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Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Learn about the curriculum and degree requirements for KU's dual dietetic internship graduate certificate and master's degree in dietetics and nutrition program.

This program provides both a master's degree in dietetics and nutrition and supervised practice experiences allowing dietetic interns to practice, develop and apply skills gained in the classroom.

The dual master's degree and internship program consists of 38 hours of graduate coursework and approximately 1,100 hours of supervised practice experiences — a combination designed to offer the necessary content and skills to meet the required core competencies for entry-level dietitians.

Academic Plan

The following is an outline of the academic plan for the program (38 credit hours).

Fall (Semester One): 8 Credit Hours

  • DN 822 Management 1 (1)
  • DN 825 MNT 1 (3)
  • DN 827 Practicum (3)
  • DN 870 Nutrition Counseling (1)

Spring (Semester Two): 9 Credit Hours

  • DN 818 Seminar in D&N II (1)
  • DN 823 Management 2 (1)
  • DN 826 MNT 2 (3)
  • DN 827 Practicum (3)
  • DN 842 Public Health Nutrition (1)

Summer (Semester Three): 1-2 Credit Hours + Research Elective Course(s)

  • DN 827 Practicum (1)
  • DN 819 Scientific writing (if thesis)
  • Optional Elective*
  • DN 854 Non-thesis (1-3 cr) – or – DN 899 Thesis (1 cr)

Fall (Semester Four): 9-10 Credit Hours + Research Elective Course(s) 

  • DN 834 Research Methods (3)
  • BIOS 704 Principles of Statistics in Public Health (3) *
  • DN 895 Adv Macronutrients (3)
  • DN 819 Scientific Writing (if non-thesis)
  • Optional Elective*
  • DN 854 Non-thesis (1-3 cr) – or – DN 899 Thesis (1 cr)

Spring (Semester Five): 4 Credit Hours + Research Elective Course(s)

  • DN 896 Adv Micronutrients (3)
  • DN 827 Practicum (1)
  • Optional Elective*
  • DN 854 Non-thesis (1-3 cr) – or – DN 899 Thesis (1 cr)

* Other options for a course in biostatistics exist.

Total Program Course Credit Hours
  • 24 hours required master's degree coursework
  • 3 credit hours elective coursework
  • 3 credit hours research coursework
  • 8 credit hours practicum (supervised practice experience)

Total: 38 credit hours

* Students will take one elective course and may choose which semester the course is taken.

** Students will take three credit hours of research (DN 854 or DN 899). Those completing the thesis will take DN 890 for their elective class, for a total of six credit hours of research (counts as their elective course).

Course Descriptions

DN 818 Seminar in Dietetics & Nutrition II (1 credit): To promote effectiveness of professional written and oral communication, to increase knowledge of research, and to review content information in selected areas in dietetics.

DN 819 Scientific Writing for the Nutritional Sciences (1 credit): Research proposal preparation and/or scientific manuscript writing experience.  This course will provide the student with an overview of the steps used in proposal writing and/or the steps in preparation of a scientific manuscript for publication.

DN 822 Management Dietetics & Nutrition I (1 credit):  Managerial skills in health care quality improvement and food service are practiced. 

DN 823 Management Dietetics & Nutrition II (1 credit): Managerial style is related to food policy, financial benchmarking and applied nutrition practice.

DN 825 Medical Nutrition Therapy I (3 credits): Course content introduces the student into the concepts of an intermediate study of nutritional therapy of disease. Course content includes evidence-based practice in prevention and nutritional management of diseases. Patient assessment and medical chart documentation are covered. Elements of pathology and biochemistry of the nutrition-related problems are integrated into course topics.

DN 826 Medical Nutrition Therapy II (3 credits): Course content includes current nutrition theory and evidence-based practice in prevention and treatment of disease. Advanced therapies and patient management in nutrition support will be discussed. Course topics include pediatric nutrition, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, renal disease and gastrointestinal diseases. 

DN 827 Practicum in Dietetics and Nutrition (8 total credits): Supervised practice experience for graduate-level students to fulfill the requirements for the dietetic internship graduate certificate. Experiences take place in hospitals, clinics, community healthcare agencies and other practice settings in which dietetics and nutrition services are provided.

DN 834 Methods of Research in Nutrition (3 credits): A study of basic research terminology and designs commonly used in nutrition research. Topics include research on animals, tissue culture and human subjects; qualitative, quantitative and outcomes research; ethical issues in research; dissemination of research findings; and appropriate use of research findings. 

DN 842 United States Public Health Nutrition (1 credit): A study of U.S. public health and nutrition concerns in diverse U.S. populations, assessment of nutritional status in commonalities, health communication, nutrition policies and community-based nutrition interventions. Exploration of the roles of dietitians, nutritionists, and others in developing and delivering nutrition policies and interventions in U.S. communities.

