Nutrition

Nutrition

The Food and Nutrition concentration is in the Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion major, and is an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). It focuses on the study of nutrients in food and their relationship to health and disease. Individuals with a degree in nutrition may be employed with state agencies, in food service, or with major food manufacturers. Many settings require individuals to hold the credential of registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Registered dietitian nutritionists are nutrition experts who apply the science of nutrition by utilizing nutrition knowledge to promote health and/or treat disease. Registered dietitian nutritionists, sometimes referred to as registered dietitians or simply dietitians, work in hospitals, clinics, community settings, private consulting practices, sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs, food and nutrition-related businesses and industry, pharmaceutical companies, and more.

The RDN credential requires the completion of a master’s degree and a supervised practice program. Supervised practice program entry is competitive, so students interested in this route should begin to prepare early for academic success.

The Mission, Goals, and Objectives of MSU’s accredited DPD aim to guide the program to continuously improve performance of our graduates. Additional information about the Didactic Program in Dietetics, such as graduation and program completion requirements and evaluation of prior coursework and acceptable credit, can be found in the DPD Student Handbook.

Are you interested in becoming a registered dietitian and already have a bachelor’s degree or higher? Click here to learn how Mississippi State University can help you with the necessary steps.


View the curriculum


How to become a Registered Dietitian:

  1. Complete the MSU Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) with a 3.0 GPA or above (including a "C" or better in all required DPD courses). At MSU, the DPD is part of Food and Nutrition concentration of the Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion major. To become a DPD student, a student must meet the following criteria:
    • Completion of DPD Eligibility Form
    • Completion of 60 or more credits by the end of the semester in which you apply
    • GPA of 3.0 or higher
    • Completion (or in progress) at application time of the following courses (or approved equivalents) with a letter grade of C or higher:
      • CH 1213/1211 – Chemistry I and Lab
      • CH 1223/1221 – Chemistry II and Lab
      • CH 2503/2501 Elem Organic Chemistry and Lab
      • BIO 1134 Biology I
      • FNH 2293 Individual and Family Nutrition
      • ST 2113 Intro to Stats

  2. Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (most commonly dietetic internships). The Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion at Mississippi State University offers a dietetic internship program. A GPA of 3.0 (B) is often listed as the minimum GPA considered by most Dietetic Internship programs.

  3. Effective January 1, 2024, a graduate degree (in any field be required for RDN exam eligibility.*

  4. Pass national RDN exam as set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

  5. Meet state licensure requirements.

    • As stated on the CDR website, “the majority of states have enacted laws which regulate the practice of dietetics. Should you plan to practice dietetics in these states it is important that you contact a state regulatory agency prior to practicing dietetics. In many states, it is a violation of state law to practice dietetics without a license. For information by state, check the CDR State Licensure Agency List or visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics licensure webpage.
    • Note: The state of Mississippi does have practice exclusivity, meaning an individual must have a license to provide medical nutrition therapy. Details can be found in the Regulations Governing Licensure of Dietitians document available through the Mississippi Department of Health Office of Licensure.
*Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Mississippi State University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. It is ACEND’s considered opinion that this program is designed to and does meet all state dietetics licensure and certification laws as some states may interpret their statutes differently.


Accreditation

The Nutrition concentration in the Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion major is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association (ADA) as a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Program outcomes data are available upon request. You may contact ACEND for additional information about accreditation and MSU's accreditation status:

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
Phone: (800) 877-1600, ext. 5400
Email: acend@eatright.org
Website: www.eatright.org/ACEND


Mission

The mission of Mississippi State University’s Didactic Program in Dietetics is to prepare graduates for supervised practice programs leading to eligibility for the commission on Dietetics Registration credentialling exam to become registered dietitian nutritionist who think critically, problem solve, and become inclusive leaders who improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of all sectors of the divers population in Mississippi, the nation and global community through evidence-based, innovative learning strategies.


Goals

  • DPD Goal 1: Program graduates will be prepared for acceptance into supervised practice, graduate, or professional programs.

  • DPD Goal 2: Program graduates will demonstrate the knowledge, technical, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills necessary to become competent, entry-level dietitians or health-related professionals.


Objectives

DPD Objectives for Goal 1

  • At least 80% of students complete program requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).

  • At least 55% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.

  • Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 80 percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation.

  • When surveyed, at least 80 percent of Supervised Practice Directors who respond will “agree” or “strongly agree” that they are satisfied with the program graduates’ preparation for supervised practice.

  • At least 80% of program graduates who do not apply for supervised practice are accepted to a graduate or professional program, as reported in a senior exit survey.

DPD Objectives for Goal 2

  • 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 registered dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.

  • At least 80% of program graduates in graduate or professional programs will report that they are in good standing in their program in the post-graduate alumni survey.

  • When surveyed, at least 80 percent of supervised practice directors who respond will “agree” or “strongly agree” that they are satisfied with the program graduate’s preparation for supervised practice.

  • When surveyed, at least 80% of program graduates who respond will “agree” or “strongly agree” that the Mississippi State DPD helped them develop knowledge, technical, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills necessary to perform successfully in a supervised practice, graduate, or professional program.


Careers

Occupational Outlook Handbook: The median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists was $61,650 in May 2021. Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2021 to 2031. The role of food in preventing and treating diseases, such as diabetes, is now well known. More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for patients with various medical conditions and to advise people who want to improve their overall health.

Careers include:

  • Clinical (hospital, long term care, clinics-can include specialty area such as pediatric, renal, diabetes)
  • Food Service Management
  • Business & Industry (Kraft, General Mills)
  • Community Nutrition Programs (Extension Service, Health Dept, Federal Agencies)
  • Government, Military, and Research (FDA, USDA, NIH, Colleges/Universities)
  • Consultant/Private Practice
  • Wellness & Sports Nutrition
  • Media & Trade Associations (Dairy Council, Southern Living, Cooking Light)


Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.
Freshman | Transfer | Readmission | Medical Requirements for Admission


Transfer Guide

Students may transfer to Mississippi State University from regionally accredited community, junior or senior colleges for any period of enrollment, provided they have earned a 2.0 GPA (as computed by Mississippi State University) on all college courses attempted as well as earned a 2.0 GPA on the 30-hours of core courses. Transfer students should look at the transfer course equivalent guide to determine which courses will transfer.


Technology Requirements

Students should visit the Student Computer Specifications webpage before purchasing a computer or laptop to ensure the recommended minimums are followed. Following these requirements should ensure that your computer will last throughout the length of a typical, 4-year university term.


Scholarships

Students may apply for university, college and departmental scholarships through one application. You can find the scholarship application once you login to myState. Under the banner tab, select Financial Aid and Scholarships. The application is listed as Submit/Revise General Scholarship Application.


Organizations

The Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion encourages its students to take advantage of the many experiences offered by the departmental student organizations and teams. Clubs are a great way to develop leadership skills and to learn about the various food industries. Visit the organizations page to find out more.


Meat Science Certificate

The Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion and the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences offer a Meat Science Certificate for students who wish to specialize in the meat processing industry. The 24 credit hour curriculum equips students to be career-ready professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the industry and a skill-set designed for them to make an immediate impact in meat science government, academic, or industry positions upon graduation. View the Undergraduate Catalog for courses.


Additional Program Information

The DPD program follows Mississippi State University Academic Calendar.
To learn more about cost to students, please view Tuition and Fees.