The popular dietetics degree program combines clinical and managerial courses with the nutrition core to prepare students to become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN). RDNs work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, colleges, wellness programs and nursing homes as well as in public health agencies, the food industry, and research labs. Students meet the following criteria as a pathway for becoming an RDN:
1. Fulfill all academic course requirements of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) according to the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) 2017 Standards of Education
2. Receive a Nutritional Sciences, B.S. Dietetics
3. Complete an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship Program
4. Pass a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Effective January 1, 2024, the CDR will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the registration examination to become an RDN. Students who complete the nutritional sciences major in the dietetics degree program receive the Bachelor of Science–Dietetics degree.
For complete program information, see the department website.
Admission to Nutrition and Dietetics Degree Program
Students will have Pre-Dietetics classification until admission to the nutrition and dietetics degree program (Dietetics classification) as defined by completion of prerequisite courses with a cumulative GPA of ≥2.800, as well as, an overall GPA of ≥2.800. Students must apply for and be admitted to the program no later than the end of the semester in which the student accumulates 86 credits, which is senior standing. Department approval is required for admission. Students who are not admitted to the program by the time they accumulate 86 credits will not be allowed to continue in the Pre-Dietetics classification.1
To be admitted to the B.S. nutrition and dietetics program, the following requirements must be met effective fall 2019:
- A minimum overall cumulative GPA of 2.800. Cumulative GPA will be based on UW–Madison courses only.
- Students must have completed one semester at UW–Madison before applying.
- A minimum mean GPA of 2.800 in the following required2 prerequisite courses:
Course List Code Title Credits Select one of the following: 5-9 General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry Select one of the following: 5 Animal Biology
and Animal Biology Laboratory
Introductory Biology ANAT&PHY 335 Physiology 5 NUTR SCI 332 Human Nutritional Needs 3 Select one of the following: 3-4 Introduction to Psychology General Microbiology Basic Statistics for Psychology Statistics for Sociologists I Introduction to Statistical Methods Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences Professional Communication
This policy is applicable to undergraduate students entering or transferring into Pre-Dietetics classification fall 2018 and beyond. Students who have already completed a college degree (B.S. or B.A.) may choose to pursue the nutrition and dietetics program as either a second degree candidate, or as a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) completer. Because they have already completed a bachelor’s degree, second-degree candidates and DPD completers are not required to follow this progression policy. Progression for these students will be closely monitored by the program coordinator.
Any transfer course from another university that will be used to meet the above required courses cannot be included in the GPA calculation. If the same course is taken more than once, only the grade from the last time the course was taken will be used in the GPA calculation.
Note: Admission to the DPD program is competitive, as enrollment is limited by accreditation standards; students meeting the minimum criteria are not guaranteed admission.
University General Education Requirements
All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.
|General Education|| |
* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements
In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Specific requirements for all majors in the college and other information on academic matters can be obtained from the Office of Academic Affairs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 116 Agricultural Hall, 1450 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3003. Academic departments and advisors also have information on requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies and Science), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.
College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs
|Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.|
|Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.|
|First Year Seminar||1|
|Physical Science Fundamentals||4-5|
|General Chemistry I|
or CHEM 108
|Chemistry in Our World|
or CHEM 109
|Advanced General Chemistry|
|Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)||3|
|Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)||3|
|CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")|
|Mathematics and Statistics|
|Select one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam):||3-5|
|Algebra and Trigonometry 1|
|Select one of the following:||3-4|
|Basic Statistics for Psychology|
|Statistics for Sociologists I|
|Introduction to Statistical Methods|
|Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences|
|Select one of the following:||5-9|
| General Chemistry I|
and General Chemistry II
|Advanced General Chemistry|
|CHEM 341||Elementary Organic Chemistry||3|
|or CHEM 343||Introductory Organic Chemistry|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Introduction to Biochemistry|
|Select one of the following:||5|
| Animal Biology|
and Animal Biology Laboratory
|Select one of the following: 2||5|
| General Microbiology|
and General Microbiology Laboratory
| Biology of Microorganisms|
and Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory
|PSYCH 202||Introduction to Psychology||3|
|GEN BUS 300||Professional Communication||3-4|
|GEN BUS 310||Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors||3|
|ED PSYCH 301||How People Learn||3|
|FOOD SCI 301||Introduction to the Science and Technology of Food||3|
|FOOD SCI 437||Food Service Operations||3|
|FOOD SCI 438||Food Service Operations Lab||1|
|NUTR SCI 200||The Professions of Dietetics and Nutrition||1|
|NUTR SCI 332||Human Nutritional Needs||3|
|NUTR SCI 431||Nutrition in the Life Span||3|
|BIOCHEM/NUTR SCI 510||Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism||3|
|NUTR SCI 631||Clinical Nutrition I||3|
|NUTR SCI 632||Clinical Nutrition II||3|
|NUTR SCI 500||Undergraduate Capstone Seminar Laboratory||1|
|NUTR SCI 520||Applications in Clinical Nutrition||3|
Note: recommended electives for nutrition and dietetics students can be found on the Advising and Careers tab.
