Pennsylvania Nutrition Degree Programs, Online Included

There are multiple options for nutrition degrees in Pennsylvania at every level. The most popular degree is the Masters in Nutrition degree, with the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics degree also being popular in Pennsylvania.

There are multiple Pennsylvania universities with nutrition degrees, including Penn State University's Bachelors in Nutritional Sciences and Masters in Nutritional Sciences, the University of Pittsburgh's Bachelors in Nutrition Science and Masters in Wellness and Human Performance, and Drexel University's Bachelors in Nutrition and Foods, Masters in Human Nutrition, and Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition.

School Program Admissions
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill MPH/Registered Dietitian (MPH/RD)
Three CEPH-accredited concentrations: MPH Leadership, MPH Nutrition, MPH Registered Dietitian (MPH/RD).
American University Online Master’s in Nutrition Education
Study the scientific principles of nutrition and learn to develop scalable nutrition education programs and intervention skills.
American University Online Master of Science in Health Promotion Management
Program meets the eligibility requirements for Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP).
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Are there online Dietician degree programs in Pennsylvania?

Yes, there are online ACEND-accredited degree programs based at schools in Pennsylvania. Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, or a Master of Science in Nutrition online.

There are colleges in Pennsylvania such as Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania that offer a Master of Public Health in Nutrition, which is more of a focus on population and community nutrition and epidemiology than clinical or personal nutrition. Some PA schools offer blended programs where students can earn both their bachelor and masters degrees over the course three or five years.

A Master’s degree is now required (as of Jan 1, 2024) to sit for the CDR exam to earn the RDN credential. Some schools offer only advanced (masters or doctorate) degrees fully online (with course credit transfer and/or prerequisite requirements), and some offer advanced degrees with experiential hours that accrue toward the requirements needed to sit for the CDR exam.

Online nutrition degrees in Pennsylvania

University Degree Program Accreditation Format

Cedar Crest College

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Online available

Community College of Allegheny County

AS in Dietetic Technician Program ACEND Online available

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Graduate Program (MS) ACEND Online available

The Pennsylvania State University

MPS in Nutritional Sciences Experiential Track (Pathway to RDN Credential) ACEND Online available

West Chester University

MSCN in Dietetic Internship ACEND Online available

Online nutrition degrees at colleges without a Pennsylvania campus location

While many programs are offered online from schools based in Pennsylvania, students both in, and out-of-state can benefit from the flexibility that online platforms offer, either by studying asynchronously at home, or in a hybrid model attending classes both online and onsite. Keep in mind that in order to sit for the RDN credentialing exam, ACEND-accredited Master’s degree programs offered fully online usually require a term or two of experiential hours which may require students to find and apply for an dietetics supervised internship on their own or through the DICAS. DICAS is the web-based dietetic internship application tool developed and managed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) that allows students to apply to multiple experiential programs by completing a single online application.

There are also online Nutrition degree programs that are not accredited by ACEND and may be eligible for other accreditation (like the CNS credential), or and can be a springboard for matriculation into graduate study in public health or medical school. Be sure to check the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website or call a school directly to find out more information about ACEND-accredited programs.

In depth review of top online nutrition degrees in Pennsylvania

Penn State World Campus - Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Nutritional Sciences, online

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One of the state’s most popular programs, Penn State World Campus, offers multiple degree and study options ranging from both bachelor’s and master’s degrees online, as well as an integrated approach, which earns its students both an undergraduate and graduate degree within 5 years. It offers an online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Nutritional Sciences. Penn State’s online MPS program also includes the option to apply for an experiential track that fulfills ACEND’s requirements to sit the CDR exam. The Experiential Track is accredited by ACEND as a Future Education Model Graduate Program.

