The Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics with a major in Nutritional Science prepares students to become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN). RDNs are food and nutrition experts, and work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, colleges, wellness programs and nursing homes as well as in public health agencies, the food industry, and research labs.
To effectively deliver relevant food and nutrition care and programming, future RDNs must seek to develop foundational knowledge and skills to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse society. Gaining awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity to the strong connection between food, nutrition, and culture is a life-long process. Studying abroad can provide an excellent foundation to begin broadening students’ worldview surrounding food beliefs, customs, and values, cultivating awareness and an inclusive attitude toward how food and nutrition is used and perceived across cultures.
Prospective Nutritional Sciences Students
For more information about the Nutrition and Dietetics degree, please visit the Nutritional and Dietetics Guide page. On this page, you will find major requirements, learning outcomes, the advisor contact, and more.
To gain background information about study abroad and the various programs available, attend the Study Abroad Fair on campus, visit the Program Search database on the UW Study Abroad website, and/or meet with the CALS Study Abroad advisors within the CALS Academic Affairs Office, Room 116 Agriculture Hall.
To discuss how studying abroad fits within your career or professional goals in relation to the completion of the Nutrition and Dietetics degree, please visit the CALS Career Services webpage to schedule an appointment with a CALS Career Advisor.
Nutrition and Dietetics Course Considerations Abroad
Nutrition and Dietetics students face challenges in finding coursework that counts as direct equivalents for our curriculum because of its inclusion of general chemistry, organic chemistry, introductory biology, anatomy and physiology, core nutrition classes, and a capstone requirement.
Other options for courses that could be fulfilled by courses abroad are breadth courses including social sciences, humanities, and the CALS International Studies requirement.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as a Nutritional Sciences Major
Students would be well served to start their first semester with general chemistry, or if they have chemistry completed, introductory biology. Winter break, Spring break, and Summer provide opportunities for students to travel abroad, especially if you are part of a FIG (First-Year Interest Group).
If your foundational coursework, especially chemistry, is completed your first year, studying abroad for a semester during the sophomore year is a strong possibility. If you are interested in studying abroad for a semester during sophomore year, the spring semester is recommended because most students take Chem 341 fall semester of sophomore year, a fall-only course.
Nutrition and Dietetics students typically aim to complete semester abroad experiences their junior year; however, there are important items to consider. If you are not considering matching to a dietetic internship, but have pre-health plans, summer of junior year is often the period when students take required admission tests for graduate programs (MCAT, PCAT, DAT, etc.). Please plan carefully with your advisor and the Centers for Pre-Health Advising to ensure your study abroad will complement and not conflict with your professional pathway.
Students who choose to complete semester study abroad experiences during their junior year have the option of doing so during the fall or spring semester. You will need to take Physiology 335 during your semester here at UW-Madison (or an approved transfer course) in order to be eligible for Nutr Sci 431 (Pre-Reqs: C or greater in Anat&Phys 335 and NS 332). Nutr Sci 431 is a Spring/Summer only course and a prerequisite for Nutr Sci 631 and Nutr Sci 641 which is taken fall semester of your senior year.
Depending on the study abroad program, you may be able to take Biochemistry 501 while abroad for a semester.
Winter break or Spring break programs are also great options and will likely not affect course sequencing or your professional timeline.
Nutrition and Dietetics students do not typically study abroad senior year because this when the year-long Clinical Nutrition sequence begins; students will also complete their Food Science coursework fall of senior year with the fall only courses, Food Sci 437. See senior year laid out in the four-year plan below.
Special Note for Nutrition and Dietetics Students:
Some courses within the four-year plan are taught at the same time during the week and therefore need to be taken in alternate semesters. These courses include: Nutr Sci 510, and Anat&Phys 335. Please plan accordingly and check with your Nutritional Sciences Advisor to make sure to avoid any scheduling conflicts.
Possible 4 Year Plan with a Semester Abroad
Math (if needed)
Anat & Phys 3352
STAT 301 or 3711
|Apply for ADI Status by 6/5
Gen Bus 3601 or 3101
General Education1/Social Science1/Humanities1
Gen Bus 3601 or 3101
1May be taken in different semesters. Please consult your academic advisor for planning options.
