Family & Consumer Sciences
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Didactic Program in Dietetics

Program Description

The demand for dietitians is increasing rapidly in response to the expanding needs of health care facilities, corporate wellness programs, influence of the media, and environmental concerns. To respond to this increasing need, Harding University’s Nutrition and Dietetics graduates work in a variety of settings including clinical practice, research, management of food service systems, communications, sales, and teaching The Nutrition and Dietetics major is comprised of the Didactic Program in Dietetics and Harding University’s liberal arts course requirements.

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Harding University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is the first step to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Upon graduation, the student will receive verification that they have gained the knowledge required by ACEND.

Detailed Information regarding major degree information, program expenses, admission to the University, academic calendar, graduation/program completion requirements, and financial aid are available in the following locations:

Statement of Accreditation Status

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Harding University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Address: 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, Phone: 800/877-1600, ext. 5400, E-mail: ACEND@eatright.org, ACEND@eatright.org, Website: www.eatrightpro.org/acend).

Mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Harding University is to provide an academically challenging program, consistent with Christian ideals, to prepare students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN). This program prepares graduates for success in supervised practice, advanced study, and careers in nutrition and dietetics.

Goals and Objectives of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Graduates of the Didactic Program in Dietetics will:

Program Goal #1

Graduates of the Didactic Program in Dietetics will have the knowledge for entry into ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics) accredited post-baccalaureate supervised practice programs leading to eligibility for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)’s credentialing exam for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

ACEND-Required Objectives for Goal #1:

  • Objective #1 - Program Completion: At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length). This is tracked from the time of the degree audit, which is completed at 45-60 earned hours. Time planned for completion is two years; 150% of that time would be three years.
  • Objective #2 - Graduate Application into Supervised Practice: 50% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective #3 - Graduate Acceptance into Supervised Practice: 50% of program graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective #4 - Graduate Performance on Registration Exam: 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%.
  • Objective #5 - Supervised Practice Program Director Satisfaction: At least 75% of supervised practice directors responding to a survey will rate the program graduate’s preparation for supervised practice as “above average” or better.

Program-Specific Objective for Goal #1:

  • Objective #6: 50% of program graduates, who are completing or have completed a supervised practice program, responding to a survey state they “agree” or “strongly agree” that the program helped them acquire essential knowledge for a supervised practice program.

Program Goal #2

Graduates of the Didactic Program in Dietetics will have a solid foundation for advanced studies to empower them to be successful in their profession.

Program-Specific Objective for Goal #2:

  • 70% of graduates who seek admission to graduate schools will be accepted unconditionally.

Program Goal #3:  Graduates of the Didactic Program in Dietetics will find employment in a profession that will promote a better quality of life for themselves and their community.

Program-Specific Objective for Goal #3:

  • 70% of graduates who seek employment will be placed within 3 months following graduation.

Program outcomes data are available upon request.

Credentialing Process to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Completing Harding University’s ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is the first step to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Upon confirmation of program completion, the graduate will receive a Verification Statement showing that they have gained the knowledge required by ACEND and are prepared to complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program--a dietetic internship or Individual Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP). After completion of an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program, students are eligible to take the national Commission on Dietetic Registration’s (CDR) Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Note: Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). 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 program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at Harding University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.

A passing score on the exam will credential the individual as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Upon passing the registration exam, individuals may then apply for state licensure (process varies by state). For example, to apply for Arkansas state licensure, applicants must submit a yearly application and renewal fee and complete twelve (12) hours of continuing education (CE).

Credentialing Process to Become a Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR)

Completing Harding University’s ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is also the first step to becoming a Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR). Upon graduation, the next step for these individuals is to pass the national Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians, also administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Related Resources from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics