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 undergraduate specialization in Nutritional Science - Dietetics is being phased out and replaced with a Master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics. This change was made due to the January 1, 2024, Commission on Dietetic Registration requirement for a minimum of a master’s degree for Registered Dietitian credentialing examination eligibility. Please read the “How Do I Become a Registered Dietitian” section below for important information about program accreditation, which will end after June 2024. Undergraduate students who are not declared in the Dietetics specialization before Summer 2022 will be advised to pursue one of the other specializations in the major, Nutritional Science - Physiology and Metabolism or Nutritional Science - Toxicology, as an undergraduate and then pursue graduate studies in Dietetics.

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?

NST-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 are prepared for graduate study and other healthcare profession graduate programs, including a graduate degree for Registered Dietitian training.

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 Rausser students need a minimum 2.9 GPA to apply to dietetics. Non-Rausser 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 the College can be found here.

No additional students will be admitted as new first-year or junior transfer students after Fall 2022. Students applying after Fall 2022 who wish to pursue the RDN credential should consider the Nutritional Science - Physiology and Metabolism or Nutritional Science - Toxicology undergraduate major instead and then pursue Dietetics for their graduate studies. 

How do I become a Registered Dietitan? 

Becoming a credentialed registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) requires completion of: 

  1. The accredited academic coursework in an ACEND-accredited program
  2. A minimum of 1,000 hours in a post-baccalaureate ACEND- accredited supervised practice program
  3. A master's degree (effective January 1, 2024)
  4. Passage of the Commission on Dietetic Registration credentialing examination

In some states, graduates also must obtain licensure to practice. Licensure is not required in the state of California. Information about other states’ licensure requirements can be found on the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) website. University of California disclosures about professional licensure and certification can be found here.

The undergraduate dietetics specialization at UCB is an ACEND- accredited program that offers the accredited academic coursework (step 1). 

After June 2024, the undergraduate dietetics specialization will no longer be ACEND accredited program. Graduates of 2024 and beyond will not be graduates of an accredited program (step 1), which means graduates will be ineligible for an ACEND accredited dietetic internship (step 2). Those who want to become registered dietitians will need to complete step 1 (the accredited academic coursework).

The UCB Dietetics program offers a supervised practice program called an “Individualized Supervised Practice Program” (ISPP). Beginning in 2023, the ISPP will only accept individuals who hold a master’s degree. The program will close in June 2024. More information about the UCB ISPP can be found in the ISPP handbook, which is available by request. 

More information about becoming an RDN and the RDN exam can be found at http://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/

Can I become a Registered Dietitian while attending UCB?

The undergraduate dietetics specialization was phased out in favor of the Master of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics (MNSD) degree, which provides the accredited dietetics coursework and supervised practice hours. The MNSD meets Steps 1-3 above. Upon successful completion, graduates are eligible for the CDR credentialing examination. It is recommended to students interested in the MNSD to consider majoring in a different NST specialization such as Nutritional Science - Physiology & Metabolism.

Please see this video to learn more about the undergraduate specialization and planned graduate program at UC Berkeley: Planning a Career in Dietetics.

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.

 

Undergraduate 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 2022 ACEND Accreditation Standards.

The undergraduate program will no longer be accredited after June 2024.

Advising

Major Advisor: 
Jay Sevilla
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