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Master of Science in Human Nutrition


The Master of Science in Human Nutrition Program provides students with a thorough education in normal and therapeutic nutrition for individuals and groups. The program is designed for students who have earned a bachelor's degree and wish to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) or wish to delve more deeply into nutritional science and research.

Students can opt to pursue the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Plus Partner Dietetic Internship track leading to becoming an RDN, or the Nutrition Sciences (NS) track leading to work in research and industry, or as preparation for more advanced study. Both tracks stress the interdisciplinary and scientific nature of nutrition and food and provide students with a base of theoretical knowledge and methodology enabling them to continue professional growth after graduation.

The Master of Science in Human Nutrition DPD Plus Partner Dietetic Internship track provides applicants a two-year pathway to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) at the graduate level* without having to apply through the national dietetic internship match. Applicants may hold a bachelor’s degree in any discipline and must have completed prerequisite courses with a grade of B or better before entering the program.

The Master of Science in Human Nutrition DPD Plus Partner Dietetic Internship track builds on the strength of Drexel’s successful 12-year history of offering an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at the master’s degree level by partnering with the following highly competitive and rigorous dietetic internships:

Tulane University Dietetic Internship, New Orleans, LA


University of Maryland Medical Center Dietetic Internship, Baltimore, MD


Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Dietetic Internship, Richmond, VA


Yale New Haven Hospital Dietetic Internship, New Haven, CT

Students who successfully complete the degree program are guaranteed a dietetic internship at one of the partner programs and do not need to participate in the national internship match. At the end of their first quarter in the program, each student completes an internal application to the partner programs they are interested in attending (must apply to a minimum of two programs) and will be matched with one DI through a pre-select process before the DICAS match is held.

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 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 Pennsylvania, graduates also must obtain licensure to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited didactic program in dietetics at Drexel University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN please visit

The MS/DPD Plus track is not an option for individuals who already hold the RDN credential.

Graduate study in human nutrition is offered on both a full-time and part-time basis. All required courses are taught in the evening.

  • MS/DPD Plus: Students in the DPD Plus track have the option to complete a research thesis with the guidance of a research mentor.
  • MS/NS: Students in the Nutrition Sciences track are required to complete a research thesis with the guidance of a research mentor.  Successful defense of the thesis is required to graduate from the program.

Our Mission

Drexel University’s Department of Nutrition Sciences, Human Nutrition Program integrates a foundation in the nutrition sciences with courses in the social sciences to provide the knowledge, skills and professional values needed to prepare students to become entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.  The learning environment is structured to allow students and interns to use current technology, to participate in conducting research, and to engage in experiential learning, including co-operative education for undergraduates.

What you'll learn

The Human Nutrition curriculum covers all aspects of normal and therapeutic nutrition for individuals and groups. This major also encompasses nutrition science, the application of the principles of biochemistry, physiology, and biology to human nutritional needs. Current research in human nutrition includes food preference and nutrition, nutrition assessment, and effectiveness of nutrition education (particularly by the use of multimedia) on health and eating habits. Current research in nutrition science includes physiological and genetic determinants of obesity, lipid metabolism, neutraceuticals, and diet-endocrine interrelationships.

What makes the Human Nutrition program unique?

    • Drexel University was one of the first universities in the country to offer the DPD at the graduate level specifically geared to students with a bachelor’s degree in another field.
    • Between 2016 and the present, our MS, DPD students have achieved a 100% match rate with dietetic internships and 98% one-year pass rate on the RDN exam.
    • Now, we are one of the first universities to partner with free-standing dietetic internships to provide a one-step path to eligibility for the RDN exam.
    Note: Applying to the MS in Human Nutrition with Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Plus Partner Dietetic Internship program requires special planning. Students are admitted in the Fall term only. The first consideration before submitting an application is whether all prerequisites have been met. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible so that transcripts can be reviewed and prerequisites determined.

    Admission Requirements

    A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in the United States or an equivalent international institution. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or above.


    • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap to Drexel University, Applications Processing, PO Box 34789, Philadelphia, PA 19101, or submitted through a secure electronic transcript delivery service to Please note that transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
    • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your school does not notate degree conferrals on the official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
    • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency
    • Use our Transcript Lookup Tool to assist you in contacting your previous institutions
    For the MS/DPD Plus, you must complete the following prerequisite courses before starting the program:
    • 1 year English composition and/or literature
    • 1 semester general biology with lab to include cell and genetics
    • 2 semesters general chemistry, including an introduction to organic chemistry, with lab, OR 1 semester general/inorganic chemistry with lab AND 1 semester organic chemistry with lab
    • 1 semester biochemistry
    • 1 semester human physiology or 2 semesters anatomy and physiology
    • 1 semester basic and quantity food preparation
    • 1 semester general psychology
    • 1 semester statistics
    • 1 semester introductory nutrition
    • 1 semester basic food preparation

    Prerequisite Questions

    What if I have taken some or all of these classes already?

