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Department of Food & Nutritional Sciences

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) 

Mrs. B. Chester (C) and students, J. Key (L) and L. Lynch (R), attended Alabama Dietetics Association Meeting, February 2020
Dr. B. Chester (C) and FNS students,
Johanna Key (L) and Ladaysha Lynch (R), attended
Alabama Dietetics Association Meeting, February 2020

Contact:
Dr. Brittanne H. Chester, Director
Didactic Program in Dietetic 
100 Campbell Hall,
Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088. 
 E-mail: bchester@tuskegee.edu   

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) option is a Bachelor of Science degree program.  Completing the Tuskegee University Didactic Program in Dietetics satisfies the first step to becoming a Registered Dietitian. Students majoring in the DPD are given verification statement(s) signed by the program director when their names appear on the official graduation list. A policy for issuing verification statements has been developed as outlined in the ACEND Accreditation Standards.  Courses in the curriculum are required so the DPD graduate will have the technical and academic knowledge to successfully compete for placement in a Dietetic Internship program. Students who successfully complete the Dietetic Internship will be eligible to take the national registration examination to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). 

Program Accreditation
ACEND Accreditation logo Tuskegee University's Didactic Program in Dietetics is
accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education
in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition
and Dietetics,  120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190,
Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040 ext 5400.
Http://www.eatright.org/ACEND.

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040 ext 5400, Http://www.eatright.org/ACEND, reviewed the program on 4/24/2015.  The Tuskegee University DPD is an accredited program throgh June 30, 2022.  The application for continued accreditation can take place as from March 2021.  Program outcomes data are available upon request.

How to Become a Registered Dietitian (RD or RDN)

A Registered Dietitian is a professional with extensive scientific background in food, nutrition, biochemistry, and physiology. This knowledge is applied to promoting health, preventing diseases, and providing counseling and education to many conditions and diseases. Registered Dietitians (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) have completed the required steps required by the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). According to our governing body, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, RD or RDN can be used interchangeably because “All Dietitians are Nutritionists, but not all Nutritionists are Dietitians”. A nutritionist may have completed similar course work as the registered dietitian, however, has not passed and may not be qualified to take the registration exam. Dietitians are required to be licensed/certified in some states, like Alabama. The required steps for becoming a RD or RDN are as follows: Completing the Tuskegee University Didactic Program in Dietetics satisfies Step 1)

1. Complete Dietetics degree from an accredited Didactic program in Dietetics (B.S in Food and Nutrition Science, Dietetics option)

2. Apply and complete the dietetic internship by entering the DICAS match process and D&D digital ranking, or the internship directly.

3. Pass the National Registration Examination for Dietitians. This exam is offered throughout the year at over 200 testing sites throughout the United States to individuals who successfully complete the above steps.

The Registration Examination for Dietetics consists of 4 domains: Principles of Dietetics, Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services, Foodservice Systems. https://www.cdrnet.org/vault/2459/web/files/RDTestSpecs2017.pdf 

After passing the RD exam, students can find employment opportunities in public health settings such as local, state or federal agencies, as well as non-profit agencies, clinical settings, the food and nutrition industry and research organizations.

Mission of the Tuskegee University Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

“The mission of the Tuskegee University Didactic Program in Dietetics (TU DPD) is to prepare graduates for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become competent Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. The program emphasizes nutrition, food science, food service systems management, liberal arts studies/general education, and the natural sciences, which allows students to develop problem solving, critical thinking, and core dietetics/nutrition knowledge.”

Program Goals and Objectives

Program Goal 1:

DPD graduates will apply their undergraduate education to gain acceptance to and complete supervised practice programs, graduate education and employment in food and nutrition-related positions.

Objectives

1. At least 80% of students complete program requirements within 6 years (150% of planned program length).

2. At least 50 percent of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation

3. Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 50% are admitted within 12 months of graduation

4. At least 70% of supervised practice program directors, graduate program directors or employers that complete the surveys within 12 months of graduation will rate performance satisfaction with DPD graduates as an average of 2 or more in the survey areas with 0 = not satisfied to 4 exceeding expectations.

Program Goal 2:

DPD graduates will demonstrate and apply core dietetics/ nutrition knowledge and skills required in post-baccalaureate supervised practice programs, graduate/professional studies, and entry-level practice.

Objectives

1. 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%.

2. At least 80% of program graduates will demonstrate mastery of core dietetics/nutrition knowledge by scoring a minimum of 70% on the senior exit examination (in NUSC 444: Nutrition Practicum) on the first or second sitting.

3. At least 90% of graduating DPD graduates will participate in at least 35 documented hours of field experience (e.g., work, shadowing, internships, practicum, etc.) related to nutrition or dietetics.

Admission & Retention

Initial admission is based on the standard admission process at Tuskegee University. Students seeking admission need an official high school transcript, a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.00 and ACT Composite Score of 21, SAT (CR + Math) = 1000.

Phase One (Year 1-2): The first two years students complete general education requirements and prerequisites for DPD courses. The liberal and general education requirements are organized so that knowledge and skills are developed sequentially. Thus, the necessary knowledge base is developed for entry into phase two of the program.

Phase Two (Year 3-4): This program is a 4 year program, however, students must have achieved the following at this checkpoint to remain in the DPD:

• Overall grade point average of 3.0

• Minimum grade of “C” or higher in chemistry and biology courses.

Retention and Remediation: To be retained in the program, students must maintain a 3.0 or higher in professional courses and an overall grade point average of 2.8 (on a four-point scale). Students who display academic challenges during advising meeting will be directed to the REACH center for tutoring or counseled into other options or career paths. Within the FNS department, there are other options with other career paths in food and nutrition, i.e., nutritional science or public health nutrition. The maximum allowed time for students to complete DPD requirements is 7 years from enrollment.

Scholarship Availability:

High school students interested in dietetics with a good grade point average (GPA) and Standard Aptitude Test, SAT/ACT, score may qualify for a $2500 tuition scholarship annually.

Carreer Opportunities

Career opportunity in dietetics includes Registered Dietitian, Clinical Dietitian, Community Dietitian, Food Service Manager, Gerontological Dietitian, Pediatric Dietitian, and Consultant Dietitian.