As our program grows, we receive a growing amount of questions about the program that may not be answered through our website. Here are a few commonly asked questions that we have received with the answers. Please look through these before submitting a question to our department.
PERTAINING TO ADMISSION
Question: I really want a Master's in Sport Nutrition. My background is in Exercise Science/Athletic Training/Strength and Conditioning/ etc. I only have a few/no classes in nutrition however. Am I eligible to apply?
Answer: Unfortunately no. However, many prospective students in our program have been "in your shoes". It is a long process, but if you are committed to your dream of becoming a sport nutritionist, it is worth the investment. In order to be eligible in our program, you would need to enroll in a Didactic Program in Dietetics which will issue you a verification statement at the end and make you eligible for our program, and/or a dietetic internship. This sequence is only about 3 semesters long, however, the number of prerequisites to enter the sequence is sometimes daunting. Please check with a director of a DPD program in your state to see what classes you would still need to take to be eligible to enter a DPD sequence. If you are interested in completing the DPD sequence through UCCS, please contact Mr. Sean Svette, our DPD director. His email address is email@example.com or (719)255-4478. Please submit a copy of an unofficial transcript so that he can determine what specific classes you would still need to take.
Question: My degree is in Nutrition/Clinical Nutrition but it is not from a DPD program. Am I still eligible to apply?
Answer: Unfortunately no. However, you likely have many of the courses completed that are required in a DPD program. We could CONSIDER an exception if you have a minimum of all of the following:
- Medical nutrition therapy coursework
- Food Science coursework
- Food Systems Management coursework
- Serve Safe Training Certification
- Advanced Nutrition (Sometimes called Nutritional Biochemistry)
If you do not have all of the above, please check with a school in your area to determine how many more courses would be required for you to be able to complete the DPD sequence. It may be less of a burden on you than you think. If you're interested in completing this sequence at UCCS, then please contact our DPD Director, Mr. Sean Svette, firstname.lastname@example.org or (719)255-4478. You will need to provide a copy of an unofficial transcript so that he can determine the specific classes you would still need to take.
Question: I've been in the working world and although my degree is in business, I've worked a lot in nutrition for my everyday job. Can you make an exception on the DPD requirements for me?
Answer: Unfortunately, no, we cannot. Please see above.
Question: I have a background in Exercise and Strength and Conditioning. I don't have a degree in nutrition but I use it a lot in my job. I think having sport nutrition education would be beneficial to my practice but I don't want to work as Sport Dietitian. Can I still enroll even though I don't plan on getting an RD or a CSSD?
Answer: Unfortunately no, simply due to lack of prerequisites. The goal of our program is to train our students towards a CSSD certification. Although not all our students take this path in the end, we still need to maintain the prerequisite standards for our students to have a certain underlying knowledge base. You are welcome to apply and will be eligible to enroll without needing to be a CSSD or RD, but you would still need to have the basic prerequisites in nutrition.
Question: I am not sure if I completed a DPD program. How do I know if I did?
Answer: If you did complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics, you would know you did because you would be issued a “verification statement”. You can read more about the DPD program here.
Question: How many students do you admit per year?
Answer: We no longer have a limit for admissions, but the applicant must meet minimum qualifications and meet the approval of all deciding faculty to show promise in the program.
Question: My transcript is not so great because freshman year was difficult for me. However, I'm really passionate about sport nutrition and I've really tried hard to get my grades up. What are my chances of getting in?
Answer: Every person's situation is different and we examine applications as a whole against how many applicants we have. First, need to meet the minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0. After that, we look at your promise and passion through your statement of interest, letters of recommendation, GREs, and phone interview. We really encourage a campus visit if at all possible. Just because you do meet all the minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission.
Question: I am a very poor test taker. My transcript is very good, but my GREs are fairly poor. Should I bother applying?
