Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The FAQs are organized in the following four categories. Click on the link that best represents your question.

Application Related
Program Related
Finance Related


Application Related

Is the MPP accredited by ACEND?

  • Yes, the MPP is accredited by Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) under the new Future Education Model standards.

How do I apply to your program? Do you participate in DICAS matching?

  • The MPP does not participate in DICAS match. A link to our application can be found here.

What are the eligibility requirements for your program?

  • You are eligible to apply to our program if you meet the following requirements
    • Minimum Bachelor’s Degree (BS or BA)
    • Valid DPD Verification Statement.
    • Overall GPA ≥ 3.0 (4.0 scale)
    • DPD GPA ≥ 3.0 (4.0 scale)

GRE is not required for admission into the MPP.

Is an interview required as part of the application process?

  • Interviews are not required as part of the MPP application process. However, if you apply to an international location, an interview will be conducted to assess your suitability for the international rotation.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science and I want to become a dietitian, can I apply to your program?

  • Applicants to the MPP must have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, completed a didactic program in dietetics (DPD) and have a DPD verification statement. In order to be eligible to apply to the MPP, you will need to enroll in a DPD program to get a DPD verification statement. However, other Future Education Model programs that do not require a DPD verification statement may be a better fit for you. A listing of those program can be found on ACENDs website

If I already have a Master’s degree, would I be able to complete the supervised practice part only, in order to be eligible for the RDN exam?

  • No. Completing both the didactic and experiential learning are part of this integrated program’s requirements. In addition, applicants must also have a DPD verification statement in order to apply to the MPP.

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Will I be able to enroll in your program to just complete the Master’s degree?

  • The MPP is an integrated program that combines didactic and experiential learning to prepare entry-level dietitians. If you are already a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, then this program is not designed to meet your educational needs.

I have already passed the CDR exam to obtain licensure in my state. Can I apply to your program to complete the supervised practice and get my Master’s degree?

  • In order to apply to the MPP you need to have completed a DPD program and have been issued a DPD verification statement. If you have successfully passed the CDR exam but do not have a DPD verification statement, you will not be eligible to apply to the MPP.

Can I complete this program on a part-time basis?

  • No. The MPP is accredited as a full-time program only. The option to complete this program on a part-time basis is not available.

I am an international student enrolled in a DPD program in the US. How can I apply to your program?

  • International students who will require a form I-20 for F-1 status are not eligible to apply to the MPP. International applicants residing in the US in other statuses (such as J-2, H-1B, H-4 or green card holders) that allow them to pursue higher education, are eligible to apply. For additional information, please contact the International Students and Scholars office.

Am I required to move to Iowa to enroll in your program? I currently live in California.

  • The MPP is a fully online Master’s program. Didactic coursework can be completed from anywhere. However, you have two options on where you complete your supervised experiential learning. If you live in Iowa or cities in neighboring states close to the Iowa border, you can apply for the Iowa-based location. Or you may choose to apply for the nationwide location.

Iowa based Location:

  • ISU faculty identify the preceptors and arrange placement of students at supervised experiential learning facilities.
  • Students in the Iowa-based location option are required to live in the assigned internship location area regardless of where the student resides at the time of the application. (For example, an applicant who resides in California would be required to move to Pella, Iowa if placed there for supervised practice.)

Nationwide location:

  • You complete your supervised experiential learning at facilities anywhere in the United States (minimum requirements apply).
  • You identify and contact preceptors and facilities in the area where you live or wish to work.
  • Your application must include a schedule and preceptor commitment letter from each preceptor for your first rotation, at least. If you can include commitment letters from preceptors for all three supervised experiential learning rotations (Medical Nutrition Therapy, Community Nutrition, and Food Systems Management), it will strengthen your application.

I graduated from my DPD program some time ago. Do I need to retake any courses, before applying to the MPP?

  • Applicants who graduated from a DPD program
    • 5-10 years ago, must retake a minimum 3-credit Medical Nutrition Therapy or Advanced Nutrition course that specifically includes the topics of nutrition care process and nutrition-focused physical exam. Coursework must be completed for credit with a minimum grade of C earned in the updated coursework
    • More than 10 years ago: contact the program director. In addition to the Medical Nutrition Therapy or Advanced Nutrition course, applicants may be required to retake nutrient metabolism or nutritional biochemistry. Additional coursework requirements may vary based on whether the applicant has work experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics, since graduating from the DPD program.
  • Updated coursework may be completed either in an on-campus or online class in an accredited dietetics program. A list of dietetics programs accredited by the ACEND can be found on their website. Completing the recommended coursework does not guarantee acceptance into the MPP program.

What do you look for in an applicant?

  • Applicants are assessed for their ability to be successful in this distance, graduate program, and in the dietetics profession. In addition, grades, work and volunteer experiences, leadership qualities, representation of personal qualities and skills and letters of recommendation are also taken into consideration. A rubric is utilized to rank the applicants in order of preferred skills and attributes for success in a graduate distance program.

Who should write a letter of recommendation for me?

  • You should request letters of recommendation from people who can attest to your ability to succeed in the MPP and in dietetics. You may want to consider requesting letters of recommendation from your DPD director, faculty/instructor or work supervisor. You should not request or submit letters of recommendation from friends or family members.

