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Nutrition and Dietetics (M.S.) Policies

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Recruitment of applicants is completed by listing the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program on the ACEND website and through information about accelerated bachelor’s to master’s degree programs posted on the SDSU website and with information posted at School of Health and Consumer Sciences. In addition, program information will be shared via the nutrition and dietetic educators and preceptors list serve and by having a booth at the national Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo’s Student Recruitment Fair. The nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program follows all state and federal laws and regulations to ensure nondiscrimination and equal opportunity.

Prior assessed learning may be granted for certain courses and ACEND competencies. Please refer to the courses and conditions listed under nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) admissions for prior assessed learning (PAL) eligibility. The number of required supervised experiential learning experiences planned hours will not be reduced based on prior assessed learning. Any course discipline fees are also not reduced from prior assessed learning.

Students accepted into the program who meet PAL eligibility will be required to complete evidence of competency completion for applicable competencies attached to specific classes prior to the start of their first semester in the program.

The Program Director will provide clear guidance on the competencies and evidence required and will evaluate each on a case-by-case basis to determine if the student has “passed” the competency.

Students who do not provide adequate evidence from a previous SDSU course to determine if a competency has been passed, will not be required to re-take the course but will be required to complete an alternative practice experience assignment as directed by the program director.

Students must be admitted as degree-seeking students. Student financial assistance programs are administered through the student Financial Aid Office in the Enrollment Services Center. They may be contacted at 605-688-4695 or via email at SDSU Financial Aid Office for more information. Graduate assistantships, fellowships, and traineeships are administered by the department or program involved. Students enrolled in SDSU certificate programs are not eligible for federal student financial aid. The non-federal alternative loan programs may be used for students meeting the lender criteria as found at (alternative loans). Please contact the SDSU Financial Aid Office if you have any questions.

Graduate students must be admitted as degree-seeking students and be taking at least five credits per semester to be eligible for Federal Financial Aid. Any prior student loans must be deferred. The following information is inserted directly from the SDSU Graduate School Catalog. Student financial assistance programs are administered through the student Financial Aid Office in the Enrollment Services Center. They may be contacted at 605-688-4695 or via email at SDSU Financial Aid Office for more information. Graduate assistantships, fellowships and traineeships are administered by the department or program involved. Students enrolled in SDSU certificate programs are not eligible for federal student financial aid. The non-federal alternative loan programs may be used for students meeting the lender criteria as loans. Please contact the SDSU Financial Aid Office if you have any questions.

SDSU has implemented a Student Success Model to assist students in the transition to college career and academic success. SDSU First Stop provides much of the information required by students. There are many services on campus offered through the Wintrode Student Success Center.

As part of the Student Success Model, all freshmen are advised by first year advisors familiar with first-year academic hurdles. Students must meet with their academic advisor before registering for classes. Students are transitioned to their professional major advisor for the remaining academic career.

The professional advisor has access to the student transcripts and checks at each of the academic advising visits. Students with less than a 3.0 cumulative GPA are encouraged by their professional advisor to pursue a different academic degree.

Additionally, SDSU has implemented an early alert process for all 100 and 200 level classes through the Campus Labs system. All instructors of 100 and 200 level classes must record the midterm grades of students who have a “D” or less. This system automatically alerts the advisors of the performance. The Campus Labs system is available for instructors of 300 and 400 level classes if they desire to use.

All faculty at SDSU are required to adhere to the BOR policy for course syllabi and include the evaluation procedures in the syllabus. Faculty must also submit grades at the end of the semester to allow timely dissemination of grades and GPA to the students. Students have access to unofficial transcripts through Banner.

Overall program improvement is a priority and ongoing process for the SDSU nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program. Open communication and feedback on program strengths and areas of improvement are highly encouraged. The nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program is committed to providing a quality program that meets the mission, goals and objectives of the program.

Students evaluate and provide feedback on required activities/assignments, rotation sites, and preceptors. In addition, students provide information regarding their overall level of preparedness and direction via an exit review survey and interview at the conclusion of the program.

