The Program Philosophy
What is the purpose of the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics program?
The MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics is a course-based, professional Master’s program that allows students to complete an advanced degree in addition to an accredited program of practical dietetics training, allowing graduates to apply for registration as Dietitians in Canada.
What is meant by “systems thinking”? Can you give an example?
Systems thinking strives to see dietetics beyond the traditional silos of clinical, community and food service. A systems approach takes into account thinking from the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. One healthcare example is in interprofessional (IPE) care and education. IPE engages students in learning opportunities that enhance their knowledge of the roles of other health professionals in providing care to the client. By understanding the bigger picture, individuals have a greater opportunity to be more efficient and effective in their own role.
What is the intent of an integrated approach to dietetics?
The intent of using an integrated approach to dietetics in the MPH program is to provide students with a solid understanding of the standards of practice in community, clinical and management settings. By developing expertise in nutrition practice from a wide range of perspectives within the health system, from disease prevention to palliation, graduates of the program will be better able to meet the changing health landscape. As new dietitians they will be prepared to work across sectors, collaborate with others and think critically about solutions to complex challenges. The overall aim of the MPH in Nutrition and Dietetics is to foster a critical perspective that enables graduates to apply transferable skills across a range of practice settings.
How can I become more informed about clinical public health and systems thinking?
Here are suggested readings discussing these topics:
- Frenk, Julio et al. (2010). Health professionals for a new century: transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. The Lancet, 376 (9756), 1923 – 1958.
- Supplement. (2013). Is Public Health Ready to Participate in the Transformation of the Healthcare System? Healthcare Papers, 13(3).
- Watch this video by Dr. Aaron Orkin where he explains the advantages of clinical public health: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocj2wIPBu6U
The Program Content
How long is the program for the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics?
The regular program, which includes the dietetic practical training to be eligible for registration with a Canadian dietetic regulatory college, is generally 20 months, starting in September. This includes 24-weeks of practicum, typically in the winter/spring/summer terms of year 1.
What are some of the practica opportunities for students?
The MPH Nutrition and Dietetics program has many valuable partners who provide experiential learning and placement opportunities for students. These areas include health care organizations across the continuum of care (e.g. University Health Network), public health, community health centres, not-for-profit organizations, government departments and agencies, food industry and other private sector organizations.
How much time do I spend in experiential learning and practica?
Students will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning through both foundations of practice courses and practica. Foundations of Practice courses introduce students to dietetic practice in various settings and support competency development through experiential and practice-based learning. Students will complete 2 practica to develop competence in all areas of dietetic practice competencies.
Will I have opportunities to advance my skill set in a specific area of dietetic practice?
Students will develop transferable skills that they can apply within the settings that interest them. All students will have opportunities to develop entry-level competencies across the spectrum of dietetic practice.
Why does the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics program require such extensive practicum work, when other MPH programs only require 8-12 weeks?
The MPH Nutrition & Dietetics program meets the accreditation requirements of the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP), including a minimum number of practical training hours. These are met through the 24+ weeks in practicum placement plus additional practical course work.
What is the difference between the MPH-Nutrition and Dietetics “regular” and Advanced Standing programs?
The “regular” program prepares students for admission to the dietetic profession by providing dietetic practical training. Advanced Standing students are not preparing for admission to the dietetic profession in Canada. The MPH Nutrition & Dietetics Advanced Standing program is option for those who are currently registered dietitians, and who will have been practising for at least five (5) years at the time of their program registration. The Advanced Standing program recognizes the significant learning these candidates have done in the course of their professional work and allows them to complete the MPH degree requirements in a shorter amount of time. There is also no provision in the Advanced Standing program to prepare graduates to apply for registration as Dietitians in Canada.
How are placements arranged for the Nutrition and Dietetics students?
We have a faculty member dedicated to the placement of our students into practical learning environments that will help them meet their dietetic competency requirements and expand personally relevant learning. Students are not encouraged to find their own placements, as the Toronto-area has several dietetic training programs and we collaborate to ensure all students get access to the supervised-experiences they need.
What funding is available to students in the MPH-Nutrition and Dietetics program?
We guarantee a stipend for students in our unpaid placements. Further, our students have access to a variety of awards and bursaries:
- Our applicants are all encouraged to apply for an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and we regularly have students who have been successful in earning one of these awards.
- Each year we have incoming students who receive a Dalla Lana Scholarship Merit Award.
- We have several awards that are exclusively for the MPH-Nutrition and Dietetics program.
Can I work while I’m in the program?
Many students work during the program, both on and off-campus. We ask for students to consider that:
- The program is demanding, so time management may be a challenge with work for pay.
- The program course requirements vary from term to term and will require flexibility on the part of employers.
- Students completing the MPH: Nutrition & Dietetics program on a Study Permit should review the website and/or contact the Centre for International Experience regarding their eligibility to work while studying in Canada.
What preparation do I need to apply for the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics?
You need to have completed, within the last three (3) years, a nutrition and dietetics undergraduate program that is accredited by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP) or its equivalent, and then submit the required application package, including all elements specified for the MPH Nutrition & Dietetics program on the Dalla Lana School of Public Health website.
If I send you my documents, can the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics Program faculty evaluate whether my undergraduate preparation is “equivalent” to a PDEP-accredited undergraduate program?
