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Dietetics BS

UCM Dietetics: Nutrition to a Greater Degree

The UCM Dietetics and Nutrition program will stop accepting new students on Aug 22nd, 2019, and Junior standing transfer students on Dec 31st, 2020. Check out the exciting news about the Master's Program in Nutrition.

The University of Central Missouri's Dietetics program has an 84% dietetic internship acceptance rate for 2017, compared to the national average of 52%, and our students are exceptionally well prepared for these positions, as evidenced by feedback from Internship Directors across the country. Additionally, our five year registration exam pass rate is 92%.  

 

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The Dietetics program at UCM is fully accredited!

The Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Central Missouri is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312/899-0040 ext 5400. Visit their link here.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics logo. To the left you see the words eat right in bold and pro next to it.

 

Program Goals

Program Goal 1: The DPD will prepare competent graduates to pursue DI’s and or careers in dietetics related area

Objectives:

  1. The one-year pass rate (for graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of the first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%
  1. 60% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation
  1. 50% of program graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
  1. At least 80% of program students complete the program/degree requirements within two years (150% of the program length), with two years representing 150% percent of the specific program’s length.
  1. 50% of those graduates who do not apply or not accepted into a supervised practice program will be accepted into a graduate school or be employed in a food or health profession

Program Goal 2 - The DPD will provide the education and guidance to create graduates who are successful in their future employments.

Objectives

  1. The one-year pass rate (for graduates who pass the NDTR registration exam within one year of the first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for Nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered (NDTRs) is at least 80%
  1. 90% of dietetic internship directors will rate a score of 3.0 or above for the academic preparedness for internships and/or positions
  1. 100% percent of students will pass National Restaurant Association ServSafe Certification exam

For more data on student success and outcomes, contact Dr. Swarna Mandali (mandali@ucmo.edu) as they are updated from year to year. 

Visit our Graduate Program's page!

Program Mission

The mission of the Dietetics Didactic Program (DPD) at UCM is to prepare students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam to become an entry level registered dietitian nutritionist. Through a foundation in liberal arts, service learning, technology, and research the student is prepared to be a life-long learner, and is able to enhance the practice of dietetics and health.

4 Year Plan of Study

Admissions into the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is housed in the department of Nutrition and Kinesiology within the School of Health and Human Services in the College of Health, Science and Technology. Incoming students are admitted into the DPD by the UCM Admission Criteria. Students admitted into the University of Central Missouri as freshmen or by transfer who plans to be Dietetics major should declare as a pre-dietetics student.  Formal admission to the Dietetics degree program is conditional upon completion of a minimum of the four following courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all the four courses (additionally, a minimum of a C or better must be achieved in each course); FOOD 2322: Food Preparation D&N 3340: Nutrition, BIOL 3401: Anatomy, BIOL 3402: Physiology. Also, students must meet the university criteria for a student in good standing.

Scholarships and Awards

Award recipients:

Missouri Outstanding Dietetics Student Award:

  • 2011: Jessica Rubin. Graduated from UCM in May 2011. Completed Dietetic Internship (2011-2012) at KU Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
  • 2013: Lacy Stephens. Graduated from UCM in May 2013. Completed Dietetic Internship at Montana State University (2013-2014)
  • 2017: Sarah Conniff: Graduated from UCM in 2017. Completed Dietetic Internship (2017-2018) at KU Medical Center, Kansas City, KS

Outstanding Dietetics Intern Award: West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • 2016: Michelle Garcia. Graduated from UCM in May 2015. Completed Internship (2015-2016) at West Virginia Hospital, Morgantown, West Virginia.

UCM Charno Award:

  • 2016: Josephine Diekemper. Graduated from UCM in 2016. Completed Dietetic Internship (2016-2017) at KU Medical Center, Kansas City, KS   

Scholarships:

Regina Myers McClain Distinguished Scholarship

The Regina Myers McClain Distinguished Scholarship is available through the University of Central Missouri Foundation and the Department of Nutrition for at least one student of junior-class standing who is pursuing a degree in the field of dietetics and nutrition.

To apply, a student must be of junior-class standing (completed a minimum of 60 hours) and be in good academic standing at UCM, and:

  1. be pursuing a degree in the field of dietetics and nutrition at UCM;
  2. demonstrate financial need;
  3.  be an active member of the American Dietetic Association and the Student Dietetic Association (SDA);
  4. have a minimum of 50 volunteer hours in, which may include but are not limited to: hospital/nursing home-based experience, public health or community nutrition experience, food service-related experience (must document hours);
  5. have an overall minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GPA of 3.75 in major.

Preference shall be given to a student holding a leadership role in SDA, demonstrating professional interest (i.e. attendance and/or presentation at professional meetings), and active in extracurricular activities (i.e. athletics, intramurals and/or employment).

This scholarship is made possible by way of a gift from Regina McClain, Class of 1935.

 

Regina Myers McClain Scholarship

 

The Regina Myers McClain Scholarship is available through the University of Central Missouri Foundation and the Department of Nutrition for students pursuing a degree in the field of dietetics and nutrition at UCM.

To apply, a student must be in good academic standing at UCM, and:

  1. be pursuing a degree in dietetics and nutrition at UCM;
  2. demonstrate financial need.

Preference shall be given to students who are active in the Student Dietetic Association (SDA), have at least 20 volunteer hours in nutrition-related services (must document hours), and with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Consideration shall be given to all scholarship applicants; however, preference shall be given to first-time applicants.

This scholarship is made possible by way of a gift from Regina McClain, Class of 1935.

What can I do with a Dietetics degree?

What are they doing now?