How many letters of recommendation do I need for applying to the MPP?

  • You will need to provide the names and contact information of three people who are willing to provide a letter of recommendation for you. We will send them an electronic letter of recommendation form to complete and return to us.

What should be included in the letter of recommendation?

  • The letter of recommendation asks for an assessment of the applicant’s professional attributes (such as communication skills, time management skills, analytical/problem solving, ability to work independently, etc.), strengths, and areas of improvement.

How will people writing letters of recommendation be notified? Do I need to contact them and provide them with a link to complete the recommendation?

  • Once you submit your application, an email is automatically sent out to the names you provided for the people who will be providing a letter of recommendation for you. You just need to let them know that you are applying to the Iowa State University MPP and that they will be receiving a link from us to provide their letter of recommendation for you.

Can I get credit for my past work experience?

  • Credit may be granted for prior paid work or volunteer experience. Once admitted into the program, students will be eligible to submit a  Prior learning assessment & recognition (PLAR) portfolio for consideration of prior learning. Students may be exempted from some of the required competencies if they are able to demonstrate how their prior work/volunteer experience contributed to mastery of the specific program competencies.

What if I don’t have any commitment letters from potential preceptors?

  • Iowa-based students do not need to get commitment letters from preceptors. However, if you are applying as part of the Nationwide cohort, you need to get commitment letters for at least your first semester of supervised experiential learning sites. If you can obtain commitment letters for all three rotations, it will strengthen your application.

What if I have a community nutrition preceptor, but cannot find a Medical Nutrition Therapy preceptor? Should I still apply?

  • Finding preceptors at Medical Nutrition Therapy sites can be challenging. We encourage you to use the Facility Search to find facilities with existing affiliation agreements with ISU organized by state. You are encouraged to also search the preceptor database, if you are a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you are unable to find preceptors close to home, you may want to consider expanding the search area, which may mean you have a longer commute or you may have to temporarily relocate to complete your supervised experiential learning experience. We also have alternative experiences developed that can aid you in your learning needs to master some rotation-specific competencies. Yes, we would still encourage you to apply to our program.

Program Related

What degree would I earn once I graduate from your program?

  • You will earn the Master of Professional Practice or MPP degree (not MPPD) and your major will be Professional Practice in Dietetics.

What is your program concentration?

  • Concentration areas are no longer required in the Future Education Model programs by ACEND. Consequently, the MPP does not offer a concentration area.

Are all the courses in the MPP mandatory? 

  • Yes, all courses in the MPP are mandatory and required to be taken in the specified semester, since they are only offered once a year. A list and description of the courses offered in the MPP can be found here.

What about electives? How many electives do I have to take?

  • There are no elective courses offered or required in the MPP.

What if I want to take extra electives?

  • Students are welcome to take elective courses, however, the elective courses may not replace any core MPP course.

How are placement decisions made?

  • Nationwide interns are required to find their own preceptors and submit a schedule. Iowa based applicants are asked to rank possible locations in Iowa. We try to match students with the Iowa facilities best suited for student learning and success. This may mean that that students may not get their top ranked locations.

What if I am accepted in the program and my preceptor can no longer precept me?

  • We encourage you to use the Facility Search to find facilities with existing affiliation agreements with ISU organized by state. You are encouraged to also search the preceptor database, if you are a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Your MPP faculty will work with you to identify new sites/preceptors to meet your learning needs. We also have alternative experiences developed that can aid you in your learning needs to master some rotation specific competencies.

Finance Related

Is your program eligible for financial aid?

  • Qualified students may apply for financial aid. Please contact the Office of Financial aid to discuss eligibility criteria and for other questions related to financial aid.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

When is the FAFSA application due?

  • FASFA Application deadlines change based on aid type. Deadlines are as follows:

    • June 30th – Federal Aid Deadline
    • July 1st – State (Iowa) Aid Deadline
    • December 1st – ISU Priority Deadline 


What is competency-based education?

  • Competency-based education is a framework that allows educators to assess what the students knows, what the students still need to learn, what the students have learned in the program and where the program can improve. The advantage of competency-based education is that it allows students to advance forward on their own pace; to spend more time to master the challenging tasks and less time on tasks they find easier.  Thus, by meeting the required competencies, the students are demonstrating that they have the required knowledge, skills and judgment to move forward in the program.

What is the difference between supervised practice and supervised experiential learning?

  • In the Future Education Model programs such as the MPP, supervised practice is referred to as supervised experiential learning. The experiential learning components are integrated with the didactic coursework to purposefully support didactic instruction. Unlike most internship programs, where interns complete the didactic curriculum first and then go to sites to complete their supervised practice or internship.

Can I work while attending the distance program?

  • The MPP is a full-time distance program that includes didactic coursework and supervised experiential learning each semester. You may be spending up to 40 hours each week at the supervised experiential learning facilities in addition to completing the learning activities for your coursework. Working for pay during the MPP may cause you fall behind and not complete the program.

Am I eligible to take the RD exam after completing the MPP?

  • Yes, after successfully completing the requirements of the MPP, you will be eligible to take the national credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.