Didactic Program in Dietetics Degree | Agricultural Science | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Hand holding grain in a field of wheat - dietitian degree

Didactic Program in Dietetics

The first step to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) and/or Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist (LDN) in the State of Illinois requires successful completion of an accredited DP program. To become a RD or LDN the following qualifications apply:

  1. Baccalaureate degree or post-baccalaureate degree in human nutrition, food and nutrition,dietetics, food systems management, nutrition education, or equivalent from an accredited University
  2. 1200 hours of supervised practice in ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics)-accredited dietetic internship to obtain RD status, and 900 hours of supervised practice to obtain LDN status.
  3. Successful completion of examination.
  4. Continuing professional education.

The Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics (DP) provides the classroom component of dietetics education, culminating in a B.S. degree. and is the first step in becoming a Registered Dietitian. The SIU DPD program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, phone (312) 899-5400. It must be followed, as a post-baccalaureate program, by an accredited supervised practice (experience) program to qualify you to take the RD and/or L.D. exams. The dietetic curriculum combines courses in chemistry, biological and social sciences, and business with courses in human nutrition and dietetics. Given the sequential nature of the course work, it is essential to plan your program carefully. Required coursework suggested sequences are listed under the tab, What Students Learn. At the completion of the ACEND-accredited coursework, a Verification Statement will be provided (these are necessary for acceptance into ACEND-accredited internship programs).

All courses in the dietetics curriculum teach knowledge and skills you will actually use in dietetics employment, and cover areas evaluated on the RD exam. The curriculum is based on a very sophisticated collection of research data about what dietitians actually do in their jobs at entry-level and beyond entry-level. Required courses are designed to teach you the knowledge and skills needed for entry-level employment. All accredited DP program curricula meet the same knowledge requirements in view of the fact all graduates will take the same RD examination.

Applications to accredited practice programs (dietetic internships) occur during the senior year. You will enroll in HND 400, Senior Seminar the fall semester before (if you are scheduled to graduate in December, you will need to take HND 400 during the previous fall semester) you graduate to work through this process. Supervised practice programs are usually about a year long, but programs combined with master's degrees may last as long as two or 2-1/2 years.

Please note that this career requires a total commitment of five (or six) years of education.