Nutrition and Dietetics looks to offer online master’s degree


Photo credit/ Elizabeth Carlson

Rachel Looker , Editor-in-Chief

The Nutrition and Dietetics department is looking into offering a Master of Science degree online, according to Chair of the Nutrition and Dietetics department Dr. Lee Harrison.

The department currently has a graduate certificate program, which consists of two tracks, a distance track and an on-site track.

Students in this program do not have to get a master’s degree to receive a certificate. The certificate is needed to sit for the Registered Dietician exam, according to Harrison.

Harrison said currently, students are not required to obtain a master’s degree to become a registered dietician. However, starting in 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an organization which “administers rigorous, valid and reliable credentialing processes,” will require the master’s degree, according to their website.

The graduate certificate program will continue to have two tracks. However, students completing the program will now receive a master’s, which will be needed as of 2024, as well as a certificate to become a registered dietician.

“We’re moving early to get it set up so our students are ahead of the game,” said Harrison.

Students in the current graduate certificate program in the distance track are required to be at least 125 miles from campus, according to Marywood’s website

Dietician interns may complete the program at places throughout the country including Texas, Florida and Michigan, said Harrison.

“We want to take the certificate program and put it as a track in the master’s program,” said Harrison. “So these people [students] will still get their certificate, but they will also get their master’s degree.”

According to Harrison, an additional benefit of this move will be that all Master of Science required courses would also be available online.

The department needs to receive approval from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) before the program can be launched, according to Harrison. She added the online program would begin in the fall of 2018 if approved.

The online program would not affect classes currently offered at Marywood, said Harrison.

This possible move in the Nutrition and Dietetics Department marks an effort by Marywood to offer more courses online, as was previously stated by Marywood President Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed. D. Similarly, the master’s degree in special education can now be completed online as of Nov. 20.

Junior Nutrition Major Haleigh Zurek said she thinks it is smart the department is making this change before the 2024 deadline, when students will be required to obtain a master’s degree to become a registered dietician.

“I think it’s really convenient,” said Zurek.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Twitter: @RLookerTWW