Didactic Program in Dietetics

One path to starting the journey to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is by completing a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Registered Dietitian Nutritionists work in a variety of settings including community and public health settings, corporate wellness programs, food and nutrition-related businesses, hospitals or other healthcare facilities, private practice, research, and universities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of dietitians to increase by 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists was $60,370 in May 2018. This is due to an increasing emphasis on disease prevention through improving dietary habits.


DPD Educational Philosophy

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) prepares students for entry into supervised practice. Students are encouraged to develop professional habits. Thus, the nutrition program has standard evaluation components for group work and preceptor evaluations of practice in appropriate courses. Students with faculty are to actively participate in the teaching-learning process. As a student progresses through the DPD s/he is increasingly responsible for mastery of course content and thus develops skills for life-long learning.

Program Description

Students must apply and be accepted into the UIW DPD. Undergraduate students complete the didactic requirements while completing the Nutrition and Dietetics track of the B.S. Degree in Nutrition. Post-graduate students may complete DPD requirements as a non-degree seeking student or as a graduate student who completes the DPD requirements while concurrently completing a M.S. Degree in Nutrition.

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at the University of the Incarnate Word is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, and (800) 877-1600, ext. 5400, acend@eatright.org.

Further information is available from ACEND.

DPD Mission

The Didactic Program in Dietetics, Nutrition and Dietetics track, prepares students for successful entry into supervised practice in dietetic internships leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Program Goal 1: To prepare professional, knowledgeable individuals for entry level practice in nutrition and dietetics.

Program Objectives for Goal 1:

Objective 1. At least 80% of students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).

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

Objective 3. Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 25% are admitted within 12 months of graduation.

Objective 4. 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%.

Objective 5. Within 12 months of graduation, at least 70% of DPD graduates will receive a rating of “satisfactory” or better in their performance as evaluated by responding supervised practice directors.

Objective 6. Over a three -year period, at least 50% of DPD graduates will report having worked in nutrition and dietetics or continued their education in nutrition and dietetics.

Program Goal 2: To educate individuals to meet the food and nutritional needs of underserved people.

Program Objectives for Goal 2

Objective 1. Over a five-year, at least 50% of students receiving DPD verification statements will be minority.

Objective 2. Over a five-year, 50% of DPD graduates accepted into supervised practice programs will be minority.

Objective 3. Over a five-year, 75% of DPD students will receive a rating of “satisfactory” in knowledge of nutrition needs of underserved people as evaluated by responding supervised practice directors.

DPD outcomes are available upon request from the DPD Director.

The pathway listed below is common route many traditional students take, but it is not the only path to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionis (RDN). For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN, please visit 5 Steps to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

1. Complete a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited institution.

To become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), you need to complete a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and receive a verification statement from an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited program (Didactic Program in Dietetics, Coordinated Program, Future Graduate Degree Program, Foreign or International Dietitian Education Program). If you already have a prior bachelor’s degree, you need to complete a DPD and receive a verification statement. The UIW DPD meets this requirement.

Note, 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). For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website

2. Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program

Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (Dietetic Internship or Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway, Coordinated Program, or Future Graduate Degree Program). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD at UIW are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.

Students that complete a DPD must applyto dietetic internships and participate in the computer match process through D&D Digital as part of their application process. Coordinated Programs and Future Education Model Graduate Programs do not participate in computer matching. For more information about computer matching, visit

3. Pass a national examination

Pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Passing this examination qualifies you to use the RD/RDN credential.

4. Obtain a state license

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements see the State Licensure - Commission on Dietetic Registration

5. Maintain continuing education

To maintain the RD/RDN credential, you must complete 75 continuing education hours every 5 years.

Students can find the typical annual expenses for the current academic year through the Office of Financial Assistance - Tuition and Costs. Information about billing, payment due dates, and withdrawal and refund of tuition and fees is available through the Business Office.

Textbook are provided to students through UIW ACCESS It is recommended that DPD students keep textbooks in major nutrition classes as reference books to use in a supervised practice program and to prepare for the dietitian credentialing exam. The UIW Access Textbook program is included as part of the University student fee.

