Help people improve their health
If you are interested in helping people learn about and embrace healthy eating, SFA offers multiple programs that can prepare you for a rewarding career.
The Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences is the foundation for becoming a registered dietitian or advancing on to a health professional school. If you’re interested in a less clinical route, the Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition enables you to explore your passion for nutrition in preparation for a career in a variety of settings.
What is Dietetics?
Dietetics is an academic program that is the first step in preparing you to become a registered dietitian (RD). As an RD, you will use your advanced knowledge of food and nutrition to help promote health and help to prevent and treat chronic disease. Learn how to become a RD.
The Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences program at SFA meets didactic requirements as approved and accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
In this major, you will be guided by faculty who value diversity and innovation and who promote research-centered knowledge. Small classes help you connect to your professors and other students. Opportunities outside the classroom inspire personal growth and create leaders in the field.
Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) - BS in Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences
Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), this program equips you with the knowledge required of a registered dietitian. Your degree will prepare you to take the credentialing exam for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and you’ll receive a verification statement at the end of the program indicating that you have met the requirements to apply for a dietetic internship.
This degree offers two concentrations that allow students to fine-tune their education according to their future plans, the registered dietitian focus and the pre-professional focus.
Registered Dietitian (RD) concentration
This concentration meets all ACEND accreditation requirements and enables you to receive a verification statement, setting you up for application to a dietetics internship (DI) on your path to becoming a registered dietitian (RD).
In this program, you’ll learn how to apply sciences that are required for most pre-professional programs. You will also learn nutritional therapy for multiple health conditions, develop counseling skills and get hands-on experience through our experiential learning opportunities. You’ll also receive the verification statement needed to apply for a dietetic internship in order to become a registered dietitian.
This concentration is perfect for you if you are interested in becoming a registered dietitian, but also have an interest in pursuing other health careers. Students in this pathway, in consultation with their academic advisor, have pursued medical school, pharmacy school, dental school, physician assistant training and much more.
How to become a registered dietitian
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:
- 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 SFA. Upon graduation, students will receive a verification statement of completion. Please see the SFA DPD Verification Statement Policy for more information. The Registered Dietitian focus and Pre-Professional focus are ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) degree tracks. More information on program completion and graduation requirements can be found in the SFA DPD Student Handbook.
- Acquire supervised practice experience by applying for and successfully completing an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program, commonly referred to as a Dietetic Internship (DI).
- Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam for Registration Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
The State of Texas does have licensure for RDNs and many employers in Texas may require licensure. Information on licensure for the State of Texas can be found on the Texas Department of Licensure and Regulation website. This CDR document includes a listing of state and U.S. territory licensure and certification/laws.
Upon receiving your BS in dietetics and nutritional sciences and your verification statement, if you do not wish to complete a dietitian internship, you are still eligible to become a dietetic technician, registered (NDTR). For more information on this, please contact the DPD director.
Effective January 1, 2024, the 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 addition, the CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by ACEND. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD at SFA are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program such as the Dietetic Internship (DI) program at SFA. Once they have completed the 1,000-hour supervised practice experience, candidates are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN, visit the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics' information for students webpage.
SFA DPD Verification Statement Policy
To receive a Verification Statement (VS) from the Stephen F. Austin State University DPD (Didactic Program in Dietetics) Director, students enrolled in the DPD must:
- Successfully complete all DPD degree requirements and demonstrate achievement of the Knowledge for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (KRDN) requirements within specific courses. Courses are described in the DPD degree plan in the undergraduate catalog and during student advising appointments..
- (a). All DPD students must earn a score of at least 70% or above on the assessment method associated with the KRDN during the course.
- (b). If the KRDN is not passed with a grade of 70% or greater, the student will have the opportunity for remediation prior to the end of the semester. Remediation will require additional work and/or testing, but will not impact the original grade in the course.
- (c). If a student does not pass the assignment/test even after remediation, the course instructor will notify the DPD Director and a remediation plan will be agreed upon by the DPD Director, student, and instructor of record for the course. A verification statement will not be awarded unless the student provides the DPD Director with evidence that he/she has demonstrated achievement the KRDN.
- Provide accurate permanent physical and email addresses to Stephen F. Austin State University. It is helpful if you complete a survey (link emailed shortly before graduation by DPD Director) verifying contact information.
