Didactic Program in Dietetics

Currently, in order to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), students will need to complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) which most students at the University of Minnesota do while completing a BS degree in Nutrition. A DPD is the academic component and one of the required steps toward becoming a RDN. See "Requirements for Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist" below for additional details of the steps to become a RDN.

health professional speaking with mother and daughter

FYI: The Registered Dietitian (RD) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credentials are interchangeable with practitioners having the option to choose one or the other. See this page for additional information about the RDN credential.

The DPD is housed within the Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FScN) on the St. Paul campus. Students who are also obtaining a Nutrition undergraduate degree are admitted into the program through the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). Students who already have a bachelor’s degree or who are graduate students are still able to complete the DPD. See "Info for Prospective and Transfer Dietetics Students" below for more information.

This option offers preparation in the basic sciences and liberal education, a background in food science, and a focus on human needs related to nutrition. The curriculum meets accreditation standards and core knowledge for a DPD by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics for entry into supervised practice. Therefore, students who plan to become RDNs will be eligible to apply for a post-baccalaureate dietetic internship or graduate program upon graduation. Graduates of the program who choose not to become RDNs will be qualified for positions in various food-related fields, including nutrition, industry, and community programs. Please see the University Catalog for degree requirements and the DPD track requirements.

The Future in Dietetics

Tressa Nutrition Student on Lawn

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree (in any field) to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In addition, CDR still requires that individuals complete coursework (DPD) and supervised practice (Dietetic Internship) in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). For now, the DPD at the U of MN will remain an accredited undergraduate program; therefore by Jan. 1, 2024, U of MN DPD graduates will need to not only complete the dietetic internship but also obtain a Master’s degree before taking the RDN exam. Read more information about the graduate degree requirement and/or the educational pathways to become an RDN.

The Nutrition Graduate program is creating a dietetics-based MPS degree which will build upon DPD
knowledge to provide advanced coursework for graduate-prepared practitioners. The goal is that this
dietetics professional master’s degree will be available beginning Fall 2023. Please reach out to Corrie Marion for more information.

Accreditation Statement

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is currently granted Accreditation by the Accreditation for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606, 312-899-5400, www.eatrightpro.org/acend

Additional DPD Information

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Requirements for Becoming a RDN

Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following educational and professional criteria to earn and maintain the RDN credential.

  1. Completion of a master's degree* (at minimum) from a U.S. regionally accredited university or college
    • The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) has changed the eligibility requirement from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree, beginning January 1, 2024. Even though there is still time until this date, it would be highly unlikely that a person could obtain all of the required coursework and complete a full supervised practice program (dietetic internship) before December 31, 2023. Therefore, dietetics students should now plan on obtaining a graduate degree in order to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a RDN. For more information about this requirement, visit  CDR's website.
  2. Completion of accredited DPD coursework as approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
    • Students are awarded a Verification Statement after they have completed the DPD coursework (and have completed a bachelor’s degree). Students will typically need a DPD Verification Statement in order to enter a supervised practice program.
    • Students with bachelor’s degrees who need to complete a DPD, in order to eligible for a dietetics graduate and/or supervised practice program, can complete courses throught the College of Continuing and Professional Studies as a non-degree seeking student.
  3. Completion of an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program
    • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics maintains a list of accredited dietetics supervise practice programs.   There are 3 types of accredited supervised practice programs that students can choose to apply to: 1) Dietetic Internships, 2) Future Education Model Graduate Programs, and 3) Coordinated Masters programs.
    • University of Minnesota DPD students are fortunate to have a unique course that will guide them through the application process for supervise practice programs.  FSCN 4667 Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education has been in existence since 2009 and, according to feedback, has been extremely beneficial in helping students navigate this complicated process.
  4. Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). The supervised practice program director will provide details regarding the exam administration process.
  5. Follow appropriate state laws that regulate the practice of dietetics depending on the state you will be working in.
  6. Obtain 75 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every 5 years to maintain registration status as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Continuing professional education is essential for lifelong development to maintain and improve knowledge and skills for competent dietetics practice.

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

DPD Mission, Goals and Objectives

The DPD provides a rigorous University-based liberal education and an equally rigorous dietetics curriculum.  The DPD faculty believe that the University’s status as a major, land-grant university effectively packages the resources and strengths of its arts and sciences. This, combined with the strengths and expertise within the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, provides excellent undergraduate preparation to meet the core knowledge delineated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for entry-level dietitians.

