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Undergraduate Coordinated Program - Overview
The undergraduate Dietetics Coordinated Program is a major offered by the Department of Allied Health Sciences for UConn students in their junior and senior years and prepares you for entry-level positions as a dietitian. You will apply in the spring semester of your sophomore year as part of a competitive application process. The program is limited to a maximum of 18 students each year. Upon successful completion of the program, you will be eligible to sit for the National Registration Examination.
You will spend your freshman and sophomore years completing UConn General Education requirements and prerequisite courses before applying to the Coordinated Program by February 1st of your sophomore year. Once accepted into the program, you will be a Dietetics major for your junior and senior years as well as your externship. You'll begin your supervised practice experiences while completing didactic coursework, increasing the time spent in supervised practice as you progress through the program. This time spent under the supervision of qualified professionals will help you develop the knowledge and skills necessary to excel as a competent entry-level dietetics professional.
Over the course of four semesters and a 6-week 6-credit summer externship (2.11 academic years), you will complete both didactic coursework and supervised practice training. Your didactic coursework will include courses covering topics like:
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
- Food Composition/Preparation
- Community Nutrition
- Food Service Systems
- Nutrition Practice
- Counseling & Teaching
- Research & Writing
You will also complete 1200+ hours of required supervised practice training at a variety of partner sites covering areas including:
- Food Service
- Clinical Dietetics
- Community Nutrition
- Dietetic Research
- Specialty Rotation of your choice
Following your final semester, you will complete a six-week externship (40 hours/week) of intensive supervised practice. This is a culminating experience that prepares you for entry into the profession. This externship is typically completed during the summer session immediately following your senior year.
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). UConn’s undergraduate coordinated program will transition to a Master’s degree and will meet CDR’s requirements by 2024 and will be to apply 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.
Is the undergraduate Coordinated Program accredited?
Yes! The Coordinated Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
How does the Coordinated Program enable me to become a Registered Dietitian?
Before you can become a Registered Dietitian, you must sit for and pass the National Registration Examination. To be eligible for the exam, you must complete the following:
- Baccalaureate degree from an accredited university
- ACEND-accredited didactic dietetics program (DPD)
- Minimum 1200 hours of supervised practice experience
Students in the undergraduate Coordinated Program complete all three of the requirements during their time in the program. Upon successful program completion, you will be eligible to sit for the National Registration Exam and then proceed to certification in your desired state(s). In Connecticut, after you pass the National Registration Examination, you may apply for certification through the State Department of Public Health. You are then certified to practice in the state. Other states may have different processes or requirements to obtain state certification.
If I complete the undergraduate Coordinated Program, what degree will I earn?
Students who successfully complete the undergraduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics earn a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Dietetics.
How do clinical placements work?
As a student in the Dietetics Coordinated program, you will complete 1200+ hours of supervised practice experience. With the exception of your two-week specialty rotation site, all site placements are made by your program director. Placement at clinical rotation sites dependent upon space availability, so you may not be placed at your first choice. However, all students are guaranteed placement at a site as long as they meet all academic standards, background and drug screening requirements, and health/immunization compliance requirements. See our Clinicals page for more details about clinical placements, required forms, etc.
What is a Verification Statement?
A Verification Statement is an official document confirming that you have completed a dietetics program accredited by ACEND. It is signed by your program director to stipulate that the academic and supervised practice requirements necessary to sit for the National Registration Examination have been met. The Verification Statement will be issued after you have successfully completed all program requirements including the 6-week 6-credit summer externship following your final academic semester.
What is a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)?
A Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is an undergraduate plan of study in dietetics that does not provide supervised practice experience. A DPD program is available at UConn in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. After completing a didactic program and earning a Bachelor's degree, you must then apply for a separate Dietetic Internship program in which you will earn the supervised practice hours necessary to take the National Registration Examination.
What will I be able to do after completing this program?
After successful completion of the undergraduate Coordinated Program, you will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of food and nutrition to promote health and prevent disease. Specifically, you will be able to:
- Design, implement, and evaluate nutrition education for individuals in the community
- Design a business plan reflecting the promotion of health and the prevention of disease
- Produce a cost-effective meal with a healthy nutrition message to promote healthy eating
- Modify a recipe to promote healthy eating and decrease the risk of chronic disease, including in individuals of economic disadvantage
- Provide medical nutrition therapy (MNT) in a clinical setting to promote nutritional wellbeing