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Brooks College of Health

Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

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Integrated Future Graduate Program

The Integrated Future Graduate Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of North Florida is a 20-month program that prepares students to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing examination to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. The program integrates online didactic coursework with 1000 hours of onsite supervised experiential learning in a competency-based curriculum designed to prepare nutrition and dietetics practitioners for future practice. 

The Future Education Model - Graduate Program has been granted accreditation under the newly released Future Education Model Standards by:  

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association) 

120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Phone: (312) 899-0040 ext. 5400
Email: acend@eatright.org
Website: www.eatrightpro.org/acend

Application Deadlines

Priority Deadline: January 15

Applications that are submitted between January 16 and April 15 may be considered to fill any remaining openings.

Admission Requirements

For admission requirements and information on how to apply, please visit

The UNF Graduate School's Website

  • Program Mission, Goals, and Objectives

    Program Mission Statement

    To prepare culturally competent and proficient Registered Dietitian Nutritionists with increased competence and advanced skills in clinical and community nutrition and leadership with rigorous, cutting-edge graduate didactic coursework integrated with impactful supervised experiential learning to advance and advocate for the practice of nutrition and dietetics.

    Program Goals and Objectives

    The Future Education Model Graduate Program is designed to prepare students to practice competently in an increasingly complex healthcare environment with the skills and knowledge who take an evidence-based approach to practice. The Future Education Model Graduate Program learning objectives will ensure:

    • Graduates will enter the dietetics professions as culturally competent, proficient Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
    • Graduates will become leaders of the profession and advocate for nutrition and dietetics amongst the community and other professions.

    Goal One: Graduates will enter the dietetics profession as culturally competent, proficient Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

    • Program Objectives for Goal One
      • 1.1 “At least 80% of program graduates complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length)”.
      • 1.2 “Of graduates who seek employment, 80 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation”.
      • 1.3 “80 percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion”.
      • 1.4 “The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of the first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%”.
      • 1.5 “Of employers who return the employer survey, 80% will rate the graduates’ overall entry-level competence as “satisfactory” or “above satisfactory”.
      • 1.6 “At least 80% of graduates who return the annual graduate survey will agree that the preparation provided by the program for entry-level practice was at least “satisfactory”.
      • 1.7 “At least 80% of program graduates who return the annual graduate survey will report that they utilize cultural competency skills in making food and nutrition recommendations.”
       

    Goal Two: Graduates will become leaders of the profession and advocate for nutrition and dietetics amongst the community and other professions.

    • Program Objectives for Goal Two
      • 2.1 Of program graduates who return the annual graduate survey, at least 80% will report that they hold a leadership position in a professional organization, work setting, or community.
      • 2.2 Of program graduates who return the annual graduate survey, at least 80% will report that they are active members of at least one professional organization.
       

    UNF’s FEM Graduate Program has an ongoing assessment process on the outcomes of the program. Data on outcomes are available on request. To obtain information on available program outcomes, send a written request to the Program Director: Dr. Jamisha Leftwich at j.leftwich@unf.edu.

  • Admission Requirements

    Program Admission Requirements:

    Applicants must meet the following admission requirements:

    • Completion of one of the following:
        • A “Verification Statement” or “Declaration of Intent” to complete form must be submitted in the student’s application to show evidence of DPD enrollment. A “Verification Statement” must be provided by the time of enrollment. With a verification statement from a didactic program in dietetics (DPD).
      1. With a bachelor’s degree in another discipline completed at any accredited institution and all the FEM Graduate Program Prerequisite Courses listed below:
        • General chemistry and lab,
        • Bioorganic chemistry and lab, Organic Chemistry, Nutrition Metabolism, or equivalent
        • Anatomy/physiology I & II and lab,
        • Microbiology and lab,
        • College algebra,
        • Social science such as Intro to Psychology or Intro to Sociology,
        • Basic Principles of Nutrition, and
        • Food Fundamentals or Food Science and lab or equivalent

    Both DPD students and non-DPD students must meet the following admission requirements:

    • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 from the last 60 credits taken in a bachelor’s degree
    • All FEM Graduate Program Prerequisite Courses must be completed with a minimum grade of “B” and not be older than seven years.
  • Application Requirements

    Application Requirements

    To apply visit the UNF Graduate School website. The application opens on November 1st. The priority application deadline is January 15th. Applications that are submitted between January 16th and April 15th may be considered to fill any remaining openings. Required application components include:

    • Application fee. The Graduate College requires a $30 application processing fee (non-refundable), which is paid online when you submit your application.
    • Personal statement. Please write a one-to-two-page letter of personal introduction and professional intent. Include the following information in your personal statement:
      • The reason you are interested in becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
      • Your professional career goals and how the University of North Florida Graduate program aligns with these goals
      • Identification as someone from a diverse or historically underrepresented group as defined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics* (if applicable)
      • Experience working with others from a diverse or historically underrepresented group as defined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics * (if applicable)
    • Resume or Vita. Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae, which details paid and volunteer experiences. Applicants will be encouraged to have work and/or volunteer experience in areas relevant to nutrition, health, or other areas related to management, education, fitness or social services, and public health.
    • Transcripts. Submit transcripts from all colleges and universities attended that contributed to the baccalaureate degree as well as transcripts documenting completion of the pre-requisite courses (see Admission Requirements above). If you are enrolled in a pre-requisite course the same semester you apply, please include evidence of enrollment in final pre-requisite courses.
    • Letters of Recommendation. Applicants need three professional references who will submit recommendation forms on the UNF graduate application portal on their behalf. At least one reference should be a faculty member. At least one reference should be a supervisor or manager. The third reference can be either a supervisor/manager or a faculty member. (Applicants are encouraged to request letters of recommendation from faculty and supervisors at least 3-4 weeks prior to the application deadline.)

    Note: Standardized Tests, including the GRE, are not required for admission to the Future Education Model Graduate Program

    * The Academy encourages inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) by striving to recognize, respect, and include differences in ability, age, creed, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, size, and socioeconomic characteristics in the nutrition and dietetics profession.

  • Competency-Based Education

    The Future Graduate program is a competency-based education (CBE) program that measures learning by how well a student demonstrates the ACEND® Future Education Model (FEM) Graduate Degree Competencies, which define the minimum level of proficiency needed of nutrition and dietetics practitioners to function successfully in practice. The FEM Graduate Degree Competencies describe the essential synthesis of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics in the seven units described below:

    Competencies
    Unit  Future Education Model Graduate Degree Competencies 
    1-Foundation Knowledge Applies foundational sciences to food and nutrition knowledge to meet the needs of individuals, groups, and organizations.
    2-Client/Patient Services Applies the integrates client/patient-centered principles and competent nutrition and dietetics practice to ensure positive outcomes. 
    3-Food System Management Applies food system principles and management skills to ensure safe and efficient delivery of food and water. 
    4-Community & Population Health Nutrition Applies community and population nutrition health theories when providing support to community or population nutrition programs. 
    5-Leadership, Business, Management, & Organization  Demonstrates leadership, business and management principles to guide practice and achieve operational goals. 
    6 -Critical Thinking, Research, & Evidence-Informed Practice Integrates evidence-informed practice, research principles, and critical thinking into practice. 
    7-Core Professional Behaviors Demonstrates professional behaviors and effective communication in all nutrition and dietetics interactions. 


    Competencies are covered repeatedly throughout the curriculum and build on previous knowledge and experience to progress from introductory to more advanced learning activities, thus providing students multiple opportunities to achieve the competencies at the expected depth and breadth of the competency.

    Knows, Shows, Does

    Another key tenet of CBE is that competence goes beyond just knowing information, but rather the student shows how to apply the knowledge or does so by performing it in practice. These levels of performance [knows (K), shows (S), does (D)] are designated for each competency and performance indicator by ACEND®. This is why supervised experiential learning are such an important part of the Graduate Program, as students are showing they can apply their knowledge and demonstrate competence.

