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Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

The B.S. Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Option provides a deep and varied education that will prepare you for a career in nutrition as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

If you would like to become an RDN, earn your bachelor’s degree from UMass Lowell, a program that prepares you to earn a supervised practice-eligible verification statement from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics.

Upon completion of our program, you will apply to a supervised practice program: Dietetic Internship, Future Education Model Graduate Program, Coordinated Program or Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway. See more details below.

Read more about the major and apply!

  • The UMass Lowell DPD, BS In Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Option has been granted Candidacy Status for Accreditation by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). 

    Accreditation includes self-analysis, preparation of a self-study report, and an on-site evaluation visit by a team of professional peers. Dietetics educators and practitioners, appointed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) board, participate in the peer review process to determine if a program is achieving its own educational objectives and meeting the accreditation standards. The ACEND board accredits programs that are able to meet these standards. 

    Candidacy status is awarded after review of an eligibility application and self-study report and an on-site evaluation indicate that the program is progressing toward compliance with the Accreditation Standards and demonstrates institutional readiness to implement the proposed program. After candidacy for accreditation is granted, the program may enroll students. Students on premises and enrolled after candidacy is granted will be considered graduates of an accredited program on successful completion of the program. 

    Accreditation status provided by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics - the accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian nutritionists or nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered. ACEND® can be contacted by:

    Website: ACEND Website
    Email: ACEND@eatright.org
    Phone: 800/877-1600, ext. 5400
    Mail: 120 South Riverside Plaza
    Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995
    UMass Lowell does not currently offer distance learning.
  • The mission of the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) Didactic Program in Dietetics is to promote health by preparing graduates for: supervised practice (leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists), graduate school, and/or a career in the health sciences. 

    To keep with the mission to promote health by preparing graduates for: supervised practice (leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists), graduate school and/or a career in the health sciences, specific goals have been developed for the UML Didactic Program in Dietetics. 

    1. The first goal for the UML Didactic Program in Dietetics is to prepare graduates for successful entry into a supervised practice program, graduate school, or career in the health sciences. 
    2. The second goal is to prepare graduates to use an evidence-based approach to practice. 

    Goal one is to prepare graduates for successful entry into supervised practice, graduate school, or job in the health sciences. 

    Program Objectives 

    1. At least 80% of program students complete program requirements within six years (150% of the program length).
    2. Graduate Application and Acceptance into Supervised Practice: 1. At least sixty percent of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.” 2. “Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least fifty percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation. 
    3. Graduate Performance on Registration Exam: 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%.
    4. Satisfaction with Graduate Performance: At least eighty percent of supervised practice program directors, graduate program directors, or employers who respond to a director survey will rate graduates as acceptable or higher in their preparedness for supervised practice, graduate program or career within 12 months of graduation. 

    Goal two is to prepare graduates to use an evidence-based approach to practice. 

    Program Objectives

    1. At least sixty percent of program graduates will report using evidence-based recommendations in their supervised practice program, graduate school, or career within 12 months after graduation. 
    2. At least sixty percent of supervised practice program directors, graduate program directors or employers who respond to a director survey will report that graduates have evidence-based recommendations in their supervised practice program, graduate school, or career within 12 months after graduation.
  • Many RDNs workplaces, particularly those In medical and healthcare settings, require that an individual be credentialed as an RDN. 

    Registered Dietitian Nutritionalists work in: 

    • Hospitals, HMO's or other health-care facilities, educating patients about nutrition and administering medical nutrition therapy as part of the health-care team. They may also manage the foodservice operations in these settings, as well as in schools, day-care centers and correctional facilities, over-seeing everything from food purchasing and preparation to managing staff. 
    • Sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs, educating clients about the connection between food, fitness and health. 
    • Food and nutrition-related business and industries, working in communications, consumer affairs, public relations, marketing, product development or consulting with chefs in restaurants and culinary schools. 
    • Private practice, working under contract with health-care or food companies, or in their own business. RDNs may provide services to foodservice or restaurant managers, food vendors and distributors or athletes, nursing home residents or company employees. 
    • Community and public health settings, teaching, monitoring and advising the public and helping improve their quality of life through healthy eating habits.
    • Universities and medical centers, teaching physician’s assistants, nurses, dietetics students, dentists and others the sophisticated science of foods and nutrition. 
    • Research areas in food and pharmaceutical companies, universities and hospitals directing or conducting experiments to answer critical nutrition questions and find alternative foods or nutrition recommendations for the public.
  • Visit UMass Lowell's full time undergraduate tuition and fees section.

    Additional annual fees for undergraduate Nutritional Science BS, Dietetics option students include,

    • Estimated books: $1,200
    • Estimated health insurance (if not already covered): $1,570
    • Student membership to the Academy of Nutrition (junior year only): $58
    • Any medical expenses incurred are the responsibility of the student.

