Didactic Program in Dietetics
The WVU Didactic Program in Dietetics is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian nutritionists or nutrition and dietetics technicians. It is ACEND's considered opinion that this program is designed to and does meet all state dietetics licensure and certification laws. For more information, visit the ACEND website.
ACEND® can be contacted by:
Mail: 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
Phone: 800/877-1600, ext. 5400
The mission of the West Virginia University Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to prepare students for entry into supervised practice programs in dietetics leading to eligibility for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist by providing an in-depth educational experience with practical applications and a strong community nutrition component.
Goal 1. Program Graduates will be well-prepared for a dietetics supervised practice program, leading to eligibility for a career in dietetics.
- Objective 1a. At least 60% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation
- Objective 1b. At least 50% of graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program
- Objective 1c. 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%
- Objective 1d. At least 80% of program students complete the program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of program length)
- Objective 1e. 90% of Supervised Practice Program Directors will rate program graduates as “well-prepared” for supervised practice
- Objective 1f. 90% of program graduates who enter a dietetics supervised practice program will indicate they were well-prepared for supervised practice.
Goal 2. The program will provide graduates with basic knowledge and skills that will prepare them for continued professional growth and development in the field of nutrition and dietetics.
- Objective 2a. At least 80% of graduates will be confident or very confident in their ability to integrate basic knowledge and managerial skills related to nutrition and dietetics.
- Objective 2b. At least 90% of Supervised Practice Program directors will report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the ability of WVU DPD graduates to integrate basic knowledge and managerial skills related to nutrition and dietetics during their supervised practice experience.
- Objective 2c. At least 80% of graduates will feel confident or very confident in their written and oral communication skills.
- Objective 2d. At least 90% of supervised practice program directors will report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the written and oral communication skills of WVU DPD program graduates.
- Objective 2e. At least 80% of graduates will feel confident or very confident in their problem solving and critical thinking skills.
- Objective 2f. At least 90% of supervised practice program directors will report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the problem solving and critical thinking skills of WVU DPD program graduates.
Program outcomes data are available on request.
Becoming a Dietitian
The path to become a registered dietitian nutritionist includes a college degree,
completing a dietetic internship from an ACEND-accredited program, and passing
the national registration exam. At WVU, students who wish to become a registered
dietitian nutritionist must:
- earn a bachelor’s degree and complete the Didactic Program in Dietetics with a cumulative GPA of 2.5;
- apply for and complete an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship program or Individual Supervised Practice Pathway;
- pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s dietetic registration exam;
- gain licensure if required in your state of practice;
- maintain continuing education. Note that in 2024, a graduate degree will be required to be eligible to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration exam. In addition to the ACEND-accredited DPD, WVU offers an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship associated with a master’s degree. An undergraduate degree from WVU does not guarantee acceptance into the WVU dietetic internship.
DPD Program Admission Policy
Students who are admitted to WVU can be admitted to the DPD by declaring Human Nutrition and Foods (HN&F) as a major. Students enter the DPD after their sophomore year by letting their faculty advisor know of their interest in dietetics. WVU students in majors other than HN&F who wish to transfer into the DPD must begin with their current academic advisor to initiate a change in major. Those students will be accepted into the HN&F major and will work with their HN&F faculty advisor to meet DPD course requirements.
Information about admission to WVU and how to apply can be found on the WVU Admissions website.
Potential for success during the first two to three semesters is based on grades in freshman and sophomore science and HN&F classes. Students who are unable to pass Fundamentals of Chemistry the first time they take it or who make less than a B average on HN&F classes are unlikely to be successful in the more rigorous upper level DPD classes and they’re advised accordingly.
Students in the DPD are required to complete core courses as well as courses in food science, nutrition, food service management, sociology, psychology, economics, chemistry, biology, physiology, and microbiology and required electives for the DPD. All required DPD classes are taught in-person. Distance education is not part of the DPD. A comprehensive list of courses is available through the WVU course catalog.
DPD Student Performance Monitoring Policy
Student academic performance is monitored by the faculty advisor and by the university.
Students with an overall GPA lower than 2.0 will be placed on
which triggers a notice from the Office of the University Registrar and from the
Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with information on resources
available to help improve academic performance and potential consequences of
continued poor performance.
DPD Student Retention Policy
Students who have minimal chances of success in the DPD program will be counseled by their academic advisor into other career paths. Those students who struggle to get passing grades in freshman and sophomore level chemistry, biology, and nutrition classes are counseled to choose a career other than dietetics or nutrition because those careers are based on a foundation of biochemistry, physiology, and microbiology. Students who maintain a GPA between 2.0 and 3.0 are unlikely to match to a supervised practice experience as required for the CDR credentialing exam and may consider other career options related to food and nutrition such as dietetic technician, registered or food service management.
DPD Supervised Practice/Field Experience Policy
The DPD does not require a supervised practice or professional field experience as part of the curriculum. Students may choose to do a professional field experience as an elective by working with the DPD director to define expected learning outcomes and class assignments.
Estimated Costs to Students
Estimated cost of attendance includes direct costs such as University tuition and fees, college tuition, room and meals if living on campus, student health insurance, and materials and instruments. Estimated costs to students and information about financial aid can be found at WVU Admissions. Indirect costs may include books and on-line materials for specific courses, supplies, personal expenses, transportation costs, and room and meals if living off campus.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation offer recognition awards, leadership recognition and education stipends to members and dietetic student members. It is the largest provider of dietetic scholarships to deserving students at all levels of study. The number of scholarships varies from year to year, each with a value range of $500 to $10,000 each. See the Foundation's website for more information about its scholarships.
The Didactic Program in Dietetics follows the WVU Academic Calendar.
Applying for Supervised Practice Program
Students who wish to apply for a supervised practice program after graduation must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in major courses, and at least a C- in HN&F courses to receive a verification statement. During their senior year, students who will complete the DPD course requirements with a GPA of 2.5 or higher are eligible to apply for a dietetic internship by participating in a national computer-based matching system. Acceptance into an internship is competitive and is not guaranteed. A dietetic internship typically involves an additional one to two years, depending on the site and whether or not graduate study is included. Upon completion of the internship, the graduate is eligible to take a national examination sponsored by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
Almost all dietetic internships use the online dietetic internship centralized application process (DICAS) https://portal.dicas.org/ and computer matching facilitated by D&D Digital https://www.dnddigital.com/. There are two applications/match cycles each year: a fall match (September 25 deadline) and a spring match (February 15 deadline). A few internships have alternative deadlines; check the dietetic internship website and plan accordingly. Not all internship programs participate in the fall match. Find more information about applying for a dietetic internship here https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/students-and-advancing-education/dietetic-internship-match-students/how-to-apply-for-a-dietetic-internship.