Nutrition and Dietetics—Bachelor of Science

Program description

Dietetics is an allied health field that builds on the foundation of life and social sciences. The nutrition and dietetics program provides the graduates with the food and nutrition knowledge needed to promote good health and prevent chronic diseases. The undergraduate program in nutrition and dietetics at Western Michigan University leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and is accredited by Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a didactic program in dietetics (DPD). The nutrition and dietetics program meets the Standards of Education of ACEND and graduates are eligible to apply for accredited internship programs.

Students must complete a dietetic internship and pass the registration examination for dietitians in order to qualify for certification as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Students apply for admission to internships during the last semester of their senior year or after graduation. Appointment to internships is competitive. Students are selected on the basis of a variety of criteria including grade point average, work and volunteer experience, and recommendation letters. Most dietetic internships require that applicants have a GPA of at least 3.0. Beginning in January 1, 2024 the entry-level registration eligibility education requirements for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credentialing exam will change from a bachelor’s degree to a master's degree.

Program mission and goals

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to provide graduates with foundational knowledge in dietetics and related disciplines, and the opportunity to develop professional skills and attitudes that will prepare them for post-graduate internships, advanced degree programs, and entry-level employment in dietetics related fields. 

Program goals:

Goal 1The program will prepare graduates who are competent for entry into dietetic internship programs and first professional employment in dietetics related fields.

Objectives and expected outcomes for goal 1:

  • Over a three year period, at least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).
  • Over a five year period, mean overall GPA of graduates will be 3.0 or higher.
  • Over a three year period, at least 60% of graduates will apply to internship programs prior to or within twelve months of graduation. 
  • Over a three year period, at least 60% of those applying to internship programs prior to or within twelve months of graduation will be accepted.
  • Over a three year period, the program's one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
  • Over a three year period, 85% of DPD graduates will receive a mean rating of 3 or better (out of 5) on all measures evaluated by their supervised practice program directors.
  • Over a five year period, 85% of DPD graduates will receive a mean rating of 3 or better (out of 5) on all measures evaluated by their employers.
  • Over a five year period, 80% of alumni survey respondents rate the various voluntary activities as “useful” in preparing for dietetic internships or first professional employment in dietetics related fields.
  • Over a five year period, 80% of alumni survey respondents who participated in DCSP report their DCSP experience was "useful" in preparing for the dietetic internship or first professional employment in dietetics related fields.
  • Over a five year period, 85% of senior survey respondents report satisfaction with the program.
  • Over a five year period, 85% of alumni survey respondents report satisfaction with the program.

Goal 2The program will prepare graduates who participate in professional development and lifelong learning and contribute to the pool of allied health and food and nutrition professionals in Michigan and beyond its borders.    

Objectives and expected outcomes for goal 2:

  • Over a five year period, 70% of alumni survey respondents who did not apply or were not accepted into internship programs will be: a) employed in dietetics related professions, or b) enrolled in graduate school within one year of graduation.
  • Over a five year period, 80% of alumni survey respondents accepted into internship programs will be employed in an entry level dietetics related position within twelve months of completing their internship program.
  • Over a five year period, 60% of alumni survey respondents not enrolled in an internship or graduate program full-time will be employed in dietetics and food and nutrition related positions in Michigan.
  • Over a five year period, 70% of alumni survey respondents will be active members of at least one dietetics or food and nutrition related professional organization. 
  • Over a five year period, 50% of alumni survey respondents will be: a) either enrolled in graduate school, or b) will have completed an advanced degree.

**Program outcomes data are available on request.

Admission requirements

All students are initially admitted to the pre-nutrition and dietetics program. After successful completion of the required pre-dietetics courses, they apply for admission to the nutrition and dietetics professional program. Applications are due by Sept. 15 of the semester prior to entry into the three-semester professional program. The admission criteria and application procedures are described below:

Admission criteria

  • Completion of the following pre-nutrition and dietetics courses with a grade of "C" or better
    • ENGL 1050: Thought and Writing
    • BIOS 1120: Principles of Biology
    • BIOS 2400: Human Physiology
    • BIOS 2320: Microbiology of Infectious Diseases
    • CHEM 1100/1110: General Chemistry I w/ Lab
    • CHEM 1120/1130: General Chemistry II w/ Lab
    • CHEM 3700/3710: Introduction to Organic Chemistry w/ Lab
    • FCS 2600: Nutrition
  • Achievement of a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better
  • Completion of the majority (70%) of WMU's general education requirements is strongly recommended prior to applying to the Nutrition and Dietetics program.
  • Completion and submission of a formal application to the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences where the nutrition and dietetics program is housed
    • A word-processed letter of application (maximum length 1-1/2 pages in font size 12 and double-spaced) stating reasons for selecting dietetics as a career and short- and long-term professional goals - uploaded with application
    • A non-refundable application fee of $20 (paid electronically immediately following application submission)

Dietetics Program Application

Note: the 2020-21 application deadline has been extended to Sept. 30, 2020.

