Master of Science (M.S.)

Nutritional Sciences

The combined internship and course curriculum in McNeese's joint masters degree and internship program will give you the skills and experience you need to qualify for the registered dietitian credentialing exam.

Program Highlights

Nutritional Sciences Program Highlights

The Master of Science in nutritional sciences prepares students to become experts in the science of food and nutrition, and translate that knowledge to help patients from a variety of backgrounds lead healthier lifestyles, manage disease and achieve their health-related goals. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, our program provides students with the practical knowledge and hands on experience needed to successfully sit for the registered dietitian credentialing exam.

With a mission to provide a progressive and effective program that integrates graduate education, research, service and supervised practice, this graduate degree program provides a solid foundation in health sciences. Goals for the program include:

  1. Prepare graduates to become qualified entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.
  2. Prepare graduates to utilize current evidence-based research and apply the research process in professional practice.

Dietetic Internships

McNeese’s 18-month graduate program includes a dietetic internship, giving students both instructional and occupational experience in one comprehensive curriculum. Internship rotations allow you to explore a variety of careers in clinical, community and food service management settings. After you complete the internship and master’s program, you will be qualified to take the registration examination to become a licensed and registered dietitian.

You must be accepted into the dietetic internship before you can apply to the master’s program. For more information, check out the Application and Admission Requirements section at the bottom of the page.

At a Glance

Degree Type: Master of Science (M.S.)

Program Length: 1.5 years (39 credit hours)

Availability: in person

Program overview

Explore More for Nutritional Sciences Majors

Here are just a few of the many benefits you’ll gain in the nutritional sciences graduate program at McNeese.

Financial Aid and Scholarships:

McNeese has one of the lowest tuition rates in Louisiana. Plus, the College of Agricultural Sciences offers a variety of scholarships to help graduate students pay for college. College faculty are also ready to help you find on campus employment, which can offset the cost of attendance.

Applied Learning:

McNeese’s nutritional sciences degree has a strong foundation in science, human anatomy and physiology, you will graduate with the knowledge you need to stand out academically and professionally. In this program, you’ll take a deep dive into the intricacies of experimental nutritional design, biochemical and psychological functioning, interrelationships of nutrients and their effect on body needs, metabolism, and more.

Hands-on Learning:

At the core of our program is our nutritional sciences internship, where you will gain real-life experience as an active dietitian, seeing and working with patients to develop your interpersonal, clinical, and professional skills in a variety of settings, including advising school boards and local hospitals. By working with diverse clients from a number of different cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and disease states, you’ll develop the knowledge, skills and adaptability that will prepare you to transition to your career as a dietitian in any environment.

Excellence With a Personal Touch:

During your internship, you’ll be supervised by experienced preceptors, many of whom are graduates of the McNeese dietetics program. With years of experience in the field, and closely connected to the faculty at McNeese, preceptors are there to help guide you through your clinical experience as you work with clients with a diverse range of medical backgrounds and nutritional needs.

Take the Next Step!

Careers and Opportunities

What Can You Do with a Degree in Nutritional Sciences?

Upon graduation, you'll qualify to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietician – but that's not all you can do with this degree. As a nutritional sciences major, you’ll be prepared for a variety of other health care careers, including health and wellness coach and health educator.

Graduate Schools or Programs

  • Ph.D. in Public Health Nutrition
  • Ph.D. in International/Global Health
  • Ph.D. in Sustainable Food Systems
  • Ph.D. in Nutrition and Integrative Physiology

Potential Job Titles or Employers

  • Corporate Cafeterias
  • Day Care Centers and Schools
  • Exercise and Fitness Centers
  • Government Agencies
  • Health Centers and Clinics
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Home Health or Social Service Providers
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Care Facilities
  • Outpatient Care Centers

McNeese Wellness Program

Nutritional sciences majors have the chance to present as part of the McNeese Wellness Program, which offers presentations on nutrition and  healthy eating for the McNeese campus and communities throughout Southwest Louisiana.


Student Activities

McNeese nutritional sciences majors give back to the health and wellness of Southwest Louisiana every year with community projects. Past projects have included a body positive “girls night out,” educational talks at local schools, cooking demonstrations and more.