- The DPD Director will email an electronically-signed of the Verification Statement to the email address provided. Verification statements are issued after the University Registrar has posted the final grades and indicated the bachelor’s degree was issued on the designated graduation day, and the DPD Director verifies all of the KRDN’s were met by the student.
Missions, goals and objectives
Program Mission Statement
The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at SFA is to prepare highly qualified graduates for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam to become registered dietitian nutritionists.
Objectives and Goals
The program outcome measures are as follows:
Goal 1: Program graduates will be prepared for success in graduate studies, supervised practice, or as dietetics professionals.
- 1(a). At least 80% of students will complete the DPD program/degree requirements within 6 years (150% of program length).
- 1(b). At least 60% percent of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
- 1(c). Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 80% percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation.
- 1(d). 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 nutritionists is at least 80%.
- 1(e). When surveyed, the mean rating that supervised practice directors/preceptors and employers will give for "area of practice" competence will meet or exceed the rating of satisfactory (3).
- 1(f). 60% of graduates who seek employment will find employment within one year of graduation.
Goal 2: Program graduates will demonstrate the confidence and skills necessary for success in supervised practice programs and dietetics-related jobs.
- 2(a). When surveyed, the mean rating that DPD Alumni will give for how valuable DPD courses were in preparing them for the internship or a dietetics-related job will meet or exceed the rating of satisfactory (3).
- 2(b). When surveyed, the mean rating that senior DPD students will give for how confident they feel that the DPD courses will prepare them for the internship or a dietetics-related job will meet or exceed the rating of satisfactory (3).
Student Learning Outcomes
Student learning outcomes (SLO) are the knowledge, skills and abilities students should demonstrate upon completion of the program. These SLO, also known as Knowledge for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (KRDN), are required by ACEND and are regularly assessed to determine student learning and to evaluate overall program effectiveness. All ACEND-required SLO must be submitted through LiveText (a data management program) to receive credit. Specifics of this program are covered in the course syllabi.
Program data related to the goals, objectives and outcomes is available upon request.
In addition to offering many face-to-face courses, the SFA DPD tries to make learning flexible by offering all nutrition courses (prefix “NUTR” or “CHEF”) through online synchronous or asynchronous delivery. If you are needing to complete the DPD virtually, be sure to work with your academic advisor as not all courses are offered online every semester. Note that all of the science or math course requirements may not be offered online.
Online learning does require that you have a secure and reliable internet connection, as well as access to a computer, webcam and audio. Note that in many of your classes, even they are face-to-face, you will be required to take proctored exams and/or complete assignments or quizzes that require access to a computer, webcam and audio.
Assessment of Prior Learning
The DPD at SFASU follows the university policy (Policy 6.20) related to transfer credits. In addition to course credit, the DPD at SFASU is required to track completion of specific knowledge assessments, known as KRDNs. Each DPD student must receive a 70% or better on all KRDN assessments to receive a verification statement. The verification statement, along with a B.S. degree from our accredited program, is what enables you to go on to apply for a dietetic internship, the next step in becoming a registered dietitian.
KRDN assessments are embedded into upper-level nutrition and food service management courses. If you are transferring in any upper-level (-3000 or -4000) nutrition (NUTR) or food service management (RSTO) courses, the DPD director is required to confirm completion of KRDN assessments before issuing a verification statement.
To do this, you will need to provide a transcript verifying the completion of the course(s) and a syllabus for each course. This should be done the semester following completion of the course, or at least 6 weeks prior to graduation. The DPD director will review both the transcripts and syllabus, and complete a form known as the “Knowledge (KRDN) Assessment for Transfer Credits.” If it is determined that you did not meet the KRDNs with the transfer credits, you will be asked complete KRDN assessments outside of your coursework at SFASU. You must complete all KRDN assessments with a 70% or better prior to graduation and, if you do not, you will not be issued a verification statement of completion.
More information about policies and procedures for assessment of prior learning can be found in the SFA DPD Student Handbook.
Post-Baccalaureate students seeking a verification statement
How to Become a Registered Dietitian if Your Degree Is Not in Dietetics
You understand the importance that nutrition and lifestyle play in overall wellness and the prevention and management of chronic disease. You recognize the role that registered dietitians play health care know you can make a significant impact on people's health if you become one. However, your degree is not in dietetics. This isn't a problem!
If you already have a bachelor's degree, you will have a slightly different process than students who entered our program at the baccalaureate level. Not to worry, SFA offers the necessary programs required to help you reach your goal of becoming a registered dietitian.