Penn State World Campus is the online arm of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). The Department of Nutritional Sciences at The College of Health and Human Sciences at Penn State offers multiple options to study nutrition both on campus and online. It offers multiple opportunities to study nutrition and dietetics under the lens of nutrition in healthcare. Students can choose two different career pathways, the accredited dietitian pathway or the broader pathway of nutrition science professional in the field or in academia, or accreditation in the functional healthcare space.

While Penn State’s World Campus program is fully online, it does have the allure of being connected to Penn State as a student with access to all the same services, network and learning opportunities that Penn State offers as Pennsylvania’s largest public learning institution. It offers 3 tracks to study nutrition science, one being the MPS in Nutritional Sciences fully online through its Penn State World Campus. The MPS program focuses on advanced skills in nutrition, dietetics and leadership, culminating with a capstone project. It offers two pathways: one with, or without a dietetic internship or experiential track as a pathway to earn the RDN credential. The experiential track is accredited as an ACEND Future Graduate (FG) Program. The supervised experiential learning semesters can be completed in-residence or online. Students pursuing the online option must secure their own supervised experiential learning site where they live. The in-residence option requires students to live geographically close to experiential work sites located in either University Park, PA, Hershey or Harrisburg, PA.

The Master of Professional Studies in Nutritional Sciences can be completed in about 2 years and is a 30- to 39-credit online program (depending on if you choose only the Masters degree or MPS with experiential training) with a strong foundation in evidence-based advanced practice. The MPS program is comprehensive in that it focuses on nutrition practice in real-world settings including clinical, research, community, and management, with a heavy emphasis on development of a leadership skill set that can advance its students in practice. Students enrolled in the MPS in Nutritional Sciences program take courses like Nutritional Assessment and Diagnosis, Research Methods, Advanced Clinical Nutrition and Leadership in the Nutrition Profession.

Penn State World Campus also offers an integrated undergraduate/graduate program (IUG) in coordination with its campus in University Park, PA that can be completed in as little as 5 years for bachelor/master’s degrees. This program is geared toward students in the onsite BS in Nutrition Sciences program, enabling them to apply for the online graduate program once they reach 60 credits.

Penn State World Campus’s admission process requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 or better in courses taken the last two years of student’s undergraduate term. It also requires a bachelor's degree in nutrition, animal sciences, food science, dietetics, or a related biological/biomedical or health sciences discipline.There is no GRE requirement. Costs per credit are just over $1,000, which translates to just over $12K per semester for a full time student. Penn State employs the Canvas learning management system.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Master of Science in Food and Nutrition, online (non-ACEND)

IUP based on Indiana, PA, has multiple options for studying nutrition online. It has didactic dietitian programs that are ACEND-accredited, both bachelor and masters programs, as well as a non-ACEND accredited master’s program. All of IUP’s master’s programs are offered both online and on campus. See more about IUP’s ACEND-accredited online program further below.

IUP’s non ACEND-accredited online Master of Science in Food and Nutrition program provides advanced training in food and nutrition. This pathway prepares students for food and nutrition-related careers or complements existing careers by increasing depth of knowledge in culinary nutrition, research skills, or enhancing skills like applied human nutrition. Students may choose either a thesis or non-thesis option and may also opt to select a specialization track in nutrition education. IUP offers a broad curriculum of courses on topics in clinical and community nutrition, cultural foods, food experimentation, food prep and food service management. It also offers advanced classes in integrative and functional nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, policy making, sustainable food practices and community nutrition.

Kings College - Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics (MSND) and Master of Science in Nutrition Science (MSNS)

King's College is a private, Catholic college located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in the Scranton Area. It is a small college with a low student-to-faculty ration of around 11:1, an enrollment of about 1,700 undergraduate students. It offers two pathways toward a graduate degree in nutrition. One is a candidate for ACEND accreditation and the other is geared toward professionals who seek a non-dietetic graduate degree in nutrition science.

