Food & Nutrition (B.S.): Dietetics Concentration
Nutrition is a highly versatile field with a number of career paths. If your goal is to be an outreach diabetes educator, cancer dietitian, foodservice director, nutrition researcher, or fight world hunger; this program can provide a foundation to follow your dreams. You will study human nutrition and other sciences to understand how food affects overall well-being, and hands-on cooking classes teach you to prepare balanced meals for a healthy lifestyle. Our student-run Café Burrier provides experience in quantity food production, restaurant management, and hospitality.
Follow us on Instagram @ekunutritionDr. Karina Christopher
The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is currently accredited through 6/30/2027 by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 800-877-1600 ext. 5400. Email ACEND.
The ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at EKU leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Food and Nutrition, with a concentration in Dietetics. The program requires 120 credit hours, including 37 hours of General Education and University requirements, 82 hours of Major course requirements, and 1 hour of electives. The Major course requirements include 32 hours of major core courses, 24 hours of major concentration courses, and 26 hours of supporting course requirements. The program is designed to be completed in eight semesters of full-time study. Here is a Suggested Curriculum Guide.
DPD program outcomes data are available upon request from the Program Director, Dr. Abbigail Hickey.
Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
DPD graduates are eligible receive a Verification Statement, which verifies that the graduate possesses the knowledge and skills for application to a supervised practice program. Supervised practice programs, or Dietetic Internships (DI), must be ACEND-accredited. Upon completion of the supervised practice program, the graduate will be eligible to complete the national registration exam, administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and become credentialed as an RDN*. In order to maintain the credential, the RDN must complete continuing professional education requirements. Many states, including Kentucky , require the RDN to obtain a license to practice as a dietitian within the state.
*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: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at Eastern Kentucky University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program..
In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.
For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.
Supervised Practice Programs
Application to supervised practice programs, or dietetic internships, is made through the centralized Dietetic Internship Computerized Application System (DICAS). A listing of ACEND-accredited supervised practice programs is available from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Currently, there is a shortage of dietetic internship sites. Thus, the process of application is competitive, and acceptance is not guaranteed for any student completing the BS in General Dietetics. Graduates may, however, apply multiple times.
The academic calendar is available at available on the Colonel's Compass .
The costs to the student for the DPD program are those which would normally be incurred by an undergraduate at Eastern Kentucky University. Costs would include tuition and housing (see link below), health insurance (if not covered on another policy), campus parking permit ($140 per year), professional liability insurance ($21 junior year), food worker certificate ($7 junior year) and appropriate lab attire ($30). Junior DPD students are required to show proof of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics student membership. The current student rate is $58 per year (June 1-May 31).
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Application and Admission Requirements
All students who are accepted by EKU’s Admissions Office and declare their concentration as Dietetics are admitted to the University as pre-Food and Nutrition majors. Admission to the Dietetics concentration is a separate process. To be considered for admission to the Dieetics concentration the following criteria must be met: (1) an EKU GPA of 2.5 or better (over a minimum of 45 hours), and (2) an overall combined GPA of 3.0 in ACC 200 and NFA 121, 201, 203, 317 (or equivalents), with a grade of C or better in each course. A program application, available from the student's academic advisor or the DPD Program Director, Dr. Abbigail Hickey, must also be submitted. Should there be more qualified applicants than spaces available, applicants will be ranked according to an admission scoring rubric. Applications to the Dietetics program are received each spring semester for admission the following fall. The application deadline can be obtained from the student's academic advisor.
In order to graduate with a BS in Food and Nutrition, Dietetics concentration, and receive the Verification Statement, the following criteria must be met: (1) an EKU GPA of 2.5 and (2) a grade of C or better in all major core and concentration courses.
In order to pass NFA 404, a senior course, students must score at least 70% on the comprehensive exit exam.
In order to receive the Verification Statement, students must meet graduation requirements, and must also demonstrate competency for all KRDNs of the ACEND 2022 Accreditation Standards.
Students who have already earned a Bachelor's degree or higher, and desire to earn the Verification Statement only, will be admitted to the program through the process and requirements described above. In order to earn the Verificaton Statement, these students must (1) attain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; (2) earn a C or better in all major core and supporting courses (other than those prerequisite courses in which a B or better is required for program admission); (3) demonstrate competency for all KRDNs of the ACEND 2022 Accreditation Standards.
Experiential learning, at sites outside of the university, is required in NFA 402/403 Medical Nutrition Therapy I/II.
Over the two semesters of NFA 402/403, students are required to shadow a clinical dietitian (RD/RDN) for 30 hours. The purpose of the clinical nutrition shadowing is to provide students the opportunity to observe registered dietitian nutritionists and other health professionals in the clinical setting and to observe classroom didactic learning being implemented in a practice setting.
The Handbook for Clinical Nutrition Shadowing, distributed to students when they enroll in NFA 402, includes detailed information about selecting sites for shadowing. Students can shadow clinical dietitians that work in inpatient, outpatient, private practice, or long-term facilities. The instructor maintains a list of approved sites. If a student wishes to complete shadowing at a facility not previously approved, they must obtain approval from the instructor prior to scheduling the shadowing hours.
For further information on this program, contact the appropriate advisor based on the first letter of your last name.
Academic Advisor (A-H) Dr. Karina Christopher
Academic Advisor: (R-Z) Dr. Rachel Harrington