Nutritional Science

Nutrition and Dietetics

Welcome to the Nutritional Science Department at California State University, Los Angeles!  Proper nutrition is widely recognized as critical in achieving optimal health and necessary to prevent the most common chronic diseases. Students in our program receive a broad education in the sciences; take specialized nutrition courses including medical nutrition therapy, food service, and community nutrition; and can select from a variety of special interest courses such as integrative/functional nutrition, sports nutrition, and entrepreneurship.  As an evidence-based discipline, we teach students to analyze the science and be able to communicate in writing and through presentations to the general public.  The strength of our program lies in our diverse student body and faculty, and our requirement that students participate in projects to expand their classroom experiences through community engagement in service learning experiences. Located in the center of Los Angeles, our university and program are dedicated to serving the public good through student engagement. 

Programs in Nutritional Science at Cal State LA include the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutritional Science and the Master of Science degree in Nutritional Science. The undergraduate program is an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), which means that when a student graduates, they will have the foundation of knowledge and skills to enable them to be eligible to apply to and succeed in a dietetics internship.  Graduates from our program are prepared for a wide range of careers in the private and public sector.  Some of these careers include:

Providing nutrition-related care to patients in a wide variety of clinical settings.
Educating individuals and communities through community nutrition programs, like the Women, Infant and Children’s Program, and Head Start.
Managing foodservice operations in schools, hospitals, prisons and other locations.
Conducting research related to nutritional science.
Overseeing and providing nutrition education through worksite wellness programs.
Presenting nutrition and health related information in print, online, and social media platforms.
Client nutrition education through a private practice.
Educating students as a faculty member of a school or university.
Working in the non-profit sector on nutrition and health related initiatives.
Creating and assisting with policy development and implementation in government agencies.
Nutrition expertise within businesses such as food companies, supplement and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

 

Mission of Nutritional Science Department

Cal State LA Mission
Cal State LA transforms lives and fosters thriving communities across greater Los Angeles. We cultivate and amplify our students' unique talents, diverse life experiences, and intellect through engaged teaching, learning, scholarship, research, and public service that support their overall success, well-being, and the greater good.

School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science
The School's mission is to prepare professionals to practice at the baccalaureate and masters level, conduct research, pursue graduate study, and engage in public and professional service.

Cal State LA Nutritional Science Mission

Department Mission:

The mission of the Nutritional Sciences Department at Cal State LA is to prepare graduates to excel in nutrition communication, research, policy, advocacy, and service.  Graduates will improve individual and community health as innovative leaders in the field of nutrition.

Undergraduate Program Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Locate, evaluate, and critically appraise nutrition information utilizing information technology.
  2. Provide culturally competent nutrition counseling and education to individuals, groups, and communities using a variety of communication strategies.
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking skills to identify and solve problems in the nutritional sciences.  
  4. Review policy and advocate for improving access to healthy foods and nutrition services.
  5. Develop an interest in and commitment to lifelong service.

Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science 

Students of the Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science are currently enrolled in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). 

University Catalog for the Nutritional Science BS

Roadmap to graduation for the BS program

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

The Master of Science degree in Nutritional Science is an individualized program designed to develop specialized professional competence in selected areas of dietetics, nutrition, and food science. The program is designed for students preparing for positions as public health nutritionists, supervisors in dietetics and food production and service, or doctoral study in nutrition and dietetics.

The Coordinated Dietetic Programs (CP) is currently inactive and the Didactic Program (DPD) for the MS is not accepting applications for admission Fall 2019.  Please note that DPD coursework cannot be completed through the MS and a verification statement cannot be issued for students completing the MS.

University Catalog for the Nutritional Science MS

To apply to this graduate program, student must apply and fulfill University requirements for admission to graduate study and must also submit a separate graduate program application to the School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science.  Apply to the MS Program.

Certificates in Nutritional Science

The certificate programs offered by the School of Kinesiology and Nutritional require 15-33 units to complete.

The Alternative Nutrition Certificate program (18 units) ) provides students with validated scientific knowledge and information or identifying effective and safe herbal and nutritional products; nutritional information and data for possibly delaying the onset of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and Alzheimers; and sound scientific knowledge of the effective use of functional foods and phytochemicals to enhance health.

The Food Safety Certificate program (19 units) is designed to educate Nutritional Science students, Food Science and Technology students, foodservice employees, nutritionists, and others about important food safety principles in order to meet the increasing need for professionals trained in food safety methods. 

The Sports Nutrition Certificate program (16 units) ) is designed to prepare fitness professionals, coaches, nutritionists, and others to provide fluid and nutrient recommendations, as well as an appropriate exercise prescription, to active people.