The Master in Nutrition and Dietetics online is an ACEND Future Graduate program fully online, which has been granted candidacy for accreditation by ACEND. Candidate status means the program is making progress toward compliance with ACEND’s accreditation criteria. It does not mean that the program will be granted accreditation by ACEND. Students that graduate from a candidate-status program should proactively seek advisement about ACEND status. According to the CDR, schools that graduate from a school with a satisfactory candidate status are still eligible for future licensure if the RDN candidate credentialing criteria are met. Kings College’s MSND program offers a unique 3+2 approach to the curriculum. This program starts with 3 years of undergraduate study in exercise science combined with 2 years of graduate degree study in nutrition and dietetics, with students able to graduate in 5 years. Students with a bachelor’s degree in other fields are encouraged to apply, and may be required to complete prerequisites. Graduates who successfully complete the FG program are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

The Master of Science in Nutrition Science program (non-ACEND) is also fully online, and asynchronous (meaning you can study around your own schedule). King’s tailors the program toward adult learners who have already been in other careers or in the health fields where they want to advance their skills. The GRE is not required to apply to the MSNS program. It can be completed in 24 months, with a diverse, science-oriented curriculum focused on lifecycle nutrition, nutrient metabolism, and specialized, evidence-based topics in applied nutrition science. The MSNS track is not accredited by ACEND and does not lead to the RDN credential like the MSND program does. It can prepare graduates for roles as nutritionists (non licensed), health coaches, educators, writers, or in non-profit work, and is mostly geared toward career enhancement for busy working professionals already in health and wellness fields.

Cedar Crest College - Bachelors in Nutrition Didactic Program in Dietetics online (ACEND) and Master of Science in Nutrition

Cedar Crest College, based in Allentown, PA, has a fully-accredited undergraduate didactic program in dietetics (DPD) offered onsite or online, which is designed to prepare students as entry-level RD’s or for application to graduate school. Cedar Crest’s pathway to dietetic registration includes a graduate-level Dietetic Internship (DI) with both on-campus and online tracks, and it offers an online Master in Nutrition degree. The bachelor’s degree track includes the didactic coursework required by ACEND and prepares students for the next step in becoming an RDN. All coursework can be completed synchronously online (at specific days/times), with the exception of two onsite 4-day ‘residential institutes’ (one in Spring and one in Fall). Completion of the Bachelors enables students to obtain a verification statement after which they may be eligible to apply to Dietetic Internships to complete the supervised practice experience that qualifies them to sit for the CDR exam and earn the RDN credential. The Didactic Program in Dietetics is designed to prepare students for supervised practice experience or Dietetic Internship which is offered onsite. Students are also prepared for graduate school or the job market. Students completing the Dietetic Internship are eligible to sit for the National Registration Examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). 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).

The majority of DPD courses in the online program include synchronous courses (scheduled, live class meetings) with all class meetings scheduled for 4 p.m. or later Eastern Time. Students considering becoming RDN’s at Cedar Crest College must complete the Dietetic Internship Pathway in addition to having earned a bachelor’s degree* (it does not have to be in nutrition) and successful completion of academic coursework (DPD) at an ACEND-approved/accredited institution with a minimum cumulative and didactic GPA of 3.0.

Campus-based and online dietetics and nutrition degrees in Pennsylvania

University Degree Program Accreditation Format

Cedar Crest College

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Online available

Community College of Allegheny County

AS in Dietetic Technician Program ACEND Online available

Drexel University

BS, MS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Drexel University

Graduate Program (MS) ACEND Campus

Drexel University – College of Nursing & Health Professions

Health Services Administration (BS) / Public Health (MPH), Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics (MS) Bridge Program, Master of Science in Food Science, Master of Health Administration, Master of Science in Human Nutrition, Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Campus

Immaculata University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Graduate Program (MS) ACEND Online available

La Salle University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

La Salle University

MS in Coordinated Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Mansfield University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Marywood University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Marywood University

MS in Dietetic Internship ACEND Campus

Messiah University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences – Department of Food Science