Here are the steps that you need to take:
1. Obtain a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) verification statement of completion. Note: this is at the undergraduate level.
What is a DPD verification statement?
Our accrediting agency, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) requires that students working towards becoming registered dietitians meet specific learning outcomes. There are a wide variety of courses at the undergraduate level that have ACEND required learning outcomes. Once these learning outcomes are met, a DPD verification statement can be issued by the DPD Director.
We make it easy for students who have degrees outside of the DPD to meet these learning outcomes. Our nutrition courses are available at a distance so that you do not have to physically be on campus. Some of the science courses can be taken at community colleges. Depending on what coursework you have already taken, this may take multiple semesters at the undergraduate level.
To get started, please contact the DPD director. The DPD director will review your transcript and work with you to develop a plan to complete your DPD coursework at the undergraduate level in the most efficient time possible.
The only admittance requirements that we have in the DPD is admittance to the university.
2. Work toward applying to an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship.
You are in luck; we have a combined master's and dietetic internship at SFA! You will not find a more unique internship because our program focuses on integrative and functional nutrition.
Our internship participates in the dietetic internship centralized application system (DICAS) in the spring semester. Once you near the completion of your DPD coursework, you will establish an account with DICAS and complete your application. You are also required to participate in a matching process through D&D Digital.
Our handy guide, Dietetic Internship Information for DPD Students, provides more information on what you need to apply to our dietetic internship and how to apply when you are ready to take that next step.
Dr. Darla O'Dwyer, the dietetic internship director, can be reached at email@example.com. Learn more about our dietetic internship program and what makes it unique.
We think our internship is one of the best and would love for you to apply to SFA's program, but due to the competitive nature of internship programs, you are encouraged to apply to more than one internship. To learn more about dietetic internship programs, visit the ACEND Accredited Programs website.
3. Complete an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship supervised practice program.
Our program at SFA takes approximately 10 months to achieve a dietetic internship (DI) verification of completion and another summer and fall semester to complete the rest of the Master of Science program. Other programs vary in their length. Some are stand-alone programs while other programs are combined MS/DI programs.
4. Sit for the national registered dietitian exam.
Once you have passed the RD exam, you have met your goal. But now what you really need is a job! There are many career opportunities for registered dietitians.
Program Details and Costs
The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) 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 SFA. The DPD program is part of the food, nutrition and dietetics (FND) major, which is one of the five majors in the school. The School of Human Sciences is located in the James I. Perkins College of Education.
The major in dietetics and nutritional sciences provides two concentrations:
- Registered dietitian (DPD)
- Pre-professional (DPD)
There are no specific admission requirements for the DPD, so interested students must follow the admission requirements outlined by the university.
For an estimation of tuition costs by academic semester, state of residence and delivery method of the course, view the SFA tuition and fees webpage. This includes any fees associated with attending the university.
For information about living on campus, including costs, visit the Residence Life website. Note that SFA has a requirement to live on campus unless you have 60 credit hours or are 21+ years of age. To get this waived, complete an off-campus permit.
For meal plan information and pricing, visit the Lumberjack Eats website. Meal plans are required if living on campus but optional if living off campus.
Other program-specific estimated expenses include:
|Educational materials||$200 to $400 per semester|
|Academy membership (optional)||$58|
|Miscellaneous (transcripts, parking permit, etc.)||$120|
Learn more about financial aid at SFA and university scholarships.
This program follows the SFA academic calendar.
Tarleton State University Consortium Agreement
In fall 2020, SFA entered a consortium agreement with Tarleton State University (TSU) whereby TSU students receiving a degree in public health with a concentration in nutrition science can take six courses through SFA (NUTR 4309, 4335, 4339, 4349, 4379 and RSTO 4331) and meet all ACEND requirements to receive a verification statement and continue their education to become registered dietitian nutritionists, if desired.
TSU students in this degree will receive a Bachelor of Science degree from TSU (home institution) and a verification statement from SFA (consortium provider institution). For more information about the SFA/TSU consortium, TSU students can visit the TSU website or contact consortium coordinators:
|Tarleton State University Consortium Coordinator
Paula McKeehan, MS, RD, LD
SFA Consortium Director
Nutrition in Healthcare
The nutrition in healthcare minor is for students who are majoring in chemistry and biology and want to apply that knowledge to nutrition.