Nutrition and Food Science

The Option in General Dietetics

An Accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Learn about Chico State's DPD Program and the pathway to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

Click here to learn more about how to declare the Option in General Dietetics


The Mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics is to:

  • Provide a broad educational background to develop competent and productive students in preparation for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist or a nutrition dietetic technician registered, while using resources in a sustainable manner.
  • Prepare students to serve a culturally diverse community by engaging students in pre-professional nutrition-related activities that serve Northern California.

Goals and Outcomes

  • Goal One

    Goal 1: Graduate students who have a variety of experiences and learning opportunities preparing them for entry-level positions in the field of dietetics.

    • Objective 1.1: At least 90% of students will complete a nutrition-related practicum or externship experience that serves the Northern California community prior to program completion.

    • Objective 1.2: At least 70% of students will report on their exit survey that they participated in a pre-professional organization (e.g. student nutrition clubs, Center for Healthy Communities, FitU, California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
  • Goal Two

    Goal 2: Graduate diverse, competent, entry-level practitioners who obtain employment in dietetics or related fields.

    • Objective 2.1: At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within six years (150% of the program length). 
    • Objective 2.2: The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of the first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
    • Objective 2.3: 60% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
    • Objective 2.4: 60% of program graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
    • Objective 2.5: 75% or more of dietetic internship directors will indicate that the DPD graduate was prepared or very prepared in all of the content areas when surveyed within 12-24 months of the graduation date.
    • Objective 2.6: At least 30% of the DPD students will identify with a race/ethnicity or gender that is often underrepresented in the field of dietetics
    • Objective 2.7: At least 60% of DPD graduates will obtain employment in dietetics or related field within 12-24 months of their graduation date.
  • How Are We Doing?
    • Objective 1.1: 100% of students completed a nutrition-related practicum or externship experience serving the Northern California community. Within the NFSC Department, there are two student clubs available. Both clubs have strong faculty advisors and are robust and active, in terms of membership.
    • Objective 1.2: 98% of students reported participating in a pre-professional organization.
    • Objective 2.1: 94% of students completed the program requirements within 6 years. Students consistently completed the DPD program in a timely manner, well exceeding the 80% in 6 years benchmark most years.
    • Objective 2.2: 93% of students passed the registration examination the first time they took it (or within a year of completing their internship).
    • Objective 2.3: The dietetic application rate was left unchanged from the previous self-study when ACEND required programs to aim for 60% of students applying to dietetic internships within 12 months. This objective was consistently met each year, with the exception of the 2010-2011 school year.
    • Objective 2.4: 74% of students were accepted into a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
    • Objective 2.5: Over a 6-year period, on average, 86% percent of DI Directors indicated that DPD graduates from CSU Chico were well prepared in all content and skill areas.
    • Objective 2.6: 30% of students identified as ethnic/race or gender minorities.
    • Objective 2.7: 74% of students reported obtaining employment in dietetics or related field.

    *These data are based on our last self-study (2017) and reports the 7-year average unless stated otherwise.

Additional program outcomes are available upon request.

Accreditation Status   

The General Dietetics Option is an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited program.

Contact information for ACEND:

120 South Riverside Plaza
Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995

800/877-1600, ext. 5400
Fax: 312/899-4817
Website: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics > ACEND(opens in new window)

Route to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

RDNs are food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. They work throughout the community in hospitals, schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food management, the food industry, universities, research, and private practice. To obtain an RDN credential you must:

  1. Earn a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited university or college.
  2. Earn a master's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited university or college. 
    • The Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) has mandated that beginning January 1, 2024, a minimum of a graduate degree will be required to be eligible for the RDN exam. 
    • Complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) as part of the bachelor's or master's degree to  obtain a DPD Verification Statement.
    • The Option in General Dietetics at CSU, Chico, meets the requirements of ACEND for a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). The option is offered as part of the bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Food Science but can also be completed along with the master's degree in Nutritional Science.
  3. Complete a post-baccalaureate ACEND-accredited supervised practice program, known as a Dietetic Internship ( Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics > Dietetic Internships(opens in new window) to obtain a  DI Verification Statement.
  4. Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR's website at  The  Commission on Dietetic Registration.(opens in new window)
  5. Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. 

*Many states have regulatory laws (licensure) for food and nutrition practitioners. All states accept the RDN credential for state licensure purposes. California does not require or offer licensure to RDNs. 

Verification of Completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Upon completion of the General Dietetics Option (DPD) and university graduation requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree, students will be mailed the DPD Verification Statement. The Didactic Program in Dietetics Director’s signature on this form verifies that the individual has successfully completed the didactic requirements. Prior to graduating, students will be required to give the Didactic Program Director a current mailing address. Once the student’s degree is posted, the Didactic Program Director will issue a DPD Verification Statement and a minimum of three copies will be mailed directly to the student.

A DPD Verification Statement is required to sit for the Nutrition and Dietitians Technician, Registered (NDTR) examination (see section XVII of the DPD Handbook) or to begin a Dietetic Internship to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (see section XVI of the DPD Handbook).

The Route to Become a Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR)

NDTRs are educated and trained at the technical level of nutrition and dietetics practice for the delivery of safe, culturally competent, quality food and nutrition services. They work under the supervision of a registered dietitian nutritionist when in direct patient/client nutrition care and work independently in providing general nutrition education to healthy populations. To become an NDTR, you can either complete a community college NDTR program and then pass the national NDTR credential exam or complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college with course work accredited or approved by the Commission on Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Once that is done, you must then pass the national NDTR credential exam.

Cost to Students

A description of fees charged by CSU, Chico is outlined in the  University Catalog > Fees, Tuition, Refunds, and Holds. For a breakdown of the fees, visit  Tuition & Registration Fees.

  • Cost of Housing

    Costs for travel and housing vary. Student housing close to campus is readily available and ranges from $350 - $900 per month. 

  • Cost of Books

    Cost for books and supplies vary depending on whether books are purchased new or used.  Cost for all new books for a semester may be approximately $830. Additional charges may be accessed on a class-by-class basis for such items as laboratory and breakage fees ($10 or more). An additional cost is for the purchase of a laboratory coat ($35). 

  • Student Memberships

    A student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will be required at some point for your courses.  The cost for student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is $58/yr. Join as a Student Member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

    You may want to consider joining the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Northern Area District (CAND-NAD). Membership is $20/yr.