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  • This is a photo of the M.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice programs.

    Applied Dietetics Practice

  • This is a photo of the M.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice programs.

    Applied Dietetics Practice

  • This is a photo of the M.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice programs.

    Applied Dietetics Practice

  • This is a photo of the M.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice programs.

    Applied Dietetics Practice

Register now for a virtual open house and learn more about the new applied dietetics practice program — the first of its kind in Arkansas. A Zoom link will be sent to you via email prior to the event.

As the food and nutrition experts, registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) play a vital role in prevention and management of disease. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for RDNs is projected to grow 8% from 2019-2029, which is faster than the average of other occupations.

The Harding University Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice Program, the first program of its kind in Arkansas, provides a challenging educational experience consistent with Christian ideals that will prepare competent, entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists for evidence-based practice in all communities. This new and innovative program is one of the few in the country that is competency-based and allows students to complete their courses and required supervised learning experiences wherever they are located. The unique combination of distance learning and remote supervised learning experiences allows students flexibility as well as the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills directly in their communities. The Program curriculum also emphasizes the importance of Christian principles in nutrition and dietetics and how registered dietitian nutritionists integrate faith, learning and living into their practice.

The Harding University Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice program is a demonstration program that uses the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards for Graduate Degree Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics developed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This program is recognized by ACEND as an early adopter demonstration program.

Want to learn more about the details of our program? Check us out on the “Geauxing ‘All In’” podcast.


Graduate Programs 


“This is the perfect place to start your journey to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist, by providing not only a quality education, but an experience that is Christ-centered and mission-focused.” -Sarah Oropeza, program director

Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice

The Harding University Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice program is a demonstration program that uses the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards for Graduate Degree Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics developed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This program is recognized by ACEND as an early adopter demonstration program. The program includes 52 credit hours and a minimum of 1106 hours of supervised experiential learning.

Accelerated B.S.-M.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice 

The accelerated B.S./M.S. pathway is for qualified undergraduate students, allowing them to complete both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice in five years. Students will complete liberal arts credits and prerequisites during their first three years and finish the same graduate program curriculum in years four and five. This program includes a total of 147 credit hours and 1106 hours of supervised experiential learning.

Student Handbooks

Detailed information regarding degree information, admission requirements, program cost and expenses, financial aid, graduation/program completion requirements, distance learning program requirements, supervised experiential learning requirements, and program policies and procedures are available in the following locations:

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice Program at Harding University is to provide a challenging educational experience consistent with Christian ideals that will prepare competent, entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists for evidence-based practice in all communities.

Admission Deadlines

  • Nov. 1, 2021:
    Contingent Admission Deadline for Accelerated Pathway (B.S./M.S. - Current Harding Students Only


  • Jan. 1, 2022: Early Admission Deadline

  • April 30, 2022: Final Admission Deadline

Orientation Dates for Accepted Students (tentative)

  • Spring 2022 Virtual Orientation: Friday, January 7 - Saturday, January 8

  • Fall 2022 In-Person Orientation: Friday, August 12 - Saturday, August 13

Program Goals and Objectives

Goal #1- Graduates will be prepared for evidence-based practice as competent, entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.

ACEND-Required Objectives for Goal #1

  • At least 80% of program graduates complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).
  • Eighty percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
  • At least 75% of employers responding to a survey indicate they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the program graduates’ preparation for entry-level practice.

Program-Specific Objective for Goal #1:

  • Eighty percent of program graduates responding to a survey state they feel “prepared” or “very prepared” for entry-level practice.

Goal #2- Graduates will find employment that will promote health and wellness in their community.

ACEND-Required Objectives for Goal #2:

  • Of graduates who seek employment, 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.

Program-Specific Objective for Goal #2:

  • Eighty percent of graduates responding to a survey “agree” or “strongly agree” that they apply knowledge and skills gained as a result of program experiential learning activities to promote health and wellness in their community and current practice.

Program outcomes data are available upon request.

Credentialing Process to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Completing Harding University’s Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice program is the first step to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Upon confirmation of program completion, the graduate will receive a Verification Statement showing that they have gained the knowledge and skills and met the competencies required by ACEND and are eligible to take the national Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Registration Examination for Dietitians. Note: Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For example, to apply for Arkansas state licensure, applicants must submit a yearly application and renewal fee and complete twelve (12) hours of continuing education (CE). Find more information about state licensure requirements. Find more information about educational pathways to become a RDN.