The Community Nutrition program (21 units) prepares students to work as Community Nutritionists. Six of the ten leading causes of death in the United States are linked to a poor diet, and these leading causes of death are all lifestyle related, and preventable. This certificate focuses on strategies for providing good nutrition for vulnerable populations that involves assessment, program planning, implementing interventions and evaluation of these programs.

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Bachelor of Science

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) enables students to complete the academic requirements needed to qualify for a dietetic internship or supervised practice needed to qualify to take the examination to become a Registered Dietitian (R.D.). The DPD is completed as part of the baccalaureate degree program in Nutritional Science.

The BS DPD at Cal State Los Angeles is currently granted accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics Education (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL. 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040, ext. 5400.

Program assessment data available upon request.

Mission and Goals of DPD

Cal State LA DPD Mission

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) of California State University, Los Angeles is to provide students with comprehensive academic knowledge and critical thinking skills in the field of nutrition and dietetics. The DPD program also promotes the university and department emphasis on engaging in public and professional service to promote cultural competency and for the greater good. The DPD prepares graduates to go into supervised practice in order to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), for entry-level careers related to food and nutrition, or graduate level education.

Program Goal 1:  The program will prepare graduates with a strong educational foundation in nutrition/dietetics to perform proficiently in a dietetic supervised practice program in preparation to be a competent entry-level dietitian nutritionist, to work in entry/level positions in nutrition and dietetics, or to be accepted into graduate school.

Program Objectives for Goal 1: 

  1. At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within three years (150% of program length).
  2. At least 25% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  3. Of those who apply, at least 50% of graduates are admitted into a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
  4. At least 80% of the DPD graduates will pass the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) registration exam the first time taking the exam or within the first year after taking the first exam.
  5. Of graduates who seek employment and respond to the alumni survey, 50% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  6. Of graduates who apply to graduate school and respond to the alumni survey, 75% are accepted.
  7. At least 80% of Supervised Practice Program Directors who respond to a survey will rank DPD graduates as being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with preparation for supervised practice.

 

Program Goal 2:  Graduates from the DPD will be prepared to work in culturally diverse communities.

Program Objectives for Goal 2:

  1. At least 80% of Supervised Practice Program Directors who respond to a survey will rank DPD graduates as being “prepared” or “very prepared” to work in culturally diverse communities.
  2. At least 80% of DPD graduates who respond to a survey will rate themselves as “prepared” or “very prepared” to work in culturally diverse communities.

 

DPD Handbook

For more detailed information about the DPD at Cal State LA, including the cost of the program, please review the 2018-2019 DPD Student handbook.

DPD Curriculum

The University Catalog includes the BS DPD Nutritional Science program courses and accompanying descriptions.

In your final semester, and if you are ready to apply for dietetic internships, you can fill out the pre-verification form.

DPD Program Costs

An estimated cost of attendance at Cal State LA may be found through the Financial Aid office. Tuition and other costs may fluctuate per the academic year and depends on the credits taken per semester.

Additional fees will apply to students who wish to continue the educational pathway of becoming a Registered Dietitian. These fees consist of the cost for applying to and attending dietetic internship programs.

Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian

Three-Step Process Overview

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics Education (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics accredits dietetics education programs. Similar to other health care professions, the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential is not earned upon graduation with a BS degree. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD at Cal State LA are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (dietetic internship). 

After successfully completing an accredited supervised practice program, you will be eligible to sit for the national Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Those who pass the exam will earn the designation of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). In California, RDNs do not need to obtain a state licensure, but most other states also require this.

There are three steps to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist:

  1. Complete the DPD BS at Cal State LA.  You will be given a verification statement once you successfully complete program requirements and your degree is posted.
  2. Enter, be accepted, and complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.

The supervised practice programs, typically called Dietetic Internships, are 1200 hours and require an application.  Competition is fierce for DIs, and there is an estimate acceptance rate of 50% nationwide.  Students can apply in the spring of their final year at Cal State, LA but there is also a fall match.  A student pays for their internship and all associated costs. Information about the various Dietetic internships

There various types of internship programs include:

  • traditional face-to-face programs where students may need to relocate
  • distance programs, where students can stay in Los Angeles but will need to find their own locations, which can be very difficult, especially for clinical locations
  • applying through PHFE-WIC, which is only open to current employees of this WIC organization
  • graduate programs, which include a DI.  These are called Coordinated Programs (CPs)
  • Individualize Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) for graduates of a DPD who did not match to a DI

MS Requirement Effective in 2024

All students enrolled in the DPD program must be prepared to complete a master’s degree in ANY major if they intend to become a Registered Dietitian as they will be unable to take the credentialing exam until the MS degree is completed.

