Dietetics—Bachelor of Science

Program description

Dietetics is an allied health field that builds on the foundation of life and social sciences. The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Western Michigan University leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and is accredited by Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The dietetics program meets the Standards of Education of ACEND and graduates are eligible to apply for accredited internship programs.

Students must complete a dietetic internship and pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians in order to qualify for certification as a Registered Dietitian (R.D.). Students apply for admission to internships during the last semester of their senior year or after graduation. Appointment to internships is competitive. Students are selected on a variety of criteria including grade point average (GPA), work experience, and recommendation letters. Most dietetic internships require that applicants have a GPA of at least 3.0. Successful applicants from this undergraduate program have had an average GPA of 3.5.

Program mission and goals

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to provide graduates with foundational knowledge in dietetics and related disciplines, and the opportunity to develop professional skills and attitudes that will prepare them for post-graduate internships, advanced degree programs, and entry-level employment in dietetics related fields. 

Program goals:

Goal 1The program will prepare graduates who are competent for entry into dietetic internship programs and first professional employment in dietetics related fields.

Expected outcomes:

  • Over a five year period, 80% of juniors will complete program requirements and receive verification of program completion within 3 years (150%).
  • Over a five year period, mean overall GPA of graduates will be 3.0 or higher.
  • Over a five year period, at least 60% of graduates will apply to internship programs the year they graduate. 
  • Over a five year period, at least 80% of those applying to internship programs the academic year they complete the program will be accepted.
  • Over a five year period, the pass rate for DPD graduates taking the registration examination for the first time will be at least 80%.
  • Over a five year period, 85% of DPD graduates will receive a mean rating of 3 or better (out of 5) on all measures evaluated by their DI directors.
  • Over a five year period, 85% of DPD graduates will receive a mean rating of 3 or better (out of 5) on all measures evaluated by their employers.
  • Over a five year period, 80% of graduate survey respondents rate the various voluntary activities as “useful” in preparing for dietetic internships or first professional employment in dietetics related fields.
  • Over a five year period, 80% of graduate survey respondents who participated in Dietetic Community Service Program (DCSP) report that their DCSP experience was “useful” in preparing them for dietetic internships or first professional employment in dietetics related fields.
  • Over a five year period, 80% of graduate survey respondents report satisfaction with the program.

Goal 2The program will prepare graduates who participate in professional development and lifelong learning and contribute to the pool of allied health and food and nutrition professionals in Michigan and beyond its borders.    

Expected outcomes:

  • Over a five year period, 70% of graduate survey respondents who did not apply or were not accepted into internship programs will be: a) employed in dietetics related professions, or b) enrolled in graduate school within one year of graduation.
  • Over a five year period, 80% of graduate survey respondents accepted into internship programs will be employed in an entry level dietetics related position within six months of completing their internship program.
  • Over a five year period, 65% of graduate survey respondents not enrolled in an internship or graduate program full-time will be employed in dietetics and food and nutrition related positions in Michigan.
  • Over a five year period, 70% of graduate survey respondents will be active members of at least one dietetics or food and nutrition related professional organization. 
  • Over a five year period, 40% of graduate survey respondents will be either enrolled in graduate school or would have completed an advanced degree.

Accreditation

Western Michigan University's DPD is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics through 2022.

For more information about accreditation of dietetics education programs contact:

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND):
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago IL 60606-6995 USA
(800) 877-1600 Ext. 5400
Visit their website

Admission requirements

Students are admitted to the pre-dietetics program until they have applied and been accepted to the dietetics professional program. Applications are due by September 15 of the semester prior to entry into the three-semester professional program. The admission criteria and application procedures can be found here.

Transfer Guides

Transfer advising is available for students who are planning to transfer to Western Michigan University as well as for WMU students who plan to take classes at other institutions and transfer the credit to WMU. See Transfer Guide resources.

Careers

Registered Dietitians are eligible for positions in hospitals; commercial food establishments; long-term care facilities; food industry; government sponsored child nutrition programs; colleges and universities dining services; the armed forces; and community health agencies.

