Professional Development Hours

Professional Development Hours

Professional Development Hours

Why are these hours required?

While classroom learning is essential, there are certain skills and knowledge that can only be obtained through outside experience.  Employers of our graduates tell us that practical experience outside of the classroom is essential for finding a good job in the field.  This kind of practical experience will also help you learn more about careers and figure out what you are good at and most interested in pursuing once you graduate.

Where do I submit the Professional Development Hours (PDH)?

You will be enrolled in this shell until you graduate.  It's where you document your Professional Development Hours (PDH).  These are hours you earn outside of regular class assignments that are part of your grade in four different courses in the major.  You will submit your PDH hours in the Assignments section of this course.  They will be reviewed and the total number of hours will be awarded for each assignment submission based on the hours you submitted.

What can I do to earn PDH?

There are two categories of hours you will earn:  1) Professional Experience and 2) Training and Certification.  Please see the modules in this Canvas shell that tell you what does (and doesn't) count for hours in each of these categories.

How does the submission and review system work?

To get credit for your hours, you must:  1)  Attach a form of documentation to show that you completed the hours.  This may be a copy of an email or letter that you received, a pay stub from your work, or a copy of a certificate that you received after finishing the activity.  In the Comment section, explain briefly what you did and how many hours you are requesting.  Submissions that do not have adequate documentation and explanations will be given a zero, with a request to resubmit them properly.

If you earn more hours than you need for one course, you may carry the extra hours forward into another course.  To do this, submit your documentation in the first course and explain in the Comment section how many hours you would like to apply toward that course grade.  Then submit the SAME documentation into the second course and explain in the Comment section how many hours you would like to apply toward the second course grade.  (To be very clear, you might also name the course where hours for this same activity were posted.)

How many PDH do I need to earn?

There are two different requirements, one set for those who are in the Dietetics track and a second set for those who are in the non-dietetics track.  This is due to the difference in the coursework between the two programs and the fact that Dietetics students also earn such a large number of hours as part of their Supervise Practice.

Non-Dietetics Track Requirements:

Before you are allowed to begin your Senior Internship, you must have documentation for 80 PDH, with at least 40 hours in Professional Experience and at least 20 hours in Training and Certification.  The remaining 20 hours may go into either category.  

You will take four courses where you will be required to earn 20 hours (from either category).  These hours will count toward your grade in the specific course.  See the Assignments for the list of courses and places where you will submit your hours toward the course.

You may not earn more than 20 hours for any single activity, such as a job in the field.  Even though you will likely work far more than 20 hours in your job, it can only count toward 20 PDH.  This is to ensure that you have a variety of professional experiences and certifications.

Dietetics Track Requirements:

A total of 40 PDHs prior to graduate with a M.S. for Dietetics students. You are required to accumulate 20 PDHs in each of the two major courses during foundational phase: Introduction to Nutrition Professions, and Health Behavior.  You will continue to obtain field experiences but collect Supervised Practice hours after you start the Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP).

A minimum number of 20 PDHs need to be earned from Professional Experience while 10 PDHs from Training and Certification. The remaining 10 hours can be earned from any category. You may not “double count” an activity. If you have applied them to one course grade, you may not apply the same hours to a second course grade.

You may not earn more than 15 hours for any single activity. For example, if you have a job as a diet aid in a nursing home, you will work there for far more than 20 hours. The most you can count from that job is 15 hours, though. If you leave that job and take a different job in the field, you may earn 15 hours from the new job. This rule is in place to ensure that students gain a variety of professional experiences and training.

What if I have questions?

If you are unsure whether an activity will count for hours or not, please ask ahead of time.  You can start by asking your course instructor.  You can also ask the Program Coordinator, Professor Libby Tenison, at or Dr. Dylan Klein at