Answer: Yes! We understand that not everyone is a great test taker and we have found that the GREs are not a good predictor of success in our program. We do not limit our acceptance to the GRE, nor do we use it as a "weeding out" tool although the minimum score of 290 is highly recommended and scores lower than this are viewed more unfavorably. The Writing Score of 4, however, is even more important as good writing is important in graduate school. If there's a tie between two students of similar background, then the GRE may be used as the decision making point. However, we do look at the holistic quality of your entire application.
Question: I am applying to an RD internship and the date of the Match is in April, but your priority deadline is January 20. I would like to go into the RD internship if I get matched but if I don't, I'd like to enter graduate school. What do you suggest I do?
Answer: While it is best to apply as early as possible, we understand the nature of your situation. Due to the length of time it takes to review all our applicants, you would be best served to apply as soon as possible after the Match in the event you do not get an RD internship—our second deadline is shortly after that (April 15). However, do know that those who meet the priority deadline will get priority of being evaluated first. On the other hand, you can always apply by the priority deadline and then withdraw your application in the event you get an RD spot or, if still interested in our program, you can ask to be deferred to the following year after you complete your RD internship (without needing to apply again).
Question: I received a full scholarship to another sport nutrition program. However I really want to come to UCCS. Can you match this?
Answer: Congratulations-that is an amazing award! Unfortunately, we cannot match such offers as we do not have those types of funds.
Question: I am an outstanding student with a 4.0 (or almost 4.0 GPA). Don’t I automatically get a scholarship?
Answer: Congratulations on your excellent record. However, we typically don’t offer automatic scholarships simply due to lack of funds. Dependent on funds, we might offer one out of state scholarship worth $4000 for Year 1, however, that is decided upon from a student pool that has a minimum of a 3.3 cumulative GPA. As there are many students with those qualifications, the scholarship is a decision we make and not automatically granted due to meeting minimum qualifications.
PERTAINING TO TRANSFER OF CREDITS
Question: I understand that I can transfer in 9 credits from another institution. Since I've completed my RD internship and that is considered post graduate, will that count?
Answer: No, you may not transfer in credit from an RD internship. However, sometimes students do take graduate level courses while they are in an RD internship and those courses are not a part of the RD internship program requirements for completion. In that event, if you scored a B or higher in those courses, you can transfer in those credits upon approval. The courses need to be related to the programmatic material of the program and you would need to provide a syllabus of the course to be reviewed. For example, trying to transfer in a graduate course of "Macronutrients" is not really applicable but a graduate course in "Exercise and Sport" would be viable.
Question: I am an American student and completed an IOC diploma. Can I transfer in any credits after completing this coursework successfully?
Answer: Unfortunately no you cannot. At the current time, the IOC diploma program is has not been approved by our Graduate School and therefore we cannot transfer credits. However, we do look favorably upon applicants who have completed this training.
PERTAINING TO THE PROGRAM
Question: What are the pros and cons of coming into the program as a newly graduated DPD student vs someone who already has their RD?
Answer: Most of our students are newly DPD graduated students. With that being said, there is much benefit to enrolling in our program with your RD. The training that you get with the RD internship does prepare you a bit better to be a more focused student so you get more out of graduate school. Secondly, you will have more opportunities as an RD than students without the RD for liability reasons. Finally, if you plan on getting your CSSD, you will be on track much faster and smoother by coming into the program with the RD.
For example, in order to receive your CSSD, you need to have been an RD for 2 years and completed 2000 hours of sport nutrition work before you sit for the CSSD exam. Through our program, you will receive 300 of those hours. If you do any work in sport nutrition such as volunteering or completing time over and beyond what is required for an internship, those hours may apply towards the CSSD. There will also be a shorter time span between finishing the program and the CSSD exam so that you will be able to retain the information better. If you come in with the DPD, then you still have a year to do your internship (assuming that you get matched for a spot right after graduation), and then another 2 years to get practical work as an RD. You have 5 years from the time you leave the program to the time you sit for the exam-otherwise you will lose the 300 hour transfer that you accumulated in our program. Remember that you still need an extra 1700 hours to bring the total to 2000 hours. By the time you will be sitting for your CSSD exam, several years will have passed. You can read more about the requirements for the CSSD here.
