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MSc (Applied) in Human Nutrition (Dietetics Credentialing)

In the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill, students with a B.Sc. from outside of Quebec may take a graduate degree in nutrition and then apply for the opportunity to take a Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing, upon completion of the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program. This Diploma allows the recipient to register and practice as a dietitian in Canada and is recognized internationally.  Note that this Diploma option is not open to those students with a B.Sc. from a Quebec university because the only Quebec programs recognized by L’Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ), for registration as a dietitian are the following:

  • B.Sc. (dietetics) from University of Laval
  • B.Sc. (nutrition) from University of Montreal
  • B.Sc. (nutritional sciences) (dietetics major) from McGill University.

The above restriction is in accordance with the Quebec “Code des professions”, section 1, article 1.06. In summary, students entering the McGill M.Sc. Nutrition program from a Quebec undergraduate degree are not eligible for the Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing.  


The intention to pursue the Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing must be stated with the application to Graduate and Post Doctoral Studies for the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program. If accepted into one of these Graduate Programs, the student’s academic record will then be assessed for potential eligibility for the Graduate Diploma.


Upon acceptance into a M.Sc. (thesis or non-thesis) or Ph.D., the Coordinator for the Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing will assess the student’s academic record and provide a list of required undergraduate courses that need to be passed before beginning the Diploma. This assessment will take into account previous courses which can replace those required, as well as those which may be taken during the graduate program. This assessment is based on the requirements of Dietitians of Canada (DC), the accreditation body for dietetics programs in Canada and L’Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ), which is the provincial regulatory body, whose mandate is to protect the public and ensure that practicing dietitians are appropriately qualified. The student will be notified of the results of this assessment in writing.

Taking required undergraduate courses

There are two main ways of taking the required undergraduate courses:

  • As a special student before beginning the graduate program (usually 1 or 2 semesters);
  • By taking graduate level equivalencies of those courses, which will count towards eligibility for the Diploma and will count towards the required 45 credits for graduation from the Masters program. For example, Nutritional Assessment (NUTR436)) can be replaced by Nutritional Status Assessment (NUTR602); Interviewing and Counseling (NUTR438) can be replaced by Helping Relationships (EDPC501).

Possible alternative courses can be discussed with the Academic Advisor for the Graduate Diploma in RD Credentialing.


Registration consists of three separate components:

  1. Online application to be a special student, if necessary, followed by registration in the appropriate courses. Call 514-398-7928 or studentinfo [dot] macdonald [at] mcgill [dot] ca for more information about the undergraduate admissions procedures.
  2. Online application, followed by registration, for the M.Sc. or Ph.D. Program.
  3. Online application for the Graduate Diploma in RD Credentialing. Even though the student has been admitted to the M.Sc. or Ph.D. Program on the understanding that the Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing will follow, a formal online application must be made once all pre-requisites are met, as this is a separate McGill program.

A student is not permitted to be registered in more than one program at a time. Therefore it is important that work is completed in one program before attempting to register for the next.

Important deadlines: thesis or project report submission

If the required undergraduate courses are complete and the Graduate Diploma is to begin immediately after the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program, the following application and thesis and project submission deadlines must be met.

Expected Start Date of Diploma/Stage

Date to Complete
On-Line Application for Graduate Diploma

M.Sc. Applied Deadlines

M.Sc. Thesis Deadlines


Fall (September)

March 1st (Int’l)
May 15th (Canadian)

Project submitted to examiners by June 15th,  final presentation and courses completed with a final grade by July 1st

Initial submission of thesis to the Thesis Office by June 15th and courses completed by the end of the summer semester.

Winter (January)

Sept 1st (Int’l)
Oct  15th (Canadian)

Project submitted to examiners by October 1st  and final presentation and courses completed by December 10th .

Initial submission of thesis to the Thesis Office by October 1st and courses completed by December 10th.

Summer (May)

Dec 31st (Int’l)
Mar 1st  (Canadian)

Project submitted to examiners by February 4th, final presentation and courses completed by April 14th.  

Initial submission of thesis to the Thesis Office by February 4th and courses completed by April 14th.  

Note: Note: Should the project or thesis not receive a passing grade, the start of the Diploma Program will be delayed by a semester.

An application to join L’Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ) must be made at least four months before the beginning of the Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing, to allow time for the Admissions Committee to meet and communicate their decision to the applicant. The Diploma cannot be taken without the approval of OPDQ. This procedure is required in order to ensure that academic requirements are met and to obtain a “Carte de Stage”, which allows students to carry out reserved acts during the Diploma Stage.


During the Graduate Program (M.Sc. or Ph.D.), the course NUTR513 (Credentialing in Dietetics) must be taken. This course can count as 3 credits towards the graduate degree, upon approval of the student’s supervisor. NUTR513 prepares the student for the Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing by providing an opportunity to become familiar with the resources to be used in the Diploma Program.

The Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing consists of a total of forty weeks of Stage (internship) made up of five components. The usual pattern is as follows:

  1. NUTR 612 Grad Prof Pract 2 Management (8 credits) - 10 weeks
  2. NUTR 613 Grad Prof Pract 3 Clin Nutr (14 credits) - 14 weeks (two 7-week components)
  3. NUTR 614 Grad Prof Pract 4 Comm Nutr (8 credits) - 10 weeks
  4. NUTR 513 Credentialing in Dietetics 2 weeks
  5. Equivalency granted for practicum competency - 4 weeks within MSc research (clinical)

Each Stage component may be divided into several rotations, in order to give the student varied practice and to tailor Stage to the student’s special interests.

Scheduling of Stage

To allow for adequate planning, a letter is required from the student’s supervisor to the Coordinator of the Graduate Diploma in R.D. Credentialing, indicating the date at which the student will submit his or her thesis to the Thesis Office or project report to examiners. This must be signed by the student and the student’s supervisor and submitted 6 months before the student wishes to begin the Diploma Program. Stage will be scheduled for two complete and consecutive semesters of 17 weeks each. Typically this will be:

  • Semester 1: 10 weeks of Foodservice Management and 7 weeks of Clinical Nutrition.
  • Semester 2: 10 weeks of Public and Community Nutrition and 7 weeks of Clinical Nutrition.

The School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition is responsible for organizing and securing placement sites and rotations for Stage. We plan both undergraduate and graduate Stages, and these occur in the same sites throughout the year. A total of close to one thousand rotations are scheduled per year. While every effort is made to accommodate students’ preferences, the top priority lies in securing placements and rotations for all eligible students. The placement schedules are drafted approximately 3 to 6 months in advance of each semester, and are tentative and subject to change. Confirmations and changes can occur at the last moment. 


All health professionals in Quebec are required to have appropriate knowledge of the French language in order to be issued a permit to practice. Among the McGill teaching hospitals, approximately 40 to 60 % of patients speak French, and have the right to service in French. In many food service rotations, French is the language used for both written and verbal communication. If a student is not functional in French, the opportunities to participate may be limited and the number and type of rotations available will be limited.

Commencement of the Diploma Stage

Graduate Diploma students are normally scheduled for Stage in two consecutive semesters of 17 weeks each, starting in Fall or Winter. Students may request which semester they would like to commence, but the School reserves the right to determine the first semester for each student.  Factors considered can include the following:

  • If it appears that a student may not be allowing sufficient time between final submission of their Masters work and commencement of the Graduate Diploma Stage, then the School may decide to delay the start of the Stage by one semester. This may arise because there is uncertainty that the final submitted Masters work will be satisfactory or uncertainty that it will be completed and evaluated on time.
  • If too many Diploma students wish to commence in the same semester, then the School reserves the right to spread the number of Diploma students more evenly between semesters. Those finishing their Masters earlier and/or those with strong French language skills may be scheduled to start sooner. If students have particular requests which can best be met in particular semester, this will also be taken into consideration.

Scheduling and special placements for Stage

In addition to our regular placement sites in Montreal and the surrounding area, some special placements may be available. Generally speaking, the task of scheduling students for these rotations is shared between Maureen Rose (Graduate Diploma Coordinator) and Sandy Phillips (Undergraduate Program Coordinator) as follows:

  • Montreal and surrounding areas placement sites: Sandy Phillips.
  • Quebec McGill Retention/Training Project: in regions of Quebec serving an Anglophone minority (financial assistance available, strong French required): Sandy Phillips/Angel Ong.
  • Out of province placement sites, in other provinces in Canada, usually for the Community rotation: Sandy Phillips. Flexibility of location required, see below.
  • Sodexo foodservice opportunities in remote regions of Quebec and Canada (travel/financial assistance available): Maureen Rose.
  • Barbados (mostly for community placements, possible clinical nutrition or food service): Maureen Rose. Self-financing required.
  • Ghana , Africa (community rotation only): Maureen Rose. Self-financing.
  • Other international opportunities (community/clinical nutrition): Maureen Rose. Some may be funded.
  • United States and other countries:  By exception, Maureen Rose may consider making requests in other countries for you, but in general these are rarely done due to the high amount of administrative complications.

Note that Quebec has “reserved acts” for dietitians. Quebec legislation requires each intern to have a “Carte de Stage” to show that they have permission to do the Stage in Quebec. No one from any other university (a university located in a different province or country) is allowed to do internship rotations in Quebec. In other words, it is the University program and its location that tends to be most important in determining the location of the internship (Stage). Students who choose to attend McGill University to do their Graduate Diploma in RD Credentialing should expect that all or most placements/rotations will be in Quebec. It is by exception that placements occur in other provinces.

