Clinical Nutrition

Becoming a Registered Dietitian - Didactic Program in Dietetics Handbook

Alert! - Effective January 1, 2024 - a minimum of a master’s degree is required to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)


The Clinical Nutrition major provides a strong foundation in the biological and social sciences, with advanced coursework in metabolism, nutrition and foods. The academic coursework within the major includes University and College requirements (including General Education, American History & Institutions, and English Composition) and the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). This major provides a high quality, cutting-edge curriculum to prepare graduates for success in a variety of careers and for advanced study. The field of dietetics allows individuals to apply the science and art of nutrition and foods to meet the health and nutrition needs of groups and individuals, promote health and wellness, facilitate behavior change, and function as effective leaders and managers in a variety of professional settings. Dietetics is a dynamic and growing profession. This major can prepare students for graduate study, further career preparation in the health professions (dietetics, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, etc.) as well as food service, food production and distribution, education, research and public health.

Graduates of this major, with completion of the DPD program, receive a pre-professional verification statement and are eligible to apply to supervised practice programs (accredited Dietetic Internships) in which students receive practical training in varied aspects of dietetic practice. Upon satisfactory completion of a minimum of a Baccalaureate degree and DPD academic coursework and a post-Baccalaureate program of supervised practice, the student is eligible to take the nationally administered Registration Examination. Passage of this exam results in earning the professional credential of a Registered Dietitian or "R.D."

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). In most states (not including CA), graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics at UC Davis are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program and then upon successful completion, apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become a RDN. If an individual receives the RDN before 2024, there is no requirement to get a master’s degree to maintain registration.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN please refer to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Information for Students.


Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Careers video (3:42; cc)


DPD Program Handbook Index

  1. Program Mission, Goals, and Objectives
  2. Course Requirements
  3. Dietetic Internship Application Process
  4. Dietetic Internship Application Materials
  5. Career Opportunities
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) Process
  8. Academic & University Policies
  9. Experiential Learning
  10. Assessment of Prior Learning
  11. Nutrition Department Student Resources
  12. Contact Information


Accreditation Status

UC Davis’ Nutrition and Dietetics Education Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, USA, (312) 899-0040 ext. 5400.

The UC Davis DPD meets the academic requirements of ACEND´s 2017 Accreditation Standards for Nutrition and Dietetics Didactic Programs.

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