Pursue a career in Nutrition as a USJ undergraduate
We offer two programs in nutrition. The Didactic Program in Dietetics prepares students to apply to a supervised practice program (e.g., dietetic internship). The Nutrition and Wellness Program prepares students to work in the area of wellness and community nutrition.
Didactic Program in Dietetics
USJ’s Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is a four-year baccalaureate undergraduate degree. Completion of the program enables students to apply to a supervised practice program (e.g. dietetic internship), which is required before one can sit for the examination to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). For more information about pathways to become an RDN and career opportunities in this field, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
USJ’s DPD is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®) for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
ACEND is the accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian nutritionists or dietetic technicians, registered. ACEND® serves and protects students and the public by assuring the quality and continued improvement of nutrition and dietetics education programs.
ACEND® can be contacted by:
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: 800-877-1600, ext. 5400
- Mail: 120 South Riverside Plaza
Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Beginning 2024 one must have a Master’s degree to be eligible to take the RDN exam.
For the Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition, the DPD core curriculum includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice management, nutrition counseling, nutrition education, medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, psychology, statistics, and natural sciences (e.g. biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and microbiology).
The mission of the University of Saint Joseph Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to provide excellence in education in nutrition and dietetics in the context of a liberal arts education that meets the requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) by preparing students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
Goals & Objectives
Goal #1: To prepare graduates to successfully enter a supervised practice program (e.g. dietetic internship).
- At least 80% of program students will complete the program/degree requirements within 6 years (150% of the program length).
- 60% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
- 50% of program graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
- Among the program graduates who apply to supervised practice programs, at least 70% will be admitted within 12 months of graduation.
Goal #2: To prepare graduates with a strong foundation in nutrition/dietetics to perform proficiently in a supervised practice program (e.g. dietetic internship) in preparation to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
- At least 90% of graduates who enter a supervised practice will complete the program.
- At least 90% of supervised practice program directors will rate satisfaction with graduates at an average of 3 (or better) on a 5-point scale on each of the following characteristics: Dietetics knowledge, work methods, adaptability, decision making, interpersonal skills, communication, work habits and leadership.
- 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%.
Information on outcomes will be provided upon request.
Admission & Continuation Requirements
Students must first meet USJ’s admission requirements to enroll into the University. Once admitted to the University, students can declare a nutrition major and begin the foundational course requirements in natural sciences and nutrition.
Students in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) must maintain the following course requirements:
- A minimum of a “C” in all Nutrition major courses and in the following natural science courses or their equivalents: General Biology, Microbiology, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry (CHEM170), Biochemistry, Anatomy and Physiology (both semesters)
- A course may be repeated only once to raise the grade.
Major Program Milestones
- Fall Prior to Program Completion:
- Meet with the Didactic Program Director to review the process of applying for an internship.
- Request applications from internship programs. (Most are accessible online.)
- Meet with the Didactic Program Director to review program choices, the student essay, GPA calculation and the process of computer matching, the online application process and to monitor progress.
- Review your Declaration of Intent to Complete form, which lists the courses you still need to complete before verification is complete. This is part of the application to a dietetic internship. These are needed if you are applying before all of your coursework is complete.
- The deadline for internship applications is mid-February for a September start date. The deadline is October for a January start date.
- Verification: You have successfully met the requirements of the USJ Dietetics program. (You have received a bachelor’s degree, completed USJ’s DPD requirements, received at least a C in all required nutrition and science courses, completed at the end of NUTR 499 Coordination).
- The verification statement is given to you after college graduation in mid May or late December and signed by the Didactic Program Director.
- This form must be part of the dietetic internship application if you have finished your requirements or must be forwarded to the internship director when you are accepted.
- Completion of the Didactic program, followed by completion of a dietetic internship, means you are able to apply to take the registered dietitian examination.
Guidelines for Students Seeking a Second Degree in Nutrition
The dietetics program is also open to students with a baccalaureate degree in a major other than Nutrition.
- Students apply for a second bachelor’s degree in dietetics with USJ’s admissions department.
- Second-degree students must complete an individual plan of study as outlined by the Didactic Program Director and complete requirements for the second degree as determined by the admissions department and in the USJ catalog.
- The minimum number of credits for a second degree is 30 credits.
- An admissions counselor and the Nutrition Department will review your application.
- You may take six credits before matriculation is required.
- You will need to supply the following documents:
- Official transcripts from all colleges attended
- Proof of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college
- A written plan of study reviewed by the Didactic Program Director
- Students not seeking a second degree must complete the course requirements as listed by the Didactic program director. These are determined on an individual basis at the beginning of your program.
Nutrition & Wellness
The Nutrition and Wellness program at the University of Saint Joseph is based on a core of nutrition and science courses, but also features courses in the specialty areas such as Health Promotion and Sports Nutrition. Wellness is viewed as not just the absence of illness, but the presence of positive health characteristics. The focus is on prevention, weight management, fitness, and nutrition education for all life stages. Nutrition is a key component of all wellness initiatives. Nutrition professionals are employed in a variety of community settings such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs, schools, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), fitness, and worksite wellness. Demand for professionals in community nutrition sites are expected to grow by 34% in this decade.
Completion of the Nutrition and Wellness Program does not fulfill the requirements to apply to a supervised practice program.