University Degree Requirements
|Total Degree||To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.|
|Residency||Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.|
|Quality of Work||Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.|
- Obtains and can articulate specialized knowledge in the field of nutritional sciences and dietetics along with an education broad enough to meet the challenges of future careers and opportunities.
- Obtains and can articulate foundational knowledge in areas relevant to the field of nutrition and dietetics.
- Communicates complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner through both written and oral presentations.
- Demonstrates quantitative literacy in math and statistics relevant to nutritional sciences and dietetics.
- Demonstrates the ability to think critically and creatively, to synthesize, analyze, and integrate ideas for decision making and problem solving.
- Develops the skills for life-long learning and is capable of locating, interpreting, and critically evaluating professional literature and current research.
- Develops a global perspective and an appreciation for the interdependencies among individuals and their workplaces, communities, environments, and world; and an understanding of the interrelationships between science and society.
- Develops a respect for truth, a tolerance for diverse views, and a strong sense of personal and professional ethics.
Sample Nutritional Sciences Four-Year Plan—Nutrition and Dietetics Degree
|CHEM 103 or MATH 112||3-4||CHEM 104||5|
|COMM A or COMM B||3||PSYCH 202||3|
|ZOOLOGY/BIOLOGY 101 (or Ethnic Studies)||3||BIOLOGY/ZOOLOGY 101 (or Ethnic Studies)||3|
|CALS First Year Seminar||1||ZOOLOGY/BIOLOGY 102||2|
|Total Credits 27-31|
|CHEM 3411||3||NUTR SCI 332||3|
|MICROBIO 101 or 303||3||ANAT&PHY 335||5|
|MICROBIO 102 or 304||2||Statistics||3-4|
|COMM B||3||GEN BUS 300 or 310||3|
|Total Credits 28-30|
|FOOD SCI 301||3||NUTR SCI 4312||3|
|NUTR SCI 200||1||NUTR SCI/BIOCHEM 510||3|
|GEN BUS 310 or 300||3||ED PSYCH 301||3|
|BIOCHEM 501||3||International Studies||3|
|Total Credits 30-32|
|NUTR SCI 6311||3||NUTR SCI 6323||3|
|FOOD SCI 4371||3||NUTR SCI 520||3|
|FOOD SCI 4381||1||Electives||9-10|
|NUTR SCI 500||1|
|Total Credits 30-32|
Offered only fall semester
Offered only spring and summer semesters
Offered only spring semester
Prospective and declared students should contact the student services coordinator with questions.
Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, colleges, wellness programs and nursing homes as well as in public health agencies, the food industry, and research labs. Students who fulfill the requirements of the Didactic Program in Dietetics and receive a Nutritional Sciences B.S. in Dietetics are qualified to complete a post-graduate Dietetic Internship. Upon completing the Dietetic Internship, a graduate is eligible to take the examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration leading to certification as a RDN.
