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Frequently Asked Questions: Online MS in Food and Nutrition

Find the answers you are looking for regarding: graduate admissions process, program costs and financial aid, and curriculum and online learning requirements.

Admission Requirements and Process

How do I apply to the program?

Visit the graduate admissions page to apply online. There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee.

Applicants must submit:

  • Official transcripts from every college or university attended, whether or not a degree was earned. If undergraduate degree was earned at IUP, official transcripts are not required.
  • Goal Statement, indicating career and academic goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation submitted via e-mail to graduate-admissions@iup.edu or via U.S. postal mail. Recommenders should include your full name and that you are applying to the Food and Nutrition MS program.
  • Resume.

What are the eligibility requirements for applying to the program and to the Graduate School?

  • Earned an undergraduate degree in nutrition or a related field from a regionally accredited college or university, including previous coursework in a few prerequisites (listed below).
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

Do I need to take the GRE?

No, there is not a GRE requirement.

What is the deadline for submitting my application?

Applications are considered under a “rolling admissions” process. However, a summer or fall semester start date is highly recommended, with a Feb. 1 deadline encouraged.

What if I do not meet the prerequisite requirements? Can I still be admitted and begin taking graduate classes?

Conditional admission status can be granted in some circumstances. It is possible to begin to take some graduate level courses while you complete prerequisite requirements. Contact the graduate coordinator for more information at ms-fdnt@iup.edu.

If you need to take undergraduate prerequisite course for graduate school, it may be best to apply for admission to the IUP Office of Extended Studies.

What does it mean to be able to Dual Enroll in Graduate Programs? What other master’s degrees do graduate students in Food and Nutrition typically choose?

Students may apply and be admitted to two master’s degree programs at IUP simultaneously. This means that you can earn two master’s degrees in much less time that it would take you to earn these degrees separately—with as little as 54 credits combined! Up to 50 percent of the credits in one degree may be shared with the other degree, provided that (1) the courses are required courses or electives in both programs, or (2) the courses are accepted as substitute course by the graduate coordinator of the program.

This provides a great opportunity for students to cross-specialize! Popular dual degree opportunities with the MS in Food and Nutrition are in Adult and Community Education, Exercise Science, Employment and Labor Relations, and Health Services Administration. Other possibilities can be explored in areas such as history and sociology.

Will credits from another university transfer to IUP?

Up to six credits of graduate coursework taken within the past five years may, with written approval, be transferred. The grade earned must be a “B” or its equivalent or better. Students must complete the Request for Graduate Transfer Credit Review and submit additional items. For more detailed information, please visit Transfer Credit Policy page.

Becoming a Registered Dietitian

Will the degree allow me to sit for the Registered Dietitian (RD) examination?

Completion of the MS in Food and Nutrition is not a route to becoming a registered dietitian. If you already have an undergraduate degree in dietetics from an accredited university, then please visit the IUP Dietetic Internship page. Also, more information about how to become a registered dietitian is found at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

Can IUP help me to earn a Verification Statement so that I am eligible to apply for a dietetic internship and ultimately take the national examination to become a registered dietitian?

Possibly, although this will require that you take several undergraduate classes, some of which are only offered on the IUP campus and not online. Some of the graduate courses that you would take during the MS in Food and Nutrition can replace some of the undergraduate courses and count toward earning the Verification Statement.

To inquire for more information, please contact the IUP Didactic Program Director (DPD) or the department chairperson at: Food-Nutrition@iup.edu or 724-357-4440. 

Class Selection and Registration

How do I register for classes?

You will register for classes online through MyIUP. It is recommended that you talk with your academic advisor prior to registering.

Your academic advisor provides your registration PIN to you after you have both agreed on the courses you will take in a given semester. A PIN is not required to register for summer courses.

How do I find out who my academic advisor is?

The Department of Food and Nutrition graduate coordinator is the academic advisor for all graduate students. Contact the program coordinator at ms-fdnt@iup.edu.

What is the minimum number of credits students are required to take each semester?

There is no minimum number of credits. In order to receive financial aid, a student must be at least half-time (4.5 credits).

What does “full-time” mean for graduate students?

A full load for graduate students is 9 credits. Graduate assistantships do have minimum credit registration requirements.

Are courses offered over the summer and during winter break?

FDNT graduate courses are offered in the fall and spring semesters, as well as in the summer. No offerings are available during the winter session.

What kinds of elective courses can I take? Do I have the option of taking these courses on campus or online?

Students can elect to take additional 500-level and above courses from the IUP Graduate Catalog (including FDNT courses or through other departments) that are appropriate for their needs and interests. Advisors will approve elective choices. MS in Food and Nutrition students commonly select courses in ACE, ELR, HSAD, KHSS, and NURS. Some graduate courses outside of the department may be offered online.

Will my diploma indicate that the degree was obtained online?

No, you will obtain the same degree as that of an on-campus student. The courses are taught by the same faculty that teach on campus, and the curriculum is the same.

Program Costs and Financial Assistance

How much does the program cost?

Please visit the Office of the Bursar for the most updated graduate tuition and fees. You can estimate your total tuition and fees on the Graduate Admissions website.

Are graduate assistantships available?

Those living within commuting distance to IUP may want to consider applying for graduate assistantships at IUP. Assistantships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and include a partial to full tuition waiver along with a specific stipend amount.

Applications for graduate assistantships must be submitted by February 1 for consideration for the next academic year. Click here for more information about graduate assistantships, including the application form for graduate assistantships.