Campus

Seton Hill University

ACEND Campus

Seton Hill University

BS in Coordinated Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Temple University

MPH ACEND Campus

The Pennsylvania State University

B.S. in Nutritional Sciences, M.S. in Nutritional Sciences, Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences Campus

The Pennsylvania State University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

The Pennsylvania State University

MPS in Nutritional Sciences Experiential Track (Pathway to RDN Credential) ACEND Online available

Thomas Jefferson University

Graduate Program (MS) ACEND Campus

University of Pennsylvania

Master of Public Health Program Campus

University of Pittsburgh

Dietitian Nutritionist Program Campus

University of Pittsburgh

MS in Dietitian Nutritionist Program ACEND Campus

West Chester University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

West Chester University

MSCN in Dietetic Internship ACEND Online available

Are there ACEND accredited nutrition and dietetics degrees in Pennsylvania?

Yes, there are actually a wide variety of ACEND accredited dietetics programs across Pennsylvania. There are nine undergraduate dietetics programs and 11 graduate programs at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. One common online Dietitian degree is a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Courses in Biochemistry, Lifecycle Human Nutrition, Metabolism and Community Nutrition are all examples of required courses. A Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition is another common degree. Students take Medical Nutrition Therapy, Food service Management, Nutritional Biochemistry and more to meet most undergraduate degree requirements.

Master’s degree programs are offered generally with or without a supervised dietetic internship. Some Masters programs offer a coordinated approach with the internship as part of the two year program (generally a hybrid or onsite program), while others are designed to fit within fully online program formats and employ a Student-Identified Supervised Practice/Experiential Learning format or ISPP. This format allows graduate students to find and apply for their own supervised practice experience under the direction of the Master’s program. ACEND-accredited degrees offered at the graduate level include a Master of Professional Studies in Nutritional Science, and a Master of Public Health in Nutrition.

Pennsylvania State University- BS in Nutritional Sciences (Dietetics),Master of Professional Studies in Nutritional Science (online)

Penn State is a large public university with 73,000 undergraduate students across all 20 of its Pennsylvania campuses. The Nutrition and Dietetics option of the Nutritional Sciences major is an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Students completing this option can earn the DPD verification statement that allows them to sit for both the NDTR registration exam and eventually the RDN registration exam. To sit the RDN exam, a supervised dietetics internship must be completed (after January 1, 2024, a Masters degree will be required to sit for the RDN exam). Penn State’s DPD program has a high placement rate according to its website, and its graduates have attended supervised practice programs all over the United States. In 2019, 90% of Penn State’s Nutrition and Dietetics students were accepted into dietetics supervised practice programs (DSPPs), which is well above the national placement rate of 62% (3-yr average).

The College of Health and Human Development offers a Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (GPN). The program focuses primarily on those interested in pursuing doctoral-level training, beginning with a Master of Science Degree. The program focuses on thesis research in topical areas in conjunction with an advisor, and emphasizes teaching or research assistantships. Penn State’s Experiential Track is an optional competency-based curriculum that integrates advanced-level online graduate course work with supervised experiential learning areas.

The National Research Council has ranked Penn State’s GPN among the nation’s top programs, according to the Penn State website.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania – Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Nutritional Sciences, online (ACEND)

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is based in the small town of Indiana, PA, about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburg. IUP’s Department of Food and Nutrition offers three tracks. Two dietetics tracks, one with a focus on food and health promotion and the other with a focus on culinary dietetics. A third track is a non-dietetics, nutrition focused track. Students graduating with a BS in Dietetics will earn a CDR verification statement, be eligible to apply to IUP’s ACEND-accredited Dietetic Supervised Practice Program at the Masters level. Alternately, those with a verification statement can apply to take the Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR) exam and choose to enter the workforce as research assistants, WIC nutritionists or in food administration for example.