  1. Pass the RDN Exam

The Registration Exam is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for those who have successfully completed the first two steps.  There is excellent information available from the CDR website.

More information about how to become an RDN.

Student Dietetic Association

The Student Dietetic Association (SDA) is an active, student-led organization that conducts an impressive variety of activities each year.  Some of these include: seminars and guest lectures by industry experts, access to volunteer and paid job opportunities, an opportunity to be published in the online student magazine (the Eatatorial), taking part in the annual National Nutrition Month celebration, and a Meet and Greet where students interact with dietetic and nutrition professionals.  The group is open to any student, and students are asked to join for a small fee to cover snacks and other costs. Student Dietetic Association website

How to Register for the NDTR Exam

You may apply four times a year to take the DTR exam.  Deadlines for all required paperwork are February 1st, May 1st, August 1st, and November 1st.

Once you have successfully completed all DPD requirements (including “C” or better in coursework) and your degree has been conferred, you are eligible to take the Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR or NDTR) exam. The official Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) website for DTR pathway.  The complete student instructions for the entire process, along with information about the DTR exam and related study resources. If after reviewing this information you feel that becoming a DTR makes sense for you, then there are three main steps before you can sit for the exam:

Step 1: Submit Paperwork to DPD director
1) Please provide one original copy of your verification statement.  Verifications are issued to students once coursework is verified as completed with a C or better and the degree is posted.  If you do not have an original copy of your verification statement, please email the DPD director.

2) Please provide an OFFICIAL unopened Cal State LA transcript, which reflects your degree with conferral date. – This is required to be submitted to CDR, even if you have recently had a verification statement issued. Important: Make sure your degree has cleared and your transcript has a clear "Degree Conferred" date on it - you can check with the Registrar about when this will be so you don't unnecessarily order a transcript we cannot use.


Step 2:  Application processing and demographic information

After some initial information for your application has been entered, you will be sent an email and you must follow the link provided to complete an online form to verify demographic information. The form links to the application in the database, which cannot be processed unless the form has been completed. Please check junk/spam folders for this email from CDR or REPS.

Step 3:

The DPD Director will process and upload all required documents to CDR. Once your application submission to CDR has been approved, you will receive an email confirming registration eligibility from CDR within approximately 3-5 business days. CDR then forwards your information to Pearson VUE for further processing. Candidates typically receive their Authorization to Test email from Pearson VUE within 48 hours of receiving eligibility confirmation from CDR. Then you are ready to go and take the test!

For questions not answered by this information or by visiting the CDR website, please contact the DPD director at kgraves@calstatela.edu

Resources

Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians, 7th Ed. https://www.eatrightstore.org/product-type/study-guides/study-guide-for-the-registration-examination-for-dietetic-technicians-7th-edition

DTR Study Buddy http://www.dtrstudybuddy.com/

Coordinated Program (CP)

Attention: The Coordinated Dietetic Program (CDP) is not accepting applications for admittance. The MS CDP will be inactive until June 1, 2020. Please check back for further information.

If you have questions regarding the CP please contact the CP Director, Dr. Pera Jambazian at pjambaz@calstatela.edu 

Coordinated Program (CP)​

The curriculum integrates academic preparation and the clinical experience needed in dietetics. Due to our location, we are uniquely poised to allow our students the opportunity to work with community-based groups and deliver programs and skills that reflect on the needs of the community. The CP blends the degree and supervised practice component to offer the student an opportunity to study and develop a necessary skill set with a concentration in community. Upon passing the national examination administered under the direction of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) graduates are recognized as Registered Dietitians (R.D.). The Coordinated Dietetics Program (CP) is accredited by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040, ext. 5400. Students applying to or enrolled in the Master of Science degree program in Nutritional Science are eligible to apply for admission to the CP. There is a separate application for admission for the CP.

 

CP Mission Statement

The mission of the CP is to provide an integrated academic/supervised practice curriculum to prepare competent entry-level dietitians to promote optimal health and nutritional status of individuals and groups. The curriculum provides the foundation, knowledge, skills, and the practitioner-based competencies to perform the specialized functions of an entry-level dietitian. The CP prepares competent dietitians for positions in nutrition therapy, food service management, and community nutrition. Based on our unique location, the California State University Los Angeles CP draws strongly from community-based programs. This approach is supported by our community focus or concentration.

The program has three broad goals and specific outcome measures are tied to each goal.