    If you have completed this coursework at another college or university that is regionally accredited, the director of the MS/DPD will evaluate your transcripts. For courses completed at another university to meet the requirements, the courses must meet the following:

    • Is substantially equivalent to courses offered in the Nutrition Program at Drexel (a course description and/or course syllabus is used to determine this).
    • Completed with a grade of B (3.0) or better.
    • Be less than five years old for science or nutrition courses or 10 years old for other courses (based on the time of the course evaluation), with several exceptions.
      • General chemistry courses may be 10 years old, but biology, human physiology, and biochemistry may only be five years old.
      • In some cases, a practicing healthcare or research professional will be allowed to have certain science courses older than five years.
      • The following courses have no time limits: English, general psychology, statistics and basic food preparation.

    You must submit official transcripts prior to enrollment.

    Students who completed courses outside the United States are required to have a detailed course-by-course evaluation of their transcripts by a company found at:

    What if I have not taken these prerequisites yet?

    Students may fulfill the prerequisite courses at another institution or local community college convenient to them. All prerequisites must be completed prior to enrolling the MS/DPD Plus. They are available either at the Community College of Philadelphia or your local community college. 

    Two letters of recommendation

    • Request recommendations with your application or through the Discover Drexel portal after you submit your application.
    • If a recommender prefers to submit an original, hard copy letter, please remind them that it must include an ink signature and be submitted in a sealed envelope.

    Personal Statement/ Essay:
    Approximately 500 words explaining your reasons for pursuing a degree from Drexel and your short- and long-term career plans and how your background, experience, interest, and/or values—when combined with a Drexel degree—will enable you to pursue these goals successfully.

    Admissions interview is not required.


    International Students:
    International applicants, as well as immigrants to the United States and U.S. permanent residents whose native language is not English and who have not received a bachelor's degree or higher in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, must show proficiency in English speaking as well as listening, writing and reading. American citizens born on U.S. military bases abroad may be waived from the TOEFL requirement after providing documentation of this status. Otherwise, applicants must meet one of the following requirements: 

    If you take the TOEFLiBT exam, you must have: 

    • a minimum combined score for listening, writing, and reading sections of 79 plus a speaking section score of 26 or higher.
    • a minimum score of 550 or higher and a Test of Spoken English score (TSE) of 55 or higher.

    Tuition and Fee Rates:
    Please visit the Tuition and Fee Rates page on Drexel Central

    Application Deadlines:

    MS Human Nutrition/Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Plus Partner Dietetic Internship Track

    • U.S. Students:
      • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; applicants are encouraged to apply by June 1 and may be accepted contingent upon completing outstanding prerequisite courses. No applications will be accepted after September 1.
    • International Students:
      • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; applicants are encouraged to apply by June 1 and may be accepted contingent upon completing outstanding prerequisite courses. No applications will be accepted after June 13.

    MS Human Nutrition/Nutrition Sciences Track:

    • U.S. Students:
      • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; applicants are encouraged to apply by April 15.
    • International Students:
      • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; no applications will be accepted after January 15.

    For more information on Admissions, please visit:


    The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitians (RD). ACEND exists to serve the public by establishing and enforcing Eligibility Requirements and Accreditation Standards that ensure the quality and continued improvement of nutrition/dietetics education programs. Programs meeting those standards are accredited by ACNED. ACEND is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This affirms that ACEND meets national standards and is a reliable authority on the quality of nutrition/dietetics education programs.

    The Drexel University Didactic Program in Nutrition and Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. 

    For further information, please contact:

    Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics 
    of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 
    120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190 
    Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312.899.0040 ext. 5400

    ACEND® has created a new page on our website that contains resources for international students, in the Students and Advancing Education section. These resources include:

    • International Students Checklist: A step-by-step guide for international students to become eligible to sit for the CDR credentialing exams through ACEND-accredited educational programs.
    • Requirements for Those with Foreign Degrees: a general description of ACEND®'s education requirements for individuals with a foreign degree.
    • Obtaining Dietetic Credentials with a Foreign Degree: General information about CDR's requirements for obtaining a credential with a foreign degree.
    • Foreign Degree Evaluation Agencies: This is a list of non-profit agencies that can be used by international students to assess their degree for U.S. degree equivalency.

    Program directors who receive inquiries from international students about applying to their program can reference this page as well. Once an international student provides a foreign degree equivalency report, programs should follow their policies for evaluating international students' transcripts, just as they would from a student educated in the United States. The ACEND® board has created a video training on how evaluate international students' transcripts to assist programs who may need additional guidance.

    Please contact ACEND® if there are additional resources that would be helpful for guiding international students.

