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Didactic Program in Dietetics

Want to be a Registered Dietitian?

A Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is an undergraduate nutrition or dietetics program that meets the accreditation standards set by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND); requirements set by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). This course work will ensure that students have the "Knowledge and Skills" required by CADE to compete for a dietetic internship. Graduates of a dietetic internship program can sit for a (computerized) national certification exam. At Cal Poly, the courses required for a B.S. in Nutrition following the Applied Nutrition concentration have been accredited to meet these requirements.

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Cal Poly

The mission of the program at Cal Poly is to provide students with contemporary knowledge, including medical nutrition therapy, and practical skills to prepare them for successful completion of a dietetic internship and a satisfying career in dietetics.

Didactic Program in Dietetics Goals


  • To provide education in a learning environment that prepares graduates to demonstrate knowledge and skills producing the competencies needed for dietetic registration.
  • Program faculty and staff work continuously to maintain course offerings, course content, and methodology to prepare DPD students with a balanced, forward looking curriculum to prepare them for academic and career goals after graduation.
  • Through encouragement, motivation, and support, program faculty and staff will increase the number of students who complete their dietetics program of study and qualify for a Verification Statement.

Graduating in the Applied Nutrition Concentration enables you to:

  • produce appetizing, safe, affordable, and nutritious foods with a working knowledge of food composition, food preparation principles, and commercial food technology.
  • develop diets and promote consumption of foods that meet the medical, nutritional and health needs of individuals and groups.
  • practice effective and ethical management concepts and functions, particularly as applied to foodservice operations and nutrition programs.
  • have working knowledge of public policies, regulations, and the health care system as each relate to and impact the field of nutrition.

For more information on the program goals and assessments schedule, click here to see the Program Assessment Plan (pdf).

The only way to become a registered dietitian (RD) is by completing (1) a bachelor's degree, (2) the DPD required courses, (3) an accredited dietetic internship, and (4) the RD exam (successfully).

If you are in Cal Poly's Applied Nutrition concentration and want to know more about preparing for and applying to dietetic internships, please contact the DPD program director, Arlene Grant-Holcomb, agrantho@calpoly.com, for access to dietetic internship application information and resources. .

Want to be a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR)?

Effective June 1, 2009, individuals who have completed both a baccalaureate degree and a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) will be able to take the registration examination for dietetic technicians without meeting additional academic or supervised practice requirements.

If you are a graduate of the Applied Nutrition concentration and would like to find out more information about career options for Dietitian Technician, Registered see www.eatright.org

For more information about how our graduates who have ALREADY received a Verification Statement and would like to apply for taking the DTR exam, see http://www.cdrnet.org/programdirector/NewPathwayIII.htm for procedures.

For more information, please see the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics's web page at www.eatright.org/CADE/

Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000.Chicago, IL 60606-6995
312-899-0040 ext. 5400 Fax: 312-899-4817
E-mail: education@eatright.org