Other costs associated with the DPD might include laboratory fees (varies by lab), and student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ($58 per year).

The University of the Incarnate Word provides financial assistance information, including scholarships, through the University Office of Financial Assistance. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation offer a number of scholarships for DPD students.

Admission to the Didactic Program in Dietetics

Students must apply and be accepted into the UIW DPD. Enrollment is limited in the DPD. Therefore, fullment of the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission the the DPD. Admission tot the DPD is in accordance with the University of the Incarnate Word's "Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy" published in the University of the Incarnate Word Student Handbook.

Requirements to Apply to DPD

To be eligible for the DPD, a student must meet the following criteria:
  1. Current UIW student.
  2. Completion of DPD prerequisites with a minimum grade of “C” in each course or grade of Satisfactory (Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 courses only):

ACCT 2301: Accounting for Non-Business Majors (or higher)

BGMT 3340: Management Theory and Practice

BIOL 1402: General Biology I and Lab

BIOL 2321/2121: Anatomy and Physiology I and Lab

BIOL 2322/2122: Anatomy and Physiology II and Lab

BIOL 2474: Introduction to Microbiology and Lab OR

BIOL 3471: General Microbiology and Lab

CHEM 1301/1101: Chemical Principles I and Lab

CHEM 1302/1102: Chemical Principles II and Lab

ENGL 1312: Composition II

MATH 1304: College Algebra (or higher)

PSYC 1301: Introduction to Psychology OR

SOCI 1311: Introduction to Sociology

NUTR 1102: Introduction to Dietetics (undergraduates only)

NUTR 2231/2131: Principles of Food Preparation and Lab OR

NUTR 4199: ST Food Lab (post-graduates)

NUTR 2341: Introduction to Nutrition

  1. Minimum cumulative 2.8 / 4.0 DPD Prerequisite Grade Point Average.
  2. Provide official transcripts of all prerequisite coursework.
  3. Post-graduates and graduate students must provide proof of Baccalaureate degree granted by U.S. regionally accredited college/university or foreign equivalent.

Application Process

  1. The DPD application is located on the Nutrition Program Canvas site.
  2. Undergraduate students complete the DPD application during the semester all DPD prerequisite courses will be completed. The application deadline is February 15 for fall admittance and September 25 for spring admittance. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications are due the following Monday. Post-graduate students complete the DPD application at the time they complete the post-graduate or graduate school application if all DPD prerequisites are completed or in the fall or spring semester during which requirements will be met.
  3. If accepted, the student will receive an acceptance letter.
  4. If student is not accepted, the Nutrition Advisor notifies student when s/he can reapply or assists the student with the selection of another major.

The UIW DPD follows the UIW Academic Calendar

The following criteria must be met to achieve the requirements for the DPD and earn the Verification Statement:

  • Must be a current student.
  • Undergraduate DPD students must meet the requirements for a baccalaureate degree.
  • Must take a minimum of 12 credits of DPD coursework at UIW.
  • Earn a "C" or better "Satisfactory" (Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 only) in each DPD course.
  • Minimum cumulative 3.0 GPa in DPD courses.

A student may petition to substitute work experience for the following courses: NUTR 2231 Principles of Food Preparation, NUTR 2131 Principles of Food Preparation Laboratory, NUTR 3332 Experimental Foods, NUTR 3325 Food Systems Management, NUTR 3134 Food Systems Management Laboratory, and NUTR 4139 Nutrition Practicum. To qualify for a waiver:

  • The student must have completed a minimum of 6 months of relevant work experience within the last five years.
  • The student will provide written documentation electronically to the DPD Director containing detailed description(s) of work experience(s), including location, job responsibilities, and supervisor name and contact information.
  • The supervisor must verify that the student worked in the described experiences by signature, letter of affirmation, and/or phone interview with the DPD Director.
  • The DPD Director, upon verifying expected knowledge and skill requirements have been met by work experience, may approve a waiver.

If a waiver is granted for any of the listed courses above, the student must still meet the necessary credit hours required for degree completion as documented in the UIW Undergraduate or Graduate Catalog. Waived courses may be substituted with other nutrition courses and/or electives as approved by the student’s faculty advisor.