Question: How fast can I finish the program? I'm planning on finishing in 1-1.5 years tops.
Answer: Time is money and we understand that graduate school is costly. However, when making such a substantial investment, it is important to get the most out of your education and sometimes this requires time. Time to think, time to plan and time to carry out a thoughtful research project. The program is set up to be completed within 2 years time. We recommend this full time to gain maximum experience. It is possible to complete the program within 1.5 years but you would most likely need to take the comp exam for your capstone experience to be realistic OR obtain internship/research hours over the summer. In addition, you'd probably need to take on more than a full-time load in various semesters, which is not recommended if you want to absorb the material. However, it HAS been done with special approval in the past.
Question: I live in Denver/Pueblo and I will be commuting to UCCS. Have you ever had students who have done this successfully?
Answer: Yes, and academically they did quite well. However, we don't recommend it. It is hard on you (particularly when it snows), it depletes the experience of forming bonds with other students in the program and being around for opportunities to volunteer. While we have had students who commuted to UCCS from other areas, they tended to show more dissatisfaction. We truly believe that being able to socially bond with other students, and living locally allows you to partake of all the exciting events around food. This enriches your experience while here.
Question: I cannot afford to just go to graduate school full time. Is it feasible to maintain my full time job while going to school?
Answer: Graduate school is certainly a hefty investment. It is one that needs to be entered into with great consideration. While we have had students working 40+ hours a week while being in graduate school fulltime and doing well, we do not recommend this approach. Part of the graduate school experience is being able to work on team projects within coursework, and being able to connect with other graduate students outside of school, whether this is part of service learning, volunteering as part of a team, or just simply socializing and decompressing. Students end up missing out on these experiences when they work full time and tend not to have a good experience with the program because they feel disconnected. In turn, when group work is dependent on full participation and full time working students can't attend group meetings due to lack of time, the whole group suffers. We recommend to plan for graduate school financially before enrolling so that you can get the most out of your education. If you must work, then plan on taking a longer time to complete graduate school so you can maintain some type of work-life balance. Most of our students do work outside of school. This is reality, but we think a good balance is about 20-25 hours of work a week with a 9 credit schedule in a semester.
Question: What do students mostly do for jobs while in school? I need to have some living expenses.
Answer: People do a variety of things. Many students end up working in gyms or local stores. We occasionally have assistantships where students can teach semester long exercise classes provided they have the appropriate certifications-this is a popular option whether it is at UCCS or outside of it. We also have a few assistantships each year. Some more entrepreneurial students who have their RDs have been able to secure work as dietitians with athletic teams around town or in hospitals/clinics. We encourage students to consider applying for our food service positions. This falls within the scope of nutrition experience, plus the pay is competitive around $10-12 an hour at entry level positions up to $17 an hour. If you work for the university, you are not allowed to work for more than 20 hours a week while being a full time student.
Question: What capstone experience do most student choose? The Thesis, Project or Comp exam?
Answer: The most popular capstone experience is the Project. The thesis has also been utilized though you need to be independent and resourceful, have performed at an excellent level in your statistics course, be recommended by the instructor, and be a competent writer to attempt the thesis track. The least popular option is the Comp Exam but it is not discouraged. If you are ready to take your CSSD exam, you should be able to pass the comp exam without issues. The purpose of the program is to get your ready to be successful to pass the questions on a comp exam, especially if you are ready to take on the world as a sport dietitian.
Question: I'm overwhelmed thinking of a research project question. How do students do this?
Answer: There are many paths a student takes with their capstone experience. Through coursework and personal interest, a research question is born. Most of the time, a faculty has available research that the student is welcome to become involved with—this is highly recommended. Other times the student may develop his/her own research question though this is not recommended due to excessive time, resources we may not have and low investment on return. Each student is different, and new topics may be entertained based on the scope and if there is reason to believe that it can be publishable in a peer reviewed journal. Your advisor will be there to help guide you to an appropriate project that is feasible and capable to be completed in a timely manner.
