Dietetics is a challenging profession that applies the science of food and nutrition to the health and well-being of individuals and groups. The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) within the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences meets the Foundation Knowledge Requirements and Learning Outcomes set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) to begin the path to becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD).
Students completing the DPD program earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition. Graduates are eligible for placement in an ACEND accredited supervised practice program. Upon completion of a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice, students will be eligible to take the registration examination to become credentialed Registered Dietitians.
The mission of the program is to provide students a strong academic foundation of knowledge and skills to meet the required coursework and experiences to apply to a Dietetic Internship or a Coordinated Master’s Program in Dietetics; pursue an advanced degree in science/healthcare related discipline or to function in society as a professional upon which practitioner competence can be built. The program provides the academic preparation to support continued professional growth to meet personal, professional, community and worldwide evolving healthcare needs.
The program at Pitt has accepted students from all over the country and the world, including China, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico and Ghana. Courses are taught by leaders in medical nutrition therapy, medicine and other medical professions. Program faculty includes registered dietitians that have earned masters or doctoral degrees.
Opportunities for pre-professional involvement are available. Field experience offers an opportunity for students to gain experience in the profession prior to graduation. Students can also become involved in the Student Dietetic Association (SDA) of the University of Pittsburgh http://www.pitt.edu/~sorc/sda/ to expand their interest and knowledge of dietetics. The SDA encourages and provides opportunities for participation and leadership through committees, program development, research projects and field experiences.
Program Goals and Outcome Measures 2011-2016
Program Goal 1: To recruit highly qualified students who demonstrate the ability to successfully enter dietetic internships and/or graduate programs enhanced by nutrition or food expertise.
1. On a yearly basis, 70% of students admitted to the program will complete the program didactic courses/related coursework and receive a Verification Statement.
2. Within two years of graduation, 70% of graduates will obtain employment in a nutrition or nutrition related field; be accepted into a certification program related to their field; be enrolled into a post-graduate education program; or be accepted to a Dietetic Internship.
Program Goal 2: To educate and prepare graduates who can utilize analytical and problem solving skills in the application of attained requisite knowledge, and who can demonstrate these skills by the successful completion of required supervised practice and by successful performance in taking the National Registration Examination for Dietitians.
- Over the course of five years, 100% of graduates from dietetic internship programs will rate their educational preparation for supervised practice at or above average.
- Sixty percent of students, over a three year period graduating with a Verification Statement will apply to Dietetic Internship (DI) or Coordinated Programs (CP).
- Upon successful completion of an accredited supervised practice program, graduates will achieve an 80% pass rate on the National Registration Examination for Dietitians among first-time test takers.
Program Goal 3: To prepare graduates to become competent professionals who will meet the needs of consumers in Western Pennsylvania and other regions of the country.
- Of the returned employer/internship director/advisor evaluations, employer/internship directors/advisors will rate the performance of graduates as being at or above that of other entry level dietitians (5 year average).
- Of graduates who return the graduate survey, graduates will rate the dietetics program as average or above average in preparing them for entry-level professional practice (5 year average).
- Over a five year period, 50% of graduates will be employed in Western Pennsylvania.
Outcome data measuring achievement of program objectives are available upon request to students, prospective students, and the public.
High school students interested in the Dietetics program are encouraged to take three years of high school math, chemistry and biology. This preparation, although not a requirement for entrance, is helpful for students when making the transition into the program.
Freshmen or sophomores get involved in the Student Dietetic Association of the University of Pittsburgh prior to program application to enhance your admission potential.
The Pitt Freshman Guarantee
Entering freshmen may qualify for a guarantee into the Coordinated Masters program in Dietetics (CMD). For consideration, please indicate "Dietetics" on admissions application.
Qualifying students will meet the following criteria:
- Complete the Undergraduate Program in Dietetics (DPD) at the University of Pittsburgh with an overall GPA of 3.3 or better and fulfill all admissions criteria for the CMD.
The Didactic Program in Dietetics is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL, 60606-6995, 312/899-5400.
Download the 2012-2013 Didactic Program Handbook (.pdf file)
Download the 2011-2012 Didactic Program Handbook (.pdf file)