School of Kinesiology and Nutrition
School of Kinesiology and Nutrition
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
The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics 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, graduate school, or the job market.
PROGRAM GOAL 1
To develop and maintain a high quality Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) that prepares graduates for careers in dietetics and provides the knowledge, skills, and values for post-graduate education.
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 DPD graduates will be rated as outstanding or above average in knowledge of nutrition and food systems, as evaluated by Dietetic Internship Directors.
75% of DPD 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 dietetic and/or to further their education.
75% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
90% of program graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
Of DPD graduates responding to the graduate follow-up survey, 60% who do not pursue a dietetic internship or graduate school will be employed in a nutrition or food systems-related area within 12 months of graduation.
PROGRAM GOAL 2
To prepare graduates to contribute to the profession in leadership and service.
75% of program seniors will assume at least one leadership role during their undergraduate program.
80% of program seniors will participate in community service during their undergraduate program.
PROGRAM GOAL 3
Graduates will support the needs of Mississippi and the southeast region of the United States.
|3.1||85% of program graduates will be residents of Mississippi or the Southeast region of the United States.|
|3.2||At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).|
|3.3||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.
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.
|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|
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 (www.eatright.org).
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.
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 https://www.usm.edu/nutrition/dietetics-practice.
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
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: 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 Didactic Program in Dietetics at The University of Southern Mississippi are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.