HPA will be open for the summer and serves all UC Davis students and alumni! HPA is currently operating with a hybrid model. Stay connected on social media for updates. HPA is available via phone, (530) 752 - 6435, and email, healthprofessionsadvising@ucdavis.edu, from Monday - Thursday, 10 am - 5 pm and Friday 10 am - 2 pm. (Updated 6/7)

Dietetics

There are many pieces to pursuing Dietetics and program application, including your GPA, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and biographical information. Use the navigation below to explore each aspect of preparing for Dietetics programs.

 

  • What is Dietetics?
  • Dietetics involves the nutrition aspect of healthcare. Since nutrition is an essential part of preventative healthcare, dietitians can develop nutrition programs to prevent disease and promote health, targeting different groups of people.

    Registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) are credentialed and attend accredited programs. Please note nutrionists are not accredited and cannot provide medical nutrition therapy.

    Dietitians also work in hospitals and nursing care facilities and assess patients’ nutritional needs, develop and implement nutrition programs and evaluate and report the results.

    See the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' "Become an RDN or NDTR" page to learn more about this profession.

  • Becoming a Dietitian

  • *Please Note: After January 2024, in order to take the registration exam for dietitians, students must have a master’s degree in addition to finishing a dietetics internship. Some dietetic internships will require a masters' degree and some will not.*

    Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
    - Earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited didactic program in dietetics (~4 years) 
    - Complete a supervised practice or dietetic internship requirement (8-24 months)
    - *After January 2024*: Earn a master's degree from an accredited dietetics graduate program (~1-2 years)
    - Pass a national exam for RDNs administered by the Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR)
    - Become Licensed in the state you wish to practice 

    There are several routes to meet the requirements for the Registration Exam for Dietitians with a Master's or Doctoral Degree

    An infographic about the "Routes to meeting Eligibility Requirements for the Registration Exam for Dietitians After 1/1/2024" for "Prospective Students with a Master's Degree or Higher" on the left there is an orange circle that says "Master's Degree (any area)" which has 3 branches to the right that show the 3 paths to earning a master's degree. On the right is a blue circle that says "Doctoral Degree (any area)" and has 4 branches on the right that show the 3 paths to earning a Doctoral Degree.


    There are several routes to meet the requirements for the Registration Exam for Dietitians without a Master's Degree

    Infographic that shows the "Route to Meeting Eligibility Requirements for the Registration Exam for Dietitians After 1/1/2024" for "Prospective Students without a Master's Degree" There are 3 large circles with the 3 Bachelor's programs that students can complete to take the Registration Exam for Dietitians. Each of the large circles branch into smaller circle to the right which show the different paths to earn those bachelor's degrees.
  • Dietetics Prerequisites

  • Prerequisite courses are completed through an ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
    - The Clinical Nutrition major at UC Davis is an accredited didactic program in Dietetics
    - If you graduate from UC Davis with a major other than Clinical Nutrition, you must still complete an accredited DPD
    - Go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Program Directory to find all institutions offering an accredited DPD

  • Graduate Records Examination (GRE)

  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required by some Dietetics internships and graduate programs.

    The exam is available on a continuous basis throughout the year.

    The GRE includes three sections:
    - Verbal Reasoning
    - Quantitative Reasoning
    - Analytical Writing

    The exam cost $220 each time you take it. You are only allowed to take the GRE every 21 days after your previous exam.

    The GRE is not a course-dependent test, meaning there are no specific UCD courses you need to take to prepare. The best way is to give yourself time to study for the test by buying test prep books or taking a test prep course.

    Whatever you do, do not take the test without preparing! Click here to register for the GRE.

  • Dietetics Experiences

  • Some dietetic internships and graduate programs require or recommend experiences in dietetics, nutrition, and other related fields.

    Examples of Dietetics Experiences include:
    - Health-Related Internships (HRI's)
    - Student-Run Clinics
    - Participate in nutrition and dietetics-related research
    - Shadow/Interview a dietician
    - Volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen
    - Gain experience in food service

    Here are some good places to start looking for experiences at UC Davis:
    - Health Related Internships through the Internship and Career Center (ICC)
    - Global Health Internships through Study Abroad
    - Health Related Internships through the Washington Program
    - Completing community service using the ICC Volunteer Opportunities Search Engine
    - Join a Pre-Health related club or other student organizations through the Center for Student Involvement
    - Volunteer at a Student-Run Clinic
    - Opportunities to participate in research through the Undergraduate Research Center
    - Meet with Nutrition Department Advisors

  • Dietetic Internship, Supervised Practice, & Coordinated Program

  • - You must obtain 1200 hours of supervised pre-professional experience through a dietetic internship, supervised practice, or coordinated program after completing a Didactic Program in Dietetics and obtaining your bachelor's degree. 
    - This can be done before or after obtaining a master's degree (some dietetic internships require a master's degree and some do not) or while completing a master's degree in the case of coordinated programs.
    - Go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Program Directory to find all institutions offering dietetic internships, supervised practices, and coordinated programs.

