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School of Kinesiology and Nutrition

Didactic Program in Dietetics Description, Goals and Outcomes

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Didactic Program in Dietetics

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) provides the knowledge and skills required for students who want to pursue a dietetic internship resulting in the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. Course requirements are designed to meet ACEND accreditation requirements. 

Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian and Licensure Law

To become a Registered Dietitian (RD), you must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or complete requirements for an accredited dietetics program (resulting in a DPD verification statement); complete an ACEND-accredited post-baccalaureate dietetic internship (including a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice); and pass the commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam for registered dietitians. Licensure for the RD may also be required depending on the state of practice. Those seeking to become employed as a registered dietitian should check state regulations prior to beginning practice.

Didactic Program Mission and Goals

Mission Statement

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at The University of Southern Mississippi is to prepare students for careers as dietetics professionals who will enhance the quality of life for individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities in the state, region, and nation. The Didactic Program provides the knowledge, skills, and values required for successful entry into a supervised practice program that leads to the eligibility for the CDR-credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian, graduate school, or the job market.


Program graduates will have the knowledge, skills, and values for entrance into a supervised practice program and post-graduate education.



75% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.


75% of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program are admitted within 12 months of graduation.



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%.


75% of program graduates will be rated by supervised practice program directors as having outstanding or above average in knowledge of nutrition and food systems.


75% of program graduates will indicate that they have adequate or more than adequate knowledge and skills related to nutrition and food systems to qualify for employment in dietetics and/or to further their education.



Program graduates will support the needs of Mississippi and the southeast region of the United States.


2.1 At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length)
2.2 85% of program graduates will be residents of Mississippi or the Southeast region of the United States.
2.3 20% of program graduates will represent diversity within the profession (racial/ethnic minority or male).

Program outcomes data are available upon request.


Didactic Program in Dietetics

The program provides the required dietetics coursework leading to a bachelor's degree with a verification statement.  For those students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree, the curriculum is design to allow students to earn a verification statement without completing a second degree. Graduates of ACEND-accredited/approved programs who are verified by the program director may apply for dietetic supervised practice programs/internships to establish eligibility to take the CDR credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionists. 

Application and Admission Requirements

Specific application to the DPD is not required; however, students must meet academic performance criteria in order to progress through the program and receive a verification statement. Program requirements and course descriptions can be found in the undergraduate bulletin found here. A semester guide can be found in the undergraduate bulletin located here.

Requirements for a Minor in Nutrition

Students completing a minor in Nutrition and Dietetics must complete a minimum of 18 credits of courses in Nutrition and Food Systems. Course requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Graduation and Program Completion Requirements

121 hours are needed to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics with an emphasis in Didactic Program in Dietetics. At least 50% of the hours applied to a degree at The University of Southern Mississippi must be earned from a senior college, and 45 of these hours must be in courses numbered 300 or above. The student must earn at least 21 of the last 30 hours of course work and at least 12 hours in the major area of study from Southern Miss. See Undergraduate Bulletin for more information.

The DPD has several grade and progression requirements. Students must meet and maintain specific GPA requirements and meet course pre-requisite requirements, as well.

  • Non-degree-seeking Students
    • Students with a prior bachelor's degree may wish to fulfill requirements for the DPD verification statement only and not receive a second bachelor's degree. A DPD verification statement from The University of Southern Mississippi will be issued to non-degree students when all program requirements are met. Contact the program director for further information.
  • Foreign Students Seeking Verification Statements
    • Students with a degree from a foreign country must undergo a transcript evaluation by a credible evaluation service for foreign transcripts. Coursework completed overseas must be equivalent to coursework required at The University of Southern Miss Nutrition and Dietetics DPD. Students may have to complete additional coursework to meet the ACEND course requirements and meet all other requirements set forth above for receiving a verification statement.

Tuition and Fees

Cost of the program will vary, and all fees, charges, and costs quoted in the following table are subject to change without notice. Click here for more information regarding tuition and fees.

Program Fees:

Item Cost
Lab Coat $25-50
Books and Supplies (Per year) $1,000-1,600
Lab Fees (Per semester) $40-160
Student Nutrition Association (SNA) Student Membership (Per year) $20
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Student Membership (Per year) $58

Academic Calendar

The program follows the university academic calendar. See Academic Calendar for more information.   

Financial Aid and Scholarships

The Financial Aid Office has the responsibility of administering all major areas of financial assistance, including loans, grants, and scholarships. Further information may be obtained by contacting the Financial Aid Office at 601-266-4774.  

Students are encouraged to apply for scholarships available through the School of Kinesiology and Nutrition. More information about a variety of other scholarships can be found by visiting the Office of Undergraduate Scholarships. Students majoring in the DPD emphasis may also be eligible for scholarships through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (ANDF). Application forms for the ANDF scholarships may be obtained from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) website (  

Distance Education

While only a few courses are offered in an online format, the majority of DPD courses are face-to-face. Our program is not considered a distant education program.

Experiential Learning Activities

Experiential learning activities are designed to coordinate with several courses in the curriculum. Faculty members responsible for the course will locate all experiential learning locations.

Dietetic Internship

Students who complete the DPD will be eligible to apply for ACEND-accredited supervised practice programs/internships and will participate in a computer matching process during the application period. Completion of the DPD does not guarantee acceptance into a dietetic internship.

For more information on the Dietetic Internship go to

Click here to apply to Southern Miss. 

For more information on the Nutrition and Dietetics Undergraduate program, please contact:

Holly Huye, PhD, RD
Didactic Program in Dietetics Director
Nutrition and Food Systems
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5142
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5172
phone: 601.266.6023
email: holly.huyeFREEMississippi 

The DPD at The University of Southern Mississippi is currently granted Continued Accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312.899.5400. 


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 Didactic Program in Dietetics at The University of Southern Mississippi are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.


Contact Us

School of Kinesiology and Nutrition

304 Joseph Greene Hall

118 College Dr. #5142 Hattiesburg, MS 39406

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