Mission Statement

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Tennessee at Martin is to prepare graduates for dietetic internships, the Registration Examination for Dietitians/Nutritionists, and career practice in a dietetics-related field. Grounded in adult education theory, the science-based curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, team work, and authentic application of information. Graduates will acquire the skills necessary for both dietetics-related professional practice and lifelong learning.


The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at the University of Tennessee at Martin is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).


Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000

Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995

(312) 899-0040 ext. 5400

Program Information and Related Links


Information related to program goals and objectives, curriculum requirements, academic calendar, and financial aid information can be found in the links below.


Program Goals, Objectives, and Outcomes

Dietetics Curriculum Requirements

Dietetics Four-Year Course Sequence Plan

View UTM Catalog

Academic Calendar

Financial Aid Information


Program policies and procedures as well as program costs can be found in the Student Handbook for the Didactic Program in Dietetics..

Admissions Criteria for Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Prospective students will be considered for entry to the DPD based on the following criteria:

  • Cumulative GPA = 3.0 or better
  • Grade of C or better in each of the following courses:
    • BIOL 140 Cell & Molecular Biology
    • CHEM 111 General & Inorganic Chemistry
    • CHEM 112 Organic & Biochemistry
    • FSCI 200 Food Principles
    • FSCI 313 Food Management
    • NUTR 100 Introductory Nutrition
  • Completion of application packet, which includes:
    • DPD admission application
    • Current transcripts from UTM and/or any other relevant universities or colleges attended
  • Completion of interview with dietetics faculty

The Pathway to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Step One: Complete Undergraduate Dietetics Coursework

An undergraduate degree in dietetics is one of the steps in becoming a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist. Admission to the Didactic Program in Dietetics at UTM occurs after prerequisites are completed as well as other criteria being completed. Application to the DPD program typically occurs at the end of the sophomore year.


If an individual already has a bachelor’s degree and is interested in becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist, a second bachelor’s degree does not need to be completed, but rather specific, additional undergraduate coursework must be completed and then application to a post baccalaureate dietetic internship occurs. A Verification Statement is earned upon completion of needed undergraduate coursework and is required as part of the pathway to become a registered dietitian.

Step Two: Apply to Dietetic Internships During Senior Year

In the senior year of the dietetics program, students apply for post baccalaureate accredited dietetic internships through a national online application system called DICAS. Upon the completion of a degree in dietetics at UTM, students will have met the coursework requirements for dietetic internships and have also met the requirement to have completed a bachelor’s degree.

Competitiveness of Dietetic Internships

Only 50% of those applying for internships are matched to an internship during the national match that occurs in February of each year. A GPA of 3.5 or higher is recommended to increase the chance of being accepted into an internship. Additionally, work and volunteer experience related to dietetics helps students be more competitive.

Length of Dietetic Internship Programs

Dietetic Internships typically last about one academic year. Many dietetic internships are associated with master’s degree programs with graduate coursework completed prior to starting the internship. As a result, students should plan to spend an additional two years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree to complete the requirements necessary to be able to sit for the national registration examination to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Federal financial aid is typically available for internships associated with master’s degrees.


Information about dietetic internships is available on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at

Step 3: Registration and Licensure

Once a dietetic internship has been completed, a national registration examination must be taken and passed to become a registered dietitian. Additionally, in most states including Tennessee, state licensure must be applied for and maintained. Throughout one’s career, continuing education is required to maintain registration and licensure.

Alternative Career Pathway in Dietetics—Becoming a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician Registered

If an individual is not able to obtain a dietetic internship or decides that he or she does not want to pursue that pathway, an alternative pathway is available. Upon completion of a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, students are eligible to sit for the registration examination for the Nutrition and Dietetic Technician Registered (NDTR).


The initial steps to become an NDTR are the same as for a RDN with application to the DPD and completion of a degree in dietetics (or alternative degree and completion of a Verification Statement to document all needed coursework has been completed). Upon passing the NDTR examination, the individual is able to practice in hospitals, medical clinics, and long-term care facilities under the supervision of a registered dietitian nutritionist when working directly with patients and independently when working in areas that do not require medical supervision such as school food service and community wellness programs.


For more information about becoming a NDTR, please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website at

Dietetic Internship

Graduates of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Tennessee at Martin receive Verification Statements from the program director, establishing eligibility for a Dietetic Internship. Successful completion of an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship is required to write the Registration Examination for Dietitians, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration(CDR). At present, there is a national shortage of internship spots. Approximately one in every two applicants gets accepted to a Dietetic Internship, making the application process very competitive.

Careers in Dietetics

Clinical Dietitian

Administrative Dietitian


Food Service Director

Food Research Specialist


Nutrition Columnist/Media Spokesperson

Sales and Marketing Representative

Sports Dietitian

WIC Nutritionist

Public Health Nutritionist/Dietitian

Public Policy Specialist

For more information contact:

Amy Richards, PhD, MS, RDN, LDN

Assistant Professor and Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics

330E Gooch Hall

Martin, TN 38238

Phone: (731) 881-7742

Fax: (731) 881-7106


Career Opportunities

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