Master of Science in Nutrition / Didactic Program in Dietetics

Quick Facts


Kenmore, Washington campus

General Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree
  • See the prerequisites below for more detailed information on GPA
  • Recommended: volunteer experience relevant to nutrition

Length of Program

2 years, full-time

Tuition and Financial Aid

Career Opportunities

This degree program prepares students to be eligible to apply for ACEND-accredited supervised practice programs. The successful completion of a supervised practice program, in turn, supports eligibility to sit for the registration examination for dietitians. The Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential offers a scope of practice in medical nutrition therapy in hospitals, clinics, private practice and public health organizations. Registered dietitians with a master’s degree may also work in corporate wellness, food service management, food and nutrition consulting and writing, and community health.

Additionally, a graduate degree supports academic careers in universities, administrative positions in government and public health organizations, and research positions in clinical and other types of research laboratories.

See examples of how our graduates use their nutrition degrees.


The master's didactic program in dietetics (MSN/DPD) fulfills the academic and competency requirements for registered dietitian eligibility. The Bastyr MSN/DPD allows students to complete a didactic program while pursuing a Master of Science in Nutrition.

The program requirements are over and above the degree requirements outlined by the University. Verified graduation from the DPD program provides students with the technical and academic knowledge to compete for a an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program, the second step to becoming a RDN with the third step being the successful pass on the RDN Exam.

The mission of the MSN-DPD program at Bastyr University is to prepare graduate students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) who will be agents of change in bringing the perspective of whole foods, environmental awareness of food choices, and integrative medicine into their dietetic-and nutrition-related practices.

Program Goals and Objectives

Program Goal 1: The Bastyr University MSN-DPD program will prepare graduates to become successful dietetic interns.


Objectives of Goal #1:

  1. At least 80% of MSN-DPD students will complete the program/degree requirements within 150% of the program length (i.e., 3 years).
  2. In order to complete the program/degree requirements and receive a Verification Statement, 100% of graduates will:
         a. Complete the degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
         b.  Pass the DPD exit exam with a score of 75% or greater.
         c.  Complete 300 nutrition-related volunteer/paid hours with signed verification.
         d.  Complete self-tracking of specified learning outcomes.
    3. At least 80% of MSN-DPD graduates will apply for admission to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
    4. At least 80% of MSN-DPD graduates who seek an internship will be admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
    5. Results from the Supervised Practice Program Director Survey will reflect that MSN-DPD graduates have ‘more than satisfactory knowledge or competence’ (at least ‘4’ or higher on a scale of 1 to 5) in at least 80% of                   professional competencies evaluated.
    6. Summary reports from the Commission on Dietetic Registration will reflect that at least 95% of graduates will have passed the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists on the first attempt.
    7.  Summary reports from the Commission on Dietetic Registration will reflect that at least 80% of graduates will have passed the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within one year following the first attempt.
    8. At least 85% of respondents from the Supervised Practice Program Director Survey conducted annually will rate MSN-DPD graduates as ‘4’ (‘more than satisfactory’) or higher on a scale of 1 to 5 in competencies related            to whole foods, environmental awareness and integrative medicine.


Program Goal #2:

The Bastyr University MSN-DPD program will prepare qualified graduates with the knowledge and tools to incorporate whole foods nutrition, environmental awareness, and integrative medicine into their dietetic/nutrition practice.

Objectives of Goal #2:

1. Specified percentages of respondents from the MSN-DPD Alumni Survey conducted every 2 years will rate their preparation as ‘3’ (‘adequately prepared’) or higher on a scale of 1 to 5 in each of the following areas:

    a. Whole foods nutrition (70%)
    b. Environmental awareness (70%)
    c. Integrative medicine (70%)

2. Specified percentages of respondents from the MSN-DPD Alumni Survey conducted every 2 years will report their ability to incorporate the following into their dietetic/nutrition practice at least ‘occasionally’ or more, or at least       ‘3’ on a scale of 1 to 5:

     a. Whole foods nutrition (80%)
     b. Environmental awareness (60%)
     c. Integrative medicine (60%)

3. Specified percentages of respondents from the MSN-DPD Alumni Survey conducted every 2 years will rate their level of preparedness post-graduation as a ‘3’ (‘adequately prepared’) or higher on a scale of 1 to 5 in each of        the following dietetic practice areas:

    a. Medical Nutrition Therapy (75%)
    b. Food Service Management (85%)
    c. Nutrition Education (90%)
    d. Nutrition Counseling (90%)
    e. Food Science (85%)
    f. Research (50%)

Program outcomes data available upon request from the program director.

Expected Competencies

Verified graduation from the MSN/DPD enables a student to apply for ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. Although the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science will assist all graduates in supervised practice placement, completion of the DPD does not guarantee acceptance into a supervised practice program.

