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Keith & Associates – University of Central Arkansas (KACAD) is a partnership between the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and Keith & Associates. It is designed to allow qualified students to earn the Master of Science degree from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and complete supervised experiential learning (SEL) supervised by Keith & Associates. Upon completion, graduates will receive a verification statement and be eligible to take the national registry exam to earn the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Credential. The expected program length is 16 months.


The program consists of 36 hours of graduate academic credit from UCA leading to the Master of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition Therapy.  The UCA master's degree program is 100% online and may be completed anywhere in the United States.  For more information about online learning at UCA click the link or see page 6 of the KACAD handbook.


There are 1,024 SEL hours in the program. Students are required to find their own sites and preceptors for 828 SEL hours. After notification of admission, the student’s proposed rotation schedule, preceptor, and facility information are due to KACAD on March 1 prior to the program starting in June.

A verification statement from a didactic program in dietetics is not mandatory for admission to KACAD as long as applicants have taken the required prerequisite courses, have a baccalaureate degree, and meet the requirements for admission to the graduate school at UCA.  


Students must apply to both the University of Central Arkansas for the program leading to the Master of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition Therapy and to KACAD for supervised practice hours a minimum of two months prior to the program start date. After notification of admission, the student’s proposed rotation schedule, preceptor, and facility information are due to KACAD a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the start date. Students from Kansas State University may be preselected and will be given priority and notified of acceptance within two weeks. 


Students are required to identify their own preceptors in the area in which they desire to do rotations.  KACAD screens and approves all preceptors and sites. An affiliation agreement is required for each facility, and the Keith & Associates legal department will execute the contracts on behalf of the student.

August Start Date

January Start Date

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UCA Course Descriptions

NUTR 5V15 NUTRITION SERVICES PRACTICUM (Variable credit: 1-6 credit hours.) Supervised experiential learning in the procurement, production, and distribution of nutrition services in health care facilities.


NUTR 5V17 COMMUNITY NUTRITION PRACTICUM (Variable credit hours: 1-6 credit hours.) Supervised experiential learning in community nutrition agencies.


NUTR 5V18 CLINICAL NUTRITION PRACTICUM (Variable credit hours: 1-6 credit hours.) Supervised experiential learning in the nutritional assessment, education, and counseling of hospitalized patients.


NUTR 5V30 ENTREPRENEURSHIP PRACTICUM (Variable credit hours: 1-6 credit hours.) Supervised experiential learning in leadership and management skills in a nutrition business setting. Prerequisite: Admission to KACAD ACEND accredited future graduate program.


NUTR 5324 NUTRITION ASSESSMENT An overview of nutrition assessment techniques including dietary, biochemical, anthropometrical, and clinical with emphasis on nutrition needs in disease states.


NUTR 6308 TRENDS IN NUTRITION Recent developments in nutrition with emphasis on interpretation of the findings and application in family food.


NUTR 6313 DIET THERAPY Nutrition management through diet of persons with altered clinical conditions, such as diseases and metabolic disturbances.


NUTR 6335 NUTRITION COUNSELING The focus of this course is on theories of learning, motivational interviewing strategies, nutrition counseling skills, and the development of client educational programs. 


NUTR 6314 BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE NUTRITION PROFESSION The study and development of idea generation, opportunity recognition, value proposition, and management practices related to entrepreneurial ventures specific to the nutrition profession.


NUTR 5321 NUTRITION SERVICES ADMINISTRATION Food service operations relating to management principles, leadership development, methods of control, behavior change theory, and training of personnel.


FACS 6335  EVIDENCE-BASED RESEARCH IN NUTRITION   A study of the use of systematically reviewed scientific evidence in making food and nutrition practice decisions.


FACS 6350 STATISTICAL METHODS IN FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES Students will develop knowledge of and skills in using statistical methods, matching statistical methods to research designs, using computer software to conduct appropriate statistical analyses, and interpreting and reporting findings.

 Supervised Experiential Learning during Practicums

Orientation – “Livin’ on Tulsa Time" - 20 hours

This is training to prepare you for your rotation sites.  It includes professional development, clinical skills training, SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, & Recommendation) & AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation & Thank- You) communication techniques, HIPPA training, and much more.

Foodservice Practicum – 240 hours

Food and its preparation are at the foundation of training for dietitians.  This rotation will provide you with hands-on experience in all parts of a foodservice system.  You will complete assignments to gain an application of procurement, receiving, storage, preparation and service.  Some of the assignments you will complete during this rotation include employee training, theme meal or menu development.  

Clinical I Practicum – 116 hours

During your clinical I rotation, you will develop your clinical skills before going on-site for your Clinical II experience.  These assignments will allow you the opportunity to improve your MNT knowledge and critical thinking skills to be well-prepared for your rotation.  

  • Clinical case studies​

  • TF/ TPN Practice

  • Nutrition presentation skills

  • Disease-specific summary sheets

  • Clinical terminology & application review 

Clinical II Practicum – 320 hours

During your clinical rotation, you will be performing the nutrition care process using evidence-based practice.  Required conditions to practice during your clinical rotation include:

  • Overweight/ obesity

  • Endocrine disorders

  • Cancer

  • Malnutrition

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Gastrointestinal disease

  • Renal disease

During the clinical rotation, assignments will include self-evaluations & preceptor evaluations to assess your strengths and areas to improve your overall clinical skills.  Another assignment our students enjoy doing is the nutrition topic study report.  This is a topic decided between the preceptor and student on a nutrition topic issue that is new or controversial.  The student does further research and study about the topic to improve knowledge & practice for the student, preceptor, and facility.

Community Practicum  – 128 hours

  • Infants

  • Children

  • Adolescents

  • Adults

  • Pregnant/ lactating women

  • Elderly

During the community rotation, dietetic students will be able to practice the nutrition care process with populations of diverse cultures and across the life cycle including:

Some of the assignments you will complete during this rotation include developing client education material or conducting a nutrition education & counseling session. 

Entrepreneurship Practicum – 200 hours

In this rotation, students will develop leadership and management skills in a variety of settings.  These skills you will be able to use in all areas of dietetic practice as you begin your career.  You will work with nutrition or other business professionals to develop social media and other business-related projects.

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Program Completion and Verification Statement

  • In order to graduate and receive a verification statement, students must:

  • Complete a minimum of 1024 total student experiential learning hours 

  • Finish all SEL assignments in the curriculum 

  • Meet each ACEND competency one or more times

  • Fulfill all financial obligations (have a $0 balance)

  • Be awarded Master of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition Therapy from the University of Central Arkansas

  • Submit an official University of Central Arkansas transcript with the MS degree in Dietetics and Nutrition Therapy posted on it. Note, that it often takes four to six weeks for the university to post the degree to the official transcript.

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