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Didactic Program in Dietetics

Dietetics & the Registered Dietitian

Dietetics is an allied health profession which focuses on the food and nutrition intake of individuals and its relationship to health. Registered dietitians are trained in the sciences and are able to translate scientific findings and help people live healthy lives. Dietetic students receive a broad education in nutrition, food, management, physical, biological, and social sciences. This education prepares students for an array of professional opportunities. More information about career opportunities may be found on the American Dietetic Association's website at eatright.org


NUSC majors enrolled in the Didactic Program follow a curriculum that meets the American Dietetic Association (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Didactic Program in Dietetics academic requirements. After graduation, the student must complete an independent dietetic internship, also called supervised practice, in order to fulfill the requirements to sit for the National Registration Exam. The Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Connecticut currently is granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, 216W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60606-6695, (312) 899-5400. 

Admission to the Didactic Program in Dietetics concentration within the Nutritional Sciences major requires a minimum of 60 earned credits, a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher, successful completion of the following courses with a C grade or better: CHEM 1124Q and 1125Q or CHEM 1127Q and 1128Q; CHEM 2241, or 2443 and 2444; and BIOL 1107, and a B grade or better in NUSC 1165 and NUSC 2200. The form for declaring the concentration is below.

 

Declaration Form for Declaring the Didactic Concentration in Nutritional Sciences. (pdf)

 

Dietetic Internships are very competitive and our Didactic Program does not guarantee admission to an internship. There is currently a nationwide shortage of dietetic internships. Placement rate nationally has been 50% for the past five years, and our five year placement rate is 66%. To increase the chance you will receive a dietetic internship our faculty recommends students prepare starting early in their college career and acquire work and volunteer experiences in the dietetics field. Our department offers independent studies and practicums to help students gain necessary experience. We also encourage students to be active in extracurricular activities to gain leadership experience. Earning at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA is also recommended.


Mission for the Didactic Program in Nutritional Sciences

The Didactic Program in Dietetics provides students with a broad general education framework as well as specialized course work in the field of dietetics. The student will graduate with a science background giving students the tools to logically think through situations using the principles upon which the scientific method is based.  Students are strongly encouraged to complete independent studies and field experiences, through taking advantage of the strong research and outreach programs of the department.  Students following the didactic plan of study will be prepared to apply for a dietetic internship.  This scientific preparation will enable students to succeed in a variety of professional situations.

Please refer to our program handbook for more information about our program


Goals and Objectives for the Didactic Program in Nutritional Sciences


Required Foundation Knowledge Requirements and Expected Learning Outcomes* met by the University of Connecticut Didactic Program in Dietetics


How can I pursue a career as a Registered Dietitian?


Process of Becoming a Registered Dietitian

To become an RD a student must earn a four year degree and complete a didactic program in dietetics that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics(ACEND).  Upon completion, a verification statement which verifies you completed a didactic program in dietetics.  You are then eligible to apply to a supervised practice program, also called a dietetic internship that is accredited by ACEND.  An internship typically lasts 9 months and consists of at least 1200 supervised practice hours in the field.   Open completetion of an internship,he/she is able to sit for the national registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at www.cdrnet.org.  To maintain the RD credential, one must complete continuing professional educational requirements.  Registration is currently maintained by earning 75 credits every five years.

Dietitians work in a variety of settings including hospitals, extended care facilities, community agencies, food industry, corporate agencies, schools and private practice.


What is the difference between a nutritionist, a registered dietitian, a certified nutritionist and a dietetic technician registered?

A nutritionist refers to someone who has earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and may work for example, as a nutrition educator, in food management, in research, for WIC, or the department of education.  A registered dietitian is considered to hold the RD credential, which is earned by completing didactic course work, 1200 supervised practice hours and passing the RD exam.  To maintain the RD credential you must complete 75 continuing education credits every 5 years. The state of CT has the option of becoming a certified nutritionist, which can be accomplished one of two ways.  (1) if you are certified as a registered dietitian by the Commission on Dietetic Registration or (2) passed a written examination prescribed by the commissioner of public health for the state of CT and received a master’s degree or doctoral degree with a major in nutrition or dietetics.  The cost for certification through the state of CT is $190.00.   A  Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR), often works in partnership with registered dietitians in hospitals, food service, community settings, etc. DTRs have met one of the following criteria to earn the credential:

  • Completion of a two-year Associate degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college/university, completion of a dietetic technician program requirements in a ACEND-accredited program, pass a national written examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and completion of continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
  • Completion of a Baccalaureate degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college/university, or foreign equivalent, completion of a ACEND-accredited DPD program, completion of a ACEND-accredited dietetic technician supervised practice, pass a national written examination administered by CDR and completion of continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
  • Completion of a Baccalaureate degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college/university, or foreign equivalent, completion of a ACEND-accredited DPD or CP program, pass a national written examination administered by CDR and completion of continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

Students not placed in an internship may choose the third option and register to take the DTR exam.  Information about the exam can be found at www.cdrnet.org. Please contact the DPD director if you are interested in taking the DTR exam.


Didactic Plan of Study. (pdf)
Plan of Study Checklist. (pdf)
Approved Course Substitutes. (pdf)
Declaration Form for Declaring the Didactic Concentration in Nutritional Sciences. (pdf)
Didactic Program Handbook. (pdf)
Experience List for NUSC Majors and Student Assessment

More information from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

News and Updates

Fall 2014 Seminar Series
A Seminar Series Presented by the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut
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