DN 870 Health Behavior Counseling (1 credit): Theoretical and applied issues in health behavior counseling. Students will learn the theories of behavior change and how to apply these to health care issues. Specific health behaviors (i.e., dietary changes, smoking cessation, exercise adherence) will be discussed in the context of chronic disease for children, adults and the elderly. Effective methods of counseling patients and promoting changes on an individual and small group basis will be presented.

DN 895 Advanced Macronutrients and Integrated Metabolism (3 credits): Energy-containing macronutrients and fiber presented from the perspective of their importance in human nutrition. Structural properties, digestion, absorption and metabolism are emphasized. Fuel utilization in response to food intake and exercise, cellular and whole-animal energetic and energy balance integrate metabolism. Students take an active role in presenting and discussing and exhibit advanced skills in analysis and presentation. 

DN 896 Advanced Micronutrients and Integrated Metabolism (3 credits): Vitamins and minerals presented from the perspective of their requirements as nutrients for normal human physiological functions with emphasis on their underlying roles in structure, function and metabolism. Students take an active role in selecting, presenting and discussing recent published research and to exhibit advanced skills in analysis and presentation. 

Research Coursework

DN 854 Special Problems in Dietetics and Nutrition (1-4 credits): Directed study of special problems in nutrition or nutrition care. This course provides for the individual or group study of special problems. Through directed readings, investigations, and projects the student acquires information with reference to questions in dietetics and nutrition not covered in organized courses. (Non-Thesis Research Requirement)

DN 899 Thesis (3 credits total): Scholarly essay based on research, written under the guidance of the student's adviser. Credit given upon meeting thesis requirements for the master's degree.

Note: Students need to take one elective during the program. Students completing the thesis (DN 899 option) will take three credit hours of DN 890 to complete their research experience (rather than the three-hour elective course).

DN 800 Selected Topics in Clinical Dietetics (1-3 credits): A learner-centered, self-paced study of topics in applied clinical dietetics. Independent modules are offered to address the science and art of nutritional care relating to specific issues in clinical dietetics. Topics will be grouped in various combinations to provide flexibility of choice. Students may enroll in one or more topics for a total of 3 credit hours.

DN 839 Clinical Aspects of Nutrition Support (3 credits, available online): Specialized nutrition assessment and support. Review of energy expenditure and substrate utilization in specific disease states. Current methods for the initiation and management of enteral and parenteral nutrition therapy including access, metabolic and mechanical complications. Evaluation of nutrition support methodology in selected disease states.

DN 862 Maternal and Child Nutrition (3 credits, available online): This course is a critical examination of behavioral, physiological, and public health issues impacting dietary and nutritional factors that support normal growth and development. The course content focuses on the early stages of the life cycle: gestation, lactation, infancy, preschool, school-age and adolescence. Topics include the fetal programming hypothesis, growth and nutritional requirements, breast and formula feeding of infants, infant weaning, and eating behaviors that lead to normal growth, growth faltering, and pediatric obesity.

DN 865 Nutrition in Sports and Exercise (3 credits, available online): Exercise physiology and nutrient requirements in sports and exercise: macronutrient, micronutrient and fluid needs of athletes engaged in specific sports, pre/post-exercise meals, gender-specific requirements, role of ergogenic aids, eating disorders, and role of exercise in weight management and chronic disease.

DN 874 Nutrition Therapy for Eating Disorders (3 credits, available online): An online study of eating disorders management and nutrition care. Topics will include eating disorders medical complications, clinical care guidelines, basic pharmacology, clinical nutrition education, nutrition care planning, psychology of eating disorders, team collaboration, and therapeutic modalities for nutrition counseling. 

DN 875 Pediatric Clinical Nutrition (3 credits, available online): This course examines the physiological, biochemical and nutritional aspects of disease processes relevant to infants and children up to 18 years of age. Medical nutrition therapy for a variety of medical conditions found in this population will be discussed including inborn errors of metabolism, food hypersensitivity, obesity, and diseases of the major organ systems. 

DN 876 Interventions for the Prevention and Management of Obesity (3 credits, available online): This course emphasizes obesity in a population group ranging from childhood to adult. Course materials will examine the impact of obese conditions on disease development throughout the life cycle. The course will critically analyze current evidence focused on interventions used in the behavioral and clinical management of overweight and obese individuals in community and clinical settings.

DN 880 Dietary and Herbal Supplements (3 credits, available online): Explore the safety and efficacy of botanical/herbal and dietary supplements in health applications including dietary supplementation in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Prerequisite: Human physiology is advisable.