Certification

Graduates must complete the internship and pass the registration examination for dietitians in order to receive the Registered Dietitian (R.D.) credential.

Classes

For class listings, program guides and other resources, visit the advising page for the dietetics major.

Faculty

Graduation requirements

In order to receive the Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics the following graduation requirements must be met:

  1. Completion of all courses required for B.S. in dietetics degree including general education courses, with no incomplete (I) grades (see current degree requirements).
  2. As of fall 2010, students admitted to the pre-dietetics program need to officially apply for admission to the professional component of DPD and be admitted.
  3. Completion of at least 122 semester hours of credit, of which at least 60 semester hours must be credits from four-year baccalaureate degree granting institutions and at least 30 semester hours must be credits from WMU. Of the last 30 semester credit hours required for the degree, at least 10 semester hours must be WMU credits.
  4. A maximum of 15 credit hours of correspondence or self-instructional course work may be applied towards completion of degree requirements. This rule does not apply to online courses.
  5. Attainment of a minimum of 2.0 grade point average in the major and cumulatively.
  6. All courses on the Dietetics Program Guide must be completed with a minimum letter grade of "C".
  7. Student must pay all fees owed to the university.
  8. Student must complete all graduation-related paperwork including graduation audit.
  9. Western Michigan University does not impose a time limit on completion of a Bachelor of Science Degree. If a student does not take courses for one calendar year or more, then decides to complete degree, he/she is allowed to follow the catalog used at the time of initial admission. However, if the DPD curriculum has changed during student's absence, he/she will not be issued a Verification of Program Completion, unless additional course(s) deemed necessary to update knowledge are completed.

WMU DPD will issue a verification statement (completion document) to all students who successfully complete the requirements of the Didactic Program in Dietetics. Students will use this document to prove their completion of the program for the application to Dietetic Internship programs and eligibility to take the Dietetic Technician Registered Examination. Please see the link for more information.

A verification statement is issued upon successful completion of all DPD requirements and graduation from WMU. Six copies of the verification statement are mailed to each graduate in early August. Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) requires that all DPD Programs retain an original copy of each student’s verification statement indefinitely. Verification statements can only be issued for students who completed at least 21 upper division credits of their professional dietetics courses at WMU. Verification statements are required by Dietetic Internships and for professional membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and for eligibility to take the Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR) exam. Students requesting verification statements, for application to internships or for DTR testing may be asked to take additional courses to update their knowledge and skills before a verification statement is issued if they completed their DPD requirements 5 or more years ago. In the past the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) would not accept a verification statement that was more than 5 years old as part of an individual’s eligibility to take the RD exam. Although this is no longer a finite policy, dietetic internship programs may require additional coursework for students seeking a verification statement who graduated five or more years ago and are now planning on applying for dietetic internship placement. Even though your university may choose to issue you a verification statement, the Dietetic Internship may choose to NOT to accept an applicant based on recency of education. You will need to review program specific materials information or contact individual programs to determine if they have policies that include recency of education time limits.

Post-graduate internship program information

Program graduates are eligible to apply for post-graduate internship programs. Students apply for admission to internships during the last semester of their senior year or after graduation. See accredited dietetic internship programs. Also see the Commission on Dietetic Registration for more information from the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Professional organizations

Student organizations

Student Dietetic Association

SDA is the active student group in which dietetics majors participate. Membership in SDA is the stepping stone for involvement in the profession. SDA provides the students with the opportunity to:

  • interact with fellow dietetics majors.
  • refine leadership skills.
  • stay informed about events hosted by district dietetic association.
  • find out about scholarships/fellowships provided through the state and national dietetic associations as well as other organizations.
  • provide service to the community.

Monthly meetings provide a vehicle for planning and coordinating the associations' activities.

Dietetic Community Service Program

Through DCSP, WMU pre-dietetics and dietetic students are linked to dietitians and food service professionals in Kalamazoo and surrounding areas for mentorship opportunities. The experience gained from participation in DCSP better prepares students for a future career in dietetics.