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Master of Science in Food and Nutrition

Food and Nutrition Dietetic Students

The basis of our Master of Science degree in Food and Nutrition and a Dietetic Internship is the advanced study of public health as it relates to food and diet. Our graduate program emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention, along with primary and/or ambulatory health care. Also, we are fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

The Dietetic Internship program is a 24 month experience offered in conjunction with a Master of Science degree in Food and Nutrition focusing on community nutrition and is for those students interested in become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Graduates are empowered with the education and 1200 hours of supervised practice necessary to successfully pass the credentialing exam to become an RDN.

Starting in January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree, which must include coursework and supervised practice, to be eligible to take the credentialing exam necessary to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Our accredited program fulfills these requirements.

The faculty and advisors for our program work to ensure candidates are well prepared for the RDN credentialing exam. They provide a depth of knowledge along with the necessary practical skills to facilitate a successful career as a RDN.
SIU Food and Nutrition Paririe Farm Field trip

Degree Requirements

To earn a Master of Science in Food and Nutrition with a emphasis on Community Nutrition, candidates must complete both the coursework in the advanced study of dietetics and 1200 hours of dietetic internship as ascribed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).  The Dietetic Internship Program works in conjunction with the M.S. in Food and Nutrition program to provide completion of all requirements.   

Coursework in the food and nutrition graduate program consists of 39-44 credit hours which are taken in the first four semesters of study.  Following the completion of classroom instruction, the remaining two semesters consist of supervised practice at the available rotation sites.   

Program CompassView suggested course guideView all food and nutrition courses | View Student Handbook | View Academic Calendar

Career Options

Potential employers include health departments, universities, ambulatory care clinics, hospitals and community outreach programs.

Graduates may also oversee community projects such as the Women, Infants and Children program and may conduct nutritional research for a variety of employers.


Acceptance into the Master of Science in Food and Nutrition program requires completion of an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics and official transcripts verifying the completion of the baccalaureate degree. Applicants must also complete an application for the Dietetic Internship Program and will be required to participate in a virtual interview with the DI director. The program no longer requires applicants to take the GRE.

SIU Food and Nutrition Student with Mixer


The internship required to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) requires the completion of 1200 hours of supervised practice in three areas of practice which include food service management, clinical and medical nutrition therapy and community. The schedule is formulated to emphasize practical knowledge in disease prevention and primary and ambulatory health care. These rotations may be completed in facilities such as hospitals, health departments, clinics and schools, to name a few.

R.D. Exam

The national exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is administered year-round by the Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR). Once the CDR validates a candidate’s completion of eligibility requirements, the exam may be scheduled at a conveniently located test center.

The multiple choice exam consists of a minimum of 125 questions and covers domain including principles of dietetics, nutrition care for individuals and groups, food service systems and management of food and nutrition programs and services. These topics are included in the focused curriculum of the M.S. in Food and Nutrition program and at least 80% of SIU graduates pass the RDN exam within one year of the first attempt.

Contact Information

Brenda Green,
Graduate Program Coordinator

209 Quigley Hall
Mailcode 4310
875 S. Normal Avenue
Carbondale, IL 62901-4303
Phone: 618-453-7513 


Students in the M.S. in Food and Nutrition program and Dietetic Internship Program are responsible for the following costs and fees associated with academics, health and safety:

  • Graduate application fee: $65.00
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic student membership $50.00
  • Health Insurance: $650.00 (optional)
  • Living expenses (including travel) $1000 per month (varies)
  • Books and Supplies $200-$300 (varies)
  • TB Test $40.00 (varies)
  • Additional Immunizations (if needed) vary in cos
  • Drug Screen $50.00 (varies)
  • Background check $50 (varies)

Funding and Financial Aid

Various opportunities for financial assist are available for graduate students in the food and nutrition program.

Graduate assistantships are awarded each year, based on departmental need and financial resources available. Upon entry into the program, students may be appointed a GA position that would waive the cost of tuition and provide a semester stipend.

Graduate fellowships vary in availability each year depending on available funds. Fellowships are awarded to students based on test scores, scholarships and the potential for success in the graduate degree program.

Scholarships are available from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and are based on academic merit, volunteer work in the community and program development in the field of food and nutrition.