So, You Want to be a Dietitian?

The only way to become a dietitian, in Australia, is to complete an accredited program, which is usually a Masters Degree. More information about this can be found on the DAA website.

Some things you might want to ask yourself before applying:

Am I willing and able to commit to full time study for the duration of my degree?

The Master of Dietetics is only offered as an on campus, full time degree. You can expect to be busy Monday to Friday while at uni and placements are undertaken in a full time capacity. As such, your capacity to undertake paid work will be very limited.

Am I willing to travel to placements?

Travel times up to an hour each way are considered normal for placements. Some placements can also be undertaken in rural Victoria. Any costs associated with these such as transport and living expenses are the responsibility of the student.

Am I willing to spend significant time in full time, unpaid, placement positions?

Placement lengths vary between courses but are all at least several weeks in duration. For example, Deakin students can expect to be on full time placement for up to 10 weeks at a time.

Am I in a good financial position?

There are many expenses that you will encounter at the beginning of the course. These range from vaccines, to books, to business attire (for placements) and these can quickly add up. You may need to set out a budget before beginning the course, so you can monitor your in comings and outgoings.

The nitty-gritty

Three universities in Victoria offer a Master of Dietetics program: Deakin, Monash and La Trobe. You will need at least a distinction (70%) average to be considered for these courses. Aiming for a mid 70 average is a good idea as just getting a 70 or 71% average is unlikely to guarantee you a place.

I strongly recommend either volunteering or gaining some work experience in the industry. Entry into a Masters degree is highly competitive, so you want to distinguish your self from all the other candidates. I’ll be posting more information on the ways you can get involved.

Let’s look at each course in a little more detail.

Deakin University

H718 Master of Dietetics – 18 months

Receives about 200 applications every year, and offers about 45 domestic places with 3 to 5 places available for international students.

Anyone who has completed a relevant degree (nutrition, health science, exercise science) is welcome to apply. However, there are a lot of pre-requisite subjects, so it’s important that you make sure you have completed them all.

Application requirements:

  • Relevant bachelor degree with a minimum distinction (70%) average
  • Four units of Food Science
  • Two units of Biochemistry (two units of chemistry are pre requisites to these)
  • At least two units of Physiology at second year or higher
  • First year must be contain bioscience

Selection Process

Scores and ranks applicants out of 100. Applications are scored based on academic performance, whether an honors year has been taken, and work experience.

  • Grades are worth 60% of your score
  • Significant work experience/voluntary work counts for 20%
  • With honors making up the remaining 20%

You will need to apply online at the uni’s website. You will need:

  • A Certified copy of degree and transcript
  • To complete an application template, available for download
  • A personal statement detailing why you would be suited for dietetics
  • A CV outlining any relevant work experience
  • If you have worked, either in a paid or voluntary capacity, you will need to provide certified proof of this. This can be a simple letter from your employer
  • Change of name (certified) documents if you have changed your name

Monash University

M6002 Master of Dietetics- 2 years

Has recently changed from a combined nutrition/dietetics undergraduate degree to a Masters degree, which will start mid 2015. You should note that 3rd year graduate entry into the undergraduate degree is no longer available.

A credit (60%) average is needed in order to be accepted as well as:

  • Undergraduate Bachelor’s degree
  • 2nd year level of human biochemistry (unclear how many subjects)
  • 2nd year level of human physiology
  • 1 subject of any year level of food/nutrition. A second food/nutrition subject is desirable (ie food science, nutrition, science, lifespan nutrition)
  • 1 subject of any year level of research methods (for example statistics & epidemiology or data)
  • You’ll also need to fill out a supplementary form, which requires you to answer many dietetic related questions such as “why would you make a good dietitian” and “describe your food philosophy”

La Trobe University

ME (HMDP) Master of Dietetic Practice – 2 years

Once again, entry into this course is very competitive. There is less information available about their selection process, however a distinction average is still required. You will need to download the supplementary form from their website. Filling it out involves showing you have all the relevant subjects and briefly describing why you want to be in this course. La Trobe also requires character references. They ask for at least one, but not more than two. References are asked to provide a written reference about your suitability for dietetics and to score you against a number of criteria.

You will need to apply online at the uni’s website. You will need:

  • A Certified copy of degree and transcript
  • Completed copy of supplementary form- references are needed here
  • Any other documents that might be useful in your application. (A CV might be useful)

If you don’t get into any of these courses, there are opportunities to gain more experience. You might consider undertaking an honors year for example or do some volunteering. If you don’t get accepted the first time you apply, don’t be disheartened you can always apply the following year.

* Please note that this information is correct as of May 2015. It may change, so please do check with each institution before applying. I have not included any specifics on the units required for each course, I recommend speaking to a course adviser about this.

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