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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. 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 Dietitian Nutritionist Program at the University of Pittsburgh are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

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

The Dietitian Nutritionist Program, housed within the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, is a graduate degree program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This competency-based educational program integrates experiential learning with didactic coursework to enable students to demonstrate the higher level of competence that will be needed for future practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. The program is an early adopter demonstration program accredited under the Future Education Model Graduate Degree Program Standards.

This accelerated program offers points of entry for:

  • qualified undergraduates
  • post-baccalaureate candidates
  • graduates of Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD).

Undergraduate students will earn both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. Students who enter the program with a bachelor's degree will earn a Master of Science.

Program Summaries

For DPD graduates:

Dietitian Nutritionist Program Summary (for DPD graduates)

Bachelor's degree from a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and prerequisites required to begin the program
2 years (4 terms) (full-time only)
Program starts fall term only; Average class size: 14
60 credits total will be required to graduate 

For undergraduates:

The Dietitian Nutiritionist Program Accelerated Master of Science is an upper-division program. This means students are required to have 60 college credits before beginning the program in the fall term. During your first- and sophomore years of college, you will complete the program prerequisite courses along with introductory courses and electives you may need for a second major, minor or intended graduate studies. You will apply to the program spring term of your sophomore year, or after completing roughly 45 college credits. Students may be in the process of completing all required credits and admission requirements when applying to SHRS.  

High school and transfer students interested in an SHRS undergraduate major will apply to the University through the Office of Admissions. Most students begin their studies in the freshman-entry Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Remember to select a Guaranteed Admission Program on your application and reach out to the SHRS Enrollment Team to discuss your path ahead! 

Dietitian Nutritionist Program Summary (for undergraduates)

61-63 credits required to begin program (see prerequisite courses)
3 years (6 terms)
Program starts fall term only; Average class size: 13
156 credits total required to graduate

*In year one students in the Dietitian Nutritionist Program are billed at the undergraduate rate. In years two and three students in the Dietitian Nutritionist Program are billed at the graduate rate.

For post-baccalaureate students:

Dietitian Nutritionist Program Summary (for post baccalaureates)

Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree that is not from a Didactic Program in Dietetics and completion of prerequisite courses required to begin program (see prerequisite courses)
3 years (6 terms)
Program starts fall term only; Average class size: 5
93-95 credits required to graduate

*In year one students in the Dietitian Nutritionist Program are billed at the undergraduate rate. In years two and three students in the Dietitian Nutritionist Program are billed at the graduate rate.


The Dietitian Nutritionist Program offers opportunities for students to complete a 12-week rotation in a specialty area of nutrition.

Preparation for a career in dietetics as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) requires the following:

  • completion of an approved college degree program (accredited by ACEND
  • completion of an accredited supervised experiential practice (providing a minimum of 1000 hours)*
  • successful performance on the national Registration Examination for Dietitians** 

No matter your professional goals in the Dietetics profession, this program provides a competitive edge for today’s health care environment. Upon successful completion of the Dietitian Nutritionist Program graduates are eligible to take the CDR national registration examination for Dietitians. Graduates passing the registration exam are eligible for licensure in Pennsylvania by the Board of Nursing. For licensing information please visit instructions for Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist (LDN) Applicants.

It is ACEND’s considered opinion that the program is designed to and does meet all state dietetics licensure and certification laws as some states may interpret their statutes differently. More information about state licensure and certification is available at this link: State Licensure

*This program provides the supervised experiential practice required to become an RDN. The experiential practice sites are randomly assigned and public transportation is not available to all sites. All students should anticipate the necessity of having a car accessible to them for all years of the program. The program does not grant credit for prior experience or direct assessment for student's prior learning. Please review the experiential practice information

**The credentialing exam requirements are set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). 

For more information on becoming an RDN, visit www.eatright.org