Since dietetics is the high-tech science of applying food and nutrition to health, it is a vital, growing field leading to a broad array of opportunities. Health, nutrition, and fitness have become a way of life: people are eager to learn about eating right for a healthier lifestyle and learning about good nutrition. The field of dietetics and nutrition leads to a wide range of employment options, including but not limited to work in:

  • Hospitals, HMOs, and other healthcare facilities
  • Community and public health settings
  • Fitness, sports nutrition, and corporate wellness programs
  • Education and research
  • Sales, marketing, and public relations
  • Government agencies
  • Restaurant management
  • Food companies
  • Private practice
  • The direction you take, and how far you take it, is your choice!

Estimated Program Costs

The cost of the program is approximately the same as the cost of attending UCM for any other student. Tuition, housing, meals, and the usual academic fees are identical. Books at UCM are rented. In addition, a $50 new student fee will be charged to all incoming students on their first bill. Information about fees found here and some additional costs are unique to the dietetics program. These are summarized in the document linked here

Student Handbook

Click here to access the student handbook

Information and Process to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

The DPD and the RD Credential

The 3 Steps Overview

Becoming a registered dietitian (RD) requires completion of three steps:

1) a bachelor of science degree from an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited program that provides the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to enter a dietetic internship; DPD program at UCM is accredited by ACEND

2) a supervised practice program (dietetic internship) of planned clinical and applied experiences; and

3) the Registration examination, a national examination administered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) to assure competence of practicing dietitians. The Didactic program in Dietetics at UCM provides you with a B.S. degree and the course work needed to apply to a Dietetic Internship program.

NEW: Effective 2024, all students enrolled in the DPD/Nutrition program must be prepared to complete a master's degree in any major if they intend to become registered dietitians. A typical education guideline will be four years for the B.S. degree, completion of the accredited 1200-hour internship, and two years for the master's degree.

 

Registered Dietitian- The Professional Credential

As mentioned above, most jobs in dietetics – especially in the health and wellness areas – require the credential of Registered Dietitian or RD. The RD is the nationally recognized expert in food and nutrition. The credential tells employers (and the public) that you have met certain standards for knowledge and skills. Most professions (especially health care) certify competency in their members in some way – i.e. Registered Nurses, Registered Pharmacists, Certified Public Accountants, etc. Registered Dietitians (RDs) have met the following criteria to earn the RD credential:  

  1. Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college.
  2. Completed coursework that constitutes a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) as defined by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).   
  3. Completed a ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship Program at a health-care facility, college/university, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run 9 to 12 months in length.
  4. Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).  

Further information on the process to become a Registered Dietitian can be found here

Details for Steps 1 & 2: Academics

  • The first two items can be accomplished by completing the B.S. Degree in Dietetics at the University of Central Missouri which combines the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012 Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) for Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) standards, Upon successful completion of the B.S. Degree in Dietetics, a Verification Statement will be issued to the student.  This statement indicates that he/she has successfully completed an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), has obtained a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and, thus may pursue a Dietetic Internship.

Details for Step 3: Dietetic Internship

  • Following completion of the B.S. Degree in Dietetics, students must be accepted into and complete a post-baccalaureate Dietetic Internship. These programs require a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice and help students gain practical experience in clinical dietetics, community nutrition, foodservice management and many other areas in the field of dietetics.
  • For a complete list of all dietetic internship programs in the country, click this linkAcceptance into Dietetic Internship programs has become extremely competitive with national acceptance rates around 50%.  Acceptance into Dietetic Internships is based upon a number of factors including:
  • Overall undergraduate GPA and GPA in science and professional courses (3.3 or above, although a slightly lower GPA may be accepted along with strong work or volunteer experience). Dietetics related work and volunteer experience (some require more than 1200 hours); Leadership experience, letters of recommendation, letter of application, and  performance in an interview (only few internships will require an interview)
  • For further information on availability of Dietetic Internships and how to improve your chances of acceptance, click this link

Details for Step 4: Registration Examination for Dietitians

  • After the internship, students must take and pass the national Registration Examination for Dietitians.  To maintain a Registered Dietitian status, dietetics professionals must complete at least 75 credit hours in approved continuing education every 5 years.  For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s Web site at: www.cdrnet.org

Details for Step 5: Advanced Degree Program

  • Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) changed the entry -level registration eligibility education requirements for dietitians, beginning in 2024, from a baccalaureate degree to a minimum of a graduate degree.  More information can be found here.  
  • Some students choose to pursue their Masters degree immediately after they complete their B.S. degree, then apply for Dietetic Internships.  This may improve your competitiveness in the internship application process. However, it’s important to know what area of dietetics you wish to pursue before choosing a graduate program.  As mentioned above, there are many different graduate degrees that complement the RD credential. There are also several “combined” Dietetic Internship/Masters degree programs in the United States and this may be a good option for students who know the area of dietetics/graduate degree program they wish to pursue.  Information on these programs can be found on the program list from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • You will find a list of advanced degree programs on the following website:
  • These advanced degree programs are not accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and do not meet the requirements for the registration examination for dietitians. This list should be used as a guide only; this is not an all-inclusive list of advanced degree programs in nutrition, dietetics and related areas.

Licensure/Certification

  • In addition to RD credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners.  Frequently these state requirements are met through the same education and training required to become an RD. Licensure means that the state statutes include an explicitly defined scope of practice, and performance of the profession is illegal without first obtaining a license from the state. Licensing of dietitians assures the public that individuals disseminating nutrition advice have the appropriate education and experience. Licensure laws protect the public from unscrupulous and unqualified individuals who would portray themselves as nutrition experts.  It is the goal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to have licensure for dietitians in all 50 states. A summary of laws that regulate dietitians (and the list of states requiring them) can be found here

Program Director

Dr. Swarna Mandali PhD, RDN, CSSD
Professor and Dietetics Program Director
Morrow 130
Tel: (660) 543-8747

Meet the Faculty

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