Preceptors evaluate student competencies and are also asked for feedback on their overall perceptions of student preparedness and the organizational management of the program. Students are responsible for sending evaluations for activities/assignments and performance to preceptors. Students have an opportunity to review preceptor evaluations and provide comments regarding their evaluation.

Postgraduate surveys and employer supervisor surveys are administered 10-12 months post program completion and are utilized to determine graduate perception of competency skill level and employer satisfaction of the graduate’s performance.

The content of each evaluation tool utilized is available to students and preceptors via the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program rotation guide. The questions asked for the site, preceptor, postgraduate, employer supervisor and exit surveys can also be made available by contacting the program director. Results towards meeting programmatic goals will be posted on the SDSU nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program website as they are available and a statement on the website indicating that program outcomes data are available on request is posted.

Upon entry into the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program, students will receive an orientation to the program which will include a detailed overview of competency assessment and the process required to track demonstration of performance indicators/competencies and the target threshold for each. Formative (direct observation, mid-point rotation performance evaluations) and summative assessment methods (exams, project evaluations, end-point rotation performance evaluations) will be utilized to assess competencies. Several different types of summative assessments will be utilized, and student must meet the established threshold for competency completion for EACH of the assessments. In other words, if student successfully meets the threshold for a particular summative assessment for one of three assessments for a particular competency but does not meet the threshold for the other two assessments, then the student has not met the competency and will be advised of a remediation plan. If a student does not meet a competency with the initial set of learning activities determined, that student will be advised of a remediation plan and an opportunity to “revise, re-do” work. Student will be provided with the opportunity to remediate competency at a maximum of 2 different attempts. If student fails to successfully meet the competency after 2 different attempts, the program director will advise student of potential withdrawal from program, according to policy as outlined in the program handbook. Students withdrawn from the program will be counseled into career paths that are appropriate to their ability.

Students will utilize a detailed master checklist and portfolio via the university’s online learning management system that will be utilized to track competency completion. It will be the student’s responsibility to assure that all required summative assessments, with the practice illustration (i.e., exam, case study, etc.) are provided in their portfolio. Program staff will monitor master checklist and portfolio assessment on at least a monthly basis throughout the program and will conduct a competency review at the midpoint and endpoint of each semester. Results of the review in addition to any suggestions for moving forward in the program will be provided to each student.

Per the SDSU Graduate School Policy, graduate students whose plan of study cumulative grade point average drops to less than 3.0 are automatically placed on Academic Warning and will receive a letter from the Dean. (If a plan of study is not in place, all courses will be counted, and the cumulative GPA will be used.) Should a student on Academic Warning fail to achieve a GPA of at least 3.0 in their plan of study the following semester, the student will be placed on Academic Probation, and a hold will be placed on their registration for the subsequent semester. This hold can be removed only after the student and their advisor submit a letter to the Dean of the Graduate School indicating how the GPA will be brought up to 3.0 or better. The student must then meet with the Dean to review this work improvement plan. In the semester following the hold, the student must have a GPA of 3.0 or better to be retained in the program.

Students will be expected as members of the University community to abide by the SDSU and SDBOR Student Code of Conduct which includes but is not limited to: academic misconduct, violence, discrimination, harassment, damage to property, possession and use of controlled substances, and theft. Violation of the Student Conduct Code may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion from the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program and the university. The policy and procedures of the Student Conduct Code will be followed in processing alleged violations thereof and these protocols should be reviewed by all nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program students and students.

Students have established student accounts with private logins and passwords. Students should not share their login or passwords to these accounts. All supervised experiential learning experiences in institutions outside the campus have an memorandum of understanding approved by the University administration. Any complaint from a practitioner about a student should be directed to the instructor of record for the course.

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of controlled substances by its employees and agents while on duty or while in any workplace controlled by the university, to include vehicles owned by the University is prohibited. In compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, the University strictly prohibits the unlawful possession, use, manufacture, or distribution of alcohol, marijuana or controlled substances by its students or employees while on university-controlled property or while participating in any capacity in activities or employments sponsored by it. Any person violating the proscriptions outlined in South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) policies 4:27 and 3:4 shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action as outlined in the SDBOR and SDSU policies.

The nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program follows the university polices on discipline and termination. Discipline policies are outlined in the Student Conduct Code Policy and the Student Academic Misconduct Policy. The Satisfactory Performance for Financial Aid Policy states the minimum standards to remain enrolled. Note this policy states that students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 to remain enrolled.

The Office of Continuing and Distance Education provides information about courses that are offered online. To access all online applications, including the D2L learning management system, a university-issued Single Sign On (SSO) is used, as well as two-factor authentication using Duo.

The Acknowledgement of Receipt of Policy Handbook is reviewed and signed by students indicating their understanding of program requirements, including graduate degree and program completion within 4.5 years of program enrollment (see final page in handbook).

Per Graduate School policy, master’s programs should be completed within six years, and coursework at the time of graduation that is older than six years is considered expired and is ineligible for inclusion on the plan of study.

Students who satisfactorily complete the requirements of the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program and graduate degree, with an official transcript listing degree and date earned, will receive verification statements. Verification statements will be submitted to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) so that students who completed the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program are eligible to take the RD examination.

A professional liability insurance of $1,000,000/$3,000,000 will be charged from tuition and fees as noted in costs above. This insurance is required by the health care organizations with which we have memorandum of agreements. All students are required to have health insurance. Documentation of health insurance coverage is required prior to beginning the program.

The nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program follows the student immunization policy of SDSU. Students must complete the required immunizations prior to beginning rotations. The cost of obtaining the required immunizations is the responsibility of the student. Occasionally, sites may require additional tests or screening in addition to the requirements of the program. It is the responsibility of the student to cover these additional costs unless the site offers to cover the cost for the student. Students with any medical or religious exemptions for any of the required vaccinations will be required to complete an exemption form, dependent on the site’s policies. Site’s may not accept vaccination exemptions for students. In this instance, the student and not the program will be responsible for finding adequate experiences at sites to meet minimum hours requirements and competencies to receive a verification statement.

All the SDSU nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program students will provide proof of the following prior to starting supervised experiential learning experiences:

  • Proof of Hepatitis B series
  • 2 dose or greater Proof of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) 2 dose series
  • Proof of one-time dose of Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap)
  • TB Skin Test completed within the last twelve months
  • Seasonal flu shot by Nov. 1
  • Proof of Varicella (Chicken Pox) immunity or Varicella Vaccination, 2 doses
  • Proof of COVID vaccination

Travel off campus for required SEL experiences will be managed through the student travel policy. Students are responsible for their safety as they travel to and from assigned rotations, classes, and other program-required travel. Students are required to carry adequate liability insurance covering themselves and any other students they might carry in their vehicle.

Students driving state vehicles will be submitted as a volunteer and are required to have a driver’s license and automobile insurance. If the student has not been submitted as a volunteer through the system or they are traveling in their own vehicle or the vehicle of others, the university is not responsible for their safety as they travel to and from assigned classes.

Students should check weather and road conditions and only travel when it is safe to do so. Students are required to communicate with preceptors and program staff if weather or road conditions prevent them from attending their assigned rotation location or class. Occasionally, group travel arrangements may be necessary for professional meetings and training. This type of travel may be covered by the program, subject to travel policies and procedures of SDSU and the SDBOR.

The student needs to notify the appropriate program faculty and/or staff immediately of any injury sustained while at an SEL facility. Injury procedures are followed according to the guidelines established at each specific facility. In the event of a major injury, the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) Program Director shall be contacted.

It is required that students have their own health insurance. SDSU is not liable for injuries or health incidents that arise from the student spending time at SEL sites or from the student traveling to/from SEL locations. The student will provide the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program staff and each SEL facility with emergency contact information. Should the student become ill while at the SEL facility, the appropriate SEL site facility staff should be notified immediately, and nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program staff needs to be contacted within 24 hours. Time missed due to illness must be rescheduled.

If a site requires additional testing, such as drug testing above the requirements of the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program staff will inform the student of the additional requirements as soon as they become aware of the additional requirements. The student is responsible for making arrangements and paying for any additional testing that the site may require.

