The Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity, a Coordinated Program (CP) in Nutrition and Dietetics, prepares graduates for roles in the field of nutrition and dietetics promoting personalized nutrition through work in hospitals and health care facilities, long-term care or school food service programs, business, teaching, research or private practice. The program has been granted candidacy for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and integrates academic study with professional practice experience. Fifteen students are admitted each year in the fall. Students can complete the full-time degree program in two years, on-campus or online (for those living more than 100 miles from USC). Online students will be required to find and utilize facilities in their community to complete the required course laboratory activities and supervised practice (verification of facilities will be required after acceptance, and before enrollment, for first-year rotations). Successful completion of 46 units of course work is required for graduation and includes 28 units of required courses, 12 units of supervised practice and 6 units of research. The program summative experience will be an electronic portfolio, including research completed throughout the program. Students will be required to present their work at a local, state or national dietetics conference as a requirement of graduation.
Continuous registration in the program is required. Leaves of absence are available for limited times and may require the student to wait until the next year to re-enroll as some courses are offered annually, and must be taken sequentially. A maximum of two leaves of absence is allowed. Upon completion of the Master of Science degree, students are eligible to write for the Credentialing Examination for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
In order to participate online, students will be required to have access to a computer with multimedia capability including high-speed Internet access, audio and a digital video camera. Specific details regarding computer requirements will be provided by the program.
The field practicum provides the opportunity for students to gain valuable experience and develop needed skills by working in an institutional or community environment where nutrition services are provided by registered dietitians or food services professionals. Field placement assignments begin in the second semester of the program and continue every semester until graduation. Students attending the program on campus are placed by the program coordinator in consultation with the student as resources are available in the community. Evaluations of students are sent to the school by the community agency; the student receives a grade of credit/no credit in GERO 591 Field Practicum .
Prerequisites for Admission
Students applying for admission to the Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. In addition, the following prerequisites must be complete before starting the program: cellular biology with lab, microbiology with lab, general chemistry with lab, organic chemistry with lab, biochemistry with lab, human physiology with lab, general psychology or sociology, algebra or pre-calculus or calculus or statistics, speech or communications, introductory food science and human nutrition. All prerequisite courses cannot be more than 10 years old at the time of application. The exceptions are the general psychology course and the math course; there is no time limit on these two courses.
In selecting applicants for admission, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology considers both academic potential (as reflected in undergraduate study with a GPA greater than 3.0) and professional potential (as reflected in experience, references and career goals). The school requests information from applicants to supplement that supplied by the USC Application for Graduate Admission. Supplemental information includes a résumé, statement of interest in nutrition and longevity and two letters of reference. Applicants are required to document at least 40 hours of paid or volunteer work experience with a registered dietitian. Interviews may be required for highest ranking applicants.
Probation and Disqualification
Probation and Warning: Any graduate student with a cumulative or semester grade point average in the university falling below B (3.0) will be placed on academic probation. A graduate student whose semester average falls below B (3.0) but whose cumulative grade point average in the university is 3.0 (A = 4.0) or higher will be placed on academic warning. Students will not be allowed to begin supervised field practice in the second semester if any first semester grades fall below a B (3.0).
Disqualification: A graduate student on academic probation will be disqualified if his or her cumulative record accumulates more than 12 units of C work. A graduate student, whether on probation or not, will be subject to disqualification if the Student Affairs Committee of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at any time determines deficiency in academic achievement.
All candidates for the Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity degree must complete the following required courses.