Nutrition & Dietetics


Registered dietitians (RDs) work in a variety of settings, including healthcare, business and industry, community/public health, education, research, government agencies and private practice. RDs perform a variety of different functions:

  • Educating patients about nutrition, developing diet plans and administering medical nutrition therapy
  • Managing food service operations in hospitals, clinics or other healthcare facilities
  • Contributing to public campaigns to improve quality of life through healthy eating habits
  • Researching critical nutrition questions
  • Teaching other healthcare professionals about food science and nutrition
  • Consulting with chefs, product developers and other nutrition-related businesses

All RDs are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are RDs. For more information on the field of dietetics and differences between a nutritionist and registered dietitian, see the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics's (ACEND) FAQs about careers in dietetics.

icon of an apple and wheat on a scale

Degree Programs

Registered dietitians need to complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and coursework accredited by ACEND, the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. RDs also need to complete an accredited internship and pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Students with a bachelor’s degree outside the field may be able to have their transcripts evaluated by the program to determine what additional coursework is necessary to complete the dietetics curriculum, often resulting in a certificate or graduate degree. Otherwise, students must complete a coordinated program in dietetics, which includes a supervised practice program and usually leads to a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

View a List of Programs

Course Prerequisites

Prerequisites vary from school to school. The most common prerequisites for a coordinated program in dietetics are:

  • Biology 1 & 2 (BISC 1111, BISC 1112)
  • Chemistry 1 & 2 (CHEM 1111, CHEM 1112)
  • Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 (CHEM 2151/2153, CHEM 2152/2154)
  • Biochemistry (BISC 3261 or CHEM 3165)
  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy & Physiology 1 (EXNS 2210, fall)
  • Anatomy & Physiology 2 (EXNS 2211, spring)
  • Statistics (STAT 1051, 1053, 1111, or  1127)
  • Basic Nutrition (BISC 1005 or EXNS 2119)
  • General Psychology (PSYC 1001)
  • Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1001)

Application Requirements



The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to most coordinated graduate programs in dietetics.


Admission to coordinated programs in dietetics is competitive. Many programs require applicants to have at least a 3.0 GPA, but they also must distinguish themselves outside of the classroom. It is imperative that pre-dietetic students gain substantial and substantive work experience in the field of nutrition prior to applying to dietetics programs.

Application Process

There is no centralized application service for coordinated programs in dietetics. Prospective students should visit the websites of individual schools to learn more about the application process, GPA and testing requirements, and deadlines for the programs to which they plan to apply. In general, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so it is important to submit applications well in advance of posted deadlines.

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