Where can I obtain information on financial aid?

You can find more information about financial aid by visiting the Office of Financial Aid website.

Taking Online Courses: Time Commitment and Access to Faculty

How do I know if an online learning program is right for me?

Online learning is a great option for individuals who need the flexibility of working at their own pace to complete the degree requirements. Time management skills are very important for success. 

What is the time commitment for the online MS in Nutrition courses?

The program is designed to be completed in two years, with fall and spring semester enrollments in each year. It may be possible for students who begin in the fall semester and elect to enroll in summer elective courses to complete requirements in 16 months.

The amount of time you need to dedicate per week, per course will vary by course as well as your learning needs and style. A general rule of thumb is you should plan to dedicate a minimum of three hours of study time for every 1 credit hour you take. 

Will I ever need to be on campus for a course, meeting, etc.?

Currently, there is no need to come to the campus. You may elect to take courses on campus or online offered by other IUP graduate programs to fulfill elective requirements. Please check with the graduate faculty coordinator before registering.

Is there a time limit for completing the program?

Master's students must complete degree requirements within five years from the first date of earning or transferring credit. For special circumstances, the period may be extended through a student petition if approved by both the student’s department and the dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

What is the best way to contact my professors? Will my professors be available to meet me in person if needed?

This will depend on the professor. E-mail is usually the most efficient way to communicate with professors of online courses. Contact your professor at the beginning of the course to ask what the best way is to get in touch with them. Many professors hold office hours on certain days of the week and often allow students to make appointments outside of these hours, if necessary.

Taking Online Courses: Technical Support and Textbooks

What is a Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

LMSs are what you can consider the “classroom” in online education. Currently, IUP courses utilize two LMS platforms, Moodle and D2L. More information about Moodle and D2L can be found by visiting the IT Support Center website.

Where can I get help with technical issues?

To obtain technical support for computer issues, you may contact IUP's IT Support Center Monday–Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. by logging a ticket at iHelp. If you have trouble accessing this site, please call 724-357-4000.

What hardware and software programs are required for online courses of the program?

You must have a computer with reliable Internet connection (preferably a broadband connection) that will sufficiently support your ability to watch streaming video (e.g., YouTube, Netflix).

The following software is required to view course content and to participate in planned course activities: 

  • Adobe Reader
  • Flash Player
  • Adobe Shockwave Player
  • Microsoft Office
  • Access to a Web browser (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer)

What other materials, equipment, or technological devices are required for the courses?

A microphone-equipped computer or an external headset microphone is strongly recommended. Many courses will require you to present via Web conferencing at scheduled points throughout the semester.

How can I find out what textbooks I need, and where do I order them through IUP?

You can look up, and purchase if desired, required textbooks by course and section at IUP’s Co-Op Store. Faculty teaching online course will typically send an e-mail (to your IUP e-mail address) to students several weeks prior to the start of a course to provide start-up instructions, including textbook specifications.

Questions frequently asked by IUP Interns about completing the MS Degree

I am interested in a graduate assistantship. When should I apply?

February 1

Once I complete the IUP dietetic internship, how many credits do I have left to complete the MS in Food and Nutrition?

24 credits (eight courses)

Some of the courses that I took as a dietetic intern do not fit into the track that I want to select. Do I lose these credits?

No. Your academic advisor (also the graduate coordinator) will work with you to ensure that the courses you have taken are applied in the curriculum to meet your goals and to be sure that you graduate without any loss of time or credits. 

I plan to get a job as soon as the dietetic internship is over. Can I take a break from taking graduate classes and finish the MS degree later?

Yes. If you would like to take a semester or more off, simply let your graduate coordinator know and also notify the Graduate School. Your enrollment will become “inactive,” and whenever you want to resume enrollment, simply call to reactivate your student status. There is no need to reapply. Be sure that you complete all remaining credits within the time limit (five years since you took your first graduate-level course). 

Questions frequently asked by IUP undergraduates about taking graduate courses or applying for Early Admission to pursue the MS in Food and Nutrition degree

I am an undergraduate student interested in taking a couple of graduate courses. How can I do this?

You can do this by completing the Undergraduate Application for Graduate Coursework form. The policy states: “IUP undergraduate students with an academic grade point average of at least 2.6 who are within 32 semester hours of graduation are permitted, after receiving appropriate approvals, to take up to 6 semester hours of graduate work whether or not they have applied for acceptance into an IUP graduate program.

“Graduate hours so earned have no necessary bearing upon the meeting of undergraduate degree requirements, and no assurance is given or implied as to their later applicability toward graduate degrees should the students be admitted to IUP graduate programs. Should these credits later be approved toward a graduate degree program, they will be treated as transfer credits.”  

Note: Graduate credits earned and applied toward an undergraduate degree cannot also be applied toward a graduate degree.

I am an undergraduate student and I know that I want to stay at IUP for my MS in Food and Nutrition (or another IUP graduate program). Can I start to take graduate level classes now toward this degree?

Yes! IUP’s Early Admission program is designed for highly motivated and successful IUP undergraduates who wish to continue their studies in a graduate program at the university.

Applicants must have at least a 3.25 GPA to be considered for early admission, and must have completed at least 15 credit hours in their undergraduate major. More information is available at Early Admission to Graduate Programs.

  • Food and Nutrition Department
  • Ackerman Hall, Room 102
    911 South Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4440
  • Fax: 724-357-3007
  • Semester Office Hours
  • Monday–Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.– Noon
  • 1:00–4:30 p.m.