    Dietetic Internships
    - Traditional dietetics internship where you are placed in a hospital, clinic, or other location to gain experience.
    - Apply through the DICAS (Dietetics Inclusive Centralized Application Service).

    Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPPs)
    - Supervised practice experiences that students set up on their own with a dietician and that are tailored to each student's needs.
    - Previous dietetics-related work experience can be counted towards the ISPP.
    - Can coordinate a part-time job in dietetics with an ISPP so that paid work hours count towards the ISPP.  
    - Some ISPPs participate in DICAS while some do not.

    Coordinated Programs
    - Programs that combine a bachelor's DPD and a dietetic internship or combine a master's program and a dietetic internship.
    - Can eliminate the stress of applying to dietetic internships and graduate programs separately.
    - Apply through the DICAS. 

  • Applying to Dietetics Internsips

  • HPA is here to support applicants (UCD students and alumni) throughout the entire application process, including personal statements and other written components. 
    DICAS

    The DICAS admissions cycle begins in October and closes in July of the following year. Most dietetic internships participate in DICAS. If a program or internship does not use DICAS, you will need to apply through their specific internship application.

    Personal Statement

    DICAS requires a personal statement that answers these questions:
    - Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
    - Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career,
    - What are your short-term and long-term goals?
    - What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
    - What other information do you consider important for the selection decision?

    Internships that do not participate in DICAS may have different personal statement prompts. HPA helps all UC Davis students and alumni with revising their personal statements during Drop-ins and scheduled appointments. 

    Letters of Recommendation

    Dietetic Internships require 3 letters of recommendation. Some internships will specify who they want to write the letters (such as nutrition professors or health professionals). Review the requirements for the different schools you are thinking of applying to.

    Interviews

    Some Dietetic internships will require interviews and interview formats will vary for different internships. Examples of interviews include one-on-one interviews or a panel of interviewers.

    Supplemental Application

    Varies by school and is often submitted as part of the DICAS application.

    Choosing Dietetic Internships

    There are a variety of factors that go into choosing which Dietetic internships to apply to, including location, environment (i.e. urban), tuition, internship specialties, focus or mission statement, etc. Spend some time researching internships online and create a spreadsheet that tracks the factors most important to you. HPA also recommends meeting with an advisor to discuss your school list. 

  • Applying to Dietetics Graduate Programs

  • HPA is here to support applicants (UCD students and alumni) throughout the entire application process, including personal statements and other written components. 
    DICAS

    The DICAS admissions cycle begins in October and closes in July the following year. Not all programs participate in DICAS. If a program does not use DICAS, you will need to apply through their specific program application found on the admissions website, or through GradCAS. 

    GradCAS

    GradCAS is another centralized application system that some dietetics programs participate in. The GradCAS admissions cycle begins in December and closes in April the following year. Not all programs participate in GradCAS. If a program does not use GradCAS, you will need to apply through their specific program application found on the admissions website, or through DICAS. 

    Personal Statement

    DICAS requires a personal statement that answers these questions:
    - Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
    - Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career,
    - What are your short-term and long-term goals?
    - What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
    - What other information do you consider important for the selection decision?

    graduate programs that do not participate in DICAS may have different personal statement prompts. HPA helps all UC Davis students and alumni with revising their personal statements during Drop-ins and scheduled appointments. 

    Letters of Recommendation

    Dietetics graduate programs require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Some programs will specify who they want to write the letters (such as nutrition professors or health professionals). Review the requirements for the different schools you are thinking of applying to.

    Interviews

    Some Dietetic programs will require interviews and interview formats will vary by school. Examples of interviews include one-on-one interviews with faculty or a panel of interviewers.

    Supplemental Application

    Varies by school and is often submitted as part of the DICAS application.

    Choosing Dietetic Programs

    There are a variety of factors that go into choosing which Dietetics graduate programs to apply to, including location, environment (i.e. urban), tuition, class size, focus or mission statement, etc. Spend some time researching schools online and create a spreadsheet that tracks the factors most important to you. HPA also recommends meeting with an advisor to discuss your school list. 

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • More questions? Check out our FAQ page or schedule an appointment with an adviser!