Master's Degree Option

Master of Science Degree Option

The Medical Nutrition Education Program is affiliated with the Medical Studies Interdepartmental Area (MSIA) Graduate Program. Students enrolled in the dietetic internship program are eligible to apply for admission to the MSIA Graduate Program. Upon acceptance, they will be able to seek a Master of Science degree through the MSIA Graduate Program with an emphasis in Medical Nutrition. Graduate coursework completed during the dietetic internship program will contribute toward the Master of Science degree requirements.

The purpose of this educational track is to offer Medical Nutrition Education Division students (UNMC Dietetic Internship program students) the opportunity to complete a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences with an emphasis in Medical Nutrition. This option is designed to prepare graduates with the advanced knowledge, research skills, and intellectual maturity to advance the practice of medical nutrition.

Program Objectives
The Medical Nutrition track under the MSIA Graduate Program at UNMC has two primary objectives:

  1. Train medical nutrition practitioners to conduct sound medical nutrition research and collaborate with clinical researchers across other scientific disciplines.
  2. Apply evidence based principles in clinical practice and contribute to the development of evidence based guidelines for nutrition care.

UNMC Dietetic Internship Program students will be eligible to apply for admission to the MSIA Graduate Program. Applicants must meet the following minimum admission requirements of the UNMC Graduate Studies Program and the MSIA Graduate Program:

  • Minimum of 3.00 overall GPA
  • Official record of GRE
  • TOEFL for students for whom English is a foreign language
  • Brief narrative describing reasons for applying to the program, including:
    • Statement of objectives and career goals
    • Area of research interest
    • Explanation of how the master’s degree would aid in achieving his or her career objectives

Program of Study
The SAHP Medical Nutrition Education (MNE) Graduate Advisory Committee at UNMC will oversee the admission of students and appointment of master’s student supervisory committees. Students seeking the MS degree via the Medical Nutrition track of MSIA must satisfy all requirements of the UNMC Graduate Studies Program and the Medical Nutrition track of the MSIA. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Didactic course work (described in subsequent section)
  • Participation in Seminars (related to area of practice and research interest)
  • Completion of a comprehensive exam relevant to the student’s program of study
  • Completion and successful defense of Master’s level thesis research

UNMC Dietetic Internship enrollees will complete selected 800-900 level graded courses during the 11-month dietetic internship program. Each student accepted into the MSIA Graduate Program will develop an individual plan of study for the remaining coursework, seminar and thesis research requirements, meeting approval requirements of his/her Graduate Supervisory Committee and the MNE Graduate Advisory Committee.

Students accepted to the Medical Nutrition track will meet with the MNE Graduate Advisory Committee and their Supervisory Committee to discuss potential areas of interest for a thesis research topic. Students will be encouraged to conduct research consistent with the MNE Division’s evolving research plan and agendas. They may, however, also have the opportunity to pursue alternate avenues of funded research.

Comprehensive Evaluation
Written Comprehensive Examination:
After completing the UNMC dietetic internship program, students will sit for the national Registration Examination for Dietitians. Passing the national examination will provide the Registered Dietitian credential and serve as the written comprehensive examination for the MSIA Medical Nutrition master’s program. The scope of the national examination matches the coursework and clinical experience included in the first year of the graduate program, making it an appropriate comprehensive measure of student learning.

Final Oral examination for Master of Science Degree:
Students will be required to complete a final oral examination with primary emphasis on a defense of thesis research. The Graduate Supervisory Committee, with approval from the Dean for Graduate Studies, will serve as the Examining Committee for the Final Oral Examination.

Courses for the Medical Nutrition track are available through UNMC, UNO, and UNL. During the dietetic internship, students must complete five approved 800/900 level graded courses and all supervised practice experience requirements associated with the UNMC Dietetic Internship Program.

In total, the minimum requirements for completion of the Master of Science degree with a Medical Nutrition concentration will include:

  • Thirty-three (33) semester credit hours of 800/900 level courses (including minimum of three 900 level courses)
    • Nutrition/Health Sciences (minimum of three courses)
    • Research Design/Methods/Evaluation/Ethics (minimum of three courses)
  • One Special Topics course (900 level)
  • Two semesters of enrollment in seminar programs (regular participation throughout student tenure)
  • Master’s thesis research (6-10 credit hours)
  • Elective courses/independent study as required to meet individual program of study approved by supervisory committee and MNE Graduate Advisory Committee 
  • Ethics training requirements of the Graduate College (non-credit)

The curriculum during the first eleven (11) months of the MNE track of the MSIA program is incorporated into the UNMC Dietetic Internship Program. The remaining program of study will be individualized based on student interests and subject to approval of the Graduate Supervisory Committee, and may be completed on a full- or part-time basis, with a requirement to complete all Master of Science degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment. Completion requires an approved course of study that will include a minimum of 33 semester credit hours.