IUP’s ACEND-accredited Dietitian-Nutritionist Program is a 24-month program open to students who have a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and/or nutrition, or a closely related degree. Their program is accredited by ACEND to admit 18 students across two tracks: the in-resident track (12 students) and the distance track (six students). The program provides students with practice skills in clinical and community nutrition and food service, disease states, and pathological conditions affected by nutrition related disease states.

All of IUP’s curriculum-based master’s courses are 100 percent online with both synchronous and asynchronous interactions with faculty and peers, using IUP’s learning management platform, Desire2Learn (D2L). IUP also offers career support through its Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND). As a student member of SAND, students get to experience professional involvement in food and nutrition activities as they develop their career potential.

West Chester University- MSCN, Master of Science in Nutrition

The WCU Department of Nutrition offers five tracks to complete coursework toward a Master’s degree in Nutrition. It offers an accelerated BS to MSCN program (which has 3 options), a traditional MSCN plus a Dietetic Internship (all coursework for MSCN plus all required supervised hours), and a Post-Master’s Certificate, which is comprised of only the required supervised practice hours.

The Accelerated BS-MSCN Dietetic Internship (DI) program is a fully online, two-year program with two pathways: a Masters in Community Nutrition with a Dietetic Internship (MSCN/DI) and a post-master degree Dietetic Internship (DI). To apply, students are required to have a DPD verification statement or be in process of earning one in the undergraduate program (in which case student’s need a Declaration of Intent). As long as you are on the path to your DPD statement, you are eligible to apply. If you choose the path of the masters (MSCN) and internship, WCU requires a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and verification statement. A 3.5 GPA is required if you already have a Master’s from another program.

The Dietetic Internship is a two-year full time program with 11 months of a 1,000 hour internship with four rotations. The rotations in the combined MSCN/DI program are focused in Community Nutrition, Foodservice Management, Clinical I (in-patient nutrition services) and Clinical II (outpatient nutrition counseling). The post-master’s DI certificate program is just the 11-month internship plus the graduate level courses. As a distance education or online program, the WCU Dietetic Internship is an intern-selected supervised practice; meaning dietetic interns must secure preceptors and sites where they will achieve all required experiences in the above-described supervised practice rotations. This is usually done in the DICAS, which is the centralized application service for dietetics. DICAS is a service of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

In depth review of top campus-based nutrition programs in Pennsylvania

Temple University – Master of Public health in Nutrition

Temple University is based in Philadelphia, PA and offers a public health focused Masters degree in person on its main campus. The Master of Public Health in Nutrition is currently a candidate for ACEND accreditation at the time of this writing, and may be a pathway toward earning the RDN credential. Check with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Program Directory for more information.

The Nutrition MPH program at Temple aims to provide a unique public health lens for improving the nutrition of individuals and communities, particularly in urban settings and populations affected by health disparities. Its program views nutrition as an important field of study for chronic disease prevention efforts. Students learn about the factors that impact population health through courses that explore topics such as cultural and community nutrition, issues in public health, and the political and economic aspects of health, as well as taking courses in biostatistics and epidemiology. The curriculum comprises 18 courses (core MPH and 8 nutrition courses) and 1000 hours of supervised experiential learning in the field. Courses include Cultural and Community Nutrition, Medical Nutrition Therapy and Emerging Issues in Public Health. The program also focuses on experiential learning at outside organizations like schools, non-profits and community-based organizations. Graduates from Temple’s MPH program are prepared to design and evaluate programs that address public health disparities.

Drexel University – Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Foods / Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics – Bridge Program; and PhD in Nutrition Sciences

Drexel University, a private university based in Philadelphia, offers two nutrition degree tracks. It offers a Bachelors degree and a blended five-year path from Bachelor to Master’s that is ACEND-accredited. The Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Foods, is a four-year program that includes a co-op and prepares students for a Master of Science (MS) in Human Nutrition. The 5-year option is a blended dual-degree in the Graduate Program in Nutrition and Dietetics, leading to a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics. Drexel’s blended program enables students to complete both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in five years, in preparation for becoming an RDN. Students pursue the Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science during their first four years of study and the Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics during the final year of study. A 3.0 GPA is required to continue on to the Master’s program the final year. The blended program allows students to meet the requirements of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) that, as of January 1, 2024, require entry-level RD/RDN credential candidates to have completed a minimum of a master’s degree to sit for the CDR exam.

