The USU MDA is a one-year program completed in three consecutive semesters consisting of didactic coursework and supervised experiential learning. Students will complete a minimum of 1000 hours of SEL in clinical nutrition, school food service management and community nutrition rotations. The USU MDA is a full-time distance master's degree program and students are expected to complete a minimum of 36-40 practice hours per week and the required courses.
All students will attend an orientation at the USU Salt Lake Center. Students can start rotations after orientation. During orientation students will meet their faculty and get to know other students in the program. Orientation will include a combination of lectures and hands-on workshops to prepare students for supervised experiential learning and program courses.
Sample Sequence of Courses
- NDFS 6450 Dietetics Career Essentials (1 credit)
- NDFS 6050 Community Nutrition Experience (3 credits)
- NDFS 6051 Advanced Community Nutrition (2 credits)
- NDFS 6350 Food Service Management Experience (5 credits)
- NDFS 6351 Advanced Food Service Management (2 credits)
- NDFS 6770 Dietetics Leadership & Management I (3 credits)
Total Semester Credits: 16
- NDFS 6250 Clinical Nutrition Experience (7 credits)
- NDFS 6251 Advanced Clinical Nutrition (2 credits)
- NDFS 6780 Dietetics Leadership & Management II (3 credits)
Total Semester Credits: 12
- NDFS 6580 Research Principles in Dietetics (3 credits)
- NDFS 6570 Communication Techniques in Dietetics (3 credits)
- NDFS 6980 MDA Master's Project (3 credits)
Total Semester Credits: 9
Note: Registration for supervised experiential learning courses will be based on individual student rotation schedules. Total credits enrolled for each semester may differ based on schedules.
Supervised Experiential Learning
The MDA is a full-time program, so students will be with preceptors at rotation sites during the typical working hours of their preceptor. Students will complete learning activities at their supervised experiential learning (SEL) sites. The content covered in online courses will supplement the daily experience at SEL sites.
Typically students spend 2-3 hours each day and more on time on the weekends completing learning activities, modules, and personal study.
Students will identify a preceptor to complete their master's project. The master's project will solve a problem or address a need in the workplace. Students will work directly with a preceptor and work one-on-one with a MDA faculty member to complete the project. Time will be spent at the facility with the preceptor working on project tasks that need to be completed on site. Some time may also be spent working from home on project tasks that can be completed remotely. Students will work with MDA faculty to finalize projects and ensure final project outcomes meet preceptor and program expectations.
Graduation & Completion Requirements
In order to receive a verification statement and complete the program, students must meet all of the following criteria:
- Complete 37 credit hours of required coursework with a grade of B- or better.
- Completion of a MDA Master’s project.
- Overall GPA of > 3.0.
- Completion of at least 1000 hours of supervised experiential learning.
- Students are required to successfully complete all supervised experiential learning and associated assessments such as assignments, exams (80% or higher), case studies, and presentations.
- Student must obtain a 4 or higher out of 7 on all final evaluations competencies for all supervised experiential learning experiences.
- Documentation that students have met established competencies is maintained through the student’s progression through the program.
- Program of Study approved by Utah State University.
- Comply with acceptable professional standards of ethics, display appropriate personal conduct, and demonstrate adequate verbal and written communication skills during the studentship.
- All tuition and fees are paid in full.