The DPD training includes a strong science component of biological sciences, chemistry, and biochemistry courses appropriate for admission to graduate school.  A liberal arts core and specialized courses in nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, clinical nutrition, food science, menu planning, and foodservice management provide depth and breadth.

As a program within a land-grant institution, its philosophy includes meeting the needs of a wide variety of students, some who follow non-traditional routes and some who select career paths other than becoming Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

Mission

The mission of the DPD at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is to prepare students for further education and/or careers in nutrition and dietetics practice in which they are critically minded professionals who value life-long learning and evidence-based interprofessional practice, while effectively working across difference within a variety of settings in a diverse world.

Goals and Objectives

Goal #1 – Graduates will receive the knowledge and skills for successful participation in graduate programs, accredited supervised practice and careers in nutrition, dietetics, food and/or health

  • Objective a. At least 80% of students complete the program requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).
  • Objective b. At least 60% of program graduates will apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation
  • Objective c. 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%.

Goal #2 – #2 – Graduates will receive the education and guidance to become confident and valued professionals who are prepared to work effectively in diverse settings

  • Objective a. a. 75% of supervised practice/graduate program directors who respond to our surveys will state that, in general, our graduate was prepared “extremely well” or “very well” for their program within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective b. 75% of respondents to the DPD alumni survey will indicate that the U of MN DPD prepared them extremely well or very well for their current position as an employee or as a student/intern.
  • Objective c. 75% of respondents to the DPD alumni survey will indicate that they are extremely or somewhat satisfied that their education at the U of MN prepared them well for working in an interprofessional environment.
  • Objective d. 75% of respondents to the DPD alumni survey will indicate that they are extremely or somewhat satisfied that their education at the U of MN prepared them well for working in diverse work settings.


Note: Program outcomes data are available upon request by contacting [email protected].

Costs to Students

Tuition and fee information:

https://onestop.umn.edu/finances
In addition to tuition and fees, $300 or less will be needed for items such as transportation to field trips or volunteer experiences, extra supplies or materials for class projects, and student membership to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (recommended for all DPD students).

Withdrawal and refund of tuition:

https://onestop.umn.edu/dates-and-deadlines

Financial aid information: 

https://onestop.umn.edu/finances/receiving-financial-aid

Scholarships

The Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FSCN) is committed to making scholarships available to its students. The department offers numerous undergraduate awards, over $100,000 yearly, available to students in either Food Science or Nutrition.  In addition, our students qualify for scholarships available from the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), as well as scholarships given by food science and nutrition professional organizations and industries.  Further details, such as deadlines, can be obtained from the FSCN website, from CFANS, and from the Undergraduate Student Services Administrator in 225 FSCN.

Admission Process

University of Minnesota Admissions Options

Students seeking an undergraduate degree:
Information and applications can be obtained from 
CFANS Admissions. You will be seeking admission to the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Students taking DPD coursework as a non-degree seeking student:
There is no application process for this option. You will register for classes through the 
College of Continuing and Professional Studies.  Non-degree seeking students can use the transcript evaluation form as a guide for which classes to sign up for through the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Students seeking a graduate degree in FSCN:

Application information can be found on the Nutrition Graduate Program webpage.

Equitable Treatment: To ensure equitable treatment for all applicants and students, the Univeristy, CFANS, FSCN and DPD operate under the Board of Regents Policy: Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

DPD Admission Process

NOTE: Only students who are currently enrolled as nutrition undergraduates are required to follow this process.

An application and admission process for the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is required for students interested in becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. All students (freshmen and transfers) must apply and be accepted into the DPD and have the DPD sub-plan listed on their student record in order to receive a Verification Statement upon graduation, which is needed to enter into a Dietetic Internship or other accredited dietetics supervised practice program.

DPD Applications will be required to be submitted either by October 15 or by March 15 after students have met the criteria below.

