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Leadership in Nutrition, M.P.S.

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At Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), we now offer a 30-hour MPS-Leadership in Nutrition graduate program. It is 100% online and flexible. Please consider enrolling now!  There is a non-GRE or Portfolio Option.  If an undergraduate student has a GPA of 3.25 no GRE is required for admission.  Additionally, if a student has five years of full-time work experience and a 2.75 GPA no GRE score is required for admission.  Applications are accepted every semester including Fall, Spring, and Summer, with submission deadlines of the end of July for Fall, end of November for Spring, and end of March for a Summer start.

Some of the unique courses offered in the MPS-LIN program include: Entrepreneurial Skills for Nutrition Professionals, Leadership and Motivation, Effective Program Management, Nutrition and Obesity, Leading Organization Transformation, and Conflict Management and Negotiation.  This 30-credit program includes six free credits for internship completion and concludes with a student selected Capstone project.  Please feel free to contact Liz Smith at for additional information.

If you are not currently a registered dietitian, this program is not accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics to provide eligibility to complete a dietetic internship or to take the registration exam for dietitians. MTSU does provide an accredited program to meet those needs.

What We're Doing

Carmen Bell

Murfreesboro native chooses MTSU for top graduate program in Leadership in Nutrition

When Carmen Bell began looking at graduate programs during her dietetic internship, the search led to her hometown.  “In my search for a graduate program, I learned one of the best ones was at MTSU. After meeting with the program director, I was sold,” Bell said. “The program is convenient because it is 100% online and has flexible course sequencing. The professors are amazing. They are accessible, supportive, and kind.” Besides its convenience, Bell said her classes are preparing her for her future career as a registered dietitian. “I am gaining practical application experience through my courses that have expanded my skill set. Not only have I taken nutrition courses, but leadership, organization, research, and statistics courses, as well. These are necessary and will prepare me for a leading position in my career," Bell said.

Ryan Rafacz

Program's unique design led registered dietitian back to MTSU

What started as a hobby soon turned into a career for Northern Michigan native Ryan Rafacz. Now working as a registered dietitian at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Rafacz said the Leadership in Nutrition program’s unique design is what led him back to MTSU. “Due to the flexibility of the program, it gave me the opportunity that I was looking for to continue to work and advance my career while still raising a family. All of the classes are online, but they still offer the same full access to professors, MTSU resources, and program guidance.” Through the courses, Rafacz said he's learned valuable skills. “You must be ready to work and excited to learn, but there is still the same encouragement, inspiration, and exceptional support that I have always come to know and love about MTSU. I can say without a doubt that it has already provided me with an incredible amount of usable skills and resources to set me up for success in a leadership role." 

  • Family and Consumer Science Extension Educator or Specialist (RD or Non-RD)
  • Family and Consumer Science Teacher – secondary education (Non-RD)
  • Health Department (W.I.C.) (RD or Non-RD)
  • Registered Dietitian – after completing the MPS, those students having completed an internship will be eligible to sit for the CDR exam. Registered Dietitians can work in a vast variety of areas including hospitals, management, community, private practice, and research.
  • Wellness companies (RD or Non-RD)


View the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for Dietitians and Nutritionists.

MTSU offers the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.), an online program designed for working professionals, with five concentrations available: Human Resources Leadership, Leadership in Nutrition, Strategic Leadership, and Training and Development

Each M.P.S. program consists of 12 hours of core requirements, 15 hours related directly to the concentration, and a 3-hour culminating professional project.

Applicants must have the following: 

  • an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college
  • an acceptable grade point average (GPA) in all college work taken (at least 2.75 for unconditional admission);
  • completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with acceptable scores (generally at least 146 verbal, 144 quantitative, and 4.0 on analytical writing), OR a non-GRE option is available for those with a 2.75 GPA or higher and five (5) years of professional full-time work experience. This option requires the submission of a portfolio of works.
  • competency in word processing, library retrieval systems, presentation graphics, spreadsheets, and databases (Students must be computer literate—using email, posting discussions, using chat, web page navigation, uploading attachments, etc.—as well as have excellent time management skills in order to be successful in the online course environment.);
  • regular access to a computer and reliable Internet connection

Applicants who do not meet the criteria for unconditional admission may apply as a non-degree seeking student and take up to 6 hours before officially applying to the program.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS button to the right.

If you are not currently a registered dietitian or do not hold a bachelor’s degree in the field of nutrition, please note that this program does not provide eligibility to sit for the National Registration examination to become a registered dietitian, nor does it provide eligibility to apply to a dietetic internship.

Professional Studies, Leadership in Nutrition Concentration, M.P.S.