Students are required to complete a criminal background check through Verified Credentials prior to starting the program to include social security trace, county criminal record history, state by state sex offender search OIG’s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities GSA’s Excluded List Party System.

If a student or facility contact has a complaint regarding a required component of the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program, or university faculty or staff, the student or facility contact may report the complaint to various people depending upon their comfort level regarding the complaint. If the student or facility contact feels comfortable taking the complaint to the Program Director, the director would handle the complaint. If the complaint is regarding the Program Director and the student or facility contact does not feel comfortable disclosing the complaint to the Program Director, the complaint may be reported to the School of Health and Consumer Sciences Department Director. Students and facility contacts will not be retaliated against for reporting a complaint. If a complaint cannot be handled through these channels, the student may address the concern/complaint formally through the SDSU Academic Affairs office. Additional information about where an individual may file complaints is available at SDSU Concerns and Complaints. The policy regarding academic appeals can be found in the SDSU Student Academic Misconduct and Academic Appeals document. The program will maintain a copy of the complaint and resolution on file in the Department office in a locked cabinet for seven years. In the instance where the student does not consider the complaint to be satisfactorily resolved at the SDSU institutional level in accordance with the institution’s complaint procedures as outlined in the MSN handbook, the student may choose to provide a written complaint to the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®). The procedures and required written complaint investigation form for ACEND® is found at ACEND.

Students with disabilities should discuss potential accommodations for their SEL hours with nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program staff. Accommodations related to academic coursework should be directed to Disability Services.

SDSU follows the policies of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Information regarding FERPA is provided: SDSU Records and Registration FERPA . Students have access to their files upon request.

The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901

Students may have student records on file in more than one place within SDSU, including the Registrar’s office. Records for all nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program students are kept electronically and confidential.

Students are personally responsible for their attendance at all scheduled lectures, classes, rotation experiences, program assignments, etc. Absences from scheduled hours will be excused only under extraordinary circumstances (i.e., death in the family, personal illness, etc.). SDSU classes are rarely closed due to inclement weather; however, notification is through local radio stations and MyState. During supervised experiential experiences (SEL), contact preceptor for policies applicable to that site. Students are advised that they are not to travel if they feel the roads are unsafe. Students are required to make up time missed due to inclement weather conditions.

Students in SEL experiences will have a one-week break over the week of Thanksgiving and an approximately two-week break over Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Time off for these holiday breaks will be identified by the student’s rotation schedule which is determined by nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program staff. Additional holidays will follow the policies of the SEL site in which the student is currently working. Additional vacation time is not allowed due to time limitations and workloads.

A leave of absence from the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program may be granted by the Program Director for a specific period if deemed necessary for medical or personal reasons. Any time requested off must be brought to the attention of the Program Director at least two weeks prior to the requested time off. Individual circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis following review of program progress. Once the Program Director has approved the request, the student will go to the preceptor and request the time off and determine how the time will be made up. Any time missed must be rescheduled. Students will be permitted to resume work upon satisfactory resolution of the issue necessitating the leave of absence without repetition of work, provided resumption occurs within one academic year from the date the leave of absence begins.

According to the withdrawal and refund policy at SDSU:

When students withdraw from school, tuition and fees are assessed or credited, as appropriate, according to the date the student officially notifies SDSU of intent to withdraw by contacting the SDSU Registrar's Office. Room charges and meal plans are adjusted according to the residence hall and meal plan usage. The federal refund policy will be used for all students receiving federal aid. If you received loan money, the University will calculate the amount of your loan that was "earned" according to your date of withdrawal, following federal Title IV regulations. The unearned portion will be paid back to your lender by the University. This amount paid by the University to your lender will then be charged to your university account. If this amount is larger than the credits on your account following withdrawal, you will be required to pay the difference due. More information can be found at SDSU tuition and withdrawal policy.

It is the requirement of the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program that all students must be a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics while in the program. Proof of student membership will be required prior to starting the program.

All students will receive an SDSU student photo identification card. This identification card is to be worn at all times during rotation experiences unless the facility requires the student to wear a facility-required id card or badge.

All students will receive an SDSU student photo identification card. This identification card is to be worn at all times during rotation experiences unless the facility requires the student to wear a facility required identification card or badge.