Criteria for DPD Admission

  • Completion of at least one semester of coursework at the University of Minnesota, in order to have established a UMN GPA
  • GPA – preferred 3.0/minimum required 2.8
  • Completion of a DPD Application Form
  • Completion of the following courses:
    • FSCN 1112 – Principles of Nutrition
    • FSCN 3612 – Life Cycle Nutrition
    • General Chemistry II
    • General Biology

Application

All students will receive notification via email regarding the status of their application before registration begins for the following semester. Students who meet all of the above criteria for DPD entrance requirements will be automatically accepted into the DPD. Students who plan to have all criteria met at the end of the semester of application will initially receive conditional acceptance and will receive final notification of their application status after the semester has ended to ensure that the student has met the above criteria.  Final decisions regarding admission are made at the discretion of DPD leadership.

It is recommended that admitted DPD students obtain a student membership to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics after receiving acceptance, which could be useful for upper level courses and for preparation for the next steps toward becoming a RDN. Academy membership begins June 1, is one-year long, and is $58 for students. See the Academy student membership page for more information.

DPD Progression Policy

Once admitted to the program, students must maintain a minimum UMN GPA  of 2.8. Post-baccalaureate pre-professional practical experiences/dietetic internships are extremely competitive. Successful completion of all DPD required courses does not guarantee admission to post-baccalaureate programs.

DPD students are expected to conduct themselves appropriately and professionally by abiding by:

Academic and Disciplinary Termination
Students not maintaining a UMN GPA of 2.8 or who receive a course grade of “D” or “F” in any program required course may be dismissed from the Didactic Program in Dietetics at the discretion of program leadership. Students who find themselves in that situation should meet with the DPD Director as soon as possible. Students may repeat DPD courses for which they have received a grade of “D” or “F”, but may not be allowed to progress in the DPD until they have successfully completed and earned a “C” or above in that course and maintained a minimum UMN GPA of 2.8. Students are also required to meet the core knowledge requirements of an accredited DPD – more about this can be found in the “Assessment of Student Learning & Program Completion Requirements” section.

In addition, failure to maintain the Student Code of Conduct and/or the Academy Code of Ethics may result in dismissal from the program and/or not receiving a Verification Statement.

Final decisions regarding program retention or termination will be made at the discretion of program leadership, after full review of the situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I want to apply to the DPD?
If you are planning or considering applying for a Dietetic Internship (DI) or other accredited supervised practice program in order to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), you need to apply to the DPD. In order to enter into any accredited supervised practice experience, you need a Verification Statement from the DPD Director stating that all of the DPD coursework requirements were met. You will only receive a Verification Statement if you have applied to and are accepted into the DPD.

In addition, admission into the DPD will ensure that you receive relevant and important information regarding the DPD and applying to accredited supervised practice programs.

After acceptance in to the DPD, what if I change my mind and do not want to be a RDN?
That’s OK. You can either withdraw from the DPD and choose the Nutrition Studies or Nutritional Science track, or you can remain in the DPD. If you remain in the DPD, you will receive a Verification Statement that you could use if you change your mind in the future.

Are there extra classes required for DPD students?
No. Completing all courses in the DPD track of the Nutrition major is all that is required.

What if I am not accepted into the DPD?
If you do not meet the criteria when you apply, you can re-apply the following semester. You should contact Corrie Marion ([email protected]) or your advisor about steps you can take to make sure you are eligible to apply to the DPD.

If I am currently taking one or more required courses, can I still apply now?
Yes, as long as you meet all other criteria and are currently taking the required course. Your grades will be reviewed at the end of the semester to ensure that you passed before receiving final acceptance into the DPD.

Please contact Corrie Marion at c[email protected] if you have questions about applying to the DPD

Transcript Evaluation Process

Do I need a transcript evaluation?

Depending on your situation, your transcript may need to be evaluated to determine which courses you will need to complete in order to meet the DPD program requirements. This is a separate process from the University of Minnesota admissions process and this evaluation will not be part of your official student record.

You do NOT need a transcript evaluation if:

  • You are enrolling for an undergraduate degree (either your first degree or an additional degree) via CFANS Admissions. Any coursework you have taken elsewhere will be evaluated through the admissions process. 

You DO need a transcript evaluation if:

  • You are completing DPD courses as a non-degree seeking student.
  • You are completing DPD courses as a Nutrition graduate student.

If you are already a dietitian in a different country, please read the “International Student Information” from the Academy regarding completion of education, training, and credentials outside the US.

Will my classes transfer?

Please see the Liberal Education Course Transfer Guides for resources to determine if previous coursework will transfer to the University of Minnesota. This site also includes specific transfer guides for Minnesota Community Colleges.

