Majoring in Nutritional Sciences—Dietetics

Overview

The dietetics specialization of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology (NST-D) prepares students for a career as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). RDNs translate the science of nutrition into practical applications for individuals and groups in clinical, food service, or community settings. The registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) credential is interchangeable with the registered dietitian (RD) credential.

The mission of the dietetics program at the University of California, Berkeley, is to prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills to actively contribute to the nutritional sciences and dietetics fields through practice, research, leadership and policy. The didactic program in dietetics aims to prepare students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the Commission on Dietetic Registration credentialing exam to become registered dietitian nutritionists. The supervised practice pathway aims to prepare interns to become entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists with a professional and inquiring attitude.

The program has two goals:
Program goal #1: Graduates will apply their knowledge and skills through supervised practice, graduate school or employment in nutrition and dietetics or health-related fields.
Program goal #2: Graduates will have a personal commitment to a high standard of professional behavior.

Program objectives can be found in the handbook and outcome data are available upon request.

What will I study?

The dietetics specialization combines a strong foundation in the biological and chemical sciences with specialized advance coursework that focuses on nutrient/non-nutrient function and metabolism and application of nutritional sciences. 

Here are some of the projects students worked on for NST 166 - Nutrition in the Community!

How much coursework is required?

NS-D requires 54 lower-division unit requirements and an additional 43 units of upper-division coursework.

All courses must be taken for a letter grade with the exception of free electives or courses that are only offered on a pass/no pass basis. You must receive at least a C− in all courses required for the major.

What can I do with this major?

Graduates of this program receive a pre-professional verification and are eligible to apply to supervised practice programs, in which students will receive practical training in varied aspects of dietetic practice. Such programs are generally nine to twelve months in length and must have a minimum of 1,200 hours. ACEND-accredited supervised practice programs include dietetic internships (DI) and individualized supervised practice pathways (ISPP).

Upon satisfactory completion of (1) the academic coursework in an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program Dietetics (DPD) and (2) a post-baccalaureate ACEND- accredited supervised practice program, the student is eligible to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) nationally administered registration examination. Passage of this exam results in earning the RDN credential. The registration examination requirements are set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Dietitians are licensed in some states. Licensure is not available in the state of California.

The program at UCB is an ACEND- accredited DPD with an ISPP. Upon completion of the UCB DPD, students are eligible to apply for an ACEND- accredited supervised practice program. Individuals who successfully complete the DPD program at University of California, Berkeley, are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. More information about the UCB ISPP can be found in the ISPP handbook. Graduates of this program are also prepared for graduate study and other healthcare profession graduate programs.

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration will require a minimum of a master’s degree, in addition to the ACEND-accredited coursework and supervised practice, to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. More information about becoming an RDN and the RDN exam can be found at http://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/

How can I apply to this major?

Students eligible to apply for the dietetics specialization must have been admitted to UCB, completed all lower division requirements and have earned no lower than a C- in any course. Current CNR students need a minimum 2.9 GPA to apply to dietetics. Non-CNR students must have a 3.0 minimum GPA to apply. Due to these requirements, declaring the dietetics specialization usually occurs at the end of sophomore year or the beginning of junior year. Additional information about declaring a major within CNR can be found here.

Information on admission to UCB can be found here for Freshman applicants and here for Transfer applicants

Individuals that already hold a baccalaureate degree may be eligible to complete the accredited dietetic coursework without working towards a degree. Admission requirements for this option can be found in the DPD handbook.

Information regarding the application and admissions to the ISPP can be found in the ISPP handbook.

Additional Information

The DPD handbook provides additional information on estimated costs, application and admission requirements for individuals that already hold a baccalaureate degree, graduation and program completion requirements and availability of scholarships.

The ISPP handbook provides additional information on estimated costs, application and admission requirements, program calendar, program completion requirements, availability of financial aid or scholarships, computer matching, distance education and identification of preceptors.

Information on admission to UCB can be found here for Freshman applicants and here for Transfer applicants

The estimated cost of attending UCB.

Click here for information about cancellation and withdrawal, and here for specific information about refunds.

Academic calendar

Click here for the types of financial aid available and here for information about how to apply.

Repaying your loan

Program Accreditation

The Didactic Program in Dietetics with an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway at UC Berkeley is currently granted accreditation 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, (312) 899-0040 or (800) 877-1600 and https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend. This program meets the 2017 ACEND Accreditation Standards.

Additional program information can be found in the Dietetics Student handbook. Program outcome data are available upon request.

Advising

Major Advisor: 
Meaghan DeRespini
nst.ugrad@berkeley.edu
260 Mulford Hall
University of California 
Berkeley, CA 94720-3100
View our advising hours schedule here

Dietetics Program Director:
Mikelle McCoin, MPH, RD
mikellem@berkeley.edu
(510) 642-2790
223 Morgan Hall #3104
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720