is needed to take the RD exam. The Dietetics option requires unique standards and admissions policies as outlined below. 

Applying to the Dietetics Option

All application documents should be submitted directly to UMass Lowell Graduate Admissions or mail a hard copy to: 

Office of Graduate Admissions
Cumnock Hall, Suite 110
One University Avenue
Lowell, MA 01854-5130

The Program Director and the Dietetics option admissions committee will review all completed applications combined with interviews to finalize admissions decisions. Currently, there is a rolling admissions process, which means applications are accepted on an ongoing basis up to one month before the Fall term begins in early September.

Application to the Dietetics Option 

Admission into the Dietetics option is competitive. Due to programmatic constraints, meeting all admission criteria does not guarantee placement into this option. Students who wish to pursue the Dietetics option should meet the following minimum criteria to be considered for admission: 

  • Baccalaureate degree from a 4 year college or University or international equivalent, with an overall GPA of at least 3.0. 
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within past 5 years. 
  • The GRE requirement may be waived with a prior graduate degree. 
  • Individuals who graduated from UMass Lowell in the past 5 years with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may be able to waive the GRE upon approval of the Program Director. 
  • The GRE requirement may also be waived for Medical or Dental Aptitude scores. 
  • Three letters of recommendation, one (1), of which must be submitted by a Registered Dietitian. 
  • A minimum of 35 hours of documented personal experience (volunteer or paid) in a nutrition, dietetics, or health setting. 
  • A personal statement describing why the student wishes to enter the Dietetics option and what their future career goals are (800-1200 typed words). 
  • Computer literacy in word, excel, powerpoint, etc., is expected. 

Pre-Requisite Course Requirements for Application to the Dietetics Option

  • Students applying for the Dietetics option must earn grades of B- or better in the following college level pre requisite courses before beginning graduate level courses and supervised practice: Human Nutrition, Microbiology, Food Science with Lab, Medical Nutrition Therapy I and II, Life Cycle Nutrition, Nutrition and Metabolism, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Statistics, Biology or Anatomy and Physiology, and Psychology or Sociology or Anthropology.
  • Pre-Requisite courses can be fulfilled at UMass Lowell or from other schools. Students may be asked to provide documentation of equivalent course content proposed to meet admission criteria for the pre-requisite courses.
  • Students may be asked to provide documentation of equivalent course content being proposed to meet admission criteria. 
  • No more than two (2) pre-requisite courses may be missing at the time of application. 
  • Courses which are "in-Progress" at the time of the application deadline are considered missing. 
  • All pre-requisite courses must be completed before orientation in late August. 
  • Admitted students who fail to complete all prerequisites will NOT be allowed to enter the program. There will be no exceptions to this rule. 
  • Prerequisite courses can not be completed once you have begun the program. 
  • Additionally, it will be assumed that you have already mastered the material in the prerequisite courses. 
  • If it is not feasible for you to complete all prerequisites by the end of August, then you should wait and apply during the next admissions cycle.

Additional Application Documents

Please include the certification of hours and the pre-requisite course checklist with your updated resume in the "resume" section of the application.

Application to the Dietetics Option for International Students

  • Application to the Dietetics option for International applicants International applicants must submit English competency test score TOEFL or IELTS. 
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language: http://www.ets.org/toefl. Minimum score 79. 
  • International English Language Testing System.  Minimum score 6.5. 
  • Official transcripts must be evaluated by the Center for Educational Documentation.
  • The faculty supports the position to recruit and retain students who by reasons of ethnic, cultural, or socioeconomic background are more likely to serve areas of critical need. 

Assessment of Prior Learning 

  • There are NO exemptions for supervised practice hours or courses which include supervised practice, such as the MPH Practicum. 
  • No assessment for prior learning will be considered for core nutrition/dietetics graduate courses in the Dietetics option degree pathway. 
  • Core nutrition/dietetics courses include: Public Health Nutrition, Programs and Principles in Public Health Nutrition, Food and Nutrition Management, Nutrition Assessment, Nutrition Epidemiology, and Advanced Clinical Nutrition. 
  • Students may be asked to provide documentation of equivalent course content proposed to meet admission criteria for the prerequisite courses. 

For questions about the Dietetics option, please contact the Program Director:
Renee Barrile, RD Ph.D. 
978-934-4457

Supervised Practice

The Dietetics option is an accredited Coordinated Program in Dietetics, which is a highly regarded degree option that combines the academic and supervised practice experience to qualify graduates to become Registered Dietitians (RD). 