Our recency of education policies are in effect for all transferred coursework. Directors of supervised practice programs look at recency of coursework when evaluating prospective interns. Therefore, th DPD Program guidelines may be more strict than the admission standards of the university, college or department.

How do I obtain a transcript evaluation?

Notify the program via email at [email protected] that you plan to start this process. Please note that this is a time-consuming procedure and cannot be done during a brief office visit. The process and requested documentation is highlighted below.

  • Please provide complete official transcripts (electronic versions preferred) from institutions other than the University of Minnesota.
  • Foreign degrees and coursework: If coursework was completed outside of the USA, the transcripts must first be evaluated for foreign degree equivalency, on a course-by-course basis, and a report certifying foreign degree equivalency must be obtained. There are several companies that provide such a service which are listed on the Academy web site. This process is not part of the admission process to the University of Minnesota.
  • You may be asked to submit additional information about course description and/or syllabi if adequate detail is not available via online sources.
  • After completion of the transcript evaluation, a list of the required courses will be emailed to you. This list will show which courses you have received credit for and which courses you still need to complete to obtain a Verification Statement according to the University of Minnesota DPD Coursework and Recency Policy.

DPD Coursework and Recency Policy

To receive a verification statement from the University of Minnesota Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), the following guidelines must be met:

  1. All courses need to be completed but at least 18 credits from the list of requirements must be taken at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus and must include FScN 4665 and FScN 4666 Medical Nutrition Therapy I/II, a food service management course, and a nutrition or community nutrition course.
  2. All requirements (either the courses listed or approved equivalents) must be taken on an A-F basis and satisfactory completion will be a grade of C- or higher. An overall GPA of 2.8 is required to receive a DPD Verification Statement.
  3. To assure a strong academic foundation in the areas pertinent to the program, past coursework must meet our recency of coursework policy (see below). The Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics reserves the right to make final decisions regarding recency of coursework.

Coursework completed within the past 3 years

  • FScN 4665 Medical Nutrition Therapy I
  • FScN 4666 Medical Nutrition Therapy II

Coursework completed in the past 5 years

  • FScN 1102 Food: Safety, Risks and Tech.
  • FScN 1112 Principles of Nutrition
  • FScN 2001 A Food Systems Approach to Cooking for Health and the Environment
  • FScN 2512 Food Customs and Culture
  • FScN 3612 Life Cycle Nutrition
  • FScN 3614 Nutrition Education & Counseling
  • FScN 3731 Food Operations Management Lab
  • FScN 3732 Food Operations Management
  • FScN 4612 Advanced Human Nutrition
  • FScN 4613 Experimental Nutrition
  • FScN 4614W Community Nutrition
  • FScN 4621 Nutrition and Metabolism
  • FScN 4667 Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education
  • FScN 4732 Food Nutrition Management

Coursework completed in the past 10 years

  • Math 1031 College Algebra
  • Chem 1061/1065 Chemical Principles I and Lab
  • Chem 1062/1066 Chemical Principles II and Lab
  • Chem 2301 Organic Chemistry I Lec
  • BioC 3021 Biochemistry Lec
  • Biol 1009 General Biology with lab
  • AnSc 3301 Human and Animal Physiology
  • FScN 2021 Introductory Microbiology
  • Stat 3011 Statistical Analysis

General Course Information

Assessment of Student Learning & Program Completion Requirements

Graduation for current Nutrition undergraduate students: 

The University Catalog provides graduation and program completion requirements for the Nutrition major and DPD sub-plan.

Find all the information you need to prepare for graduation here.

DPD Verification Statements will be emailed to you after your Nutrition degree has been conferred by the registrar.

Program Completion and Verification Statements:

DPD students are awarded a Verification Statement after they have completed the DPD coursework (and received the BS in Nutrition if enrolled undergraduate students) and met the core knowledge requirements. You will need a Verification Statement in order to enter an accredited supervised practice program and/or for other licensure procedures. The signed Verification Statement indicates that a student has completed the requirements of an accredited DPD.

Students are expected to complete the DPD within three years of acceptance to the DPD sub-plan, with a maximum allowed completion of five years after DPD acceptance. If a student is unable to complete the DPD in this timeframe, the DPD Director will work with the student regarding potential program completion implications.