GOAL 1. To prepare graduates to practice effectively as entry-level dietitians in community, foodservice, and clinical dietetics, with a concentration in community-based dietetics.

Outcome measures for Goal 1:

  1. By the end of the supervised practice experience, 100% of the students completing all of the rotations will receive a rating of "satisfactory" or "at expected level of performance" on all of the ACEND competencies.
  2. After starting the supervised practice experience portion of the Coordinated Dietetics Program, 90% of the individuals will complete all of the rotations.
  3. Graduates will achieve an overall first-time pass rate over a 5-year period of at least 80% on the Registration Exam for Dietitians.
  4. At least 90% of graduates over a 5-year period will rate their preparation for their position one year after finishing the program as 3 or better on a scale of 5 being "very well" and 1 being "not at all".
  5. Over a 5-year period, after acceptance into the Coordinated Dietetics Program, 80% of the individuals will complete the program within 48 months or 150% of the time planned for completion.

GOAL 2. To prepare graduates for life-long learning and/or advancement in dietetics through professional activities and development.

Outcome measures for Goal 2:

  1. Over a 5-year period, on a self-assessment tool no graduate will assess his/her expertise as an entry-level dietitian as "unqualified".
  2. Over a 5-year period, no employer will rate a graduate from the program as:
    1. not ready for areas of practice outlined on an assessment tool, and
    2. somewhat below average.
  3. Over a 5-year period, of the graduates employed, graduates will have taken employment in community, food service and clinical dietetics (i.e., at least one graduate will be represented in these areas).
  4. Over a 5-year period, 90% of CP students will successfully complete all the requirements for a Master of Science degree in Nutritional Science, including the culminating activity (Thesis, Project or Comprehensive Exam).

GOAL 3: Leadership: To prepare graduates for roles in leadership and policy in dietetics through activities in personal professional development and professional organizations such as Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

Outcome measures for Goal 3:

  1. At the one year post-graduation survey:
    1. 80% of graduates will remain active members of AND.
    2. 100% of graduates will be welcomed to the Cal State LA Coordinated Dietetics Program Facebook page for CP graduates.70% of the graduates will follow and continue to post updates on Facebook.
    3. 50% of graduates will extend their participation in AND, often starting at the district membership, dietetic practice group membership, elected office at the district, state or national level.
    4. 80% of the graduates will have started their professional development portfolios and accumulated at least 10 hours of professional development hours.

CP Course Requirements: 

The CP is a graduate program and requires concurrent matriculation in the Master of Science degree program in Nutritional Science. Students must complete all CP coursework and the supervised practice component (internship) and earn a Master of Science degree in Nutritional Science prior to receiving a verification statement and taking the Registration Exam for Dietitians.  Completion of both programs  usually takes  three to four years, however, may vary depending upon the student’s individualized master’s degree coursework and culminating activity (thesis/project or comprehensive exam). Students with an undergraduate degree in Nutritional Science or Dietetics may complete the program in less than 3 years based upon evaluation of their transcripts upon acceptance into the program.

 

CP Prerequisite Courses: All science courses MUST have labs.

Course Number

Course Title

ANTH 1500 or SOC 2010

Cultural Anthropology (3) or Principles of Sociology (3)

ECON 1500 

Economics for the Citizens (3)

PSY 1500  

Introductory Psychology (3)

BIOL 2010, 2020

Human Anatomy and Physiology I, II (4, 4)

CHEM 1020

Fundamentals of Chemistry II (Organic) (4)

CHEM 3000

Nutritional Aspects of Biochemistry (4)

MICR 1010

Introductory Microbiology (3)

NTRS 2100

Foundations of Food (3)

NTRS 3170

Fundamentals of Human Nutrition (3)

 

CP Required Courses:

Course Number

Course Title

NTRS 3120

Cultural Cuisine (3)

NTRS 5330

Communication Skills in Dietetics (3)

NTRS 4100

Experimental Foods (3)

NTRS 4130

Maternal and Child Nutrition (3)

NTRS 4140

Institutional Food Service (4)

NTRS 4150, 4155

Medical Nutrition Therapy I, II (3, 3)

NTRS 4170, 4175

Advanced Nutrition I, II (3, 3)

NTRS 4176 

Nutritional Assessment Laboratory (1)

NTRS 4180

Community Nutrition (3)

NTRS 4340

Management Principles in Dietetics (4)

NTRS 4790 

Professional Interactions and Writing Skills (3)

 

Supervised Practice:

Course Number

Course Title

NTRS 4190, 4220

Supervised Practice in Dietetics (8, 8)

NTRS 4250

Seminar: Dietetics (2)

 

Coordinated Dietetics Program Handbook