Master of Science in Nutrition and Health Promotion
Frequently Asked Questions
- I do not have a degree in nutrition. What programs am I eligible for and what must I do to prepare to apply?
You do not need to possess a degree in nutrition to apply to the Master's program. For the online Certificate of Sports Nutrition, you must have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in nutrition, exercise physiology, kinesiology, or sports medicine or related fields such as biology, physical therapy, and nursing. For both programs, you must have a Bachelor's degree and have completed the prerequisites and received grades for these courses within the past ten consecutive years at an accredited U.S. or overseas higher education institution accredited by the Ministry of Education in the home country
For the Dietetic Internship program, you must complete an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (D.P.D.) approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. This curriculum is offered by the Nutrition Department in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Simmons College.
I would like to enter the nutrition field but I am still not sure which program would be right for me.
To decide what program would be right for you, you must consider what path you would like to take in the nutrition field.
If you would like to be a nutritionist, then you could complete the Master's degree in Nutrition. The Certificate in Sports Nutrition would also qualify you to work with clients in the area of wellness and fitness. This certificate does require a certain foundation (see previous information).
If you want to be a registered dietitian (which is required to work in clinical settings such as hospitals among many others), then you would need to complete the requirements set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education Nutrition and Dietetics. This includes coursework for the Certificate in Didactic Program in Dietetics (D.P.D.). It should be noted that fulfilling the aforementioned courses required for the Didactic Program in Dietetics is only one step in the credentialing process for dietetics practitioners. In addition to a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, the undergraduate D.P.D. completion must be followed by an accredited supervised practice program (e.g. a dietetic internship program (DIP)) to ensure eligibility to take the ADA administered Registered Dietitian examination. The D.P.D. program is offered through the School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SNHS). You can complete the DPD requirements and earn a certificate to verify completion of these courses by applying through the School of Nursing and Health Sciences Office of Admission at 617-521-2605.
For information about the different curriculum options and career options available to registered dietitians, please see the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at http://www.eatright.org/acend
What is the difference between a registered dietitian and a nutritionist?
The registered dietitian is a qualified nutrition expert who has obtained a bachelor of science or master of science degree in nutrition or a B.S. and all the DPD requirements, has completed a 6-12 month internship, and has passed the registered dietitian exam. The RD is the mark of excellence in the dietetic profession.
In contrast, a nutritionist may not have the nationally specified academic foundation. For example, after completing our Master's of Science in Nutrition and Health Promotion at Simmons you may call yourself a nutritionist but not a Registered Dietitian. The generic term nutritionist is not regulated by a governmental agency or professional body. Anyone can refer to themselves as a nutritionist without any specified academic background. However, some RDs also use the title nutritionist if they are working in the community, public health or private practice.
What prerequisites courses must be completed before I apply?
The prerequisite courses for the MS in Nutrition and Health Promotion Program can be found here. Grades of B or better are required in these courses. Science courses must include a lab with the exception of Biochemistry. All courses must have been completed within 10 consecutive years prior to the application deadline; CLEP or AP(Advanced Placement) scores are not acceptable for these prerequisites. Please note: In order to apply to our Master's in Nutrition and Health Promotion program, All prerequisite courses must be completed or near completion at the time of application. For example, you may apply while currently enrolled in two remaining required courses. This would allow the faculty admission committee to review/render a decision based on a majority of completed prerequisites.
The prerequisite courses for the Certificate of Sports Nutrition are one semester of Introductory Nutrition (at Simmons, NUTR 111 or NUTR 112) and two semesters of human anatomy and physiology (with labs) (at Simmons, BIOL 231 and BIOL 232). Grades of B or better are required in these courses. You must also have a bachelor's or Master's degree, preferably in nutrition, exercise physiology, kinesiology or sports medicine or related fields such as biology, physical therapy, and nursing. These courses must be completed before application or by the start of the program ,if the applicant is accepted.
How can I complete my prerequisites?
