Dietetics (DPD)

Preparing yourself in undergraduate studies at wcu to become a registered dietitian digital recording

DICAS INFO Session recording April 2024

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredits the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at West Chester University. In 2016, we successfully completed program requirements for the maximum 7-year term for reaccreditation, and the program is fully accredited until 2024. The contact information for ACEND is:

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Phone: 800/877-1600, ext. 5400
The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) is the accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian nutritionists or nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered. To learn more, visit the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) Homepage.

Students earn a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and receive a DPD Verification Statement after successfully completing the DPD and University requirements. The degree and Verification Statement establish eligibility to apply for an ACEND accredited supervised practice program (e.g. internship, master’s degree coordinated program or internship, individualized supervised practice program, future graduate program). The DPD Verification Statement, completion of the practice program (and receiving a second Verification Statement), and completion of a master’s degree (as of January 1, 2024), qualify a person to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians. Passing the exam results in the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential and eligibility to apply for state licensure in those states that provide licensure for dietitians.

Requirements to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a food and nutrition expert who has completed the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution
  • Academic requirements from an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (culminating with a Verification Statement)
  • Minimum of 1,000 hours of an ACEND accredited supervised practice program
  • Master’s Degree, effective as of January 1, 2024
  • Successfully passed the Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) - CDR credentialing exam

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 (CDR) to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). To be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR’s Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement, visit CDR’s Website. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by ACEND. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at West Chester University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. Program outcomes data are available upon request.

A career in Dietetics includes the practice of medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, or foodservice management. Additionally, coursework is designed to prepare students for graduate school or the workforce. For more information on the pathway to becoming an RDN and explore routes to RDN registration eligibility.

There are multiple pathways to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at West Chester University:
1.     Complete your BS degree with the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
2.     Complete the Master of Science in Community Nutrition (MSCN); or the Master of Science in Community Nutrition (MSCN) and Dietetic Internship
3.     Pass the National Registration Exam
Other pathways and options are available. Contact us to learn more.

Please note, DPD is the only concentration that leads to the NDTR credential.

Program Mission, Goals, & Objectives

The mission of the West Chester University Didactic Program in Dietetics is to provide quality, inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible education that prepares students for careers in nutrition and dietetics, including supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. The learning environment is structured to promote an appreciation for life-long learning, purposeful self-reflection, effective problem solving, and teamwork.  
Program Goal 1: Program graduates will be well-prepared in food and nutrition, clinical and community nutrition, education and research, and foodservice and nutrition systems management.

  • Objective 1.1: At least 80% of students complete program requirements within 6 years (150% of planned program length).
  • Objective 1.2: A minimum overall mean score of 3.0 on graduating seniors’ perception of the quality of the DPD program.
  • Objective 1.3: A minimum of 70% of DI directors, graduate program directors, or employment supervisors surveyed will “strongly agree” or “agree” that the program effectively prepares students for the supervised practice program, graduate program, or job.​ 

Program Goal 2: Program graduates will be provided with a strong education in the basic sciences to enable graduates to work effectively with other health professionals and form the basis for attaining supervised practice, graduate study, and/or employment.

  • Objective 2.1: At least 30% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective 2.2: Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 50 percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective 2.3: 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 2.4: A minimum of 75% of alumni will record that they “strongly agree” or “agree” that the program was effective in preparing them for employment.
  • Objective 2.5: A minimum of 70% of five-year alumni will be employed in foodservice, nutrition, dietetics, or another health-related field.
  • Objective 2.6: A minimum of 80% of alumni will “strongly agree” or “agree” that the program was effective in preparing them in nutrition science.
  • Objective 2.7: A minimum of 60% of alumni will “strongly agree” or “agree” that the program was effective in preparing them with a basic science background that helped them to work with other nutrition and/or health professionals.

DPD Curriculum and Course Guide


Dietitians are required to be licensed/certified in some states. Each state requirement is different, and information can be found on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Licensure Statues and Information by State page and the Commission on Dietetic Registration State Licensure Agency List. Pennsylvania has a licensure requirement and information can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of State page.

To understand the difference between CDR certification and state licensure, please review the CDR Certification vs. State Licensure: What is the Difference?

Applying for Supervised Practice Resources

Credit for Prior Learning Policy

Experiential learning hours will not count for credit for prior learning (CFPL) and will not be granted to meet WCU’s DPD requirements. However, students may transfer credit for DPD courses from other institutions. Assessing transfer credit begins in the university Registrar’s office which will decide whether a course is transferred as equivalent to a WCU course or not. If a course is not deemed a transfer equivalent by the Registrar’s office, the DPD Director can determine equivalency of a DPD course from another institution. To do so, the DPD Director will review the syllabus of the transfer course for equivalent KRDNs to determine whether the transfer course will fulfill the WCU DPD requirements.

Technical Requirements

Expectations for Student Success in Distance Education

An online course uses technology to provide you, the student, with greater flexibility regarding when and where you learn. To be a successful online learner you must capitalize on this increased flexibility by doing the following.

Self-Motivation and Self-Discipline

Active participation in online activities is expected. This means that you login to the course frequently, engage with the provided materials, and read and respond to communications in a timely and thoughtful manner. Online courses require you to take more responsibility for your learning.

Planning and Organization

You will need disciplined work habits, effective time management skills, and the ability to work both alone and collaboratively if you wish to be successful in a remote distance education program. You should expect to devote 9 to 12 hours per internship course. These hours are in addition to the rotation hours you spend at your sites.

Communication Skills

In an online course communication takes place primarily through the written word. You need strong English reading and writing skills to express your thoughts. Online courses also expect you to proactively reach out to your instructor for assistance when you need it. Finally, pay attention to communication guidelines and be respectful of your fellow students when you communicate.

Minimum Student Technical Skills

You are expected to be competent in the use of computers, the World Wide Web, and commonly used software programs such as the Microsoft Office Suite of applications and Adobe PDF readers. In addition, you should be able to utilize a web-camera and microphone. You should have a basic understanding of how to use the common elements of the university learning management system. Students without experience using the university’s learning management system Desire2Learn (D2L) can contact the Student Help Desk to arrange instruction, can contact Distance Education Support. Hours for support services may vary. Check their websites for times of operation. View the recommended computer configuration.

General Technical Support

Contact the WCU IT Helpdesk  
call 610-436-3350

Distance Education Support

Contact The Office of Digital Learning & Innovation 
call 610-436-3373
Additional technical support information will be provided for tools as needed throughout the course.

Accessibility Policies, Privacy Policies, and Support Site Information

Distance education and hybrid courses use a variety of tools. To access a tool’s accessibility and privacy policy, navigate to the Distance Education Accessibility and Privacy Policies website.

Student Academic and Support Services

Student academic and support services provided by the university can be found on the Ram’s Eye View Services website. WCU’s Learning Assistance and Resource Center (LARC) has expanded its tutoring workforce and instituted online tutoring for students.

Library Resources for Distance Education Students

The West Chester University Library makes resources available online. Please review their Library Services for Distance Students website for specific information.

Additional Resources

Student Organizations and Clubs

The Department of Nutrition offers several opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in their areas of interest. These groups can help you get to know fellow nutrition majors with similar interests, collect volunteer hours, and network within and outside of WCU.

Nutrition Clubs Fact Sheet updated 01/2024



RDN Networking and Preceptor Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities for Dietetic Students

Check out PreRD to connect with registered dietitians to build connections, find mentors, and discover volunteer, job opportunities, and internships in the nutrition field.