Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science

Two female nutritional scientists looking at lab results on a laptop.

Proper nutrition is widely recognized as critical in achieving optimal health and necessary to prevent the most common chronic diseases. Students in our Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science program receive a broad education in the sciences and take specialized nutrition courses including medical nutrition therapy, food service, and community nutrition. 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. Our University and program are dedicated to serving the public good through student engagement.


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science Program


The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science Program is a track that falls under our accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) 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 is available upon request.

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science Program at Cal State LA provides students with the knowledge and skills required by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) to become an entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN). Upon successful completion of this program, students will be provided a verification statement which will allow for application to a supervised practice program (dietetic internship). The curriculum also provides the foundation for students to continue their education at the graduate level in nutrition or related fields.

For more detailed information about the DPD at Cal State LA, including graduation and program completion requirements, policy on the assessment of prior learning, and the academic calendar, please review the DPD Student Handbook.

View/download the DPD Course List

Review the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science Roadmap of Courses

Watch a prerecorded information session.

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics accredits dietetics education programs. Similar to other healthcare professions, the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential is not earned upon graduation with a degree. Graduates who successfully complete the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science 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, and earning an MS degree in nutrition (or another field), you will be eligible to sit for the National Registration Examination for Dieticians 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 state licensure, but most other states also require this. The CDR provides general guidance on licensure.

There are three steps to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist:

  1. Complete the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science at Cal State LA (for those who did not complete an ACEND-accredited degree program in nutrition). You will be issued a verification statement of completion once you successfully complete the program requirements. 

      2. Apply, be accepted, and complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.

During a supervised practice program, typically called Dietetic Internship, prospective interns must apply, be accepted, and complete at least 1,000 hours of supervised practice. Competition is fierce for acceptance into DIs, and there is an estimated acceptance rate of 65% nationwide. 

Applications for internships occur twice a year: September and February. Students typically apply during February to be able to start their internship the following fall. 

Fees for internships vary and are separate from the fees for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science. Dietetic internships range in cost. Please be sure to research each program of interest to learn more about their specific fees or tuition.

Various types of internship programs include:

  • Traditional face-to-face programs
    • Traditional face-to-face supervised practice programs are limited. Students may need to relocate.
  • Distance programs.
  • Interns can stay in Los Angeles but may need to find their own locations which can be difficult, especially for clinical locations.
  • Some distance programs do find sites for their interns.
  • This option is available to current employees of this WIC organization. Students often secure jobs with WIC after receiving their verification statement, gaining working experience, and then applying/completing their supervised practice program through PHFE-WIC.
  • These programs include combined Masters Degree/Dietetic Internship (MS/DI) and Coordinated Programs (CP).
  • This option is open to graduates of a degree program or the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science who did not match to a DI during their first attempt.
  • Through PHFE-WIC
  • Graduate programs, which include a dietetic internship (DI). 
  • Individualize Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP)
  • Information about the various Dietetic internships
  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.

Computer Requirements

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 web page. 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 to have access to Zoom, and Microsoft Office applications such as Word and 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 properly cite information; use various platforms to create presentations and; use the computer programs and networks to create and save files.

Applicants must meet the University Requirements for Admission, which include a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. To be admitted into the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science program at Cal State LA, applicants must also complete the following:

  1. Apply to the University to be eligible for admission.
  2. Provide two letters of recommendation, with one from an academic source.
  3. Submit a letter of professional and research goals. Specific directions will be available in the application.
  4. Successfully complete all required prerequisites or ability to demonstrate completion before beginning the program.

Required Prerequisites (Grades must be a "C" or higher.)

  • BIOL 2030 - Human Anatomy with Lab
  • BIOL 2040 - Human Physiology with Lab
  • CHEM 1010 - Fundamentals of Chemistry with Lab
  • CHEM 1020 - Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry with Lab
  • MICR 1010 - Introduction to Microbiology with Lab
  • PSY 1500 – Introduction to Psychology
  • MATH 1090 – Quantitative Reasoning with Statistics
  • ANTH 1500 OR SOC 2010 – Cultural Anthropology OR Introduction to Sociology

Carrie Adase, MS, RDN: Post-Baccalaureate Coordinator

Kimberly Gottesman, DCN, RDN, LDN, CNSC: Director of Didactic Program in Dietetics (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'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 in order to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), 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 program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 50% are admitted within 12 months of graduation.
4.       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%.
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.       At least 80% of Supervised Practice Program Directors who respond to a survey on DPD graduation preparedness for supervised practice will respond 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.

Program outcomes data are available on request.

The per unit cost for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science Program is $400.

The total program cost is $14,000.

Tuition and other costs may fluctuate per academic year and depend on the credits taken per semester.

Students must pay to have their final certificate processed. The certificate fee is $25 and is typically due prior to February 15 for summer graduation. See the Cal State LA Graduation website for details.

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

Financial assistance will be available beginning in Summer 2023. Please email Tom Lau, College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE) Financial Aid Advisor.

The application window for the Summer 2024 Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science Program has closed.

Transcript deadline for Summer 2024 applications: March 15, 2024
Apply to the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science program.
Watch a video about how to use Cal State Apply.
Electronically submit transcripts and required documents.
Mail transcripts and other required documents to:
Office of Admissions and Recruitment
Cal State LA
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Learn more about the transcript submission process.
Utilize the Cal State LA GPA calculator.

Join our interest list to learn more about the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nutritional Science Programs

To seek academic advisement, please email Carrie Adase, M.S., R.D.N., Post-Baccalaureate Coordinator/Advisor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Cal State LA.