In addition to successful completion of the DPD courses, students are required to fulfill target measures for specific activities to prove that the core knowledge requirements for a DPD have been met. All DPD students are to score 70% or greater on these assignments/projects:

  • Education Lesson Plan (final) in FSCN 3614- Nutrition Education and Counseling
  • Final Counseling Project in FSCN 3614-Nutrition Education and Counseling
  • Peer Counseling Session in FSCN 3614 - Nutrition Education and Counseling
  • Conflict Management Assignment in FSCN 3614 - Nutrition Education and Counseling
  • Cultural Humility/Bias in Healthcare Essay in FSCN 3614-Nutrition Education and Counseling
  • Menu Project in FSCN 3731 - Food Service Operations Management Lab
  • Weekly quizzes that assess the quality and delivery of nutritional services in FSCN - Food Service Operations Management Lecture
  • Total Quality Management (TQM) Quizzes in FSCN 3732 - Food Service Operations Management Lecture
  • SOP related to food safety in FSCN 3732-Food Service Operations Management Lecture
  • Individual Development Plan in FSCN 3732 - Food Service Operations Management Lecture
  • Peer Evaluation of Groupwork in FSCN 3732 - Food Service Operations Management Lecture
  • Glucose and Glycated Hemoglobin Lab in FSCN 4613 - Experimental Nutrition
  • Legislative Assignment in FSCN 4614W-Community Nutrition
  • Grant Capstone Project in FSCN 4614W-Community Nutrition
  • Clinical Case #2 in FSCN 4665-MNT I
  • Final Case Study FSCN 4666-MNT II
  • Nutritional Genomics mini-exam in FSCN 4666-MNT II
  • Billing and Reimbursement worksheet in FSCN 4667- Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education
  • Pass the Better Together component in FSCN 4667- Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education
  • Health Care Delivery article worksheet in FSCN 4667- Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education
  • Ethics Case Studies in FSCN 4667 - Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education
  • Participation Assignment in FSCN 4667 - Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education
  • Personal Information Document in FSCN 4667- Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education
  • Elevator Pitch for “next step” in FSCN 4667- Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education
  • Management Principles take-home quiz in FSCN 4732-Food and Nutrition Management
  • HR Management quiz in FSCN 4732-Food and Nutrition Management
  • Budgeting/Financial Management case study in FSCN 4732-Food and Nutrition Management
  • Reflection journal submissions about professional mentorship in FSCN 4732-Food and Nutrition Management

If you did not meet the target measure for an assignment, the course instructor and/or the DPD Director will work with you to determine the best option for fulfilling the requirement.  In addition, if you took an equivalent course at another institution, the DPD Director will work with you to make sure you have met the core knowledge requirements via alternative assignments or projects if needed.

Additional information for non-degree students and graduate students completing the DPD:

Once you complete all required DPD courses as indicated on your transcript evaluation and met the target measures as outlined above, you have completed the DPD and will receive a Verification Statement. You will receive communications about this after you complete the DPD coursework.

Please email [email protected] with any question about graduation and/or program completion.

Conflict/Problem Resolution

The following are recommended procedures for problem resolution for Food Science and Nutrition personnel and students.  The first step in any resolution should be at the source of the problem, which is between the parties involved, or the parties and an immediate supervisor. Documentation of a student complaint will be maintained according to where the complaint was made (Department Head, DPD Director, student file, etc.) for at least seven years. There will be no retaliation for any student who makes a complaint at any level.

Student Academic Issues for Undergraduates
Undergraduate students majoring in nutrition or taking an FScN class who have concerns about an academic situation are encouraged to contact either their academic advisor, Dan Gallaher, Chair for the Nutrition program ([email protected]), or Department Head Job Ubbink ([email protected]). If no solution is found, resolution should be sought through the college grievance committee/officer or the Student Conflict Resolution Center (SCRC) at 612-624-7272 or www.sos.umn.edu.  

For Issues specific to the DPD and the ACEND Accreditation Standards
DPD students should direct concerns to the DPD Director. If no solution can be made, concerns should then be directed to the Department Head.

In the event that a complaint remains unresolved, students may submit their complaint in writing directly to ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL  60606).

Undergraduate Student Employment Issues
Undergraduate students may wish to contact SCRC or the Office of Conflict Resolution (http://ocr.umn.edu/ or 612-624-1030) if the steps stated above do not bring resolution.