All students will receive an SDSU student photo identification card. This identification card is to be worn at all times during rotation experiences unless the facility requires the student to wear a facility-required id card or badge.

SDSU has a well-established commitment to maintaining an environment free from discrimination and harassment, in accordance with federal and state law and SDBOR and University policy. The University offers equal opportunities in employment and for access to and participation in education, extension, and other services at the University to all persons qualified by academic preparation, experience, and ability for the various levels of employment or academic program or other University service, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, gender identification, transgender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status or any other status that may become protected under law against discrimination. Retaliation for making a report is strictly prohibited.

SDSU and SDBOR policies related to equal opportunity, non-discrimination, affirmative action and harassment are posted.

Students, staff and other individuals are encouraged to contact the Title IX/EEO Coordinator with any questions and concerns:

Michelle Johnson, Ed.D.
Title IX/EEO Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer
South Dakota State University
Morrill Hall Room 100
Brookings, SD 57007
Phone: 605-688-4128


SDSU implements a campus alert system to notify students, faculty, and staff of any safety threats or severe weather emergencies. Free campus alert registration service.

SDSU is committed to violence prevention and education. Information concerning prevention, warning signs and what to do in identifying and responding to a threat or concern are outlined at SDSU Violence Prevention and Education.

On-campus emergencies should be reported by dialing 1-1-1 for the SDSU Police Department or 911 for the Brookings Police Department.

For non-emergency assistance, the SDSU Police Department can be contacted at 605-688-5117 and is located on the east side of the Stadium on campus. The Annual Campus Security Report containing additional information regarding safety and security as well as statistics concerning criminal activity is available.

This acknowledgement will be provided in an electronic format for student review and signature. The information below is for information purposes.

  • Student acknowledges they have received the South Dakota State University nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) Program Handbook containing the policies and procedures governing the program.
  • Student acknowledges they are responsible for knowing, understanding, and following the policies and procedures governing the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program in the School of Health and Consumer Sciences at South Dakota State University, as well as South Dakota Board of Regents and South Dakota State University policies and procedures.
  • Student acknowledges they will not be provided with a verification statement for eligibility to take the examination for registered dietitians if the following are not completed:
  1. Completion of a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised experiential learning (SEL) or more according to the nutrition and dietetics (M.S.) program supervised experiential learning plan. Attendance at all seminars, workshops, committee meetings, and conferences as required by program staff.
  2. Completion of specified assignments as required by program staff. Preceptor and/or program staff verification of completed required hours, practice examples, performance indicators and other assignments.
  3. Completion of student rotation evaluations, surveys and required activity checklists as directed by program staff.
  4. Completion of exit interview with program staff. Satisfactory completion of competencies. Students will be expected to practice at a beginner level (rating of 3) or better in all assessed competencies for SEL Level 1 and 2. During Level 3 SEL, students will be demonstrating “does” for performance indicators in professional work settings and will be expected to practice at entry-level (rating of 4) or better in all assessed competencies. The preceptor and/or Program Director will assist the student in formulating an action plan for competency completion at that site. If the student fails to meet the competency at the site, the Program Director will discuss an action plan and arrange for a new site with the student. If the student continues to fail in passing the competency after being provided with an action plan including one new preceptor/site, then the student will not be provided with a program completion verification statement and will be terminated from the SEL portion of the program.
  5. Satisfactory completion of undergraduate and graduate coursework and degree requirements. All requirements for degree must be met and official transcript from degree received. Timely completion of program requirements.
  6. The maximum amount of time allowed for program completion is 4.5 years from time of enrollment. Exceptions will be considered by the Program Director and Internal Faculty Advisory Committee due to illness and/or leave of absence in accordance with the illness and leave university policies.
  7. According to university policy, master’s graduate students have a maximum of 6 years to complete their graduate degree. In the instance where a student has not completed their graduation requirements for a graduate degree in addition to their SEL hours in the maximum time frames specified, students may continue in their didactic graduate requirements for their graduate degree but will not be eligible to receive a verification statement for taking the registration exam for dietitians.