Advanced Facilities

Nutritional sciences aren’t just theoretical at McNeese. With a commercial kitchen housed in the College of Agriculture, students have the opportunity to practice the science of nutrition outside of the classroom, and receive practical, hands-on experience in the preparation of healthful foods.


Additional Details on the Master's Degree in Nutritional Sciences

Admission Requirements
To be eligible to apply, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

Has (or will have) completed a B.S. or B.A. degree from an ACEND-accredited didactic program in nutrition and dietetics.
A minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.
A minimum of a 3.0 GPA in core nutrition and dietetics coursework.
Experience (paid or unpaid) in a food, nutrition or dietetic setting.
A minimum GRE Verbal score of 146 and Quantitative score of 140.
Fulfill all other McNeese Graduate School requirements.

Applicants will be ranked using standard criteria on the basis of academic performance, organizational skills, interpersonal skills, self-direction, quality of references, perceived understanding of the field and compatibility of applicant’s goals with mission of our program. No person shall, on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, marital status, creed, or handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in the selection process.

Application process
You must be accepted into the Dietetics Internship program before you can apply to the graduate school. To apply for the internship, submit a $40 nonrefundable application fee payable to MSU Dietetic Internship Program to the H.C. Drew School of Health and Human Performance, and submit a completed application (including letter of application, resume, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts and GRE scores) with the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS). You must also participate in the D&D Digital Internship Matching program.

All materials and online applications must be completed by Feb. 15 unless you are a current McNeese student applying for pre-selection. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only after you’ve been notified of acceptance into the internship should you complete an application to the master’s program.

Pre-selection for the Dietetic Internship
Current McNeese undergraduate dietetic students have the opportunity to apply for admission into the Dietetic Internship/master’s program during their senior year and bypass the computer matching application.

Students currently enrolled at McNeese who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

A minimum of a 3.0 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
A minimum of a 3.0 GPA in the core didactic program in nutrition and dietetics
A grade of C or better in didactic program coursework
Completed core upper division nutrition courses NFSC 351: Advanced Nutrition and NFSC 352: Medical Nutrition Therapy I at McNeese.
Transfer students must have completed a minimum of two full semesters at McNeese to qualify.

Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Up to 10 internship positions are available for the pre-select option. Any remaining positions will be filled through the computer matching process. Interested applicants must schedule an appointment with their DP Director to review the admission requirements and discuss the application process. Applicants must apply using the DICAS online application, but are not required to use the D&D Digital Internship Matching program.

The application fee may be delivered to the Dietetic Internship Director in Gayle Hall, Room 118. All materials and online applications must be completed by Jan. 10. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The Combined Master of Science/Internship Program (MS/IP) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. ACEND can be contacted at:

Accreditation Counsel for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
312/899-0040 ext. 5400

To become a Registered Dietician, a student must complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college, as well as ACEND-approved course work. Students must also complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a healthcare facility, community agency or food service corporation, or as part of undergraduate or graduate student study.

The combined Master of Science in Health and Human Performance, with a concentration in nutrition and wellness, and Dietetic Internship at McNeese provides this required supervised practice component. Once both the Dietetic Internship and the Master of Science degree are completed, students will receive a verification statement and be eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians, administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. In the state of Louisiana, once an individual obtains the Registered Dietitian credential, they can apply for state licensure.

Program outcome measures are available to the public and prospective students upon request.

Estimated costs associated with the program include:

Dietetic Internship Fee: $1,000; $500 due at the beginning of spring semester, $500 due at the beginning of summer
DICAS application fee: $40
D&D Digital Systems computer matching fee: $50
Equipment (including lab coats, uniforms, shoes, scrubs, etc.): $250
Background check (Precheck) and 9 panel drug screen: $90
E*Value Healthcare Education Solutions registration fee: $300
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics student membership: $50

*All fees are correct as of the date of printing, but are subject to change. Costs for student housing, insurance, textbooks and tuition vary based on a student’s individual circumstances.

We can help

Program Contact

Elizabeth T. Moore, MS, RD, LDN, Director of Dietetic Internship