Stage placements in other provinces of Canada

Students who have their permanent residence in another province, often wish to do part of their Stage in their home province. Other provinces in Canada have their own internship programs, and very often there is either very limited or no capacity for “outside” or “visiting” interns from another program such as McGill. This is especially true in the large centers like Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, etc, where placements are difficult to obtain, i.e. there is a shortage and McGill interns may be blocked at an administrative level.  Individual dietitians in those cities may be willing to take a McGill student, but the organization’s administration cannot allow it for a variety of reasons.

If you wish to request a placement in a Canadian province, other than Quebec, please note the following:

  • You need to provide information about your request, and your electronic CV, to Sandy Phillips. You may suggest possible placement sites and may provide contact e-mails or phone numbers for dietitians at those sites. Please remember that you are not allowed to attempt to organize the placement yourself; you are only allowed to obtain placement contact information.  (If it is a site that we have been to in the past, Sandy may already have the placement contact information; check with her if you are not sure).
  • You should request a copy of your immunization information from the McGill health nurse. Additional vaccinations may be required by the host site, if placement is confirmed.
  • You need to have a permanent address in the Province you are requesting. The address and phone number must be provided to us.
  • You need to indicate your possible methods of transport in the province, and how much flexibility you have within the province for a variety of towns/locations.
  • You need to have a back-up plan of where you will live if the placement cannot be obtained in that province, i.e. if you must be in Montreal.
  • You will need to obtain a “Vulnerable persons” Police check at your home town Police station. It needs to have been done within 6 months of the planned placement.
  • You will need to be flexible, as confirmations can be quite last minute. Once a site/rotation is confirmed, then you cannot change your mind, the rotation must occur.

Ontario: The situation in Ontario is currently going through changes, and it is likely that more integrated programs will start to exist in Ontario in the near future (at the moment only University of Ottawa has an integrated program). Until now, some rotations have been available in Ontario, particularly in smaller towns, upon request. It is difficult to predict how this will change over the next years, and at this point requests are made one by one and we wait for the response, i.e. there is no guarantee of confirmation.

British Columbia, Alberta: These two provinces are in high demand as many persons want to move there. In central areas like Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, and Edmonton it is very difficult to obtain any rotations. Normally only community rotations may be possible and, if they can be obtained, they are only of 2 to 4 weeks duration maximum.  In more remote areas of British Columbia, we have occasionally been successful in getting rotations, though even in remote regions it can be difficult.  The Alberta program uses its remote regions quite extensively, so any region of Alberta tends to be difficult.

Maritimes, Manitoba, Saskatchewan: Students should expect to travel, and should expect that smaller locations would be more likely to receive visiting interns from McGill than the larger towns. Requests are done on a one-by-one basis. In New Brunswick we have an existing agreement with the Horizon Health Network.

Placements outside of Canada 

There are opportunities for Stage rotations in Barbados and Ghana and occasionally in the USA, though the last is less likely due to administrative complexities and will only be considered under exceptional circumstances.

If you wish to be considered for Barbados or Ghana, or other international placements, note that:

  • You must contact Maureen Rose to indicate your interest.
  • There is a selection process and consideration for such a placement depends on academic grades, performance in prior rotations, previous experience (a CV is required) and possibly a selection interview.
  • Additional vaccinations and a visa may be required.

You will need to confirm that you have the necessary finances and show evidence of having the appropriate attitude and level of maturity to work in a distance

If Stage components NUTR612, NUTR613, and NUTR614 are not completed within two semesters, due to a student’s late submission of a thesis or project report, or extensive revisions required, or at the student’s own request for personal reasons, additional fees may be incurred.


The student must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 at the time of applying for the Graduate Diploma in RD Credentialing.



Tuition fees and student fees are charged according to the McGill fee schedule for the number of credits indicated for each component of the Diploma Program. In addition, for each component, there is a Stage fee of $75.00 for the Stage manual and other Stage related expenses and a one time fee of $15.00 for a McGill identification pin, which must be worn at all times during Stage.

Health record

In order to participate at practice placement centres, students must undergo testing and vaccinations considered necessary by McGill Health Services. It is the student’s responsibility to contact Health Services to see what is necessary and ensure that this is done.  


It is the student’s responsibility to apply to graduate (online) at the appropriate time. This ensures that your transcript will indicate completion of the Diploma and that you will not be charged further fees.

Student agreement

Student will be required to sign a student agreement outlining plans for completion of the Diploma and confirming that these guidelines have been read and understood.

Meetings with the Graduate Diploma Coordinator

During the M.Sc. or Ph.D. Program, students are required to meet with the Diploma Program Coordinator, at least once per semester, to update the record of courses required to be eligible for the Diploma Program and to reconfirm the start date for the Diploma.

Download the document: 2012 Graduate Diploma in RD Credentialing