The Didactic Program in Dietetics prepares students for the first stage of a three-stage process leading to the Registered Dietitian credential. The second stage requires that Dietetic program graduates complete a 1200-hour, nationally competitive, clinically supervised internship. The third stage requires that graduates pass the National Registration Exam for Dietitians after completing their Dietetic Internship.
Dietitians are the “nutrition experts” in healthcare and wellness. They are employed in a variety of settings from large corporations to small community programs, working to assess the nutritional needs of individuals and groups; to provide practical and timely recommendations founded on “evidence based practice,” to improve the daily diet and well being of individuals. Registered Dietitians in healthcare may specialize in research, pediatrics, geriatrics, cancer, surgery and trauma, etc. They may also work in their own private practice or as part of a medical practice group. A growing number of dietitians are working with professional and university athletes. On an outpatient basis, they may assist individuals with diabetes, eating disorders or weight control issues. Many work in public health programs, while others develop wellness programs for corporations. The possibilities are practically endless.
The Didactic Program in Dietetics at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.).
Admission and Continuation
Students must meet the same admission requirements as all other applicants to the University. Academic advising for students selecting Pre-Dietetics as their major should be done by DPD faculty. Admission to the University does not ensure acceptance into the DPD program; nor does acceptance into the DPD program ensure post-graduation placement in a Dietetic Internship.
Pre-Dietetics majors who wish to pursue dietetics as a career must complete the following application process by March 1st of the sophomore year.
Candidates will receive written notification of their admission or denial into the program by April 1 (dates may be subject to change). Check the Nutrition program website in the HHP Department. Acceptance into the Didactic program does not ensure acceptance into a post-baccalaureate internship program. However, maintaining high academic standards and being fully engaged in recommended opportunities and experiences will likely improve your chances of selection.
- Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average with no grade lower than a C in any required program course. A student receiving a grade lower than a C in any required course would be placed on probation until they are able to repeat the course at its earliest offering. If they fail to receive a C for the course or their GPA remains below 3.0, they will be dropped from the program.
- Students admitted to the program must attend a one-day seminar for the DPD program the week prior to fall term the year they are admitted to the program.
- Didactic program majors are expected to be student members of the American Dietetic Association and members of the Chattanooga District Dietetic Association (CDDA) as well as the Student Food and Nutrition Organization.
- Didactic program majors are highly encouraged to complete 200 hours of paid or volunteer work experience in nutrition, dietetics or foods/food service. Many internship programs recommend applicants complete 100-200 paid or volunteer hours of work experience in a nutrition/dietetics organization prior to applying for their internship program.
- Finally, students are highly encouraged to take the GRE exam, late fall semester of their senior year. More and more internship programs are requiring a GRE score even though their internship does not have a master’s degree component. If a student has not taken the GRE, they may be limited in their application process.
At the time of application submission for post-graduation placement in a dietetic internship, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate the use of chemistry and chemical concepts related to food and nutrition.
- Categorize anatomical structures and differentiate normal from abnormal physiological systems.
- Analyze food and food product ingredients for functional properties.
- Interpret data from parametric and nonparametric statistics.
- Evaluate the role of specific nutrients in disease prevention and health promotion.
- Compare statistical methods for the interpretation of research data.
Program outcomes data is available upon request.