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Frequently Asked Questions

The MS Nutrition program seeks to admit up to 35 students.

Who is a registered dietitian?  A registered dietitian (RD) is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential "RD," as determined by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition to RD credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. State requirements frequently are met through the same education and training required to become an RD.

What are educational requirements to become a registered dietitian?  Registered dietitians must meet the following criteria to earn the RD credential:

  1. Complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university/college or international equivalent.
  2. Complete didactic course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
  3. Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (dietetic internship) at a healthcare facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation, or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to twelve months in length.
  4. Pass the national dietetics exam administered by Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)

More info on the field of dietetics can be found on the American Dietetic Association website at:


Will my prerequisites transfer?  International students are required to have their transcripts evaluated into the US system. Please note while we will evaluate your transcripts for courses we believe you have fulfilled, you will not have final approval on transferred courses until you have formally applied to Hunter.

Do you allow exemption from any courses in your program?  If you have already taken a graduate level course that is the same as a course in the program, upon admission you will be offered the opportunity to apply for exemption by submitting a detailed syllabus of the course you have taken. ·Courses will be evaluated for equivalence to our classes provided they were taken during the past 5 years with a grade of B or better. You will be required to demonstrate that the course you completed was equivalent to the course we offer by taking and passing a Challenge Exam.

Must I Complete All My Prerequisite Courses By The Time I Apply?  Prerequisite courses must be completed by July of the application year. However, we require students to have completed or registered for at least five of the seven prerequisite courses (General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Intro to Nutrition, Foods I, Statistics) prior to applying (typically the deadline is March 15). Qualified students will receive a conditional offer of acceptance as long as they can offer a feasible schedule for completion of their prerequisite course work. Accepted students who fail to complete all prerequisites will not be allowed to enter the program.

Is there a minimum required GRE score?  The GRE is optional and we do not have a required minimum for GRE scores.·We·encourage all candidates to·apply, as the committee·looks at the·overall application·when·making admission decisions, and·does not·use any single criteria (e.g., GPA or GRE score) to determine admission to the program.· Note: the GRE is not required for applicants with a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian university.

What is the deadline for Application?  We accept students once per year- and they begin the program in the Fall semester only. The application deadline for graduate admissions is typically March 1·(Feb 1 for applicants with international transcripts.) The online applications can be found at·Decisions are typically made by mid-May and the program starts in late August. Students who are not accepted and wish to reapply must submit a new application.


How Many Students Apply to the MS- IPND Program, How Many Are Admitted?  We expect to receive around 100 applications and accept up to 35 students per year.


How Does The Department Decide Who Will Be Admitted To The Program?  The department objectively evaluates each applicant using a point system. Grade point averages for science and other prerequisite courses, as well as overall GPA are considered. Quality of personal statement, letters of recommendation are also extremely important. Scores on the GRE exam are also considered. Applicants with the highest admissions points are accepted into the program, and the remaining qualified applicants will be placed on an alternate list. In the event that any of the accepted students are unable to enter the program, an alternate will be offered a position in the program.


What Is The Profile of a Typical Successful Applicant?  We have a unique applicant pool each year, so it is difficult to make generalizations. However, based on applications received in the past, all students must have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale to be considered for admission to the IPND. Due to the competitive nature of our programs, we cannot accept every student who applies. We encourage students to apply to other accredited nutrition programs to provide a back-up options in case we are unable to extend an offer of acceptance at Hunter.


Can I Be A Part-Time Student If I Am Accepted Into The Program?  Yes.· The IPND offers a 3 year (part-time) option.


How many letters of recommendation are required?  A minimum of 2 letters are required, however we will accept no more than 3 in total.


Is there any Financial Assistance Available?  Various scholarship and loan programs are available through Hunter to help qualified graduate students meet their financial obligations. Please see the Office of Financial Aid website at:


How should I start taking the prerequisites and determine course equivalencies?  General Chemistry is a prerequisite for Organic Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology. The General Chemistry course you take must be the appropriate prerequisite for an Organic Chemistry course (each must have a lab component and be at least 4 credits). The A& P course sequence, must be Human Anatomy and Physiology and it must be a year-long, 2 part sequence. All courses must meet the minimum credits outlined above. It is preferred if the NFS courses can be taken at Hunter or by Challenge Exam (see below).


CHALLENGE/SELF STUDY EXAMINATIONS  Challenge examinations for Nutrition I (NFS 14100) and Food Science I (NFS 13100) are available through the Nutrition and Food Science specialization of Hunter College. This option is available only to prospective graduate students who are interested in completing the required prerequisite coursework to apply to the IPND (didactic program.)

GUIDELINES FOR CHALLENGE EXAMINATIONS (MS-IPND )  Challenge exams are offered to establish competency in Introductory Food Science·(NFS 13100) and Introductory Nutrition (NFS 14100) and fulfils the Hunter Nutrition MS prerequisite for those courses. A student choosing the exam option must purchase the course textbook, study the material independently, and pass the exam with a score =>80% (administered in May, August, and December). You will not receive any academic credits on your transcript for taking these exams since you do not officially register for the classes. Also note, you do not have to be a Hunter student to take these exams. If you are planning to apply to other schools you must check with them to see if they will accept this option in lieu of passing these introductory level courses.

Exam Textbook(s)
Textbook(s) can be purchased online or from the Hunter College Bookstore Online and at Barnes &Noble. There are no study guide/practice tests available. You will need to study the material for this self-study option on your own. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions.


To complete the NFS 141 (Nutrition I) Self-Study you must do the following:

  • Obtain the required textbook-, Whitney, E.N., and Rolfes, S.R. Understanding Nutrition, 13th Edition, 2013
  • Study chapters 1-13 of text.
  • Be prepared for some mathematical calculation questions (you are allowed to use a calculator)


To complete the NFS 131 (Food Science I) Self-Study you must do the following:

  • Obtain the required textbook- McWilliams, M. Food Fundamentals,
  • 10th Edition, Pearson Publishing Co., 2012 (Note: 9th edition, 2009 - fine too).
  • Study chapters 1-19 of text.
  • Be prepared for some mathematical calculation questions (you are allowed to use a calculator)

The next Challenge Exam will be offered May 6, 2024

Challenge exams are offered yearly in MAY, AUGUST and DECEMBER

Exams are held in the Silbeman Building at 2180 Third Avenue, NY, NY. Room TBD.

The cost of each exam is $125.00. Please bring a check for $125.00 (made payable to "Hunter College Nutrition &Food Science"), a #2 pencil, and a calculator with you on the day you take the challenge exam.

Register to take the exam here ONLINE REQUEST FORM.

For any additional questions regarding admissions, please email the Program Director Dr. Navder at


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