There are two methods to complete prerequisites:
- take classes at Simmons through the Dorothea Lynde Dix Scholars program before applying;
- complete courses elsewhere and then apply (call the Nutrition program directly at 617-521-2718 prior to enrolling in the course to determine if the specific class will fulfill our requirement)
The prerequisites courses are offered through the Dix Scholars Program. These are undergraduate level courses which are offered mostly during the day, although a few are offered during the evening. Please contact the Dix Scholars Program Office at 617-521-2051 or email@example.com to inquire about these courses at Simmons. To see what courses are available for the semester, see the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) registration bulletin.
How long will it take me to complete the program?
The Master's program can be completed full time in two academic semesters plus one summer session. Part-time enrollment can take two or three years. For sample curricula, click here
NOTE: All international students requiring a student visa must attend full time.
The Certificate of Sports Nutrition consists of four courses, two of which are offered in the fall (September) term and two of which are offered in the spring (January) term. Therefore, the program may take from one to two years to complete. Federal regulations stipulate that international students may take only one online course per semester in combination with other campus courses to be considered fulltime.
The Dietetic Internship is a 33-week program, beginning in September.
- May I still work and attend classes?
All programs except the Dietetic Internship are available on a part-time basis. Some classes are held in the evenings. International students must attend full-time and generally are not allowed to work off campus.
- When am I able to apply and when do programs start?
Master's and/or Certificate of Sports Nutrition ,and the Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics applicants may apply for the fall (September) and spring (January) semesters. You may also apply to the Master's program for the summer (May) start term. Dietetic Internship applicants may apply only for the fall (September) term. International applicants are eligible to apply only for the fall (September) semester.
How do I apply?
One online application can be used for the DPD,CSN and MS nutrition options. A separate online application must be used for the Dietetic Internship program. Each progam requires the submission of different materials. Please carefully read the application for details. For example, for the Master's program, you must submit three recommendations while the Certificate of Sports Nutrition ,the DPD and the Simmons BS-MS programs require only two recommendations . If your first language is not English, submit official TOEFL scores,unless you have earned a bachelor's or master's degree at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or university abroad which is recognzed by the Ministry of Education in the home country in an English-speaking country only.
When are the application deadline dates?
The deadline for the CSN,DPD and MS for September(fall) entry is March 1. The application deadline for January(spring) entry for CSN,DPD and MS is October 1. The application deadline for DPD and MS for May(summer) is March 1. The CSN is not offered during the summer.The national application deadline for the Dietetic Internship is determined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Information on accredited supervised practice programs can be found at www.eatright.org/acend
The application deadline for current Simmons juniors (B.S. in Nutrition,Biology,Public Health,Exercise Science)- M.S. in Nutrition:) for fall(September) entry is February 15.
When will I learn of my admission status?
All admission decisions for each program will be mailed as a group after the application deadline date. Accepted students will be required to submit a non-refundable enrollment deposit by the date indicated in the letter offering admission. No extensions to the enrollment deposit due date will be granted. Deposits will be applied to the first semester bill.
- How many total credits are required for the nutrition programs?
The Master's program is 31 credits in length; and the Certificate of Sports Nutrition and the Dietetic Internship programs are 12 credits.The Certificate in Didactics in Dietetics varies in length depending on courses already completed;there are 44 credits of nutrition courses in the D.P.D. program.
Are assistantships available?
There are a limited number of assistantships available each year for students enrolled at least half-time (5 credit hours per semester)in the Master's program. All accepted and deposited applicants are automatically considered for such assistantships. Students do not need to submit a special application. Selected students will be notified of assistantships in a separate letter after admission. Such stipends will not cover the total cost of the program.
How do I become a registered dietitian?
- Complete the course work which meets the requirements for the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at a college program approved by CADE (Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics); the curriculum for the Simmons College DPD program can be found on the D.P.D. section of this web site.
- Upon successful completion of theses courses,obtain a "Verification Statement"(completion of academic/practice requirements in dietetics)signed by the dietetics program director of an approved nutrition program at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
- Apply and be accepted to an accredited/approved Dietetic Internship Program and successfully complete the program.
