Student showing a chart to a patient

Master of Science Coordinated Program in Dietetics, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology

The Master of Science Coordinated Program in Dietetics, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology (MS CPD) prepares you to enter the field of nutrition and dietetics as an entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) through coordinated didactic coursework and experiential supervised practice.

The program’s interprofessional focus on the effects of nutrition and exercise on human health allows you to specialize in dietetics at the graduate level and develop a solid grounding in the principles of exercise physiology, exercise testing, and exercise prescription through undergraduate coursework and an elective graduate course.

Our graduate program prepares you for the registration examination for dietetics administered through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) in partnership with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

Expand Your Potential

The MS CPD, in combination with exercise-related coursework offered at the undergraduate level, also prepares you for the Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP) credential and specialty certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

ACSM-EPs are fitness professionals qualified to:

  • Pursue careers in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings
  • Conduct physical assessments and interpret results to prescribe appropriate, personalized exercise prescriptions and programs.
100% Over the past 5 years, graduates of the WSU MS CPD have had 100% job placement in nutrition and dietetics or a related field, or went onto further educational opportunities, within 12 months of graduation.

What You Can Do as an RDN and Exercise Physiologist

An RDN is a highly trained food and nutrition expert who can pursue a range of careers and work in a variety of settings. With the dual background in exercise physiology for graduates of the MS CPD, these expansive settings include:

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Outpatient and community clinics
  • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs
  • Cancer treatment centers
  • University athletic departments
  • Native health clinics
  • School districts
  • Private practice offering nutrition and exercise consultation
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Public health settings
  • WSU Extension community nutrition and research programs
  • Military dietitian and exercise physiologist positions

Some RDNs pursue advanced specialist certifications such as pediatric or renal nutrition, diabetes education, and nutrition support.

What It Takes to Become an RDN

An RDN meets stringent academic and professional requirements, including:

  • A graduate degree with coursework approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
  • Within the program, coursework at the graduate level includes food service management, community nutrition and public health, medical nutrition therapy, research methods, and biochemistry.
  • Completion of an ACEND accredited program inclusive of 1,000 experiential hours of supervised practice at healthcare facilities, community agencies, university settings, school districts, and/or foodservice management departments.
  • Passing a national registration examination for dietetics administered by the CDR.

The WSU MS CPD has a >90% first-time and 1-year pass rate over the past 3+ years on the Registration Examination for Dietetics.

Green Apples

Our Curriculum

Our unique, accredited curriculum prepares students for immediate employment or further study.

The MS CPD degree requires a minimum of 35 graded graduate-level credits, with 19 of these graded credits comprised of experiential rotation courses to meet the ACEND–required minimum 1,000 hours of supervised practice.

The MS CPD degree requires three to five semesters to complete, with the amount of time to program completion determined by the student’s undergraduate degree.

Experiential Learning (Supervised Practice)

Each student is placed with preceptors at supervised practice sites around the state of Washington and northern Idaho for a majority (>70%) of the 1,020 supervised practice hours required for the MS CPD, with the remainder being completed with faculty on campus.

The MS CPD degree divides these hours across the following practice areas:

  • Clinical Nutrition (440 hours)
  • Foodservice Management (200 hours)
  • Community Nutrition (200 hours)
  • Exercise and Health Promotion (180 hours)*

*For students who enter the MS CPD without practical hours in exercise and health promotion, they will complete two semesters of a Practicum course to acquire 180 experiential hours and required competencies in this area.

Distance Education Options

Some students may complete a portion of didactic coursework via distance education, based on the supervised practice placement location. The distance education components may include occasional recorded lecture sessions (<10%) and allowance for virtual course attendance for students who are placed at supervised practice sites closer to regional WSU campuses located in Everett, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver.

The same syllabi, learning activities, and student learning objectives are used for all students in a course, regardless of physical campus location. Examinations are taken at the WSU campus closest to each student’s supervised practice location and delivered through the Learning Management System (LMS) with settings that apply consistently to all students, regardless of physical campus location. There is a testing room and proctor for each campus. All students attend the campus closest to their supervised practice location and take examinations under the same level of supervision, with consistent pre-exam instructions across campuses.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Students may be required to show evidence of a COVID-19 vaccination at supervised practice sites; if a student cannot show proof of vaccination, they may not be able to complete the MS CPD and therefore cannot take the Registration Examination for Dietetics.

WSU MS CPD Mission Statement, Goals, and Measurable Outcomes

Mission Statement

We prepare entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists who promote optimum health and wellness for individuals and communities through the integration of nutrition and exercise physiology in a variety of dietetic career paths.

Goals and Measurable Outcomes

Goal 1: Graduates will be credentialed entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs).

Measurable Outcomes:
  • At least 80% of the students will complete the program/degree requirements within three years (150% of the program length).
  • All preceptors who respond to the annual program evaluation survey regarding the supervised practice rotations will rate the preparation of each dietetic student’s knowledge and skills at a level of satisfactory or above.
  • At the conclusion of the practice, 80% of the MS CPD students will rate their preceptors and supervised practice experiences at a level of satisfactory or above.
  • The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
  • 80% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • At least 80% of the MS CPD graduates who respond to the survey administered one-year post-graduation will rate their graduate preparation at a level of satisfactory or above for job
    marketability.
  • Of graduates who seek employment, 70% or more are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • At least 80% of the employers who respond to the survey given to them by the MS CPD graduate at one-year post graduation will rate the preparation of the graduate at a level of satisfactory or above.

Goal 2: The program will prepare MS CPD graduates to test for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) credentials, such as the Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EPs).

Measurable Outcomes:
  • At least 80% of all surveyed graduates from the MS CPD will rate having the interdisciplinary training in exercise and nutrition as advantageous when working with patients/clients.
  • Graduates who choose to test for ACSM credentialing will achieve a first-time pass rate of at least 70%.

Note: The MS CPD Outcomes data are available to the public upon request.

MS CPD Accreditation Statement

The Master of Science Coordinated Program in Dietetics, Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology (MS CPD) at Washington State University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Accreditation details for the MS CPD are as follows:

  • Program Status: Accredited
  • Next Site Visit Year: 2027
  • Current Term Ends On: 12/31/2028

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics:
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190 Chicago, IL 60606-6995
312-899-0040 Extn: 5400
ACEND@eatright.org
eatright.org/ACEND

ACEND Requirements

Effective January 1, 2024, CDR requires at least a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become an RDN. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by ACEND. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited MS CPD at WSU are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about licensure and certification requirements by state, click here.