Nutrition and Dietetics
Welcome to the Nutritional Science Program 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 and take specialized nutrition courses, including medical nutrition therapy, food service, and community nutrition. They can select from various special interest courses such as integrative/functional nutrition, sports nutrition, and entrepreneurship. As an evidence-based discipline, we teach students to analyze 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, along with 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, the Master of Science Degree in Nutritional Science, and the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science. The undergraduate program and the post-baccalaureate programs are accredited Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD), which means that when students graduate, they will have the foundation of knowledge and skills to apply to and succeed in a dietetics internship and/or graduate school. Graduates from our program are prepared for a wide range of careers in the private and public sectors. 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 food service 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.
- Providing client nutrition education through a private practice.
- Educating students as faculty members 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.
- Sharing nutrition expertise within food companies such as supplements, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
"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). 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 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 complete the ACEND-accredited [program type] program at [Institution name] are eligible to [apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN].
In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements, read more.
For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN, read more."
The mission of the Nutritional Sciences Program 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 nutrition. Students enrolled in the didactic program in dietetics will be prepared for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
Undergraduate Program Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
- Locate, evaluate, and critically appraise nutrition information utilizing information technology.
- Provide culturally competent nutrition counseling and education to individuals, groups, and communities using a variety of communication strategies.
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills to identify and solve problems in the nutritional sciences.
- Review policy and advocate for improving access to healthy foods and nutrition services.
- Develop an interest in and commitment to lifelong service.
- Demonstrate professionalism, inter-professional communication, and qualities of future leaders in the field of dietetics and nutrition.
The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) enables students to complete the academic requirements needed to quality for graduate school, a dietetic internship or supervised practice to take the examination. The DPD can be completed as part of the baccalaureate degree program in Nutritional Science through the Option in Dietetics.
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.
Students earning the Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science can enroll in an Option in Food Science or an Option in Dietetics. Please see the university catalog for program requirements.
The admission requirements for freshmen and transfer students is described on the Admissions and Recruitment website. Students are accepted to the undergraduate DPD during the fall semester each year. Spring acceptance into the program occurs in certain instances.
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's 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 to be eligible to take the CDR 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:
- “At least 80% of students complete program requirements within three years (150% of planned program length)” (RE 2.1.c.1.a)
- “At least 25 percent of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program before or within 12 months of graduation”. (RE 2.1.c.1.b.1)
- “Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 50 percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation”. (RE 2.1.c.1.b.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%”. (RE 2.1.c.1.c)
- 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.
- At least 80% of Supervised Practice Program Directors who respond to a survey on DPD graduate preparedness for supervised practice will respond as being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with preparation.
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.
Program outcome data are available on request.
For more detailed information about the DPD at Cal State LA, including admission information, graduation and program completion requirements, policy on the assessment of prior learning, and more, please review the DPD Student Handbook.
DPD course list for DICAS
DPD course list for DICAS (2016-2019)
DPD course list for DICAS (2020-present)
DPD course list for DICAS for post bacc
Please use the following course list to enter your classes into DICAS. If you need additional lists (from before we converted to semesters), please email Dr. Gottesman at [email protected] .
An estimated cost of attendance at Cal State LA may be found through the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. Tuition and other costs may fluctuate per academic year and depend on the credits taken per semester.
Additional fees will apply to students who wish to continue the educational pathway of becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. These fees consist of the cost of applying to and attending graduate school and dietetics internship programs.
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 complete the ACEND-accredited DPD at Cal State LA can apply to graduate school and an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (dietetic internship).
After completing an accredited supervised practice program and a graduate degree (starting January 1, 2024), graduates 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 RDN. In California, RDNs do not need to obtain state licensure, but most other states also require this. The CDR provides general guidelines on licensure: Commission on Dietetic Registration (cdrnet.org)
There are three steps to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist:
- Complete the DPD BS or post bacc at Cal State LA. You will be given a verification statement once you complete the program requirements and your degree is posted.
- Enter, be accepted, and complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.
The supervised practice programs, typically Dietetic Internships, are at least 1000 hours and require an application. Competition is fierce for DIs, with an estimated acceptance rate of 65% 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. Program Directory
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 locations for their rotations, which can be very difficult at times, especially for clinical rotations
- 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) or Future Graduate Programs (FGs)
- Individualize Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) for graduates of a DPD who did not match a DI
3. MS Requirement Effective in 2024
"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). 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 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree. 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 complete the ACEND-accredited [program type] program at [Institution name] are eligible to [apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN].
4. Pass the RDN Exam
CDR administers the Registration Examination on Dietetic Registration for those who have completed the steps outlined above. There is excellent information available on the CDR website.
The Student Dietetic Association (SDA) is an active, student-led organization that conducts various 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.
You may apply throughout the year to take the NDTR exam. Please email Dr. Gottesman if you are interested in applying. You must use a non-Cal State LA email address to register for the exam, so please email from a personal email account.
Once you have 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. Here is the updated link for the "Official Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) website for the DTR pathway: Commission on Dietetic Registration
Step 1: Submit Paperwork to the DPD director
1) Please provide one original copy of your verification statement. Verifications statements are issued to students once coursework is verified as completed with a C or better, other DPD requirements are completed, and the degree is conferred. If you do not have an original copy of your verification statement, please email the DPD director at [email protected], and she will issue you a replacement.
2) Please provide an OFFICIAL 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. The easiest way to do this is to order an official transcript and have it emailed to yourself. Then forward it to Dr. Gottesman.
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 by the DPD program director, 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 can only be processed if the form has been completed. Please check junk/spam folders for this email from CDR or REPS. The application will only be started by the DPD program director after an email has been received containing expressed interest in taking the DTR exam, the verification statement, and an original copy of the transcript.
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 [email protected]
Make sure to allow at least a month to study for the exam. It's tough! You will likely only pass with a thorough review. Below are a few resources.
Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians, eatrightPREP for the NDTR Exam
DTR Study Buddy http://www.dtrstudybuddy.com/
You will need to have an up-to-date browser, operating system, and some additional software on your computer to take certain classes. Check the ITS Helpdesk Student Resources page [https://www.calstatela.edu/its/student-technology-resources]. Some of the documents in your courses will be available to you in PDF form. You will need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader software on your computer. You will also need access to Zoom and Microsoft Office applications such as Word PowerPoint, and Canvas to complete course assignments. Webcams and microphones may be needed to hear and participate in Zoom class sessions. You might consider purchasing a headset that is compatible with your device. You will need consistent access to the internet. If additional technology requirements are needed, they will be located in the course syllabus or in Canvas.
Technology Related Skills
You will need to be able to access and/or send Cal State LA emails; use the Canvas platform to retrieve and participate in course activities; use Zoom to participate in course sessions; use the online libraries or databases to search for pertinent information; use apps/manual to cite information properly; use various platforms to create presentations and; use the computer programs and networks to create and save files.