DN 881 Introduction to Dietetics and Integrative Medicine (3 credits, available online):
Introduction to principles guiding the practice of integrative and functional medical nutrition therapy; clinical application of the nutrition care process (assessing, diagnosing, intervening, monitoring, and evaluating) toward restoring function for an individual client; focusing on the unique nutritional imbalances characteristic of chronic disease pathophysiology; supporting individuals with persistent symptoms; preventing chronic disease. Prerequisites: Introductory genetics, medical nutrition therapy, or consent of instructor. Course offered each year, usually fall.

DN 882 A Nutrition Approach to Inflammation and Immune Regulation (3 credits, available online): Inflammation and immune dysregulation is common in chronic disease. The course presents the integrative medicine approach to identify the underlying causes of inflammatory and immune-related conditions and associated nutritional influences; applies individualized nutritional interventions, as powerful modulators of the pathophysiology of inflammatory and immune responses.

DN 890 Graduate Research (1-3 credits): Individual investigation of special problems in dietetics and nutrition or hospital dietary administration approved by the student's adviser or advisory committee. Investigation involves original research. (3 credit hours is required for thesis students)

DN 980 Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics in Health and Disease (3 credits, available online): Nuclear receptors and their mechanisms of action, nutritional control of gene expression and functional genomic studies with relationships to nutrient intake and polymorphisms. 

Supervised Practice Experience Rotations

Practice sites are available for each rotation experience. Interns rank their rotation preferences and practice sites will be assigned.

Supervised Practice Rotations

  • Clinical Nutrition 1: 225 hours (~7 weeks)
  • Clinical Nutrition 2: 225 hours (~7 weeks)
  • Interprofessional Teaching Clinics ): ~30 hours
  • Food and Nutrition Management: 200 hours (~6-7 weeks)
  • Community Nutrition: 200 hours (~6-7 weeks)
  • Practice Area of Interest: 120 hours (~3-4 weeks) *
  • Research Project: 50 hours

Total: 1,050 hours, plus alternative learning experiences

* For the practice area of interest, students design supervised practice experiences with preceptors they select. The Program Director is available to assist with placements. If an intern earns more than the required number of hours during the primary rotations, these additional hours may be applied to the practice area of interest rotation. However, an intern must complete at least 100 hours during the practice area of interest rotation.

* In addition to the supervised practice hours accumulated through rotations, there will also be hours awarded for alternative learning activities completed during coursework or activities outside regular supervised practice hours. It is estimated that ~53 additional hours will be received for these activities.

Total Supervised Practice Hours – 1,103 hours 

Please note: all students should read the health/vaccination information at the bottom of this page and how these may impact the ability to complete all program requirements.

Assessment for Prior Learning/Experience and Transfer Credit

The University of Kansas Medical Center does not grant exemption from dietetic internship supervised practice experiences or graduate coursework for prior education or employment experiences. The university will allow up to six credit hours of comparable graduate coursework to transfer for completion of the master's degree.

Class Schedule

Students complete graduate coursework on Mondays and supervised practice experiences Tuesdays-Fridays during the first fall and spring semesters. During the last two semesters when students are only completing graduate coursework, they attend classes on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Classes are held at the University of Kansas Medical Center campus located at 3901 Rainbow Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas.

Note: this program is not offered online or with a distance-learning option. Students are required to attend courses on the KU Medical Center campus.

Supervised practice experiences generally take place Tuesdays through Fridays, usually 32 hours per week, during the first three semesters of the program. 

Program Completion Requirements

The following are the requirements to complete the dual dietetic internship and master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition program:

  • Complete required program coursework for the master's degree in dietetics and nutrition with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate coursework (38 credit hours).
  • Be in good academic and ethical standing within the university.
  • Successfully complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised practice experience in a variety of settings.
  • Receive a passing score on all ACEND core competencies.
  • Pass the final exam for the program with a score of 25 and/or 80%.
  • Complete all program requirements within 30 months of beginning the program.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will receive the following:

  • Master of Science degree in dietetics and nutrition.
  • Dietetic internship graduate certificate.
  • Dietetic internship verification statement, allowing eligibility to take the National Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Vaccines and Clinical Site Requirements

The University of Kansas Medical Center requires various immunizations for its students. For a detailed list please visit the student health forms webpage or speak with Student Health Services. These immunization requirements help promote health and safety and facilitate clinical placement.

Many, if not all, clinical sites who partner with the University of Kansas Medical Center require proof of these vaccines for students engaged in training or other programmatic experiences at clinical sites. Not being vaccinated may preclude students from participating in activities, potentially impeding their ability to complete all program requirements for degree completion. Applicants with questions should speak with a representative from the academic program to which they intend to apply.

School of Health Professions

Dietetics and Nutrition
KU Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 4013
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-5355 • 711 TTY