Virginia Tech® home

Prospective Students

HNFE's Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics program prepares graduates to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)

Students who complete this graduate program will receive 1) a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics degree; and 2) a verification statement that provides eligibility to sit for the RDN registration exam. This degree is designed as a Future Education Model graduate degree program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The program integrates didactic coursework with supervised experiential learning in a competency-based curriculum designed to prepare nutrition and dietetics practitioners for future practice. HNFE has demonstrated its leadership in education by becoming one of the first programs to be accredited by ACEND under these new standards. Dietetic education has a long history at Virginia Tech, dating back to the 1960s. The dietetics program, department, and home college have evolved over time with the changing landscape of the university into the current HNFE department within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) will require prospective dietitians to have a graduate degree to sit for the RDN registration exam. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by ACEND. Graduates who successfully complete the M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program will be eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become a RDN. After becoming a RDN, new practitioners may or may not be required to apply for licensure depending on state of residence or practice. Licensure is not required for RDNs practicing in the state of Virginia. More information on licensure requirements by state.

The M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics degree program currently runs simultaneously with the longstanding Virginia Tech Internship in Nutrition and Dietetics program, which has sites in both Southwest Virginia and Northern Virginia. To learn more about the differences between these two programs, please download the Virginia Tech Dietetics Programs Overview.

Learn more about pathways to RDN registration eligibility and careers as a dietitian.

The M.S. Nutrition and Dietetics program has two tracks:

  • Track One: for direct entry students who have an earned a baccalaureate degree and who meet program prerequisite courses* (17 months)
  • Track Two: for current Virginia Tech HNFE B.S. DIET option students to apply for an accelerated B.S./M.S. option in the spring of their junior year (20 months)

Track One Prerequisites:

  • Have (or will have) earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university prior to program start
  • Undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for the equivalent of the last two years of undergraduate study
  • Verification of ServSafe Manager training and certification^
  • Successful completion of the following prerequisites (or Virginia Tech equivalent):
    • Introduction to Nutrition
    • Introduction to Psychology
    • Statistics
    • General Chemistry (two semesters)
    • General Chemistry Lab (two semesters)
    • Organic Chemistry+
    • Biochemistry+
    • Microbiology
    • Microbiology Lab (1-2 credits)
    • Anatomy and Physiology (two semesters)*
    • Nutrition Across the Lifespan* (2-3 credits)
    • Health Counseling**
    • Food Selection and Preparation Lab***
    • Metabolic Nutrition (Advanced Nutrition, Nutritional Biochemistry or equivalent; two semesters; 4-6 credits)**

^ ServSafe Manager certification can be taken after program admission. The leadership team will send out information on this process after program acceptance.
+ Combined Organic Chemistry - Biochemistry classes will be evaluated.
* Should be taken prior to Metabolic Nutrition I. The program will also accept one semester each of Anatomy, then Physiology, if taught separately, for a total of 6-8 credits.
** May be taken at Virginia Tech in the summer prior to August start date.
*** May be taken during the first semester of the program.

  • Recency of education: Basic science prerequisites should be taken within the past 10 years and dietetics specific courses within the past five years.
  • While there is no minimal grade required for prerequisites, competitive candidate will score a “B” or higher in these courses.
  • GRE scores are not required.
  • International applicants whose first language is not English must submit TOEFL scores, except those applicants who have graduated from an accredited university where English is the language of instruction. A minimum TOEFL score of 80 (IBT) or IELTS score of 6.5 is required for admission.

Eligible students will be required to have either completed all prerequisites or have earned a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Verification Statement from ACEND before beginning the program. Students in track one who have not met all prerequisites may be admitted to the program conditionally. These students are required to submit a plan of study demonstrating their ability to complete all prerequisite coursework prior to the program start. Official transcripts demonstrating successful completion of all prerequisites will be required prior to starting the program.

Track Two Prerequisites:

  • Current Virginia Tech HNFE B.S. DIET option student with junior status and a minimum overall GPA of 3.4 at the time of application.
  • Candidates must submit a DARS report and have their academic advisor sign off on a senior year proposed plan of study, which includes the program’s required graduate level coursework.

About Us

Program Director:
Enette Larson-Meyer, PhD, RD, FACSM

Assistant Director:
Kristen Chang, MS, RDN, CSSD

Supervised Practice Coordinator:
Jeannine Simon, MS, RD

Please direct all program inquiries to or 540-231-2139.