Important Policies and Links

U of MN Policies and Links

Links – Dietetics

ACEND Accreditation

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is currently granted Accreditation 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, Phone: 312-899-5400, Website: www.eatrightpro.org/acend.

A Professional Electronic Portfolio – DPD Recommendation

What is a Professional Portfolio?

Portfolios can be used for many different reasons. Business professionals may use them to display case studies of experiences they have encountered, artists may want to show examples of their creative side, and models may want to show agencies or clients a variety of “jobs” they have been able to secure. In the world of education, portfolios were initially designed to help student’s reflect on different assignments and learning opportunities. Educators could also view them periodically to monitor progress in the learning process.

In the beginning, paper (hard) copies of portfolios were kept by means of a binder with tabs that divided the document into many different sections. Today, the web has made keeping an electronic portfolio more appealing. Students can still use the portfolio to reflect on what they have (or what they are in the process of) accomplished and instructors can still view them periodically to monitor learning.

Why go to the time and trouble to do an electronic one?

An electronic portfolio can be used to help you when you want to apply to other programs (Internship Programs, Masters Programs or even PhD Programs) or help when you are ready to begin the job search. By keeping a “journal” of things you create, accomplish or experience during the educational process, you will be able to not only tell future directors or employers what you are capable of; you will be able to SHOW them. In addition, some internships require that you provide a portfolio.

Organization of the E-folio

Because creative and electronic juices flow differently in different types of people, there are many formats in which to follow. Your E-folio should be designed using a format that is comfortable and possibly even familiar to you. It is up to you to check out the different types of formats and design your portfolio with the tool you are most comfortable with. Below is a list of tools that have been used by other DPD’s or other UMN students. The list is by no means inclusive.

What to include in your E-folio

Your E-folio will always be a work in progress. This is a professional development tool that consists of your best examples of work, volunteer and classroom experiences. You should keep your best assignments/projects from your coursework that you feel demonstrates your strengths.

Items you could include in your E-folio:

  • Resume
  • Writing samples
  • Computer work
  • Awards
  • Transcripts
  • Class projects
  • Goal statements
  • Documents created at internships
  • Student leadership examples
  • Work and volunteer experiences

The Career & Internship Services website has information and access to an online workshop on Professional Portfolios.

Building your Resume

Utilize your resources

Student Groups

Join one of our department sponsored Student Groups to meet people, learn more about the majors, and find leadership opportunities.

Join any other fun and enriching student groups on campus to make friends and build many different skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership and time management.

Career and Internship Services (CIS)

Visit CIS which maintains information for Nutrition majors with many career as well as paid and volunteer experience ideas and lists Job and Internship Fairs. They have drop in hours and appointments available. Their office is located at 198 McNeal Hall. Look under “Career Info by major” for more information related to nutrition jobs.

Golden Gopher Workshop Database
Find workshops, information sessions, fairs and information on academic opportunities, academic success, career services, community service and engagement, leadership and advocacy, off-campus opportunities, personal development, scholarships

Learning Abroad
Strongly consider incorporating a learning abroad experience into your undergraduate education. Discuss with your Advisor and the FSCN Student Services staff for ideas on finding courses that meet requirements in your major and finding scholarships to help with the costs.

Get Experience

Review the resources and information provided on the Jobs and Opportunities webpage.

Look for a variety of experiences in the different areas of nutrition and dietetics, such as:

  • Clinical
    • Review the websites for hospitals, clinics, or senior living facilities near you or contact the nutrition department or Director of Nutrition or Dietary Services to look for paid and/or volunteer opportunities
    • Shadow a dietitian in different settings
  • Community - Check out the Student Outreach and Volunteering page for more ideas
    • WIC - managed through country services
    • Possible paid or volunteer opportunities during the school year or during the summer
    • Hunger relief organizations, such as Feeding America
    • Many different types of volunteer opportunities
    • Food shelves and residence shelters
    • Help with providing meals, organize donations, provide education
    • Home-Delivered Meals, such as Open Arms of Minnesota or Meals on Wheels
    • Assist with meal preparation and delivery
  • Food service
    • Review the websites or contact the Nutrition Department or Food Service Director at a hospital, senior living facility, or college or university near you to see if they are hiring dietary aides or foodservice staff, including foodservice supervisors
    • Shadow a foodservice director at a local school or university

Recommendations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website include:

  • Volunteer and provide community service, especially in areas related to health and nutrition
  • Get practical, paid work experiences, especially in areas related to your desired area(s) of practice.
  • Become actively involved in professional organizations, such as college dietetics clubs; district-, state- and national-dietetics associations; especially at the leadership level.
  • Publish and present any relevant research, projects or work that you have done in journals and at conferences or in poster sessions.