    ACEND-Miller-Pyramid-Clinical-Competence.jfif

    Image Alt Text: Image Source: ACEND Competency-based Education Training Based on Miller's Pyramid of Clinical Competence. Top section of pyramid: Green section labeled "Does". Description: Daily patient care: assessed by direct observation in clinical settings (performance). Second layer of pyramid: Purple section labeled "Shows how". Description: demonstration of clinical skills: tested by OSCE, standardized patients, clinical exams, etc. (Competency). Third layer of pyramid: Orange section labeled "Knows how". Description: Application of knowledge tested by clinical problem solving, etc. Base section of pyramid: yellow section labeled "Knows". Description: Knowledge: tested by written exams. Two red multi-directional arrows to the left of the pyramid. One labeled Cognition at the base of the pyramid, the other labeled Behavior at the top of the pyramid. 

    Assessment of Student Learning and Competence

    As is characteristic of CBE, attainment of competence occurs over time and may differ for each student. Assessment of student learning and competence is ongoing (formative and summative) so that feedback to the student is frequent and student-centered to support success throughout the program.

  • Supervised Experiential Learning and Performance Indicators

    Performance Indicators are defined by ACEND® for each competency that provides measurable, observable criteria of what competence actually looks like in practice. Learning activities are then planned based on these performance indicators to assess the student’s progress towards achievement of competence.

    In CBE, supervised experiential learning is especially important, as students have the chance to practice new skills with hands-on learning, or as it is often described: “learning by doing.” FEM Graduate Program plans 1000 hours of supervised experiential learning, comprising 930 hours in Professional Work Setting rotations and 70 hours in didactic courses. UNF affiliates with supervised experiential learning sites throughout Florida and some out-of-state facilities. The FEM Graduate program is responsible for identifying SEL sites and preceptors and creates the rotation schedule for each student depending on site availability and student needs. It is not the responsibility of students to secure SEL placements. However, students are responsible for making arrangements for their housing and/or commuting plans to assigned clinical education sites, at the student’s expense. The figure below shows the types of learning activities planned:

    FEM-Graduate-Program-Flow-Chart.png

    Image Alt. Text: FEM Graduate Program Flow Chart. Top tier: Blue box labeled "FEM Graduate Program". Top tier breaks into two parts, purple box 1 labeled "Didactic Education", purple box 2 labeled "Supervised Experiential Learning". Purple Box 2 breaks into two parts, yellow box 1 labeled "Alternate Authentic Experiences", yellow box 2 labeled "Practice in Professional Work Settings". Yellow Box 1 breaks into three parts, green box 1 labeled "Clinical Simulation Standardized Patients", green box 2 labeled "Role Playing", green box 3 labeled "Complex Care Studies. Yellow box 2 breaks into 1 box, green box labeled "Acute & Post-Acute Care, Critical Care Units, WIC, Head Start/Preschools, Wellness (Corp, Univ.), Long-term Care, Food System Management (Hospital, Retail, School), Research, Health Fairs.

     

  • Course Plan

    The Future Education Model Graduate Program is a full-time program with a cohort-based plan of study. Students are required to enroll full-time and must advance through a pre-determined curriculum in sequence with their cohort.

    All courses are delivered in an online modality through the learning management system, Canvas, through UNF, and other online technologies such as Zoom. The information regarding the available resources is available on the UNF Technology for Students website.

    Holidays and Vacations

    The program will follow the University of North Florida calendar with university holidays and vacations observed. The university calendar can be assessed here: https://www.unf.edu/catalog/academic-calendar/academic_calendar/.

    Term: Year 1 Fall

    Course Plan
     Course  Supervised Experiential Learning  Credits
    Community Nutrition Community Nutrition Rotation 3
    Bio-Statistics in Public Health N/A 3
    Research Research Rotation 3

    Term: Year 1 Summer

    Course Plan
    Course  Supervised Experiential Learning Credits 
    Nutrition Counseling Outpatient Authentic Assessment 3
    Socio-cultural Influences on Nutrition  Community Nutrition Rotation 3

    Term: Year 2 Fall 

    Course Plan
     Course  Supervised Experiential Learning Credits 
    Nutrition Through Life Span Community Nutrition Rotation 3
    Advanced Nutrition Counseling Skills Outpatient Nutrition Rotation 3
    Food Service Management II FSM Rotation 3

    Term: Year 2 Spring

    Course Plan
     Course Supervised Experiential Learning Credits 
    Advanced Concepts in Nutrition Leadership Rotation 3
    Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy Clinical Rotation 3
    Seminar Research Rotation 3

    Assessment of prior learning or experience

    Advanced Placement

    Advanced placement cannot be granted in the Program. 

