Food and Nutritional Sciences (Dietetics)

Do You Want to be a Registered Dietitian or Nutrition Professional?

Preparing Leaders & Educators in Nutrition

At Tennessee State University, the Didactic Program in Dietetics prepares students for careers as nutrition educators and credentialed dietitians who will provide leadership in the delivery of nutrition services for the people of Tennessee and around the globe.

With a strong emphasis on community service, our students excel in providing services to limited resource individuals and families. Graduates may develop community programs to:

  • promote nutrition and good health;
  • educate people about the relationship between diet and health;
  • conduct research on the psychological, cultural, social, economic, and environmental issues related to nutrition and health;
  • or work with special groups who are at risk for nutrition-related or health problems, such as pregnant women, infants, and the elderly.

Mission of the Dietetics Program

The mission of the TSU Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to support the mission and goals of the University, College, and Department by providing a progressive and effective academic curriculum that prepares students to be scientifically competent, accountable, and ethically responsible professionals who are prepared for supervised practice, a health or science-related profession, and/or graduate school, and advancing as self-educating dietetics professionals who are eligible for the CDR credentialing exam to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

Program Goals and Objectives

Goals and Objectives

Program outcomes data are available on request. 


The Didactic Program in Dietetics at TSU is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, 312/899-0040 (ext. 5400),

Course Requirements

Admission to the Food and Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics concentration is through the Tennessee State University admissions department. The DPD at TSU provides the necessary coursework to meet the academic requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. All students in the DPD program will receive a DPD verification statement after completing all didactic coursework outlined in the curriculum map below with a minimum grade of a C. 

Curriculum Map

TSU Course Catalog

Admissions Criteria for Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Prospective students must meet the admission requirements of Tennessee State University and must apply for admission to the DPD program. Students must meet the following criteria to be considered for entry to the DPD Program. 

  • Cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better
  • Achievement of at least junior status at the university (i.e. 60+ credit hours), including the courses listed below. 
  • Grade of B or better in the following courses: 
    • NUFS 1110 - Food Preparation and Meal Management
    • NUFS 2110 - Elementary Nutrition
  • Grade of C or better in each of the following courses: 
    • BIOL 2210 and 2211 - Anatomy and Physiology I and Lab
    • CHEM 1110 and 1111 - General Chemistry I and Lab
    • CHEM 1120 and 1121 - General Chemistry II and Lab
  • Completion of the application packet, which includes: 
    • DPD Admission Application
    • Current transcripts from TSU and/or other universities or colleges attended
    • Completion of an interview with dietetics faculty

Program Policies

TSU DPD Program Student Handbook

Pathway to Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  1.  Complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college, and course work through a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). 
  2. Complete 1,200 hours of supervised practice through an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship, Coordinated Program in Dietetics, or an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP). Supervised practice programs typically last between 6 and 12 months. 
  3. Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)  to become a Registered Dietitian. Starting on January 1, 2024, entry-level registered dietitians must complete a Master's degree prior to taking the registration exam to become a Registered Dietitian. 
  4. In most states, including Tennessee, dietitians must apply for and maintain licensure in order to practice dietetics. Continuing professional education is required to maintain registration and licensure. 

***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 to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order 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 the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at Tennessee State University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.

Applying to Supervised Practice

Completing an undergraduate degree in dietetics from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics is the typical pathway for students to meet the requirements for dietetic internships (DI). During the senior year of the DPD program of following completion of the DPD program, students can apply for a post-baccalaureate dietetic internship accredited by ACEND. Information of accredited supervised practice programs can be found through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Most Dietetic Internship programs participate in an online application system called the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System or  DICAS . This system allows for one application to be completed and submitted to multiple dietetic internships. The Dietetic Internship Match is a computer-based program that matches the preferences of applicatants for a dietetic internship with the preferences of the DI program directors. Students must also register an account with a company called  D&D Digital  in order to rank the order of their preference for internships they are applying to. D&D Digital will match applicants to DI programs based on both the ranking of the students and the ranking of the internship. Applications through DICAS can be submitted in February and November. 

Currently, the placement of dietetic students in supervised practice programs is very competitive, with about 50% of applicants receiving placement. Typically, students are more likely to be placed in a supervised practice program if they have a DPD GPA of over 3.5, dietetics-related work and volunteer experience, and demonstrated leadership skills. 

Program Schedule

The TSU Didactic Program in Dietetics follows the same academic calendar as the University. 

Estimated Program Costs

  • Estimated tuition and fees (15 credit hours): In-state $8,184; Out-of-state $21,540
  • On-campus housing: $3,742
  • Books: $500
  • Liability insurance (FACS 4600): $20
  • Restaurant-Approved Non-Skid shoes: $80
  • Student Membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: $58

Financial Aid

 Students in the Didactic Program in Dietetics are eligible to apply for financial assistance through the Tennessee State University Office of Financial Aid . Funding options include grants, scholarships, loans, and work-aid. Students may also be eligible for scholarships and work-aid through the College of Agriculture and the Department of Human Sciences. 

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Foundation also offers scholarships to students pursuing careers in dietetics. Information can be found on their website under  Scholarships  

For more information about the TSU Didactic Program in Dietetics, contact the Program Director, Dr. Elyse Shearer.


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B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Food and Nutritional Sciences

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Dietetics Brochure



Preceptor Training Presentation

Training Acknowledgement Form