In order to become a Registered Dietitian, you must have a bachelor's degree and must complete the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) coursework that provides the foundational knowledge and skills required by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These courses must be completed at an accredited program such as at Immaculata University. Once the coursework is completed, meeting all program requirements, you will be issued a Verification Statement by your program director. You must then apply for and be accepted into an accredited Dietetic Internship program. Following completion of the internship, you must pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians in order to be credentialed as a Registered Dietitian.
If I already have an undergraduate degree, do I have to get another bachelor’s degree in dietetics in order to become an R.D.?
It is not necessary to obtain a second undergraduate degree in dietetics. However, it is necessary to complete coursework that constitutes a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), such as the Dietetics Program at Immaculata University. Previous coursework may fulfill some of the DPD coursework.
The Dietetics Program at Immaculata University can be completed through three different options.
- Option 1 is for students who have never completed a bachelor’s degree. The program can be completed entirely at the undergraduate level. The traditional undergraduate program leads to a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics.
- Option 2 is for students who have a bachelor’s in another field and want to pursue an R.D. without getting a graduate degree. The program can be completed for the Didactic Program requirements to become a Registered Dietitian. No official degree is awarded, but students will receive a Verification Statement of program completion by the Didactic Program director at the end. A Verification Statement is needed to apply for dietetic internships.
- Option 3 is for students who have a bachelor’s in another field and want to earn a master’s in nutrition education as well as an R.D. The Didactic Program in Dietetics can be completed while fulfilling some graduate-level prerequisites (meaning some of the DPD courses can be taken for graduate-level credit). Immaculata University offers a master’s degree in nutrition education.
Refer to the Steps for Becoming a Registered Dietitian for programs of study.
No. Approximately half of R.D.s hold master’s degrees, which may be in a variety of different disciplines, including nutritional science, public health, health education, exercise physiology, business, and psychology. Although a master’s degree is not currently required by the AND, one may be preferred or required for certain positions. R.D.s with master’s degrees may be more competitive for jobs and may earn higher salaries.
If you are enrolling as a traditional undergraduate student at Immaculata University, you can major in nutrition and dietetics and complete the degree in four years. This degree combines the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' 2012 Eligibility Requirements and Accreditation Standards for Didactic Programs in Dietetics and Immaculata University’s liberal arts core requirements.
If you have an undergraduate degree in another discipline, the amount of time it will take to complete the courses will vary based on your previous coursework and the number of credits you take each semester. The Didactic Program director can assist you in developing a plan to ensure you meet all program requirements.
No. Some general program requirements may be taken via distance education through a community college and transferred to Immaculata University. However, permission and approval of the course from the program director is required prior to enrolling.
Does the Dietetics Program at Immaculata offer any courses at night, on the weekends, or by independent study?
Immaculata University Dietetics Program does offer courses at night, but not on weekends. Since a majority of our students are “career changers,” we try to offer required courses at night on a rotating basis. However, we do not guarantee that all courses will fit into this evening sequence during any one student’s program of study. Some of the non-nutrition prerequisites can be completed at a local community college where courses are offered at more flexible times. However, in most cases, all FNU or NED must be completed at Immaculata University. Requests for independent study courses will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Is it possible to take the coursework for the Dietetics Program at Immaculata University on a part-time basis?
Yes. Advisors can set up a program of study for you to ensure you meet all program requirements regardless of full-time or part-time status.
If you are a first-time freshman or a transfer student who has not yet completed an undergraduate degree, visit the College of Undergraduate Studies for application information.
If you are a “career changer” and already have an undergraduate degree, you can apply through the College of LifeLong Learning as a special (non-degree seeking) student. The special student category is generally appropriate for students with only a few dietetics classes to take. Most students who are fulfilling R.D. prerequisites begin in the College of LifeLong Learning and then bridge over to the graduate Nutrition Education program, which involves a separate application process.
If I complete my DPD courses at Immaculata, will I automatically be accepted into the Immaculata University’s Graduate Dietetic Internship?
No. For more information on increasing the likelihood of your acceptance into a Dietetic Internship, please refer to the downloadable resources on the Academy website.
Are graduates of Immaculata University’s Dietetics Program successful at getting dietetic internships and passing the Registration Examination for Dietitians?
For the past five years, the average dietetic internship acceptance rate for graduates of Immaculata University is 87% (as of May 2013). Acceptance into dietetic internship programs is extremely competitive and is getting more competitive as enrollments in undergraduate dietetics programs around the nation increase.
For the past 10 years, 80% of Immaculata’s dietetics graduates who have completed the Dietetic Internship have passed the Registration Examination for Dietitians on their first attempt.