Question: I noticed you have a more unique track than most programs and are pretty involved in sustainability. How will this help me if I want to be a sport dietitian?
Answer: We consider our program very progressive and innovative! We care about good whole fresh food and the environment. As more food service systems are converting to more sustainable practices, AND a great deal of a sport dietitians’ job involves working with food service, you will be perfectly poised in how to make this happen. Also, our students are well educated on a variety of ancient grains (i.e., einkorn, farro, spelt, amaranth, millet etc) and how to prepare them. This allows you to become creative with what you can offer athletes as snacks and fuel over and beyond rice, pasta and wheat bread. Due to the rise of gluten-related disorders (which also are affecting athletes), many ancient grains are also gluten-free, wholesome and nutrient dense. Through this program you would learn about them which will develop your expertise in offering a greater variety of food to your clients. If you would like to see more of what we do, please read on our Sustainability, Wellness and Learning Initiative.
Dr. Meyer, one of our faculty, is the creator of the Athlete’s Plate along with the US Olympic Committee (USOC). Currently, we have many student projects that are working on developing new Athlete’s Plates versions such as the Vegetarian and Vegan Athlete Plates, and validating them. Our students become experts at creativity, creating nutrient dense snacks and meals that go over and beyond peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. With the knowledge of how to use grass roots herbal therapies, they can also create delicious snacks such as Turmeric Chocolate Recovery Balls and fun twists on recovery drinks such as Moon Milk (a recent creative concoction used a combination of ashwagandha, turmeric, and chamomile mixed with milk and spices to promote recovery, anti-inflammation and relaxation). Make sure to check out our Nutrition Resources Page for more student-led inspiration. We are all about hands-on food involvement and creativity.
Question: Will I get any hands on experience with sport nutrition?
Answer: Our hands-on experiences come in various ways: volunteering, assistantship and internship. We have partnerships with the following organizations where students can obtain these experiences: CSU Pueblo Athletics (volunteering with education), UCCS Athletics (1 assistantship for an RD per year). The rest are internships: Fort Carson THOR military performance, US Air Force and USOC Food Service (Athlete’s Plate projects). Most require an interview and final selection is made by the dietitian preceptor at the agencies.
PERTAINING TO POST GRADUATION
Question: What do your students mostly do after they graduate?
Answer: Please see our Student Spotlight section to see a variety of responses from our former students. Our students do a variety of different things. A majority of our students enter an RD internship right after graduation. Aside from this fact, what a student does after our program is dependent on their goals when they enter. Some students are very focused on becoming a sport dietitian when they enroll. They have drive and an entrepreneurial spirit. They take advantage of any volunteer opportunity that is offered and oftentimes seek opportunities outside of school. This persevering spirit tends to take them far once they graduate. Many of these types of students have been able to secure fellowships at top national athletic programs and/or employment as sport dietitians ranging from positions in the military to high school to college athletics. We even have former students working for pre-professional and professional sport teams. Others realize they love sport nutrition but are based in more traditional RD type clinical positions, and sometimes consult outside their jobs with local clubs. Some are working in more research type positions as study coordinators/research assistants in university settings. Some realize they develop more of a passion for the sustainability portion of nutrition and pursue jobs within community outreach and the slow food movement. Finally, others have opened up their own consulting sport nutrition businesses or even started blogs featuring their passion: sport nutrition. The most common job that our former students have secured are collegiate athletics sport dietitians.
Question: Do you help students be placed in positions after graduating?
Answer: No, but the faculty will be happy to share with you any opportunities that are available at the time. Provided that you performed well in the program, we are always happy to write excellent letters of recommendation on your behalf.
Question: What is your pass rate on the CSSD exam?
Answer: While not all of our students go on to take the CSSD exam, of those who have, we are proud to say that they have had a 100% pass rate!
Copyright 2002-2017, Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Last Updated: January 18, 2017