Nutrition and Food Science

Didactic Program in Dietetics

For Prospective Dietetic Students

Want to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN)? These are the necessary steps.

Individuals must successfully complete all three steps to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN):

  • Step 1: Completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) requirements with verification statement and completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Step 2: Acceptance into and successful completion of a dietetic internship.
  • Step 3: Successful passing of the national registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Original verification statements from both the DPD program and the dietetic internship must be submitted before taking the RDN exam and/or state certification/licensure, if applicable.  Effective Jan. 1, 2024, the commission will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). 

For more information on the steps to become an RDN or NDTR, visit  Become an RDN or NDTR.

RDN Fact Sheet

Cal Poly Pomona's Department of Nutrition and Food Science (NFS), welcomes you as a nutrition major, dietetics option major, leading to a bachelor's degree. The Cal Poly Pomona Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

The Didactic Program in Dietetics provides the necessary coursework to apply for a supervised practice (dietetic internship). The DPD coursework can be seen below. DPD programs require accreditation because dietetics is a complex profession that pertains to the health of our nation and therefore requires that the training adhere to national standards. These national standards are determined and evaluated by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (for educational programs that lead to both the registered dietitian (RD) and the dietetic technician, registered (DTR) credential.  Our program currently offers two tracks: full-time and part-time for students who wish to pursue the degree in part-time status.

Admission Requirement

For all incoming freshmen in either full-time and part-time track, must meet the minimum California State University eligibility requirements as the first step in being considered for admission. For the eligibility requirement visit  Freshmen Requirement

Students who have been admitted should review the   Next Steps Checklist

Student without a bachelor’s degree, will need to complete the courses requirement for the DPD which are in the curriculum for the bachelor’s degree. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree or a foreign degree, will need to complete the transcript evaluation prior to determine DPD requirements. See below for more information on transcript evaluation.

Transfer Admission Requirement

The DPD program are not involved with the admission process. Transfers must meet the minimum California State University eligibility requirement as the first step in being considered for admission. Cal Poly Pomona requires all transfers to complete the following by spring prior to fall enrollment or by summer for spring enrollment:

  • Must be in good academic standing at the last institution attended
  • Must have minimum 2.00 GPA in transferable coursework
  • Must have at least minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90 quarter). 30 of the 60 semester units (45 quarter), must be in General Education, and completion of the “Golden Four.”(Oral Communication; English Composition; Critical thinking; and Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning)

For information on admission process if you wish to transfer into our program, visit     Transfer Requirement.

Expenses & Tuition

Tuition and Mandatory Auxiliary Fees are calculated each term.  Laboratory fees vary from course to course and textbooks/equipment cost is about $500 per semester.  Parking is about $231.00 per semester for vehicles or $92.00 per semester for motorcycles. On-campus food and housing are $14,909.00

CSU Fee Policy:  Feeds listed published schedules or student accounts any need to be increased when public funding is inadequate. Therefore, CSU must reserve the right even after fees are initially charged or initial fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees. All listed fees, other than mandatory systemwide fees, are subject to change without notice. All CSU listed fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change up on approval by the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, or the Presidents, as appropriate. For complete information on expenses and tuition at Cal Poly Pomona, please visit  Tuition and Fees  from Student Accounting and Cashiering Service.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship is here to assist you with obtaining the finances you need to complete the degree you set out to achieve. For information about how to apply for financial aid or scholarship, visit   Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Students with a Baccalaureate Degree

Since you already have a baccalaureate degree, you have completed one part of the requirement. The second part of the requirement would be to finish the required DPD courses. To receive a DPD Verification Statement (VS) from Cal Poly, Pomona, you must complete all Cal Poly DPD course requirements and meet the required grade requirement for courses.  For the DPD courses requirement, you need a transcript evaluation so that you can receive a VS when you finish your DPD courses.  There is a fee involved and it is a lengthy process. For more information about the transcript evaluation process, please contact the DPD Director.

Students with a Foreign Degree

The first step is to have your academic degree(s) validated as equivalent to the bachelor’s or master’s degree conferred by a U.S. regionally accredited college or university. The summary section of the evaluation report must state the degree is equivalent to a degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution.  The identified independent non-profit agencies that perform this specialized service are   listed here. CDR only accepts transcripts evaluated by the agencies listed on this website.  The list is provided as a convenience to international students and professionals. All transactions between the individual and evaluation service are considered private business transactions, without the Academy or CDR intercession or obligation. Contact the agency for current information, procedure, and costs.

Several types of evaluations are available. A detailed course-by-course evaluation will be the most useful for the program director of a DPD who will evaluate your previous academic preparation and identify the courses you will need to meet the dietetics course requirement.

Career Opportunities

The registered dietitian (RD) is a nationally recognized health professional that specializes in the promotion and integration of proper nutrition practices. With training in the areas of human nutrition, food science, biology, chemistry, social sciences, management, and education, the RD is capable of incorporating this information into practical working solutions for healthy living. The RD works with individuals and groups from diverse cultures with varying concerns to help them make positive lifestyle changes. There are many employment opportunities in food and nutrition for the registered dietitian, each differing by target population, level of expertise, and primary location. Some career options include:

  • Clinical Dietetics: Clinical dietitians utilize medical nutrition therapy to accurately assess nutritional needs and determine nutritional diagnoses. They create both individualized and group nutritional programs, which include counseling and outcome evaluation, based on the health needs of patients or residents. Clinical dietitians may work in hospitals, nursing homes or outpatient settings, and with other healthcare professionals.
  • Community Nutrition: A community dietitian applies human nutrition knowledge to help people in the community meet their food and nutrition needs. These dietitians plan, organize and implement aspects of nutrition policies and programs designed to prevent disease and improve health at the community level. Community dietitians work to promote public health in clinics, government, and non-profit agencies with diverse groups of individuals.
  • Food Service Management: Dietitians working on food service management plan, implement, and evaluate meal programs and food service systems. They may be responsible for budgeting and buying food, as well as for carrying out other business-related tasks such as employee training, staff management, and developing policies and standards within the workplace. They may work in healthcare facilities, schools, senior centers, hotels or restaurants.
  • Business and Industry: Dietitians may be employed to work in a variety of settings, including sales, marketing, public relations, research and development, and production quality control. Dietitians may also work with food and pharmaceutical companies, marketing associations and food service providers to develop, promote and market food and nutritional products.
  • Private Practice/ Consultation: Dietitians working in private practice or on a consultant basis are generally self-employed under their own private consulting business; however, previous experience in dietetic practice is necessary.
  • Research: Research dietitians are involved with development, implementation, and assessment of nutrition-related research projects. These dietitians may work in a clinical research center in a hospital, private company, or academic center. Advanced degrees are usually required for research and university-based jobs.
  • Nutrition Jobs for Those without RD Certification: Obtaining the RD certification is required for many jobs within the fields of health and nutrition. However, there are career opportunities for those who receive their bachelor's degree and do not complete the requirements for becoming an RD. These include food service supervisor, community nutritionist for organizations like WIC, diet clerk or dietetic technician, registered, and other various positions within food and health businesses.

Working in dietetics offers a rewarding career with a promising future. Appreciation for the profession is growing, translating into a greater need for and utilization of nutrition experts in health promotion practices throughout the country. As public interest continues to move in the direction of improving nutrition and health, emerging employment opportunities are ideal for the knowledge, training and versatility of the registered dietitian. For more information on the RD, visit