- Apply to take the national Commission on Dietetic Registration's Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics examination for dietitians.
- Pass this registration examination.
Am I able to complete all the requirements at Simmons to become a registered dietitian?
Yes, you may complete the requisite courses needed to meet the Didactic Program in Dietetics. These courses are needed to apply to a Dietetic Internships Program. The internship is a prerequisite for the national dietetic registration exam. When the exam is passed, the individual uses "RD" to indicate he/she is a registered dietitian.
If I want to apply to both the Master's in Nutrition and Health Promotion and the Dietetic Internship Program, can I use one application?
Yes, submit the Simmons electronic Dietetic Internship Program application and select the graduate nutrition program options you are interested in. Simmons does not subscribe to DICAS. Applicants should not copy and send the DICAS application as we are not authorized to use this application.
- Can I apply to the master's and certificate in sports nutrition, and dietetic internship programs at the same time?
Yes, see above.
- If accepted to more than one program, how can I complete them at the same time?
It is possible to be accepted and enrolled in ALL programs. However, since the 33week dietetic internship program is a full-time commitment, the M.S. and/or Certificate of Sports Nutrition programs must be started on a part-time basis during that time. The graduate program courses are offered in the evening. Students have found it feasible to take one or two courses a semester while enrolled in the Dietetic Internship Program. Once the Dietetic Internship Program is completed, the student has the option of completing the master's degree and/or Certificate of Sports Nutrition on either a full- or part-time basis (non-U.S. students must be enrolled full-time).
19. Are credits earned in the Simmons Dietetic Internship Program transferable to the
Simmons master's degree program?
The Simmons Dietetic Internship Program awards 9 credits for the fieldwork component and 3 credits
for the didactic graduate course. Simmons accepts the 3 credits for the didactic course work towards
the M.S. degree.
20. May I take online Sports Nutrition courses if I am an M.S. student?
Two Certificate in Sports Nutrition courses are required as part of the Master's nutrition program.
Students enrolled in or considering the Master's program can also use one Certificate of Sports Nutrition
course as an elective in the Master's program. All courses in the Certificate in Sports Nutrition program are
offered online. However, to receive the certificate, you must formally apply and be accepted into
the program before completing any courses.
21. How many openings does Simmons have for dietetic interns?
Simmons is allowed 9 internship placements each year.
22. I am an international student and I am interested in nutrition. What do I need to do?
International students who are interested in the master's program must have complete all the required
prerequisites. However, you must be enrolled full-time to be eligible for a visa.
International students requiring an F-1 visa to study in the U.S., must be enrolled full-time.
The CNS program is not a full-time program. Thus, F-1 students are not eligible to apply to the CSN program.
22. Are there special master's program options for non-Simmons dietetic interns?
Yes, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital Dietetic Interns are eligible
to apply to the Master's program at Simmons. For further information, contact the Office of Admission
at 617-521-2605. The application fee is waived. Contact your individual internship supervisor
regarding our program. All application deadlines apply to such students.
23. Can I take graduate nutrition courses as a non degree student?
It is possible to enroll in some graduate nutrition courses before applying for admission. Courses require
written approval from the Nutrition Department Chairperson, Dr. Nancie Herbold. Our office must receive
her written approval before you can register for any graduate nutrition course. Individuals may register for
up to two graduate nutrition courses as a non-degree student before being required to formally apply for
The following programs do not allow any courses to be taken as non degree: D.P.T. (doctorate in physical
therapy program) all CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study) programs and the CSN
(Certificate in Sports Nutrition) program. Non-degree registration is not allowed for students who need a
student visa (F-1) to study in the U.S. since enrollment must be full not part-time.
For information about course offerings, see AARC (Academic and Administrative Resource Center) .
Contact Dr. Herbold directly(firstname.lastname@example.org) for approval and make certain that the
approval is sent to email@example.com. Then, you may register for the approved course. If you wish to take
undergraduate nutrition courses, contact the office of Undergraduate Admission at firstname.lastname@example.org.