Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)/Dietetics Concentration

this information is only relevant to students in the class of 2023 and 2024. we are no longer accepting applications to this program. please see "the path to the rdn" site for more information on our current program.

UM SPH Nutritional Sciences has applied to the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) to open a new and innovative program in fall 2023 to prepare Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) released the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards for programs in nutrition and dietetics (see www.eatrightpro.org/FutureModel). These accreditation standards integrate didactic coursework with supervised experiential learning in a competency-based curriculum designed to prepare nutrition and dietetics practitioners for future practice. 

The ACEND Board has approved our phase 1 application and will make a final accreditation decision on the program in October 2022 after review of our phase 2 report. This program and the MS in Clinical Nutrition has received approval by the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU).  Once the phase 2 report is approved by the ACEND Board, we will begin recruiting students for our Fall 2023 class. 

Contact Susan Aaronson, MA, RD, susaaaro@umich.edu for more information. 

The Nutritional Sciences department offers one optional concentration. The Dietetics concentration is available in the MPH or MS programs.


The mission of the University of Michigan (UM), School of Public Health (SPH), Department of Nutritional Sciences (NS) Dietetics (DPD) concentration is to provide an organized program of graduate study and advanced training to prepare graduate students for a supervised dietetic internship on the path to become a Registered Dietitian preparing them to practice in community, clinical, research and academic settings worldwide. The graduate school learning environment is structured to promote an appreciation for public health problems through lifelong learning, effective problem solving and for service to both the community and profession.

Goals and Objectives

Goal 1

  • Prepare graduates to be competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists to meet employment needs worldwide.
  • Over a five-year period, 80% of the program graduates will pass the registration examination on the first attempt.
  • At least 85% of graduate students will complete the degree within a three-year time frame from start to finish.
  • Within 1 year of graduation, 90% of students will apply to a dietetic internship.
  • Within 1 year of graduation, 90% of students will enroll in a dietetic internship.
  • Over a five-year period, 80% of the graduates who seek employment will be employed in dietetics-related positions within 12 months of completing the program.

Goal 2

  • Prepare graduates who demonstrate a desire for lifelong learning, curiosity, effective problem-solving, teamwork, professional development and a commitment to service worldwide.


  • During their DPD program, 50% of students will participate in a student organization and 20% of students will obtain leadership roles within those organizations.
  • Over a five-year period, 50% of graduates who respond to an alumni survey will indicate that they have participated in at least one community service activity during the past year.
  • Over a five-year period, at least 75% of employers who respond to a survey on program graduates in their first year of employment will rate them as above average in problem-solving and teamwork as compared to other entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists
  • Over a five-year period, 25% of graduates who respond to an alumni survey will indicate that they are preceptors for a Dietetic Internship.
  • Over a five-year period, 40% of graduates who respond to an alumni survey will indicate that they are actively involved in a professional organization related to their career goals.

The program meets and exceeds the minimal academic requirements for professional dietitians. Verified completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), and the Dietetic Internship (DI) make graduates eligible to be credentialed as Registered Dietitians (RD).

Through the advanced training via MPH, MS or PhD degree in Nutritional Sciences, graduates gain leadership, critical thinking, and effective communication skills to disseminate accurate nutrition knowledge and promote the role nutrition plays in the treatment and prevention of disease, as well as in the promotion of well-being.

Program outcomes data are available upon request

UM SPH DPD Handbook (PDF)

Students must complete the academic requirements as specified by the Commission on Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) to be registered dietitian eligible. The following table lists the undergraduate courses required to be RD eligible.
Pre-requisite Notes
Calculus* (only required for MS degree, not for the MPH degree) 1 semester
Inorganic/general chemistry* 1 semester, lab not required
Organic chemistry 1 semester, lab not required
Biochemistry, lab not required 1 semester 
Human Physiology or Anatomy and Physiology, lab not required 1 semester of either but must be human 
Microbiology, lab not required 1 semester
English* 1 semester
Any psychology*, anthropology or sociology course 1 semester

The University of Michigan Didactic Program in Dietetics provides a curriculum which is based upon the foundation knowledge requirements and learning outcomes specified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The program is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics through June 30, 2023. For additional information, please review the U-M SPH DPD Handbook.

For all students interested in the dietetics program, a transcript evaluation will be completed by the DPD director. The evaluation will provide the basis for identifying an individualized plan of coursework to meet both graduate program and dietetic requirements. In-person, telephone, and e-mail personal advising is encouraged for all prospective students. Contact Susan Aaronson susaaaro@umich.edu with questions.

Upon completion of required coursework and the awarded graduate degree, students are issued a Verification Statement, signifying that all DPD and graduate degree requirements have been met and students are eligible to apply for dietetic internships.

*AP high school credit can be accepted based on AP final exam score.

Dietetics Concentration 2023-2024 cohort
Course Number Credits Course Name
NUTR 540 2 Maternal and Child Nutrition
NUTR 547 2 Food Science
NUTR 585 2 Food Service Management
NUTR 642 3 Community Nutrition
NUTR 646 3 Nutritional Counseling
NUTR 636 3 Medical Nutrition Therapy I
NUTR 637 2 Medical Nutrition Therapy II


Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD). In order 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 12:00 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 program9s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship Program at The University of Michigan School of Public Health are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.