Graduates are able to critically evaluate the scientific literature and incorporate current research and innovative advances in nutrition into the fundamentals of nutritional science and dietary planning. Graduates are also able to support the ecological well-being of the planet through promotion of improved eating habits.

Successful completion of the Bastyr MSN/DPD requires maintenance of a 3.00 GPA on a 4.0 scale, completion of 300 hours of volunteer/work experience,* achievement of a passing score (75 percent) on the exit examination, and completion of self-tracking of specified learning outcomes.

Graduation Requirements

MSN/DPD students must complete a minimum of 78 credits. All MSN/DPD students must have a minimum 3.00 grade point average with a minimum of 64 credits in residence. In addition, 300 hours of paid work and/or volunteer experience in clinical nutrition, food service management and community nutrition are required to graduate. A grade of 75% or greater is required to pass the DPD exit exam. Students must also complete self-tracking of specified learning outcomes. MSN/DPD students must complete their degree within five years following matriculation into the program. A student will not receive his/her verification statement until all requirements for the MSN/DPD are met.

Accreditation Status

The Master of Science in Nutrition with Didactic Program in Dietetics (MSN/DPD) at Bastyr University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (800) 877-1600, ext. 5400, email: website: a specialized accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  Bastyr University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Entering students must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate degree. Priority consideration will be given to applicants with a 3.0 GPA in nutrition prerequisites, a 3.25 cumulative GPA in all prerequisites and a 3.25 cumulative GPA in science prerequisites, with a B or better in Human Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Microbiology. Exceptional candidates who do not meet these priority standards will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Prerequisite Coursework

Human Physiology (upper level)*1 course

Chemistry (science-major) **

2 courses
Organic Chemistry (science major level) **1 course
Biochemistry ***1 course
General Psychology1 course
College Algebra or Statistics1 course
Microbiology1 course
Introductory Nutrition****1 course 

*A full anatomy and physiology series will meet this requirement.

**A minimum of one chemistry course must include an in-person lab.

***The biochemistry course must be upper-level and must cover intermediary metabolism.

****The nutrition course must include macro- and micronutrients, lifecycle, and physical activity.

All applications are reviewed on an individual basis and decisions regarding admissibility are made by the Admissions Committee. Please contact the admissions office for more information.

Want to take these prerequisite courses with us?  Find out more about our Post-Baccalaureate Program.

Want to know which classes fulfill these prerequisites? Review these Course equivalency guides


The MSN/DPD curriculum integrates the student's knowledge and skills related to the physical, behavioral, cultural, ecological, legislative, community and clinical aspects of human nutrition. The course work focuses on four main areas: nutrition, foods, basic sciences and counseling skills. Basic and advanced nutrition classes build the didactic knowledge underlying community and clinical nutrition. Core food courses build competencies in knowledge of whole foods and food composition, handling, preparation and distribution. Clinical practicum develops experiences, attitudes and values important to the competent dietetic intern.

The curriculum table below lists the tentative schedule of courses each quarter. Next to each course is the number of credits per course (Crdt.), the lecture hours each week (Lec.) and the lab/clinic hours each week (L/C). Course descriptions are available in the Course Catalog. Bastyr University’s academic calendar is followed for program schedule, vacations, holidays, and leave of absence.

Expected Learning Outcomes

The Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science has established expected learning outcomes in the following areas for all Master of Science in Nutrition programs:

  • Biological/Medical Sciences
  • Quantitative Reasoning/Critical Thinking/Research
  • Nutrition
  • Whole Foods and Natural Medicine
  • Communication
  • Physical Activity
  • Promotion of the University's and the Department's mission and vision

Expected learning outcomes specific to the MSN-Didactic Program in Dietetics are called knowledge requirements for registered dietitians (KRDNs) and include:

