Information for Graduate Students Interested in Becoming a Registered Dietitian (R.D.)
The RD credential is nationally recognized and requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree as well as courses that meet the University’s Didactic Program in Dietetics or DPD requirements. As a graduate you can pursue the requirements for the DPD in one of two ways: 1) through a second Bachelor’s degree (in our Dietetics track), or 2) as part of a Master’s program.
Given the extensive coursework requirements for the DPD, many students who do not have a BS in Nutrition or related field will choose to earn a second Bachelor’s degree. Those with a BS in Nutrition or related field will more often enroll in a graduate program. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) website www.eatright.org has a complete listing of all accredited programs both undergraduate and graduate, including accredited distance programs. After either program (graduate or undergraduate) of study, the student will have earned a Verification Statement signed by the DPD Director. The student is now eligible to apply to a dietetic internship. This step is very competitive with approximately 50% of students being accepted nationwide. Once the 9-11 month dietetic internship is successfully completed, the prospective RD will need to sit for a national registration examination. Please visit the AND website at www.eatright.org to learn more.
The undergraduate degree program (Dietetics Track) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst meets the ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics) requirements for the DPD. To review the courses that you need to major in nutrition and become a Registered Dietitian through the DPD Program, please visit our Undergraduate Program page.
The DPD requires basic science as well as anatomy and physiology, nutrition courses, food management and business courses. These basic science courses can also be completed at a community college. Be sure to take courses that you are certain will transfer in as the required courses. For transfer information on Basic Science courses it is best to talk to a transfer counselor in the Undergraduate Admissions office (413-545-0222). Some graduate programs meet the requirements for a Master’s degree as well as the DPD program. To view accredited Master’s/DPD programs, go to the AND website www.eatright.org.
The Master’s degree at UMass Amherst is not accredited with the ACEND and therefore does not meet the DPD requirements. However, some of our graduate courses in nutrition can be used to meet the requirements of the DPD program. Some students also complete the undergraduate level DPD requirements when they have met the requirements for the Master’s program.
Students considering pursuing both a Master’s degree and DPD at UMass Amherst should plan on taking the extra courses to fulfill the DPD requirements either before or after completion of their Master’s degree. Visit our Graduate Programs page for more information on the requirements for a Master’s Degree at UMass Amherst.
For most students, it takes one or more additional years beyond the Master’s requirements to complete these undergraduate DPD courses. While Master’s degree students are eligible for research and teaching assistantships, those students fulfilling undergraduate DPD requirements and those enrolled beyond two years of study will rate lower in priority considerations for departmental assistantships.
Due to an increase in demand for our matriculated programs, UMass Amherst can no longer offer the DPD Verification Statement to students interested only in completing course work without completing a nutrition degree at UMass. There are many programs online, which meet the ACEND DPD requirements. Please check www.eatright.org under accredited programs to find a listing of programs, which may offer this option.