Didactic Program In Dietetics

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

The DPD prepares students to go on and become a Registered Dietitian. Jacksonville State University’s DPD program is accredited by ACEND and this program prepares graduates to enter dietetic internships where they can apply the theories they learn as undergraduates in health care settings under the supervision of health professionals. Subsequently, upon successful competition of the DPD and Internship they are eligible to take the national examination in hopes of becoming Registered Dietitians.

Mission Statement: The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Jacksonville State University is to provide a high-quality dietetics program that offers instruction for the entry level dietitian related to nutrition knowledge, critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and ethical awareness.  The program seeks to encourage diversity of the student population and to prepare graduates that are competent for entry into supervised practice leading to eligibility for CDR credentialing exam to be a registered dietitian nutritionist. Who are empowered to manage the challenges of a complex global society, by encouraging excellence in scholarly and service activities related to dietetics and nutrition. 

How to become a Dietitian


CDR Master's Degree Requirement Effective December 31, 2023

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 Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) program at Jacksonville State University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. Mailing address of ACEND: 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL, 60606-6995

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Learn more about state licensure.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.

When students completing the JSU DPD will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in family consumer sciences with a concentration in nutrition. This is the first step in the process of becoming a registered dietitian. After graduation, students are issued a verification statement certifying that they have obtained the knowledge and skill requirements set forth by ACEND. This document allows students to apply for acceptance into Dietetic internship program. Beginning January 1st, 2024, students must have a master’s degree from an accredited program to sit for the RD examination.  

2. The second step along the pathway to become an RD successful completion of an extended credited Dietetic internship program, also known as supervised practice program. Dietetic internships are available across the United states. A listing of all Dietetic internships can be found at www.eatright.org. JSU provides guidance to help students strengthen their chance of acceptance but does not guarantee internship positions to any student. 

3. After completion of Dietetic internship, students become eligible to sit for the National Registration Exam for Dietitians, a computer-based test administered through the Commission on Dietetic registration CDR. Upon passing the exam, students officially become an RD and may apply for state licensure. RD’S may practice in any state in which they obtained RD, if applicable, regardless of where they completed their undergraduate education or Dietetic internship. CDR's website for a list of state which require licensure. 


JSU DPD admission policy

It is the policy of the Jacksonville State University’s DPD Program that testing for admission be available every Spring and Fall semesters. Admission to the JSU program is competitive and requires applicants at minimum to have:

Testing for admission is administered in FCS 328 as the gateway into the Dietetics Program and is required during the 1st semester of the junior year or immediately after meeting prerequisites upon transfer and/or change of major. Prior to testing for admission students are required to have;

 • Completed at least 60 hours of college credit at the time of admission to the DPD program.

• Completed the following pre-professional courses or their equivalent: CY-115: General Chemistry I, BY 263: Anatomy and Physiology I, FCS 122: Fundamentals of Food Preparation and Meal Management, and FCS 322 or FCS 215 (advisor approval)

• An overall GPA of at least 3.0.

• Pre-professional GPA of at least 3.0

• Earned at least a “B” (B or B+) in all science-based courses.

• Earned at least a “B” (B or B+) in all other pre-professional/pre-requisite courses or their equivalents.

• Engagement in at least 1 extracurricular activity/club

The program admits students with an associate degree or are students admitted to JSU who meet the program requirements. Verification statements are issued to students successfully completing program requirements, including the general education and program-specific requirements in the university catalog when the student is admitted. In addition, the student must successfully complete their requirements for a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics. Students are required to have a GPA of 3.0 to receive a verification statement. 

For those students entering the program with a bachelor's degree, the program awards a verification statement to the students who successfully meet program completion requirements. Applicants are instructed on the website that they cannot begin a Didactic Internship program without a DPD verification statement.  Students applying with BS transcripts are evaluated by the DPD director and then must complete any prerequisites not met with their BS before completing the DPD portion of the program. 

DPD Verification Statement Guidelines


Completion of the requirements for Jacksonville State University’s Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) will be verified by the DPD Program Director prior to issuing Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics verification statements.

Procedure for Students in the Dietetic Program

  1. Program completion requirements:
    1. Attendance of all classes, seminars, and supervised practice as required for the didactic program in dietetics unless altered as per policy by the program director.
  • Meet degree requirements
  • Minimum of a C letter grades is required in all departmental classes. Please remember that a minimum of a B letter grades is optimum for dietetic internship placement.
  • Minimum of a B letter grade is required for all science-based courses.
  • Minimum of a B letter grade is required for FCS 429 Advanced Nutrition Metabolism.
  • Must have at least a 3.0 GPA.
  1. Preparation for placement of students into an internship by requiring supervised work experience:
    1. Work experience in a dietetic-related job:
  • 120 hours of work/volunteer experience is required for students; 80 hours of work experience is required for transfer students.
  • Required to complete 20 hours of work experience between every year.
  • Work/volunteer experience must be submitted annually (refer to work/volunteer experience instructions).
  • Jobs that are dietetic-related examples include: hospital or dorm food service, diet technicians, diabetes or weight control camps, human nutrition research, etc.
  • DPD director or appointee must provide approval of experience’s relevance to dietetics prior to work/volunteer experience.
  • Students are required to locate and arrange work/volunteer experiences on their own based on. Examples of experiences can be found in Dietetics handbook. Please contact DPD Director Jada Murray jbmurray@jsu.edu with any questions.
  1. Registered dietitian mentor:
  • 8 recorded meetings (on-phone or in-person) must be made with a registered dietitian; 4 recorded meetings are required for transfer students
  • Required to complete one contact per semester throughout DPD program
  • Mentor meetings must be submitted (refer to RD mentor instructions).
  1. An applicant for an ACEND verification shall submit documentation showing satisfaction of the verification requirements. Upon such submission, the DPD program director shall review that documentation and will issue verification statements if she/he determines that the applicant has successfully completed the degree requirements, met the requirements of the didactic program in dietetics, and satisfied the work experience requirements.
  2. In the event of a leave of absence from the program, students must complete all requirements within two years of the semester in which was incomplete.
  3. Education policy set by ACEND will take action for course completion and issue of verification statement.
    1. The following courses need to be completed within the following time frames from the verification statement issue date:
  • FCS 327, 338, 325, 326, 322 (215), 429 within 5 years of taking these courses
  • FCS 337, 420 and 421 within 3 years of taking respective courses

Procedure for those in the DPD Program Only

Includes all of the above with the addition of:

Additional courses from other institutions will be considered if the outside course/s is/are substantially similar to JSU’s courses or otherwise appropriate dietetic-related coursework, DPD director’s discretion on the approval of coursework in the appropriate circumstances will be exercised based on, but not limited to, university transfer guidelines, committee input and petitions.

Goals & Objectives

DPD Student Handbook

Dietetics Plan of Study