We are not able to evaluate non-accredited programs to determine their equivalence to a PDEP-accredited program. If you did not graduate from a PDEP-accredited undergraduate program, but feel your program is similar, you may to reach out to a Canadian dietetic regulatory college for assessment of your academic credentials. We are most familiar with assessment statements from the College of Dietitians of Ontario.
My Canadian undergraduate degree is not from a PDEP-accredited program in Nutrition & Dietetics. What do I need to do to apply to the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics program?
If you have a Canadian undergraduate degree that is not from a PDEP-accredited program in Nutrition & Dietetics, then to be eligible for our program, it is likely you will need to apply to a PDEP-accredited program in Nutrition & Dietetics and complete any required work they do not feel was addressed by your undergraduate program. For most candidates, this involves a couple of years of additional undergraduate study. With that work complete, you would need to submit the required application package, including all elements specified for the MPH Nutrition & Dietetics program on the Dalla Lana School of Public Health website.
I completed a PDEP-accredited program several years ago. What do I need to apply to the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics program?
If you graduated from a PDEP-accredited program in Nutrition & Dietetics more than three (3) years ago, then to be eligible for our program we recommend you contact the College of Dietitians of Ontario and inquire about writing the Knowledge and Competence Assessment Tool (KCAT) exam. We accept a KCAT level 1 result for admission to our program. With that work complete, you would need to submit the required application package, including the KCAT results statement and all elements specified for the MPH Nutrition & Dietetics program on the Dalla Lana School of Public Health website.
My post-secondary training is from outside of Canada. Can I apply for the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics?
If your post-secondary training was completed outside of Canada (but not with a US system, ACEND accredited didactic or integrated program, which is recognized as equivalent to a PDEP-accredited program), you will need to contact a Canadian dietetic regulatory college for assessment of your program. We are most familiar with the assessment statements from the College of Dietitians of Ontario. You need to submit the college’s assessment of your international credentials along with your application package, including all elements specified for the MPH Nutrition & Dietetics program on the Dalla Lana School of Public Health website.
What do you look for in the application?
Your application package must be complete by the deadline, including all post-secondary transcripts, letter of intent, CV, and reference letters, as well as additional materials (such as regulatory college assessments, English Language Proficiency test score, etc.). What we are looking for specifically includes:
- Transcripts: Confirmation that the applicant has completed the required PDEP-accredited undergraduate program within the last three (3) years; evidence that the applicant meets at least the minimum requirement of the University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies (high B average in the final year of undergraduate study); evidence that the applicant shows particular strength in statistics and senior-level science and nutrition courses;
- CV: Evidence that the applicant has a strong work ethic and orientation to succeed in this program and as a dietitian; work or volunteer activities that demonstrate the applicant’s increasing confidence and responsibility; relevant awards or recognition;
- Letter of intent: Evidence that the applicant has researched the program and understands how it differs from other dietetic post-graduate programs; fit between the applicant’s learning and career objectives and the philosophy of the program;
- References: Evidence that the references are very familiar with the applicant’s work and can speak to the applicant’s ability to succeed in this program and in the dietetics field.
Do my application references need to be academic references?
While for many students, academic references are best positioned to speak to their capacity for success in a professional graduate program and in the field of dietetics, we do not require academic references. We accept references from academic or other professionals who can attest to your goals, abilities, and commitment.
What are you looking for in the letter of intent?
In up to 500 words (2 pages, double-spaced) please indicate the following:
- Your aspirations, learning goals and career plans.
- What impact you hope to have on the dietetic profession.
- How your experiences reflect the values of the MPH Nutrition and Dietetics Program.
Your complete letter of intent should not exceed 500 words.
Do you need to identify a supervisor and area of research focus before entering this program?
Since this is a course-based, professional Master’s program, there is no requirement for a supervisor or research focus in this program.
What type of volunteer experience is best for applicants to this program?
There is no one type of work or volunteer activities that are ideal in preparation for the MPH-Nutrition and Dietetics. We look for work and volunteer activities that demonstrate the applicant’s increasing capability and responsibility, and the confidence of the broader team in your efforts.
Are candidates interviewed?
Yes. After careful review of all applications, applicants will be selected for interviews. If you are selected for an interview, you will be notified by email.
How are the interviews for entry to this program structured?
In the past we have held telephone interviews, but in 2019 we tried the multiple mini interview format. We have had good success with both. We will be making a decision about our 2020 process in the next few weeks, and updating this information based on that decision. The following are tentative interview dates and are subject to change: February 27, February 28, and March 2, 2020.
How many students are accepted into the MPH-Nutrition & Dietetics program each year?
We have accepted 30 students into our regular (dietetic practical training) program in our last year. We do not anticipate a smaller class at entry in the next application cycle.
How will this program prepare me for the evolving health care system?
The changing health landscape calls for dietitians who are able to work across sectors, collaborate with other, and think critically about solutions to complex problems. This program helps students build important professional and leadership skills while encouraging integration of practice across community, management and clinical settings.
What types of jobs will this prepare me for?
By gaining a solid understanding of standards of practice in community, clinical and management settings, and developing essential leadership skills, graduates will play a pivotal role in the future of nutrition and dietetic practice. Graduates can expect to be employed in any work setting where nutrition professionals are employed; such as public health and government agencies, hospitals and community health centers, not-for-profit organizations and the food industry.