Drexel’s Nutrition curriculum encompasses nutrition science, principles of biochemistry, physiology, and biology to human nutritional needs. The undergraduate Nutrition and Foods program provides students with coursework in basic sciences (chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology), nutrition science, food preparation and food science, communication and applied nutrition (wellness and weight management, community nutrition, nutrition in chronic disease and nutrition. Other nutrition related research focuses on determinants of obesity, lipid metabolism, nutraceuticals, and diet-endocrine interrelationships. Drexel’s nutrition and dietetics program is the first Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) program in Pennsylvania that accepts students with a bachelor’s degree in another field. It does require prerequisite coursework to be accepted to the Masters program.

Drexel does offer a PhD program that is not ACEND-accredited, and one of only two of its kind in the state. It is a full-time, 90-quarter credit program that goes deeper into research and science of nutrition and nutritional biochemistry. Drexel’s doctoral program trains its graduate students as scientists that incorporate research in nutritional biochemistry, human physiology, and community nutrition with the biological and physical sciences. PhD students are uniquely positioned in the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions with access to clinical practice environments and simulated health care scenarios.

Penn State – B.S. in Nutritional Sciences – Behavioral Nutrition and Public Health Option (non ACEND)

Penn State clearly offers many options to study nutrition, whether in person at one of its 20 campuses, or online through Penn State World Campus. Either way it is a top school for studying nutrition and dietetics. The B.S. in Nutritional Sciences, Behavioral Nutrition and Public Health option, offered at its University Park campus, is a non-ACEND accredited program that provides a path to study nutrition with a wider public health lens. This pathway dives into the social and behavioral sciences with a focus on disease prevention and how it affects human nutrition and physiology. Graduates of this option prepare for careers in public-health and policy, health and wellness coaching, community and international agencies, non-profits, nutrition education, the food industry, applied research, or further graduate study in nutrition fields.

This option is NOT designed as a pathway toward the RDN credentialing exam. It is geared to prospective students interested in general health and wellness, food and sustainability, global nutrition or nutrition policy. Students explore these topics while gaining a strong foundation in nutritional science.
This is not say that students choosing this path cannot eventually opt for a dietetics focus and go on to pursue a Masters and DPD verification statement. If a dietetics course of study is eventually the goal, students may need to embark on additional ACEND-accredited courses and prerequisites to satisfy those requirements to eventually get on the dietetics pathway and enroll in an accredited masters program and supervised experiential program.

University of Pittsburgh – B.S. Nutrition Science (non ACEND); or Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist Program (DNP) B.S.-to M.S.

The University of Pittsburgh’s (locally known as ‘Pitt’) Dietitian Nutritionist accelerated program (DNP) is offered through its Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition. Pitt’s DNP is a 3-year graduate degree program accredited by ACEND as a Future Education Model Graduate Degree Program (FEM). It is a competency-based program that integrates experiential rotations with didactic coursework. Pitt DNP students are guaranteed a medical nutrition therapy rotation at a local Pittsburgh hospital. DNP will also complete an additional rotation to round out their graduate training.