2Course will conflict if taken in the same semester as the following: Anat&Phys 335 and NS 510.
Questions to Ask
- What are my post-graduation plans (dietetic internship, PA or medical school, graduate school, work, etc.?)
- Do I intend to pursue any post-undergraduate education right away or take time off? This may influence when you take certain standardized tests, when you need to take certain prerequisite courses, and when study abroad is most feasible.
- What are my priorities for my undergraduate education – is it graduating in 4 years, studying abroad for a semester, completing multiple majors/certificates, being able to attend a dietetic internship right away (spring match or fall match)? Which of these are most important if it becomes difficult to fit everything in?
YOUR ACADEMIC ADVISOR
- What classes must I complete for my degree (breadth/depth, major requirements, etc.)?
- Do I need to be on UW-Madison’s campus for any courses in my major?
- How many electives do I have outside of my major?
- What kinds of courses abroad could count for Nutrition electives?
- What classes cause scheduling conflicts when planning?
- How do my goals (summer research experiences, starting a dietetic internship or graduate school, taking a gap year, etc.) fit in with my coursework and timeline?
YOUR STUDY ABROAD ADVISOR
- What classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- When will I know course equivalents for my program?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
Identifying Programs that are Right for You
The following are study abroad programs that may be of interest to students pursuing the Nutrition and Dietetics Degree. The programs below have various durations; others may not offer courses specific to the major, but may offer opportunities to complement your learning within nutrition and dietetics. If you do not have specific requirements you need to fulfill, you will have much more flexibility as to program type and location.
Australia: University of Queensland Exchange in Australia (Semester)
Austria: UW Obesity and Health in Austria* (Summer)
Costa Rica: UW Tropical Horticulture in Costa Rica* (Winter Intersession)
Czech Republic: Czech University of Life Sciences Exchange (Semester)
Denmark: University of Copenhagen Exchange (Semester or Year)
Ecuador: UW Wellbeing through Microenterprise and Environmental Stewardship in Ecuador* (Winter Intersession)
France: ISA Lille (Semester)
ESA Angers Exchange – International Food, Culture, & Agriculture Summer Program (Summer)
ISARA Lyon Exchange – Agroecology Summer School (Summer)
Ghana: UW Ghanaian Health & Food Systems: Human, Agricultural, & Environmental Health in Ghana* (Summer)
Japan: UW Food Systems and the Environment in Northern Japan* (Summer)
Mexico: UW Linking Agriculture and Nutrition in Mexico (Summer)
Nepal: UW Global Health, Community Health, and Health Disparity in Nepal* (Summer)
Netherlands: Wageningen University Exchange (Semester)
New Zealand: Massey University Exchange (Semester)
Sri Lanka: UW Global Health, Community Health, and Asset-Based Community Development in Sri Lanka* (Winter Intersession)
Sweden: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Exchange (Semester)
Tanzania: UW Health, Education, and Tanzanian Culture in Tanzania* (Summer and Winter Intersession)
Trinidad and Tobago: University of West Indies Exchange (Semester)
Uganda: UW Agriculture, Health, and Nutrition in Uganda* (Winter Intersession)
UW Mobile Clinics and Health Care in Uganda* (Summer)
*The programs indicated above with an asterisk (*) indicates that they meet the Global Health Field Experience Requirement for the Global Health Certificate. You can find additional public/global health-related programs on the Program Search.
Other Opportunities to consider:
- Internships or research in university, public, or private settings abroad (check out the International Internship Program)
- Studying something completely different and focusing on your major coursework while at UW-Madison (use the Program Search to identify programs by region, country, language of instruction, duration, or subjects taught) – there are many programs that may not be directly related to your major but may complement your studies by practicing a language, learning about another culture or region, or earning credit towards an additional major or certificate.
As a Nutrition and Dietetics student, it is imperative that you work with your academic advisor to determine the best time to study abroad. While Nutrition and Dietetics students have studied abroad in Fall, Spring, Winter Break, and Summer with a four year graduation, it requires careful planning.