Public Health Nutrition & Dietetics

Appropriate nutrition is recognized as one of the key pillars underlying human health and well-being. Given the global public health issues of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases, food safety, and malnutrition, well-trained public health nutrition professionals are needed both in the U.S. and abroad. Individuals trained in both public health practice and dietetics will be well prepared and highly marketable for jobs in this field.

Students wishing to complete both the MPH degree in Public Health Nutrition and meet the didactic requirements to qualify for dietetic internships to become registered dietitians, apply to the MPH program through the Colorado School of Public Health and the online SOPHAS application system. Admitted students then enter a CEPH accredited MPH program and work with an academic advisor to also take ACEND accredited dietetics courses.

Within 3 years of entering the program, most students should be able to complete the MPH degree requirements and meet all curricular requirements to be eligible to apply for a dietetic internship. After completing all curricular requirements and the dietetic internship, students would be eligible to take the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) exam.

What are the benefits of completing the MPH degree and dietetics requirements together?

  • Many of the MPH courses in the Public Health Nutrition concentration satisfy dietetics requirements, so one course can meet two requirements
  • Being in a MPH degree program may give students a competitive edge for some of the dietetic internship opportunities
  • The dietetic internship can potentially satisfy requirements for both the required MPH practicum and capstone requirement

Dietetic Internship Eligibility

Those interested in completing both the MPH degree while also meeting requirements for the dietetic internship must complete certain courses before starting the MPH program, though two required courses may be completed during the MPH program.

To be completed PRIOR to beginning MPH program:

  • Principles of Human Physiology with Lab (BMS 300/302) – 1 semester of Physiology or two semesters of Anatomy/Physiology
  • 1 semester of General Chemistry with Lab (CHEM 107/108)
  • 1 semester of Biology with Lab
  • 1 semester of Organic Chemistry with Lab (CHEM 245/245)
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry (BC 351)
  • 1 semester of General Psychology – only required for those pursuing the dietetic internship

 Can be completed DURING MPH program:

  • 1 semester of 300-level Human Nutrition (FSHN 350)
  • 1 semester of Microbiology with Lab (MIP 300) – only required for those pursuing the dietetic internship

How to apply:

Interested individuals will apply to the MPH program in the Colorado School of Public Health through the online SOPHAS application portal. Please review our additional application instructions.

Did you previously complete a dietetics program (undergraduate or graduate) that qualifies you to apply for dietetic internships? If so, you should not indicate an interest in completing the dietetic coursework for dietetic internship eligibility in your SOPHAS application, as this would be redundant with your previous coursework.  Although individuals with a nutrition or dietetics background are welcome to apply to the Public Health Nutrition concentration, we encourage individuals with a nutrition or dietetics background to consider other concentrations. For example, someone interested in a broader wellness perspective could consider Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyles.  Someone interested in working internationally or with underserved populations could consider the Global Health and Health Disparities concentration.  All concentrations include general elective credits, which any ColoradoSPH course can count toward, so students in these other concentrations can also take classes in public health nutrition.  Which concentration is the best fit for you will depend on your career goals, and we are happy to discuss this with prospective students before applications are submitted. Our nutrition faculty can also assist any of our MPH students, whether or not they are pursuing eligibility for a dietetic internship, in navigating the dietetic internship search and application processes for those who are eligible.


Although each student’s individual academic plan will vary based on the dietetic course requirements that are completed before becoming a MPH student, sample plans for undergraduate nutrition majors and non-nutrition majors have been developed to assist you.