Dietetic Practicum Program at Acadia University

Students aspiring to become Registered Dietitians (RD), referred to as Professional Dietitians (PDt) in Nova Scotia, must meet all the requirements mandated by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP).  The Acadia University Dietetic Practicum Program is an accredited professional education program. Entry is highly competitive and there is no guarantee of acceptance.  A maximum of 11 students per year are accepted for the two streams, integrated and  graduate. Graduates of the Practicum Program are eligible to practice as Registered Dietitians (RD or PDt) upon successful completion of the national registration exam (Canadian Dietetic Registration Exam [CDRE]).

Please note:

Only full-time Acadia University students in the BSN (Dietetics option) may apply for the Dietetic Practicum Program offered by Acadia. Students from programs other than Acadia University are not eligible.

About the Practicum

Since 1999, the faculty of the School of Nutrition and Dietetics and the dietitians of the Western Zone of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) have worked together to provide dietetic practicum students with many opportunities and learning experiences to meet the competencies required to complete the Program.  Entry to the Practicum Program is based on strong academic achievement, participation in course work, active involvement in volunteer activities, favourable references, and a positive interview. Dietetic practicum students are placed within the Western Zone of the NSHA. The Program involves rotations including the core areas of Nutrition Care, Management (food services and administration), and Population and Public Health. Long Term Care placements are also part of the Program. A practice-based research project and completion of a research seminar are required components of the practicum.

Students who meet the eligibility criteria have two opportunities to apply for the Acadia Dietetic Practicum Program.  Students may choose:

1. To apply to the Integrated Practicum stream in their third year of study:

  • Application is made in December/January of the third year of study.
  • 48 weeks in two Levels taken in two courses, NUTR 4033 and NUTR 4043.
  • Level 1 (NUTR 4033: 16 weeks, is completed from May to August between third and fourth year).  
  • Level 2 (NUTR 4043): 32 weeks, is completed between May and December after the fourth year of study.
  • Unsuccessful applicants to the Integrated Practicum stream who meet the eligibility criteria can reapply to the graduate stream in their final year of study.

2. To apply to the Graduate Practicum stream in their fourth year of study: 

  • Application is made in December/January of the final year of study.
  • 48 consecutive weeks consisting of two courses, NUTR 4033 and NUTR 4043, completed following the fourth year of study.
  • The courses are taken between September and August (with a two-week break in December).

Pre-requisites for application to both streams of the Acadia University Dietetic Practicum Program

  • must be a full-time student in the School of Nutrition and Dietetics for at least one full academic year prior to the application year, and be working towards the requirements of the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition (Dietetics option).  
  • a minimum GPA of 2.67.  
  • minimum grade of B- in all of: NUTR 1323 (Human Nutrition 2), NUTR 1343 (Food 2), NUTR 2013 (Principles of Nutritional Assessment), NUTR 2023 (Communications in Nutrition & Dietetics).

Application Process

  • An information session is given by the Dietetic Practicum Director every year in the fall. Information about all practicum options is provided and students interested in dietetics are encouraged to attend regardless of their year of study.
  • Application packages are emailed to all eligible students in October of each year.
  • Application components are due in December/January (date set annually).  
  • A Selection Committee of School of Nutrition and Dietetics faculty members and dietitians representing the Western Zone of the NSHA determine the short-list of applicants to be interviewed.  
  • Interviews are conducted in February.
  • Applicants are notified of the results of their interview by Prof. Judy Lowe, Practicum Coordinator.

Practicum Student Expectations

Students must meet the academic requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition (Dietetics option) to graduate from Acadia University (page 98).

Students admitted to the Acadia Dietetic Practicum Program are expected to maintain a 2.67 GPA, and achieve a minimum grade of C- in any remaining core courses. Failure to do so may lead to a review of acceptance to the practicum, and integrated students may be asked to leave the program.

Anticipated Expenses

  • Practicum students are considered to be full-time Acadia University  students, and they are required to pay tuition for Nutr 4033 and 4043.  Tuition fees are equivalent to two (3h) courses as set in the most current academic calendar. While they do not receive renumeration, practicum students are eligible for student assistance if they are residents of most Canadian provinces.
  • All expenses related to accommodation and transportation are the responsibility of the student.   Public transportation is limited in some areas of Western Nova Scotia.  There are placements which take place outside of the facility setting so dietetic practicum students must be willing and able to travel throughout Western Nova Scotia. 
  • Students are required to find accommodations near the facilities where their practicum is based: South West area (e.g., Yarmouth, Digby, Shelburne); Annapolis Valley area (e.g., Kentville, Middleton, Bridgetown, Annapolis Royal); South Shore area (e.g., Bridgewater, Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Shelburne). 

For more information on the Acadia University Dietetic Practicum Program, please contact:

Judy Lowe, Instructor and RD

Dietetic Practicum Program Coordinator

Telephone:  902-585-1367