Admission Requirements

Students with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and who meet all admission requirements are welcome to apply to the Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice program.

The program does not require a bachelor’s degree in nutrition/dietetics or a Verification Statement from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) program.

Criteria for Admission

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Grade of “C” or higher in the following prerequisites taken at a regionally accredited college or university
  • ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification (may be completed through the National Restaurant Association)
    • It is the responsibility of the student to acquire ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification prior to orientation for the program. Applications will still be considered if an applicant is currently enrolled in a course or planning to take the exam. If either situation applies to you, please upload proof of course or exam registration (e.g., confirmation email, screenshot of ServSafe confirmation, etc.)
  • No GRE required

Prerequisite courses completed outside of Harding University and/or completed more than five years prior to a student's enrollment will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If a student has completed prerequisite courses that are outdated or do not provide the necessary foundation to begin graduate-level courses, students may have to repeat courses at the discretion of the program director.

Provisional Admission

A student who does not fully meet all of the prerequisite courses may receive provisional admission, with the approval of the program faculty, if he or she holds a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education. Provisional status will be removed when the student maintains the “Student Performance Standards” outlined in the program handbook and completes the prerequisite course(s) with a grade of “C” or higher (this must occur by the end of fall semester of their first year). 

Leveling courses, if required, will not be included within the semester hour requirements.

Accelerated (B.S./M.S.) Pathway Applicants: The accelerated B.S./M.S. pathway is designed for qualified undergraduate students at Harding University. This 5-year accelerated pathway overlaps the fourth year of the bachelor’s degree with the first year of the master’s degree resulting in three years of undergraduate level study and two years of graduate level study in the program. Students will earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Applied Dietetics Practice through this pathway.

Students will declare the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Management major and can apply for contingent admission into the B.S./M.S once they meet the following requirements. Upon successful completion of required liberal arts and undergraduate courses, students will be moved to the B.S./M.S. pathway and complete the same curriculum as the Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice. Note: Harding students are not guaranteed admission into the accelerated B.S./M.S. pathway.

Criteria for Contingent Admission into Accelerated B.S./M.S.

  • Completion of 60 or more credit hours
  • Completion of all required liberal arts and undergraduate coursework (or will complete prior to starting graduate courses in the following fall semester)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Admission is contingent on completion and grade of “C” or higher in major courses and the following prerequisites.
  • ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification (Available during FCS 4350: Quantity Food Production)
    • It is the responsibility of the student to acquire ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification prior to orientation for the program. Applications will still be considered if an applicant is currently enrolled in or planning to take the course. If either of these situations applies to you, please upload proof of course/exam registration (e.g., confirmation email, screenshot of ServSafe confirmation, etc.) or a statement that you will complete the course in FCS 4350: Quantity Food Production.
  • No GRE required

Most undergraduate students will be eligible to apply in the fall of their third year (junior year). Students may not apply while on academic warning status or academic suspension.

If students receive contingent admission into the program, they are required to maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA, complete their remaining undergraduate and liberal arts courses, and earn a grade of “C” or higher in their major courses. Upon successful completion of their undergraduate courses and liberal arts requirements, students will be moved to the B.S./M.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice pathway.

If students receive an academic warning or academic suspension or violate the University Code of Conduct or Academic Integrity Policy, they will not be moved to the B.S./M.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice pathway.

Once students are accepted into the B.S./M.S. pathway, they must maintain a 3.0 GPA while completing the first year of graduate-level courses and earn a “C” or higher in all graduate-level courses in order to move to the second year. Failure to meet these requirements will result in remediation and possibly delay the students’ progression. Depending on the circumstance, the program director may recommend that the students complete the B.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice degree only.

Students who are not admitted into the accelerated pathway will be advised to continue with the B.S. in Nutrition and Food Management major and can either reapply in the future or finish the B.S. in Nutrition and Food Management major only.

