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Nutrition and Dietetics Program

Nutrition and Dietetics major


Nutrition and Dietetics, B.S.

The Nutrition and Dietetics, B.S. program is a 120-hour undergraduate degree program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the accrediting body for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Students may declare a pre-major in nutrition and dietetics when they have completed, or are concurrently completing, all liberal studies and program pre-requisites. Students must formally apply and be admitted to the program before beginning the professional sequence of courses in the junior year. See the Student Handbook for more information.  


Mission Statement

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to provide active learning opportunities and community engagement that promotes health in diverse communities while preparing students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Some of the highlights of our program include:

  • Award-winning student professional club
  • Community engagement opportunities
  • Undergraduate research opportunities
  • Undergraduate award recognition opportunities
  • Undergraduate scholarship opportunities

The didactic program in Dietetics at Western Carolina University is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
Phone: 800-877-1600 ext 5400


Program Goals and Objectives

Western Carolina University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Nutrition and Dietetics (DPD Program) and a Master of Health Science (M.H.S.) degree with a concentration specialization in nutrition.

The goals and objectives (measurable outcomes as required and approved by ACEND) for the DPD Nutrition and Dietetics program at Western Carolina University are as follows:

GOAL 1: Graduates will have knowledge to be competent for entry into supervised practice settings and entry level practice.

Objective 1.1:  90% of program graduates who enter a supervised practice program will indicate that they were ‘prepared’ or ‘very well prepared’ for supervised practice.

Objective 1.2:  65% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.

Objective 1.3:  60% of program graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.

Objective 1.4:  80% of graduates in a dietetic internship will receive an overall satisfactory or better rating of graduate preparation from supervised practice program directors.

Objective 1.5: The program’s one year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionist is at least 80%.

GOAL 2:  The WCU DPD Program will prepare graduates who are committed to professional involvement and community engagement.

Objective 2.1:   At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of program length).

Objective 2.2:  90% of program graduates intend to continue their community engagement in applied nutrition and dietetic activities post-graduation.

NOTE: Student learning outcomes will be assessed through the KRDN Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan required by ACEND.

Outcomes data and reports related to accreditation are available upon request from the ND Program Director, DPD Director, or School of Health Sciences Director.


Frequently Asked Questions

No. To become an RDN, five steps are required: 

  1. Complete a bachelor's degree and receive a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited program (Didactic Program in Dietetics).  
  2. Get matched to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice dietetic internship program (some dietetic internships are combined with a master's degree, which is optional*). For students who do not match to an internship, applying to an Individual Supervised Practice Pathway is an option.  
  3. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration's dietetic registration exam.  
  4. Gain licensure in your state of practice, if applicable.  
  5. Maintain continuing education.  

*Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor's degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website:  

CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).  

Western Carolina University has both an accredited undergraduate program in dietetics and an accredited dietetic internship.   

  • Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at Western Carolina University (step 1) are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (step 2). 
  • Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DI program, which is completed as part of the MHS-ND program, at Western Carolina University (step 2) are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN (step 3).

Learn more about educational pathways to become a RDN

Students not entering a dietetic internship but wishing to practice nutrition may choose to take the national exam to become a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered (NDTR). All students with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree who have completed a DPD are eligible to take the NDTR exam.

All students who successfully complete the ACEND required courses will receive an ACEND DPD verification of completion statement. This verification statement entitles the student to take the Registration Examination for Nutrition and Dietetic Technicians, Registered (NDTR).  The verification statement qualifies graduates to pursue further training in ACEND-accredited dietetic internships.  Admission to a dietetic internship is very competitive. Having a verification statement does not guarantee acceptance into an internship. Both the NDTR and RDN exams are administered through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) ( 

  • Breeding and Associates RD Exam Study Guide
  • Foodservice Management: Principles and Practices (13th Edition) by Payne-Palacio and Theis
  • Nutrition Therapy & Pathophysiology (4th Edition) by Nelms

Estimated minimum expenses for a full-time undergraduate for the academic year are published each year on the WCU Admissions website.

Housing and meals are included in usual residential student fees. Books at WCU are rented and the fee is included in the registration fees.


Additional costs for the ND program include:

  • Selected supplemental texts or workbooks required for specific courses.  It is also recommended to purchase many of the nutrition textbooks for future reference.
  • Student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is required once accepted into the ND program cohort.  Membership in the Academy affords the student access to the Evidence Analysis Library, a required resource for assignments in many of the required courses.
  • Criminal background checks are required upon admission to the ND program.  Additional immunizations and screening may be required at certain service-learning sites; students are responsible for costs incurred for tests at their service-learning sites.
  • Dietetics program academic fees

Various financial sources, such as grants, loans, scholarships and student employment are available to qualified undergraduate students. To become eligible, an application for financial assistance can be obtained by contacting WCU Financial Aid Office in Room 218 of the Killian Annex (, 828-227-3181.   Additional information can be found in the current printed catalog.  Financial aid recipients are expected to comply with the guidelines established by each specific granting or loaning agency.  


There are three scholarships available specifically for ND students in the DPD program: the Wilma Cosper Scholarship, the Dr. Barbara Cosper Scholarship, and the Leland and Francile Keith Waters Scholarship. The general scholarship application is required for consideration for these scholarships. Application opens during the Fall semester, and the deadline for submitting the scholarship application online is in early Spring semester. Students also must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by January 1 each year in order to be considered for need-based scholarships.

Yes! There are many opportunities for graduates of our major. Graduates of the B.S. program in Nutrition and Dietetics are eligible to apply for Nutritionist I position in the Health Department of most states. They can also apply to take the registration exam to be a registered dietetic technician (DTR). Talk to your advisor or visit WCU Career Services for information and advice.

The Dietetic Internship is designed to provide clinical experiences established by the Standards of Education of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Students who successfully complete the internship are eligible to take the national registration exam of the AND and on passing the examination, become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) and active members of the AND.

To obtain a Dietetic Internship a student must successfully complete an undergraduate degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the accrediting body of the AND, or have a baccalaureate degree from any accredited school but have all of the didactic courses completed from an ACEND-accredited program.

If someone has a bachelor’s degree in an area other than nutrition, they do not have to obtain a second degree, but they do have to complete all of the ACEND-required courses. Dietetic internships are very competitive across the country. 

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