Keep track of what you do with your Resume and Portfolio - It is a great idea to maintain a current resume throughout your academic career. Portfolios take the resume and your valuable experiences to the next level. Career and Internship Services provide resources to help you develop a resume and portfolio. 

Building relationships with professors, employers, coaches, advisors, supervisors, etc. early in order to assure you will receive strong reference letters.  With every experience, consider that may need a reference letter from your supervisor/manager/other.  Always present your best self and make sure they can honestly write a strong recommendation for you.

Additional Information and Resources

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): It is highly recommended that you become a Student member of the AND at least by your third year of studies. It is $58/year for student membership and begins June 1. Membership makes you eligible for scholarships through the Academy, and has other benefits.
    • Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is this state’s branch, or affiliate, of the national level Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Membership in this is automatic when you become a member at the national level.
  • To help you determine the many career options and specialty areas available as a RDN, check out the Academy groups. As a student member of AND, you are able to also join most of the Academy groups that might be of interest to you. This would allow you to network with professionals involved in an area of interest to you. You might also be able to gain some tips as you work toward that career path in dietetics.
  • Please know that The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spells Dietitian with a “t”, not a “c” (“dietician” is not acceptable to The Academy). You will see it spelled both ways during your studies. The Academy only recognizes “Dietitian” on applications to the internships and scholarships.
  • Before you apply and are accepted to the DPD sub-plan, you will be added to the DPD email group in order to receive communication about work/volunteer opportunities and other DPD-related communications. Email [email protected] about joining this email group even before acceptance into the DPD.

FAQs about Applying to Supervised Practice Programs

All of these questions and more will be answered in detail in FSCN 4667, which is a required DPD course.

Where can I see a list of supervised practice/graduate programs?

Note: Always check the program’s website for the most up to date information.

ACEND website lists all accredited programs by type of program and organized by states. Program websites are available on this resource.

Is there a way I can get help with my applications?

Yes! You should take FSCN 4667 Dietetics Capstone and Interprofessional Education (offered in the Fall semester) within 2-3 semesters of graduation. This course focuses primarily on preparing an application for a supervised practice program, including graduate programs.

When are applications due?

The majority of programs participate in the Spring application cycle (mid-February application due date) and will have a Summer or Fall start. There are a few that participate in a Fall application cycle (late September application due date) and have a January or February start.

Is there a general application and recommendation form that should be used? Where can I find them?

Since most internships use a centralized system called DICAS, there are no additional forms that need to be used. The application and recommendation letters are all done through DICAS.  If the program does not utilize DICAS, their website should provide information about recommendation letters.

How many programs can I apply to?

You can apply to as many internships as you would like. Just remember that most have application fees in addition to the DICAS fees. Also, do NOT apply to an internship unless you are absolutely willing to accept it if you are matched.

What are the costs associated with a supervised practice/graduate program? Is there financial aid available?

Each program has different costs associated with it. A complete listing of programs and their approximate costs can be found on the Academy’s website.

Whether or not financial aid is available depends on the program. Often times if course credit is provided, there is the option for financial aid. There is also the possibility that existing student loans may be deferred. Some dietetic internships do not have a fee and/or provide a stipend, however these internships are the most competitive. Make sure to carefully read the websites for each program that you are applying to regarding costs and tuition. Contact the Program Directors if you would like more information or would like to know how others have financed their program. You should only apply to programs that you know you will for sure be able to finance.

What format should I use for the personal statement?

Generally, you should write a formal essay following the questions provided on DICAS and/or on the program website. However, check the information for each internship to make sure you follow their specific instructions.

Where can I get help with my personal statement?

You can get help at the Career and Internship Services. This will also be an assignment in FSCN 4667 where you will receive feedback from the course instructors.

Do I need to take the GRE?

That all depends on where you are applying. Some programs require it and some do not.

two students with noodle dishes
RDNs Doreen Therese Aimee and Corrie
Rachel at Hyvee