The Nutrition concentration focuses on the study of nutrients in food and their relationship to health and disease. The food and nutrition concentration is an accredited didactic program in dietetics (DPD). Registered dietitians are food and nutrition experts. Major food manufacturers employ nutritionists and food scientists. Nutritionists may also work in journalism, education, and research. Many nutritionists work in the field of food science and technology. The Nutrition concentration is in the Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion major.
Occupational Outlook Handbook: The median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists was $59,410 in May 2017. Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. 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.
How to become a Registered Dietitian:
- Complete MSU Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) program with a 3.0 GPA or above (including a "C" or better in all required DPD courses). Most students at Mississippi State University completing a B.S. degree in Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion in the Food and Nutrition concentration complete the DPD program, however, there are requirements and an application process. A DPD is the academic component and first step required toward becoming a RDN. Download the Admission Requirements and Frequently Asked Questions for further information. Criteria include:
- Completion of DPD Application Form
- Completion of 60 or more credits by the end of the semester in which you apply
- Completion of at least 15 credits at Mississippi State University at the time of application submission
- 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
- 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 considered by most Dietetic Internship programs.
- Effective January 1, 2024, a graduate degree (in any field) will be required for RDN exam eligibility.*
- Pass national RDN exam as set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- Many states additionally require credentialed individuals to be certified or licensed by the state prior to practicing in the profession.
*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. More information about state licensure and certification is available at this link: State Licensure.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) apply the science of nutrition by utilizing nutrition knowledge to promote health and/or treat disease in hospitals, clinics, community settings, private consulting practices, sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs, newspapers and magazines, food and nutrition-related businesses and industry, pharmaceutical companies, and more. Most of these settings require completion of a supervised practice program and the RDN credential for employment. Supervised practice program entry is very competitive, so students interested in this route should begin to prepare early. For more detailed information on careers in dietetics, see the Academy’s website careers information. The Mission, Goals, and Objectives of MSU’s accredited DPD aim to guide the program to continuously improve performance of our graduates.
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
The mission of the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion's DPD is to prepare students for supervised practice programs leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists in the state of Mississippi, the United States and the world, who are committed to life-long learning, equipped to improve the nutritional well-being of persons in diverse populations in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
- DPD Goal 1: Graduates of the Mississippi State DPD will be prepared for admission to supervised practice, other academic programs, or employment lending to the improvement of nutritional well-being.
- DPD Goal 2: Graduates of the Mississippi State DPD will demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving and decision-making skills that will positively impact communities in Mississippi, the United States and globally.
DPD Objectives for Goal 1
- At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length)
- 55% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation
- 50% of graduates are admitted into a supervised practice program within 12months of graduation
- At least 80% of graduates who apply for a supervised practice program within a year of graduation will be matched or accepted into a program.
- Of the graduates who do not apply for supervised practice programs upon graduation and complete the senior exit survey, at least 60% will seek employment in areas to improve well-being of others or enroll in graduate, continuing education, or other academic programs.
DPD Objectives for Goal 2
- When surveyed, at least 80% of DPD graduates who responded will "agree" or "strongly agree" when surveyed about whether they believe that the DPD at Mississippi State University has helped them develop critical thinking or decision-making skills
- When surveyed, at least 80% of Supervised Practice Directors who responded will "agree" or "strongly agree" that they are satisfied with graduate's preparation for supervised practice
- 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%
- 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)
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.
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.
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.