    Fees for drug testing and criminal background checks are paid for by the university. Uniforms do not need to be purchased.

    Scholarship information will be shared by the Program Director and faculty when available.

  • The DPD B.S. Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Option will provide a deep and varied education that will prepare students for a career in nutrition as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). 

    Individuals who would like to become an RDN must complete a bachelor’s degree to earn a supervised practice-eligible verification statement from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Upon completion of DPD program, students will apply to a supervised practice program: Dietetic Internship, Future Education Model (FEM) Graduate Program, Coordinated Program or Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP). 

    Note that some of these programs use the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS) for matching and some use direct application to the school/program. It is up to the student to determine what programs to which he or she would like to apply. If using DICAS the student will need to register and pay (for each program to which you apply). 

    Then, you will register with D&D Digital Systems to participate in program matching. There is a fee for this matching service.

    These programs are competitive, and many are combined with graduate degree programs. These programs will provide the student with the experience necessary (1200 hours across ACEND-defined domains and precepted by RDNs) to sit for the national Commission on Dietetic Registration CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

    Students who have not completed the entirety of their supervised practice program by December 31, 2023, and who have not already earned a graduate degree (in any field) will have to earn a graduate degree to be eligible to sit for the national Commission on Dietetic Registration CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

  • Credit for courses (prior learning) taken outside the University will be evaluated for equivalency using the UMass Lowell transfer dictionary
    Transfer credits are evaluated based on university policy. Courses that include assessment(s) of RDN Core Knowledge Assessments (KRDNs) must be taken at UML. Exceptions may be made in very specific instances wherein a student can show (with completed, graded work from an ACEND-accredited institution) that they earned an 80% on all assessments that the UML DPD program has in the course that the student desires to transfer.
  • Academic Standards for Remaining in the DPD BS in Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Option

    The Dietetics program follows the University Academic Calendar.

    Students who wish to pursue the DPD BS in Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Option should meet the following minimum criteria to remain in the dietetics option after their sophomore year:

    • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or greater
    • Grade of B- or higher in Human Nutrition and Introduction to Food Safety
  • Upon graduation students successfully completing the DPD BS in Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Option receive a Verification Statement , which is needed to earn a position in a supervised practice program. The Dietetics option requires unique standards and admissions policies as outlined below.

    Requirements for Completion of DPD BS in Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Option

    1. Follow the published curriculum
    2. Meet every semester with academic advisor for preregistration advising during the dates indicated on the academic calendar.
    3. Adhere to the BNS Department Behavior Policies and the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Professionalism and Social Media Policies

    Program completion requirements include,

    • Maintaining a semester and cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.5
    • Earning a B- or better in Human Nutrition and Intro to Food Safety
    • Earning a B- or higher in dietetics courses*
    • Earing grades of (80%) or better on assignments that directly relate to a knowledge requirement .

    If a student has not met the above requirements, he or she will be asked to leave the program and the student will work with this or her advisor to determine a path that meets the student’s needs; one such option will be to encourage the student to transfer to the BS in Nutritional Sciences Wellness Option; an option requiring less rigor in the sciences.

    Regarding simply not meeting a knowledge requirement by not earning a score of 80% for said knowledge requirement, the student will be contacted to schedule a remediation appointment with the Program Director and his or her advisor will be alerted. At the remediation meeting the Program Director will gather qualitative data from the student about why he or she has not met the knowledge requirement(s) and the student will be given a remediation assignment to be completed within two weeks of the start of the following semester.

    In the case a student does not meet a knowledge requirement during the last academic semester he or she must complete the remediation assignment by the end of the current semester’s finals period. If the student fails again to master the knowledge requirement with an 80% or higher, an opportunity for a second attempt will be administered on a case-by-case basis. If a student did not meet the knowledge requirement after the first attempt, or potential second attempt, he or she will be dismissed from the DPD program and an alternative plan for a timely graduation will be developed with the student and his or her advisor. One such plan will be to encourage the student to change to the BS in Nutritional Sciences Wellness Option; an option requiring less rigor in the sciences.

    *Dietetics courses for the DPD BS in Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Option include,

    1. Food Science with Lab NUTR.3010
    2. Community Nutrition NUTR.3450 (3) 
    3. Body Diversity and Health NUTR.3720 (3)
    4. Life Cycle Nutrition NUTR.3360 (3)
    5. Medical Nutrition Therapy I NUTR.4810 (3)
    6. Practice of the Nutr Professional NUTR.3310 (3)
    7. Medical Nutrition Therapy II NUTR.4820 (3)
    8. Nutrigenetics NUTR.4720 (3)

    Neither the university, nor the Zuckerberg College have a policy on the maximum amount of time allowed for program completion. The program will allow students six years to complete the Dietetics Option program to be in line with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) of the Office of Financial Aid policy of six years total to complete an undergraduate degree.