Welcome back to another applying to grad school series blog post! If you missed it, last week I talked about the general process of applying to grad school. I would definitely recommend reading that post first if you want to know the basics and sequence of events. This week I’m going to be comparing the different masters practicum programs available in Ontario for students who want to become a registered dietitian.

In Ontario, 4 universities offer masters practicum programs that provide the experience and competencies required to become a registered dietitian. These schools include Brescia University College, Ryerson University, University of Guelph, and University of Toronto.

Brescia University College

Program Title: Master of Science in Foods and Nutrition (MScFN) Internship Stream

Program Overview: This program offers students the opportunity to strengthen their research skills through advanced course work and thesis development under the guidance of a faculty supervisor. Students are matched with a faculty research advisor who will guide the student’s research project over their time in the program. These research findings have the potential to contribute to the profession and strengthen research skills.

Duration: Five terms

Admission Requirements: minimum undergraduate GPA of 78% on the last 10 full course credits, G2 driver’s license and access to a vehicle, undergraduate courses in research methodology and statistics

Courses:

Mandatory

  • Nutrition Research and Epidemiology
  • Seminar in Food and Nutritional Sciences

Optional

  • Food and Nutritional Policies and Regulations
  • Leadership and Food Management
  • Advances in Clinical Nutrition
  • Community Nutrition and Program Planning

Practicum: Applicants should be comfortable driving anywhere in Ontario before applying to this program. Brescia’s website states that “it is expected that on weekdays when classes are not scheduled students will be available for dedicated research work and practicum preparation.”

My thoughts on the program: When I was researching masters programs, the Brescia MScFN program did not interest me as much because the program seemed very research based, which is not something I was particularly interested in. In addition, the practicum opportunities did not seem as individualized as other programs I had come across. In addition, this program is one of the longer ones, which did not appeal to me either. However, if you are someone who is more interested in research or in working in a health care setting but still want a masters degree, this program seems well suited for you.

Ryerson University

Program Title: Master of Health Sciences (MHSc) Nutrition Communication

Program Overview: This program focuses on advanced communication and knowledge translation skills for interpreting scientific evidence, and tailoring nutrition education and counselling for diverse audiences. Students complete the required dietetic practical training through rotations in a variety of dietetic practice environments.

Duration: Four terms

Admission Requirements: minimum GPA of 3.33/4.33 (B+) in the last 2 years of study, two independently completed and verifiable communication projects,

Courses:

  • Nutrition Communication Seminar
  • Appraising Scientific Evidence
  • Understanding Health Behaviour
  • Nutrition Communication Strategies
  • Nutrition Communication Seminar
  • Food and Nutrition Policy
  • Knowledge Translation
  • Professional Practice
  • Practicum I & II

Practicum: “Our practicum coordinator works closely with each student to identify your interests and constructs an individualized set of practicum rotations…our goal is to provide graduates with well-rounded practicum experiences that prepare them for successful careers in a diverse array of settings.”

My thoughts on the program: The area of nutrition communication is increasing in recognition and popularity, so this is a great area to study. The individualized practicum rotations made me very interested in this program. I like that it’s only 4 semesters, so you would be finished in a little over a year. The various courses where you would learn about nutrition communication also interested me a lot.

University of Guelph

Program Title: Master of Applied Nutrition (MAN)

Program Overview: This is a one-year (3 semesters) program of advanced professional course work and competency-based practice experience. Each semester, students work three to four days per week in a practicum organization and one day taking required courses on campus in Guelph. Through an affiliation with Grand River Hospital (GRH), we are also able to offer a clinical nutrition stream to 4 MAN students per year.

Duration: Three terms

Admission Requirements: minimum cumulative average of 75% over the most recent 20 courses, successful completion of both a statistics and social science research methods course with a minimum grade of 75%, completion of at least three 400-level (fourth year) courses in human nutrition.

Courses:

  • Advances in Clinical Nutrition
  • Practicum in Applied Human Nutrition I
  • Nutrition in the Community
  • Practicum in Applied Human Nutrition II
  • Foodservice Management in Healthcare
  • Practicum in Applied Human Nutrition III
  • Fundamentals of Dietetic Practice-Based Research

Practicum: Each student completes a practicum in each of the following sectors: nutrition care, management and food service, and population and public health. Each practicum generally involves three to four days per week with one agency per semester, allowing the student to progress from a novice stage to being able to provide relief for the dietitian during the last few weeks.

My thoughts on this program: Along with the MHSc program, the MAN program was the one I was most interested in when applying for grad school. The fact that this program is only 3 terms (1 year) was definitely one of the most appealing parts of this program. In addition, I liked that this program offers 3 different practicum opportunities that can be individualized.

University of Toronto

Program Title: Master of Public Health (MPH) Nutrition and Dietetics

Program Overview: This program offers students opportunities to develop expertise in dietetic practice within the health and food systems, from disease prevention to palliation. The MPH Nutrition and Dietetics program fosters caring and innovative dietetic leaders and practitioners within the evolving health and food system. This program provides students with the opportunity to complete their degree with an emphasis in clinical nutrition or public health.

Duration: 20 months (most full-time students complete their degree within 2 years)

Admission Requirements: a minimum mid-B average in final year of the degree, at least one undergraduate statistics course

Courses:

  • Introduction to Public Health Sciences
  • Introduction to Quantitative Research
  • Public Health Policy
  • Foundations of Practice I, II, and III
  • MPH Practicum
  • Optional MPH Practicum
  • Nutrition Programs and Strategies
  • Nutrition & Dietetics Culminating Project
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • 2 Nutrition Science courses and/or electives

Practicum: 3 practicum placements, this program offers placement opportunities in areas including health care organizations across the continuum of care (e.g. University Health Network), public health, community health centres, not-for-profit organizations, government departments and agencies, food industry and other private sector organizations. Students are not encouraged to find their own placements.

My thoughts on this program: When I was applying to grad school, the MPH program interested me the least. This program seemed very structured and coursework focused, with little opportunity for me to explore my interests in dietetics through practicum placements. That being said, because this program did not pique my interest when first applying, I did not do any further research into this program and am not too familiar with it.

Phew, so that’s a very quick overview of the 4 programs. I hope you found this helpful and insightful, and has helped you narrow down which schools interest you the most. Of course, for the most detailed information about each program, I recommend going directly to the university’s website. In addition, I recommend getting in contact with someone who’s currently enrolled in the program for some real insight into their experiences and impressions on it. Of course, if you’re looking for more insight into the MAN program please don’t hesitate to send me a DM or an email!

Here’s a list of some great resources to check out during your application process:

Best of luck on your grad school applications! x

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