There are 3 ways to enter Pitt’s program. Prospective students with a baccalaureate degree— but without previous didactic training, can apply and complete the program in 3 years with completion of 95 credits, earning a Bachelor of Nutrition Science, then matriculating into the experiential practice and graduate program earning a Master’s degree after Year 3. Students must maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA to matriculate from Year 1 to Year 2 of the program. The entry point for post-baccalaureate students with previous undergraduate (accredited) DPD training is in year 2 of the curriculum, completing a 60-credit course of study. Undergraduates can also apply during their junior year and complete the full 3-year program, fulfilling 156 credits, earning their B.S. and Master of Science in Dietetics. Pitt does publish its DNP program outcomes on the program website. Pitt’s published pass rate for students completing the DNP on the CDR exam is 80%. Total program costs for the 3 years are $91,160 for in-state residents, and $126, 510 for out-of-state residents. There is not an online option.

Pitt also offers a non-ACEND Bachelor of Nutrition Science that provides a foundation for careers in food and nutrition management, public policy, or public health positions. The non-ACEND pathway offers more flexibility to fulfill prerequisite coursework for graduate education in almost any health-related professional program such as medicine, physician assistant studies, dental medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, sports science or public health.

La Salle – 5-year B.S. and M.S. Coordinated Program

La Salle University, is a small, private catholic university based in Philadelphia. La Salle offers a didactic program leading to a B.S. degree, and a 5-year Coordinate Program that culminates in a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. The program is offered through its School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Urban Public Health and Nutrition, and combines liberal arts education with scientific, theoretical, and practical coursework preparing students to sit for the CDR exam and become entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs). La Salle’s coordinated program is unique in that it integrates applied supervised practice into the final two years of the program, eliminating the need to apply for outside supervised practice internships. Only a few schools in PA offer this option. La Salle’s Coordinated Program is ACEND-accredited and is the only one of its kind in Philadelphia, and one of only about 30 similar programs in the U.S.

La Salle also offers similar programs in Public Health, including a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and an integrated, 5-year Bachelor of Science- to Master of Public Health program. La Salle’s Public Health programs are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), which is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health, and public health programs.

Seton Hill University – Integrated Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics, B.S./M.S.

Seton Hill University is a small private, catholic university based in Greensburg, PA. Its dietetics program is hands-on, enrolling only about 13 students per year. The 5-year bachelors-to master’s program integrates didactic coursework (first 3.5 years) with assigned supervised experiential learning (last year and half). Graduates of Seton Hill’s Integrated Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics Program will be eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Seton Hill’s program is an all-on-one option since it has long term contracts with supervisory sites for students moving into the experiential learning hours of the program.

Typical online nutrition coursework at universities in Pennsylvania

  • Medical Nutrition Therapy – Focuses on the pathophysiology of nutrition-related diseases; normal and therapeutic diets in the prevention and treatment of disease; the Nutrition Care Process: nutrition assessment, diagnosis, intervention, monitoring, and evaluation; documentation of nutrition care using electronic health records (EHRs), and drug-nutrient interactions.
  • Nutrient Metabolism – Includes the application of basic sciences to the science of Nutrition, with emphasis on macronutrients and micronutrients in health and disease. Includes in-depth knowledge of the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of nutrients in clinical scenarios.
  • Nutrition Assessment – Studies the assessment methods and approaches for conducting nutrition assessment of individuals and populations throughout the lifecycle. It includes assessments for biochemical, anthropomorphic and body composition components. Considers strengths and limitations of methodology, evaluation and interpretation of assessment data, sources of measurement errors, validity of assessment methods, and basic analytical approaches used to interpret assessment data.
  • Life Cycle Nutrition – Examines human nutritional needs and U.S. dietary guidance for health maintenance and disease prevention during infancy, early and middle childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and older adulthood as well as pregnancy and lactation..

What to know about becoming a Registered Dietitian in in Pennsylvania

In addition to RDN credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. If you live in Pennsylvania, it has some of the most relaxed rules regarding who can provide nutrition care and deliver nutrition education. Licensure statute however is a Title Protection Act in PA, meaning the use of the RDN credential is legally protected. However there is no licensure requirement in general for providing nutrition care in the state of Pennsylvania. Therefore it is voluntary to apply for state licensure, which is the LDN (licensed dietitian nutritionist), but in general institutions like hospitals, primary care offices and assisted living establishments require an RD or RDN credential for employment.