The 1200 hours of supervised practice are integrated into the curriculum and are designed to prepare students for entry-level positions as RDs upon successful completion of the registration exam. Students will have rotations in organizations that specialize in community nutrition, public health, food service management, and clinical nutrition. Public Health Nutrition is the concentration of the Dietetics option, and Lowell and the surrounding communities have an abundance of programs that promote nutrition to diverse populations. 

View the courses in the graduate academic catalog.

Major Partners 

Some examples of our major partners include: Genesis Health Care, Lowell General Hospital, The Lowell Community Health Center, The Lowell Boys and Girls Club, Mill City Grows and The UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program. 

  • Genesis Health Care, one of the largest providers of senior care in the nation, has more than 400 locations across the country, including two sites in Lowell that provide long term care and rehabilitation services. 
  • Lowell General Hospital is an independent, not-for- profit community hospital serving the Greater Lowell area and surrounding communities. 
  • The Lowell Community Health Center has many programs and services including nutrition counseling and education for all ages, WIC, health educator training sessions, immigrant and refugee health services, and in-school health services for teens. 
  • The Lowell Boys and Girls Club offers programs and initiatives to help youth achieve and maintain healthy, active lifestyles. They also offer a meal and snack daily for school aged members. 
  • Mill City Grows improves physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability in Lowell through increased access to land, locally-grown food, and education. They offer a mobile food market, build-a-garden workshops, community and urban gardening programs, and educational programs.
  • The UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program in Lawrence provides individuals, families, and communities with the knowledge and skills for healthier eating through research-based nutrition education. Their program includes two research-based programs, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the SNAP-Ed program. 

UMass Lowell also has several sites for supervised practice right on campus. These campus connections will give our dietetics students many opportunities to help promote healthy nutrition on campus.

  • Food service rotations will take place at three different dining sites operated by Aramark. 
  • The University also has a Health Services division that offers health and wellness counseling for students. 
  • Additionally, there are two on-campus recreation centers that offer many programs designed to promote health among students, faculty, and staff. 
  • The newly renovated Health Assessment Lab offers numerous opportunities to perform interdisciplinary research and education while integrating the fields represented in the College of Health Sciences including biomedical engineering, clinical laboratory science, ergonomics, exercise physiology, nutrition, nursing and physical therapy. 
  • The UMass Lowell Graduate School of Education has a Jumpstart Program, a national early education organization that serves preschool children in low-income neighborhoods.

Student Resources

The MPH Coordinated Program in Dietetics (Dietetics option) combines the coursework and supervised practice requirements to become eligible to take the national examination to become a Registered Dietitian after graduation. Review the Student Handbook to learn more about the program, policies and procedures, a comprehensive list of student resources and other relevant information about the Dietetics option. 

The mission of the MPH Dietetics option in public health nutrition is to “to promote public health nutrition by preparing graduates to practice entry level dietetics with knowledge, competence and the ability to address the needs of diverse communities.” 

Program Goals and Outcome Measures for the MPH Dietetics Option

Goal #1: To prepare graduates for a successful entry-level position as a Registered Dietitian. Expected outcomes and target measures: 

  • Over a 5 year period, 80 percent of Dietetics graduates will pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians, administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the first time they take the exam. 
  • At least 80 percent of students admitted to the Dietetics program will complete the program within 3 years from beginning the program (150 percent time). 
  • Over a 5 year period, at least 70 percent of graduates who seek employment in dietetics related positions will find employment within 8 months of completing the program. 

Goal #2: To prepare graduates to be life-long learners who seek opportunities for personal and professional growth. Expected outcomes and target measures: 

  • Over a 5 year period, 75 percent of UMass Lowell Dietetics graduates who respond to an alumni survey will report being a member of a local or national professional group. 
  • Over a 5 year period, 90 percent of UMass Lowell Dietetics graduates who respond to an alumni survey will indicate that they have participated in post-graduation training related to their profession. 
  • Over a 5 year period, 40 percent of graduates who respond to an alumni survey will indicate that they are preceptors. 

Goal #3: To prepare graduates who are competent to address the health and nutrition needs of diverse populations. Expected outcomes and target measures: 

  • Over a 5 year period, at least 40 percent of graduates who respond to an alumni survey, and sought employment in dietetics, will be working with diverse populations. 
  • Over a 5 year period, at least 80 percent of employers who respond to an employer survey will rate graduates as acceptable or higher in their ability to work with diverse populations. 
  • Over a 5 year period, 80 percent of graduates who respond to an alumni survey will indicate that they were well prepared to address the health and nutrition needs of diverse populations. 
To request program outcome data, please contact:
Program Director Renee Barrile, RD, Ph.D.
978-934-4457