Pamela D. Morris, Program Director
(615) 898-5920

The University College offers the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) with concentrations in Human Resources Leadership, Leadership in Nutrition, Operations Research, Strategic Leadership, and Training and Development. For more information, contact, call (615) 898-5920, or visit

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Professional Studies program requires

  1. an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college;
  2. an acceptable grade point average (GPA) in all college work taken (at least 2.75 for unconditional admission);
  3. three (3) letters of recommendation;
  4. completion of a portfolio of works OR Graduate Record Examination (GRE) based on criteria below:

    1. completion of a portfolio of works for those with a 3.25 GPA or higher; OR

    2. completion of a portfolio of works for those with a 2.75 GPA or higher and five (5) years of professional full-time work experience; OR

    3. completion of the GRE General Test with acceptable scores;

  5. competency in word processing, library retrieval systems, presentation graphics, spreadsheets, and databases. Students must be computer literate (using email, posting discussions, using chat, web page navigation, uploading attachments, etc.) as well as have excellent time management skills in order to be successful in the online course environment;
  6. regular access to a computer and reliable Internet connection. To view hardware and software requirements please go to

NOTE: Candidates for the Master of Professional Studies may enroll for one semester before being fully admitted to the program.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
  2. submit official transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended;
  3. submit three letters of reference;
  4. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). A composite GRE score of 291 is expected for consideration of unconditional admission. applicants with a 2.75 GPA or higher and five (5) years of professional full-time work experience may submit a portfolio of works in place of a GRE score. Applicants who meet this requirement may inquire about the portfolio requirements by e-mailing or going to

Degree Requirements

The Master of Professional Studies with a concentration in Leadership in Nutrition requires completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours.

Candidate must

  1. complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit (See Curriculum section below for specifics.);
  2. complete a professional project during the final semester of the program.

Curriculum: Professional Studies, Leadership in Nutrition

The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements.

Core Courses (12 hours)

  • PRST 6000 - Leading Organizational Transformation

    3credit hours

    Focuses on the leadership aspects of creating, implementing, and monitoring initiatives that will help an organization's employees make the essential transitions necessary to enable their organization to successfully transform to the needs of its operational environment.

  • PRST 6100 - Professional Environment: Issues and Ethics

    3credit hours

    Introduces the discipline of ethics and values. Explores the various theories and practices that have led to, and continue to dominate the study of ethics and values in public service. Students will display their knowledge of ethics and values in various reading, writing, and oratorical assignments.

  • PRST 6300 - Research Methods  3 credit hours  

    PRST 6300 - Research Methods

    3credit hours

    Study and application of research methods appropriate to professional studies. Provides a general introduction to research methods as well as providing practical exposure to problem statements, literature reviews, writing the research proposal, and organizations of the research report. Quantitative and qualitative research methodologies briefly covered in preparation for later courses in these areas.

  • PRST 6600 - Statistical Analysis

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: PRST 6300. Explores the fundamental principles that form the foundation of the scientific process. Ultimate goal is to enhance student's ability to effectively interpret and translate the results of research.

Leadership in Nutrition Concentration (15 hours)

Leadership (3-6 hours)

  • MGMT 6740 - Leadership and Motivation

    3credit hours

    Issues in leadership and motivation in business organizations. An examination of the theoretical framework for leadership and motivation processes serves as foundation. Emphasis on practical issues and applications of leadership development and motivation.

  • PRST 6700 - Conflict Management and Negotiation 3 credit hours
  • COMM 6110 - Leadership and Communication 3 credit hours

Nutrition (9-12 hours)

  • NFS 6100 - Advanced Studies in Food and Culture

    3credit hours

    Comprehensive investigation of the roles that culture plays in food practices, beliefs, and health of Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, Mexicans and Central Americans, Islanders, Asians, Middle Easterner, and other groups.

  • NFS 6200 - Current Issues in Macronutrients

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 3530/3531 or permission of instructor. Current issues and controversies in carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins with emphasis on metabolic aspects related to health promotion and disease prevention.

  • NFS 6210 - Current Issues in Micronutrients

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 3530/3531 or permission of instructor. Current topics in vitamin and mineral metabolism with emphasis on the physiological requirements, assessment techniques, and roles in health promotion and disease prevention.

  • NFS 6290 - Dietetic Internship

    6credit hours

    Planned educational experiences in administration of food service systems and experiences in a health care facility applying principles of normal and clinical nutrition to nutritional problems occurring throughout the life cycle.

  • NFS 6600 - Nutrition and Obesity

    3credit hours

    Examines the context, prevalence, causes, consequences, and treatment of obesity and weight-related issues in the United States and other developed and developing societies. Topics focus on the nutrition-related physiological, psychological, sociological, economic, and political aspects of obesity.

Professional Project (3 or 4 hours)

  • PRST 6998 - Professional Project 3 to 4credit hours
    PRST 6998 must be taken during the final semester of the program. Students should begin planning their projects when they enter the M.P.S. program. They should consult their advisors about appropriate topics and submit their proposals for approval prior to entering this course.
    Students applying for EXL Scholar Designation should take PRST 6998 for 4 credit hours.
    NOTE: The 5000 and 6000 levels numbering of courses for APSU/ETSU/TSU will be crosslisted with the 6000 levels used by MTSU and TTU and the 7000 levels numbering of courses used at UOM.


MPS students are limited to no more than 6 hours of prior learning assessment (PLA) credit and transfer credit combined.

Contact Information

Elizabeth Ann Smith

Who is My Advisor?

Pamela Morris

Elizabeth Ann Smith

Mailing Address

University College M.P.S. Program
Middle Tennessee State University
503 East Bell Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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