  • KRDN 1.1 Demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate and use professional literature to make ethical, evidence-based practice decisions.
  • KRDN 1.2 Use current information technologies to locate and apply evidence-based guidelines and protocols.
  • KRDN 1.3 Apply critical thinking skills.
  • KRDN 2.1 Demonstrate effective and professional oral and written communication and documentation.
  • KRDN 2.2 Describe the governance of nutrition and dietetics practice, such as the Scope of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice and the Code of Ethics for the Profession of Nutrition and Dietetics; and describe interprofessional relationships in various practice settings.
  • KRDN 2.3 Assess the impact of a public policy position on nutrition and dietetics practice.
  • KRDN 2.4 Discuss the impact of health care policy and different health care delivery systems on food and nutrition services.
  • KRDN 2.5 Identify and describe the work of interprofessional teams and the roles of others with whom the registered dietitian nutritionist collaborates in the delivery of food and nutrition services.
  • KRDN 2.6 Demonstrate an understanding of cultural competence/sensitivity.
  • KRDN 2.7 Demonstrate identification with the nutrition and dietetics profession through activities such as participation in professional organizations and defending a position on issues impacting the nutrition and dietetics profession.
  • KRDN 2.8 Demonstrate an understanding of the importance and expectations of a professional in mentoring and precepting others.
  • KRDN 3.1 Use the Nutrition Care Process to make decisions, identify nutrition-related problems and determine and evaluate nutrition interventions.
  • KRDN 3.2 Develop an educational session or program/educational strategy for a target population.
  • KRDN 3.3 Demonstrate counseling and education methods to facilitate behavior change and enhance wellness for diverse individuals and groups.
  • KRDN 3.4 Explain the processes involved in delivering quality food and nutrition services.
  • KRDN 3.5 Describe basic concepts of nutritional genomics.
  • KRDN 4.1 Apply management theories to the development of programs or services.
  • KRDN 4.2 Evaluate a budget and interpret financial data.
  • KRDN 4.3 Describe the regulation system related to billing and coding, what services are reimbursable by third party payers, and how reimbursement may be obtained.
  • KRDN 4.4 Apply the principles of human resource management to different situations.
  • KRDN 4.5 Describe safety principles related to food, personnel and consumers.
  • KRDN 4.6 Analyze data for assessment and evaluate data to be used in decision-making for continuous quality improvement.

The attached PDF is the curriculum for students starting in Fall 2019. Please note that changes to the curriculum may still occur before the start of the Fall 2019 academic year. For the 2019-2020 course catalog, click here

PDF icon 2019-20 MSN.pdf

Clinical Training

Time spent in classrooms and studying for tests is just one component of a nutrition education. As a student pursuing the Master of Science in Nutrition with Didactic Program in Dietetics (MSN/DPD), you also will put scientific theories and counseling instruction into practice through supervised clinical training at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

This real-world experience prepares you to become a registered dietitian, with guidance through this process from experienced whole-food dietitians on Bastyr's faculty.

Diverse Patient Population

With an average of 35,000 patient visits annually, Bastyr Center allows student clinicians to interact with a variety of clients, ranging in age from children to seniors. Through this clinical experience, you'll learn to recognize health conditions and support clients in dealing with their concerns, including:

Chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease
Weight-related dietary changes
Digestive disorders
Food allergies and sensitivities
Disordered eating
Immune dysfunction

Clinical training at Bastyr Center, combined with the external work experience required of MSN/DPD students, gives you a competitive edge that results in a higher dietetic supervised practice program placement rate compared with other schools across the nation.

Patient Contacts/Training Hours

To graduate, you must complete 92 hours of clinical training at Bastyr Center.
In addition to clinical training, you also must complete a total of 300 hours of paid work or volunteer experience in clinical nutrition, food service management and community nutrition.


Bastyr University malpractice insurance is in effect for MSN/DPD students (at no cost to students) during the course of their program. 

Additional Costs

For food production-related courses, students may be required to purchase a lab apron ($20) and a chef knife ($50), which are available in the university bookstore.

Prior to beginning clinical training (i.e., Clinical Nutrition Practicum 1 & 2), students are required to complete the following.   

  • Criminal background check: $70
  • Tuberculosis (TB) testing: $10-$120
  • Hepatitis B immunization: $150-350 for entire series, or submit a waiver
  • CPR certification: $60 for students

The following costs are associated with applying for supervised practice programs/dietetic internships.

  • DICAS fees: $45 for first program and $20 for each additional program
  • DnD Digital computer matching fee: $55
  • Application fees for dietetic internships: $75-$125 per program

RDN Requirements

In addition to successful completion of a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) a student must accomplish the following:

  • Obtain a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college. 
  • Receive a verification statement of coursework completion from an ACEND-accredited program (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics), which is required for admission to ACEND-accredited supervised practice programs/dietetic internships. 
  • Apply for a supervised practice program/dietetic internship through an online platform called the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Service (DICAS). More information about DICAS and preparing the online application can be found at
  • Register for the computer matching process through DnD Digital (, which facilitates a computerized method that provides a systematic and unbiased way to match the preferences of applicants for supervised practice programs/dietetic internships with the preferences of directors of these programs.
  • Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program, i.e., a dietetic internship and receive a verification statement of completion.
  • Successfully pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing examination for registered dietitian nutritionists.

To practice as an RDN, one must also obtain state-specific certification or licensure, as applicable. Additional information regarding state licensing agencies and requirements can be found at: Potential applicants should also be aware that effective in 2024, a master’s degree will be required to take the credentialing examination for registered dietitian nutritionists. For more information regarding careers in the field of dietetics, visit

Kenmore Campus Location

The 51-acre Bastyr University campus, nestled among fields and woodlands on the northeast shore of Lake Washington, is uniquely suited for the study of natural health sciences.
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