Innovative Applied Nutrition and Dietetics meets high demand

Lisa Akers

Dr. Lisa Akers

The new Master of Arts with a major in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics is meeting the need that no other program in the country does.

“The innovative M.A. with a major in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics has been in high demand since we opened admission in 2020. It meets the need that no other program in the country does – it is designed for non-traditional students who are changing careers,” Dr. Lisa Akers, Major Chair, M.A. in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics, said. “For years the traditionally ACEND-accredited dietetics programs were the only options for students wanting to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN).  Those programs required students to complete the didactic work and then a 1200 hour internship that was fulltime, 40 hours per week. For many adults, quitting their full-time job to complete a 1200 hour internship for nine months is just not feasible,” Dr. Akers said.

ACEND is the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) or Registered Nutrition and Dietetics Technicians (NDRT). ACEND announced the new Future Education Model (FEM) that eliminates the internship requirement and replaced it with Supervised Experiential Learning (SEL) that works well for the non-traditional adult learner.

“The new M.A. with a major in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics is a competency-based educational program that offers Supervised Experiential Learning (SEL) that is interwoven into the classroom.  SEL is not unique to ACEND-accredited programs, but the fact that ours is interwoven into the classroom is indeed unique. We designed our program in this manner so that once students complete their degree they are immediately eligible to sit for the RDN exam.

“Over the years, I have met many people who wanted to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), but the laundry list of pre-requisite courses that they needed in order to apply was often unattainable for them. We designed the Union program to only need two pre-requisite courses, a general college nutrition course and a general college chemistry course, which are very easy for prospective students to attain. Our program also offers a part-time option for students, which at this point no other FEM graduate program offers,” Dr. Akers said.

One preceptor who provided a Supervised Experiential Learning (SEL) rotation raved about the quality of the program and intern wrote the following:

“Union is the first Future Education Model (FEM) program that I’ve worked with. The caliber of students you recruit, the quality of instruction you provide to them, and the level of support you give to preceptors exceeds many of the other programs I work with-local, distance, coordinated, stand-alone DI, whatever. Thank you so much for making this a wonderful first experience.”

Dr. Akers is not surprised by the national attention the program is receiving.

“This high quality program is designed for the working adult whose dream is to pursue a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.”


Today is the day to start your new career with a M.A. with a major in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics. Click here to learn about this exciting career pathway.