    USDE Requirements for Disclosing Licensure Information to Students

    The ACEND Accreditation Standards require programs to publish “Information about the requirements and process to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), including education, supervised practice, passage on the CDR credentialing exam, and state certification/licensure, if applicable; and how the program fits into the process.” It is recommended that programs add the statement that it is ACEND’s considered opinion that the program is designed to and does meet all state dietetics licensure and certification laws as some states may interpret their statutes differently. More information about state licensure and certification is available at this link: State Licensure


    Drexel's MS in Human Nutrition graduates have exceptionally high placement in dietetic internships or Drexel's Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway. Over the past five years (2011-2016), 92% (89/97) of graduates of the program have received a match with a dietetic internship or ISPP (national average 51%).

    Drexel's MS in Human Nutrition alumni have an exceptionally high pass rate on the entry-level exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Over the past five years (2011-2015), 100% (57/57) of MS in Human Nutrition alumni passed the exam on their first attempt.

    Additional program outcomes are available upon request by contacting the Program Director, Professor Beth Leonberg.

    Program Goals:

    Program Goal #1: To provide quality didactic instruction and learning experiences to prepare graduates to be accepted into dietetic internships and graduate schools, or to work in the field of dietetics.

    • Objective #1: Ninety percent of graduating BS students and 90% of graduating MS students will apply to an accredited dietetic internship within 12 months of graduation.
    • Objective #2: Eighty percent of students who apply to dietetic internships or ISPP are accepted.
    • Objective #3: Seventy-five percent of students who apply to graduate schools are accepted.
    • Objective #4: Eighty percent of graduates of the Drexel University ISPP who seek employment will be employed in a dietetics-related position within six months of program completion.
    • Objective #5: Graduates of the DPD will rate ten aspects of their didactic and learning experiences an average of "4" or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5 =excellent.
    • Objective #6: At least 90% of students will complete the program within 100% of the expected time frame for the program (BS DPD full-time = 4 years; BS DPD part-time = 5 to 7 years; MS DPD full-time = 2 years; MS DPD part-time = 4 years; ISPP full-time = 3 quarters or 1 year; ISPP part-time = 6 quarters or 2 years).

    Program Goal #2: To prepare graduates to become competent entry-level dietitians.

    • Objective #1: The program's one year pass rate on the entry exam for all tracks (BS DPD, MS DPD and ISPP) will be 80% or higher.
    • Objective #2: Internship directors of graduates of the DPD will rate ten aspects of the students preparation for internship an average of "4" or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5 =excellent.
    • Objective #3: Employers of alumni of the ISPP will rate ten aspects of the employees preparation for entry-level practice an average of "4" or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5=excellent.

    Program Goal #3: To increase diversity in the profession by facilitating the success of students from underrepresented groups.

    • Objective #1: At least 20% of students in all tracks (BS DPD, MS DPD and ISPP cumulatively) will be from underrepresented groups.

    MS/DPD: A Step Towaregistered dietitian Becoming a Registered Dietitian

    If you have a desire to promote optimal wellness and quality of life for people of all ages through better nutrition, and if you have an interest in and capacity for science, the Didactic Program in Dietetics option may be of interest to you. The program requires 45 graduate credits and may be completed in two years with full-time study and is the first step to becoming a registered dietitian.

    What Is a DPD?

    The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD ) provides the coursework required to become a registered dietitian. Students who want to become a registered dietitian must successfully complete coursework approved by the Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For students pursuing a Master of Science degree, the prerequisite courses (listed on the Admissions tab) fulfill a part of the required DPD coursework. Upon completion of the DPD program, students receive a verification statement, which shows successful completion of the DPD and allows entry into a dietetic internship. Master of Science students are required to earn a grade of B or better in all DPD courses to receive a DPD verification statement.

    What Is a Dietetic Internship?

    After you complete your MS/DPD program, you must apply for a dietetic internship (also called supervised practice). While the DPD provides mostly classroom training, the dietetic internship provides hands-on training. Dietetic internships provide at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice (unpaid) and are usually completed in eight to 12 months, depending on the availability of a part-time schedule. Entry to a dietetic internship is competitive. You will likely need at least a 3.2 undergraduate GPA and relevant work experience in healthcare to be a viable candidate. After completion of the internship, you are eligible to take the registration examination for dietitians.

    What Does It Mean to Be a Registered Dietitian?

    Registered Dietitians are food and nutrition experts employed in a wide variety of settings who find exciting jobs working as:
    1. Clinical dietitians—who provide medical nutritional therapy for patients in hospitals, physician offices, and other locations.
    2. Sports dietitians— who work with competitive and recreational athletes, and for sports teams.
    3. Wellness dietetians - who work in corporate wellness programs
    4. Community dietitians—who counsel individuals and groups on nutritional practices designed to prevent disease and promote good health.
    5. Management dietitians—who oversee large-scale meal planning and preparation in healthcare facilities, business and industry, and colleges and universities.
    6. Consultant dietitians—who often work under contract with healthcare facilities.
    7. Private practice dietitians—who counsel individuals and groups on good nutrition to improve health.
    8. Education dietitians—who teach nurses, dietetics students, and others about nutrition in higher education.