Application Instructions

  • Pay an application fee ($50) to Harding University through GradCAS (Application Fee Waived for Fall 2021 Applicants)
  • Complete the GradCAS Online Application:
    • Request official transcripts from all colleges attended and have them sent to GradCAS.
      • GradCAS Transcript Processing Center
        PO Box 9217
        Watertown, MA 02471
      • To expedite a review of your application, you may upload unofficial transcripts.
      • Note: An alumnus of Harding University does not need to request an HU transcript; records are on file. You can bypass this requirement in the Academic History quadrant.
    • Evidence of successful completion of the following prerequisites: food science and lab, medical terminology, human nutrition, life cycle nutrition, quantity food production and lab, math, statistics, anatomy and physiology, microbiology and lab, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry/nutritional biochemistry
      • Applicants can denote if a course is “in progress” on the application.
    • Submit a personal statement (1,000 words max) answering the following questions:
      • Why do you want to be a registered dietitian nutritionist?
      • What experiences have prepared you for this program?
      • What are your strengths and areas for improvement?
      • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
      • Why are you applying to Harding University's M.S. in Applied Dietetics Practice Program?
    • Submit a resume. Volunteer or work experience related to food, nutrition, dietetics, and/or the healthcare field is strongly desired.
    • Submit ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification.
      • The National Restaurant Association provides in-person or online courses and exams here.  
      • It is the responsibility of the student to acquire ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification prior to orientation for the program. Applications will still be considered if an applicant is currently enrolled in or planning to take the course. If either of these situations applies to you, please upload proof of course/exam registration (e.g., confirmation email, screenshot of ServSafe confirmation, etc.) or a statement that you will complete the course in FCS 4350: Quantity Food Production.
    • Submit three references (A form will be sent via email to the references through GradCAS)
      • One professional reference
      • Two faculty references (No more than one FCS faculty member)

Applicant Interviews and Final Decision

Top candidates will be invited to a virtual group interview with program faculty. After the interviews, applicants will be accepted to the program on an ongoing basis until the cohort is full. The number of local students accepted into the program may be limited based on local preceptor and site availability and at the discretion of the program director.

Other Requirements

The program does not require a background check prior to admission. Students will complete their initial background check once admitted into the program. If students do not successfully pass the initial background check, the program director will discuss how the information could potentially affect their progress in the program.

In addition, students are responsible for submitting immunization records and proof of health insurance at their own expense prior to beginning the program. If students do not successfully submit these documents, this may delay them from securing supervised experiential learning rotations and potentially affect their progress in the program.

International Student Requirements

International students must provide the following additional information:

  • Foreign degree evaluation report of the student’s bachelor’s degree that includes a statement “from a regionally accredited institution,” courses, credit hours, and grade equivalency from an approved foreign degree evaluation agency. Please see the list of approved agencies.
  • Syllabi of all prerequisite courses from international institutions (preferably translated in English). (Note: Due to the ACEND requirements in the program curriculum, the program cannot accept foreign bachelor or master-level courses for program credit.)
  • An official TOEFL iBT composite score of at least 83 with a minimum speaking score requirement of 26 (out of 30 (90%)).
  • The test must have been taken within the last calendar year of admission. Official TOEFL exam score report reflecting successful completion must be received no later than the Program application deadline date. The TOEFL iBT test can be taken in the Harding University Testing Office. The test will be an expense to the student. Please contact the Testing Office for details at 501-279-4415 or online at harding.edu/testing.
  • If the applicant's entire educational experience has been in the United States, the applicant is not required to take the TOEFL. To document this, the applicant must provide records/transcripts from the time that the applicant entered school in the first grade through junior high, high school, and college. If the applicant cannot provide this documentation, the applicant may appeal first to the Program Director and then to the dean of the college.

Course List and Delivery (Catalog)

(coming)

Supervised Experiential Learning

Supervised Experiential Learning (SEL) occurs in a variety of practice settings and areas where students have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge and skills they learned in their didactic courses to real-life practice in the field. Supervised Experiential Learning courses where students obtain hours occur in the following professional work settings: foodservice, clinical, and community and public health nutrition. Sites include hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, foodbanks, research centers, etc.

Preceptors working in each setting are volunteers who are selected by students and approved by the program. Students will be responsible for locating sites and preceptors under the guidance and direction of the program. The purpose of these experiences is for preceptors to supervise and guide the student learning experiences and for students to collaborate with preceptors in efforts to achieve professional competency in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Students are required to complete 1106 experiential learning hours in the program, and hours must be completed in the United States.

Scholarships and Graduate Assistantships

Scholarship opportunities will be available for qualified students.

Fall 2021 Graduate Assistantship position available! Please contact dietetics@harding.edu for more information.

Accreditation

The Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice Program at Harding University is a candidacy program seeking accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995

800/877-1600, ext. 5400

ACEND@eatright.org
eatrightpro.org/acend

CONTACT US

Applied Dietetics Practice is part of the Family & Consumer Sciences in the College of Sciences

501-279-4472

dietetics@harding.edu

Harding University
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Box 12233
915 E. Market Ave.
Searcy, AR 72149-5615