Students will not be allowed to enroll in professional nutrition and dietetics courses at the 3000-level or above until they have been admitted to their professional program.

Transfer Guides

Transfer advising is available for students who are planning to transfer to Western Michigan University as well as for WMU students who plan to take classes at other institutions and transfer the credit to WMU. See transfer guide resources.

Careers

Registered dietitians are eligible for positions in hospitals, k-12 and college/university dining services, long-term care facilities, food service industry, food manufacturing companies, government-sponsored child nutrition programs, the armed forces and Veterans Administration, community and public health agencies, and research and education.

Certification

Graduates must complete a post-graduate internship and pass the registration examination for dietitians in order to receive the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) credential.

Program guides and other career related resources

For program guides and other career-related resources, visit the advising page for the nutrition and dietetics major.

Faculty

Graduation requirements

In order to receive the Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics the following graduation requirements must be met:

  1. Completion of all courses required for B.S. in nutrition and dietetics degree including general education courses, with no incomplete (I) grades (see current degree requirements).
  2. As of fall 2010, students admitted to the pre-nutrition and dietetics program need to officially apply for admission to the professional component of DPD and be admitted.
  3. Completion of at least 122 semester hours of credit, of which at least 60 semester hours must be credits from four-year baccalaureate degree granting institutions and at least 30 semester hours must be credits from WMU. Of the last 30 semester credit hours required for the degree, at least 10 semester hours must be WMU credits.
  4. A maximum of 15 credit hours of correspondence or self-instructional course work may be applied towards completion of degree requirements. This rule does not apply to online courses.
  5. Attainment of a minimum of 2.0 grade point average in the major and cumulatively.
  6. All courses on the nutrition and dietetics program guide must be completed with a minimum letter grade of "C".
  7. Student must pay all fees owed to the university.
  8. Student must complete all graduation-related paperwork including graduation audit.
  9. Western Michigan University does not impose a time limit on completion of a Bachelor of Science degree. If a student does not take courses for one calendar year or more, then decides to complete degree, he/she is allowed to follow the catalog used at the time of initial admission. However, if the DPD curriculum has changed during student's absence, he/she will not be issued a verification of program completion, unless additional course(s) deemed necessary to update knowledge are completed.

WMU DPD will issue a verification statement (completion document) to all students who successfully complete the requirements of the Didactic Program in Dietetics. Students will use this document to prove their completion of the program for the application to Dietetic Internship programs and eligibility to take the Nutrition and Dietetic Technician Registered (NDTR) Examination.

Verification statements can only be issued to students who have completed at least 21 upper division credits of their professional nutrition and dietetics courses at WMU. 

Post-graduate internship program information

Program graduates are eligible to apply for post-graduate internship programs. Students apply for admission to internships during the last semester of their senior year or after graduation. See accredited dietetic internship programs. Also see the Commission on Dietetic Registration for more information from the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Professional organizations

Student organizations

Student Dietetic Association

The Student Dietetic Association (SDA) is the registered student organization in which nutrition and dietetics majors participate. Membership in SDA is the stepping stone for involvement in the profession. SDA provides the students with the opportunity to:

  • interact with fellow nutrition and dietetics majors.
  • refine leadership skills.
  • stay informed about events hosted by district dietetic association.
  • find out about scholarships/fellowships provided through the state and national dietetic associations as well as other organizations.
  • provide service to the community.

Monthly meetings provide a vehicle for planning and coordinating the associations' activities.

Dietetic Community Service Program

The Dietetic Community Service Program (DCSP) is the WMU nutrition and dietetics program's voluntary field experience. Through involvement with DCSP, WMU pre-nutrition and dietetics and nutrition and dietetics students are linked to dietitians and food service professionals in Kalamazoo and surrounding areas for mentorship opportunities. The experience gained from participation in DCSP better prepares students for application to post-graduate internships and a future career in dietetics. For more information on particiaping in DCSP, please contact Dr. Ping Ouyang.