Murray State announces expansions of Master of Science in Nutrition degree program

Jessica Orscheln participates in the feeding tube lab, an experiential learning activity, which is an example of the progressive nature of the nutrition program.

MURRAY, Ky. (June 28, 2018) — The Master of Science in Nutrition degree program at Murray State University is expanding to include two different concentrations: an internship concentration and a non-internship concentration.

The program’s internship concentration will continue to provide students with supervised training in preparation for the nationally recognized credentialing examination to become a registered dietitian, while the non-internship concentration is designed for those students wanting graduate-level training in nutrition but who are not seeking the registered dietitian credential. The two concentrations have different degree requirements to help students become more competitive and meet the changing needs of the credentialing body.

Graduate students accepted to the master’s program in nutrition with the internship concentration will pursue 24 graduate-credit hours while completing their supervised practice training. Upon completion of their supervised practice training, individuals will complete additional coursework in statistics, nutrition-related topics and nutrition research. The students in this concentration will also complete the registered dietitian certificate program. Due to the fact that the certificate program will now be integrated into the internship concentration of the Master of Science in Nutrition, the standalone registered dietitian certificate program has been deleted.

Graduate students enrolled in the master’s program’s non-internship concentration will complete a 38-credit hour program that includes courses in nutrient metabolism, lifecycle nutrition, pathophysiology, nutrition for the aging adult, performance nutrition, trends in the food supply, statistics and nutrition research.

With the expansion of the Master of Science in Nutrition, the nutrition and dietetics program at Murray State will be adding several new graduate courses with all graduate-level courses taught online. Courses will be taught by full-time faculty as well as content experts from around the world.

“We are extremely excited to have registered dietitians in a variety of specialties teaching for us,” said Dr. Kathy Stanczyk, assistant professor and director of Murray State’s didactic program. “With registered dietitians from agriculture, sports nutrition and clinical practice joining us, we are assured to deliver a curriculum that is unparalleled.”

By 2024, a master’s degree will be the minimum education requirement to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. The changes to the Master of Science in Nutrition will therefore prepare students for future changes to the discipline and assist graduates in being marketable in the field.

“The Master of Science in Nutrition prepares completers of the internship concentration to effectively compete in a growing job market in which four out of 10 entry-level dietitians nationally have earned a master’s degree,” Stanczyk said. “These expansions are exciting opportunities for all of our graduate students as aging demographics, obesity, accelerated rates of nutrition-related diseases such as diabetes and advances in nutrition and genetic research are fueling the demand for highly trained nutrition professionals.”

Caprisse Johnson and Jessica Orscheln graduated in May 2018 from the undergraduate dietetics program at Murray State. Both have recently embarked on their graduate school journey to pursue the Master of Science in Nutrition program at Murray State in the internship concentration.

“The program gave me amazing hands-on experiences, such as preparing my own meal and performing nutrition-focused physical exams on my classmates,” Johnson said about her experience in the program. “I was also able to have outside classroom experiences like presenting research at Posters at the Capitol. I would not have been able to have these great experiences without being a part of this great program.”

It’s a sentiment Orscheln echoed: “During my undergraduate [career] with the Murray State dietetic program, I always felt my professors were providing not only the best education but experiences in the field,” Orscheln said. “I was challenged and encouraged to put my best self forward every day in the classroom, community, my jobs, volunteer experiences and with my peers and colleagues. I am now more than excited to be continuing my education and training to be an RDN with the Murray State dietetic internship, and I am confident to begin knowing I am prepared to take on the new and great experiences ahead of me.”

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