The prerequisite to apply for state licensure as an LDN in Pennsylvania is either the RDN or CNS (Clinical Nutrition Specialist). Those with either credential can apply for a professional license on the Pennsylvania Department of the State’s online page Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS). The Pennsylvania Board of Nursing is the body that approves practitioners under the title of LDN’s. The state of Pennsylvania charges a non-refundable application fee of $95.00, and requires a criminal history check, education verification and national certification from the CDR as an RDN, or as a licensed CNS from the Board for Certified Nutrition Specialists. You can learn more about Pennsylvania state board licensing here https://www.eatrightpa.org/page/licensure-consumer-protection

For the RDN credential, the following criteria must be met in the state of Pennsylvania:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Course work in dietetics from a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
  • Verification statement from an accredited dietetics program
  • Completion of an ACEND–accredited supervised practice program or internship of at least 1,000 hours
  • Passing the national examination that is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)
  • Paying the RDN registration fee

After successfully all the steps above, and getting validated by CDR, candidates are eligible to take the registration examination for dietitians. Candidates are emailed information on scheduling their exam by CDR’s testing vendor Pearson VUE. The examination fee is separate from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics membership dues and CDR registration maintenance fees. The entire examination fee of $200 must be paid at the time of exam appointment registration by credit card. The RD exam is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam comprised of 125-145 questions. Two and one-half (2 ½) hours are allotted to taking the exam, plus 20 minutes to complete an introductory tutorial, and 10 minutes to complete the post examination survey. The exam encompasses four domains: Principles of Dietetics (21%); Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups (45%); Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services (21%); and Foodservice Systems (13%). Scores are viewable immediately upon completion as well as a breakdown of strengths in the domains. Scores are scaled 1-50, where 25 is the minimum required to pass.

Organizations to know for nutrition in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of the State Board of Nursing Page for Licensing Dietitian Nutritionists

The State Board of Nursing in Pennsylvania is the organization for licensing Licensed Dietitian Nutritionists (LDNs) in the state. Even though licensing is not required in the state to practice, a license is required for the use of the title of LDN. RDN’s are also title protected and can register as LDNs in the state. Find out more on their website Pennsylvania Dept of State LDN licensing page

Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

As an affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (PAND) is a state-based organization of nearly 3,700 members throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Academy is made up of member dietetics professionals who help to advocate for the profession and for the promotion of nutrition and public health in the state. The website serves as a host to find member dietitians, communicate outreach, post jobs, and promote its involvement in nutrition related policy and legislation. eatrightpa.org

Nutritionist career options in (state)

Pennsylvania has some of the highest employment numbers of dietitians and nutritionists in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022 data. The average annual salary for dietitians is approximately $65,580/year, and nutrition careers are abundant across fields in health, wellness, biotech, science and academia. In Pennsylvania, popular job roles include Clinical Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian in nursing facilities or large food and facilities management companies (e.g. Sodexho and Aramark) and RD’s for healthcare services groups. Many nutritionists with advanced training and clinical experience also have lucrative careers as private chefs, online course creators, ghost writers, researchers, educators and authors.

The post-pandemic years have created an increased focus on health, nutrition and longevity while simultaneously creating gig economy opportunities that can expand earning potential for dietitians and nutritionists. Many RDN’s and other functional or holistically-trained nutritionists now work beyond the scope of institutional or private practice and have lucrative careers as teachers, writers, authors, podcasters, online coaches, corporate wellness consultants and even travel dietitians.

Pennsylvania Nutrition Programs
Information about these Pennsylvania nutrition programs was hand-gathered through a lot of research on the web. Several sources we used include: ACEND, ASN, CEPH, IPEDS, and more. You can also contact us if you see a missing school or program, or a degree needs adjusted.

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