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Study Dietetics with us

Most of New Zealand’s dietitians begin their careers as science majors in high school before studying for a BSc (minimum 3 yrs) in Human Nutrition or BAppSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition with minors in Supplementary Nutritional Science and Foodservice Management (minimum 3.5 yrs) at Otago University. We recommend Year 13 Chemistry, Biology and Statistics as a precursor to any of these degrees.

If you are studying a similar course at another University and are interested in becoming a dietitian, contact our Dietetics Course Advisor with details of your academic record for specific advice on how to proceed.

View for the papers you will need to have completed to be eligible to apply for the Master of Dietetics or you will have been admitted to the University of Otago with the status of one who is entitled to proceed to the Masters.

Only citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand or Australia will be considered for places in this programme.

What is a Master of Dietetics?

The Master of Dietetics (MDiet) degree is an academic and professional dietetic course that prepares graduates to work as dietitians in New Zealand. This full time, two-year course encompasses specialist papers in clinical nutrition, public health, foodservice, professional skills, research thesis preparation, a block professional placement and a research project.

The Master of Dietetics programme is taught in Dunedin in the first year. Each week you will participate in lectures, clinical skills laboratories, small group sessions, and tutorials. You will also complete Early Learning in Dietetics practical experience placements with the Early Learning in Dietetics tutors in hospital, community, public health and foodservice environments. The second year consists of one semester of professional placements and one semester of research in one of a number of centres.

The MDiet course consists of six papers:

HUND 471 Clinical Nutrition 30 points
HUND 472 Public Health Dietetics 20 points
HUND 473 Food Service Management 20 points
HUND 475 Applied Dietetics 20 points
HUND 477 Professional Placement 60 points
HUND 5A and HUND 5B Master of Dietetics Thesis 90 points

The MDiet is structured in two sequential parts:

Year One: Five papers HUND 471, HUND 472, HUND 473, HUND 475 and HUND 5A
Year Two: HUND 477 and HUND 5B, which run in two blocks in the second year of study

Note: A candidate must pass all the papers in Year One and also demonstrate the required level of professional behaviour before proceeding to Year Two.

Application process

Entry to the Master of Dietetics programme is competitive and based on academic record in 300-level Human Nutrition papers (or equivalents). A good standard of performance in 300-level Human Nutrition and Food Service papers is expected, generally a B+ average. You will also be required to submit a brief CV (3 pages maximum) and supply two referee reports.

Only citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand or Australia will be considered for places in this programme.

Admission to the Master of Dietetics is granted by the Divisional Admissions Committee, who meet in early December to review applications. Applicants are advised of the outcome following this meeting. Successful applicants may not defer their offer of a place to later years.


Applications for the MDiet are completed online via the University of Otago “APPLY NOW” box on the University of Otago website.

Using the eVision student portal link, you will need to proceed through the different application steps, making sure that all of the mandatory areas (i.e. those marked by red*) within each section are completed before proceeding onto the next section of the application.

Māori and Pacific Island students

• Applicants who identify as Māori are invited to also submit a Maori Dietetic Application.
• Applicants who identify as a Pacific Islander are invited to also submit a Pacific Origins Dietetic Application.

If you are applying as a Māori or a Pacific Island application, then you will need to upload the additional information needed into the "Other Supporting Information" section of the application.

English as a second language

When English is not your first language, evidence of proficiency in both written and spoken English, as demonstrated in a recent Academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificate, is required as part of the application. An IELTS with an overall band of 7.5 or above, with a band of at least 7 in the four individual components of listening, reading, writing, and speaking is required in order to become registered as a Dietitian in New Zealand.

Immunity status

Health professionals are required to take steps to ensure they neither acquire infections from their patients nor transmit infections to patients.

All applicants that accept a place in the Master of Dietetics Programme will be required to provide evidence of their serology status for health-related illnesses. Immunity testing arrangements will be provided to applicants that are offered a place in the programme, ahead of the start of the programme.

Children's Act 2014 safety checks

The Children's Act 2014 is aimed at providing better protection for children. One of the ways it aims to do this, is by introducing 'safety checking'.

All applicants applying for a place in the Master of Dietetics programme will be required to complete a Children's Act 2014 safety check. This check will involve identity verification, New Zealand Police vetting, reference checking, an interview and a risk assessment.

State registration

Dietitians wishing to practise in New Zealand must, by law, be registered with the Dietitians Board of New Zealand and hold a current Annual Practising Certificate.
For New Grads:
Upon successful completion of the Master of Dietetics you are eligible to apply to the New Zealand Dietitians Board for registration as a New Zealand Registered Dietitian (NZRD).

For overseas and other trained Dietitians:

Overseas-trained dietitians who wish to become a New Zealand Registered Dietitian should apply to the New Zealand Dietitians Board, who will assess their eligibility for registration in New Zealand. New Zealand Dietitians Board