Stephen F. Austin State University

Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences (DPD)

Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences (DPD)

The DPD program was initially approved in 1973 by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The program is housed in the School of Human Sciences at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA). The DPD program is part of the Food, Nutrition and Dietetics (FND) major which is one of the five majors in the School of Human Sciences (HMS). The school of HMS is located in the College of Education (COE).

The major in food, nutrition & dietetics provides 2 different educational opportunities (tracks or focus areas).

There are no specific admission requirements for the DPD program. Interested students will follow the admission requirements outlined by the university.


Registered Dietitian Focus (DPD)

The registered dietitian focus is the pathway that equips you with food, nutrition and dietetics knowledge required of a registered dietitian. You will receive a verification statement at the end of the program indicating that you have met the requirements to apply for dietetic internship.

The DPD program is mandatory for those wanting to pursue a career as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and a dietetic technician, registered (DTR).


How to become a registered dietitian (DPD program)

The registered dietitian is the nutrition and food expert. To become a part of the growing and vital profession of dietetics, take the following steps:

  1. Complete a baccalaureate didactic degree program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) such as the program in the School of Human Sciences at Stephen F. Austin State University (dietetics courses-registered dietitian focus and pre-professional courses-registered dietitian focus).
  2. Acquire supervised practice experience by competing for and successfully completing an Accredited Dietetic Internship.
  3. Pass the CDR credentialing exam for Registration Dietitian Nutritionist.

Students who wish to become a DTR must complete the DPD program, obtain a verification statement, and sit for the DTR Exam.


Pre-professional Focus (DPD)

If you're preparing to go to a health professional school or program, food, nutrition and dietetics is a great major! Professional programs and schools don't require a certain major, but rather want students to pick a major that interest them while fulfilling the course requirements.


These programs and schools are looking for diversity and innovation within their students. Make your application stand out with a major in nutrition. With this major, you'll learn how to apply all of the sciences that are required for most pre-professional programs to multiple disease processes. You will also learn nutritional therapy for multiple health conditions throughout the lifecycle, develop counseling skills and get hands on experience through our experiential learning opportunities.


The pre-professional focus provides the upper level sciences typically required for this educational route, plus, the verification statement needed to apply to a dietetic internship in order to become a registered dietitian. The dietetics courses and pre-professional tracks are part of the Education for Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).


Both focus areas require courses that are heavily science oriented, such as cell biology, chemistry (inorganic and organic), and biochemistry. If you are a science whiz and chemistry comes naturally to you, then this major is for you! If not, don't despair. SFA has the help that you need through a tutoring center called the AARC (Academic Assistance and Resource Center). To find out more about this valuable service, click here: AARC


In fact, some of our students in the past actually worked in the AARC, helping students through organic chemistry. Don't let your fear of the sciences prevent you from majoring in food, nutrition and dietetics and having your dream job!


Our Degree Plan will tell you what courses are required.

Our DPD Student Handbook is an excellent resource to learn more about the DPD program.

Our handy guide "Dietetic Internship Information for DPD students" will provide more information on what you will need before applying to our dietetic internship and how to apply when you are ready to take that next step.

Our program follows the Stephen F. Austin State University academic calendar.