    Credit by Examination

    There is no credit by examination for courses taken at other institutions. All students must take all courses in the program and complete all supervised experiential learning in its entirety.

    Transfer of Credit and Credit for Experiential Learning

    Transfer of credit is not allowed. No credit or supervised learning experience hours will be granted for prior learning or work-related experiences.

    Graduation and Program Completion

    Program completion is reached when the student has successfully mastered the knowledge, skills, and judgment needed for future practice in nutrition and dietetics by demonstrating all the required competencies at the appropriate skill level. Graduates are eligible to receive a verification statement and take the examination to become registered dietitians. The CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (https://www.cdrnet.org/).

  • Tuition and Fees

    Up-to-date tuition and fees for students in the FEM Graduate Program are available on the UNF Tuition and Fees page. 

    Estimated Additional Expenses

    Expenses and Associated Fees
    Expense Associated Fee (USD) 
    Application Fee      $30
    Housing $15,080
    Travel to Sites      $3,200
    Books $2,000
    Health Insurance $150
    Liability Insurance per year $35
    Background Checks $139
    Professional Membership $58 (per year)
    Technology $1,500
    Testing Fees $100
    Lab Coats $50
    Total Estimated Costs $22,300

    Financial Aid 

    The UNF One Stop Student Services can help students apply for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Visit https://www.unf.edu/onestop/finaid/ for more information. 

    Scholarships, fellowships, and awards may also be available. Visit the Graduate School website at https://www.unf.edu/graduateschool/ and click award opportunities for more information. 

    Graduate assistantships are sometimes available within the department, depending on available funding. The Program Director will send a survey to applicants to gauge interest in department assistantships following the program application deadline. Students who complete the survey will be contacted if awarded a Graduate Assistantship.

  • Requirements to become a Registered Dietitian

    The field of nutrition and dietetics is continually growing. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the projected growth from 2016-2026 is 15%. In 2020 the median pay for dietitians was $63,090 per year.

    Dietitians are experts in the use of food and nutrition to promote health and manage diseases. They work in a variety of settings including hospitals, health clinics, public health departments, and food service operations.

    Beginning in 2024, a master’s degree will be required in order to gain candidacy to sit for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Examination. Upon successful completion of a graduate-level Future Education Model program (such as the Integrated Nutrition Graduate Program at UNF) students are eligible to sit for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Examination.

    The Integrated Nutrition Graduate Program at UNF is a Future Education Model. A Future Education Model places training for registered dietitian nutritionists at the graduate level by providing didactic coursework and 1000 hours of supervised experiential learning. In this new model, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in any field while completing pre-requisite courses that are required for most graduate-level Future Education Model nutrition programs.

    Traditional dietetics education pathways to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist are still available and these include:

    1. Completing an ACEND-accredited undergraduate Didactic Program in Dietetics, followed by a graduate-level ACEND-accredited dietetic internship program;
    2. Completing an ACEND-accredited coordinated program with didactic coursework and the dietetic internship combined into one program at the undergraduate level;
    3. Completing an ACEND-accredited coordinated program with the didactic coursework and dietetic internship combined into one program at the graduate level.*
    4. Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to the CDR Website.
    5. Obtain state licensure through an application process (in most states, including Florida). For more information about state licensure requirements, visit State Licensure Information Website.

    For more information about educational pathways to becoming an RDN, visit the ACEND website. 

    *This is similar to a Future Education Model but follows slightly different accreditation standards.

Contact the Program Director 

Jamisha Leftwich headshot

Dr. Jamisha Leftwich

Integrated Future Graduate Program Director & ISPP Coordinator
j.leftwich@unf.edu
(904) 620-4288