Recommended Electives for Dietetics Students
|ACCT I S 300||Accounting Principles||3|
|COM ARTS 368||Theory and Practice of Persuasion||3|
|COUN PSY 650||Theory and Practice in Interviewing||3|
|C&E SOC/SOC 222||Food, Culture, and Society||3|
|FOOD SCI/AN SCI 321||Food Laws and Regulations||1|
|FOOD SCI/MICROBIO 324||Food Microbiology Laboratory||2|
|FOOD SCI/MICROBIO 325||Food Microbiology||3|
|FOOD SCI 410||Food Chemistry||3|
|FOOD SCI 412||Food Analysis||4|
|GEN&WS 103||Gender, Women, Bodies, and Health||3|
|KINES 314||Physiology of Exercise||4|
|MARKETNG 300||Marketing Management||3|
|MED HIST/ENVIR ST 213||Global Environmental Health: An Interdisciplinary Introduction||3|
|NURSING/S&A PHM/SOC WORK 105||Health Care Systems: Interdisciplinary Approach||2|
|NURSING/PEDIAT/PHM PRAC/SOC WORK 746||Interdisciplinary Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs||3|
|NUTR SCI/AGRONOMY/ENTOM 203||Introduction to Global Health||3|
|NUTR SCI/A A E/AGRONOMY/INTER-AG 350||World Hunger and Malnutrition||3|
|NUTR SCI/KINES 525||Nutrition in Physical Activity and Health||3|
|NUTR SCI 540||Community Nutrition Programs and Policy Issues||1|
|NUTR SCI/POP HLTH 621||Introduction to Nutritional Epidemiology||1|
|NUTR SCI 635||Advanced Clinical Nutrition||1|
|NUTR SCI/PHM PRAC 672||Herbals, Homeopathy, and Dietary Supplements||2-3|
|PATH 404||Pathophysiologic Principles of Human Diseases||3|
|PHM SCI 401||Survey of Pharmacology||3|
|POP HLTH 370||Introduction to Public Health: Local to Global Perspectives||3|
|SOC 531||Sociology of Medicine||3|
Dave Eide (chair), Ph.D. 1987
Richard Eisenstein, Ph.D. 1985
Guy Groblewski, Ph.D. 1991
Huichuan Lai, Ph.D., RDN 1994
Denise Ney (Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics), Ph.D., RDN 1986
James Ntambi, Ph.D. 1985
Roger Sunde, Ph.D. 1980
Sherry Tanumihardjo, Ph.D. 1993
Beth Olson, Ph.D.
Adam Kuchnia, Ph.D., RDN 2017
Brian Parks, Ph.D. 2008
Eric Yen, Ph.D. 2000
ASSOCIATE Faculty Associate
Amber Haroldson, Ph.D., RDN, M.S.
Tara LaRowe (Coordinator, Didactic Program Dietetics), Ph.D., RDN
Makayla Schuchardt, M.S., RDN, CNSC
Julie Thurlow, DrPH, RDN
Pete Anderson, M.S.
Student services coordinator and Lecturer
Erika Anna, RDN
Katie Butzen, MS.Ed.
The following opportunities can help students connect with other students interested in dietetics and nutrition, build relationships with faculty and staff, and contribute to out-of-classroom learning:
- Dietetics and Nutrition Club (DNC), a student organization open to anyone interested in meeting others pursuing dietetics and nutrition. Involvement in the DNC is a great way to find out about events and opportunities to network within the field of nutrition and dietetics. See the DNC Facebook page here.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. AND provides public information on advocacy, leadership, career development, dietetics resources, position and practice papers; student membership rates and privileges can be found here.
- Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WAND), Wisconsin’s chapter of AND.
- Collegiate FFA, an official collegiate chapter of the National FFA organization.
- AWA, the Association of Women in Agriculture, a professional student organization for young women with a passion for agriculture.
- WISELI, Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute—a research center aiming to increase the representation, advancement, and satisfaction of women faculty and members of groups currently underrepresented on the faculty and in leadership at UW–Madison.
- Research/Lab experience: Students are encouraged to get involved in research, whether in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, or through other departments. Research can be performed for either course credit or pay, depending on the opportunity. Research opportunities can primarily be found by inquiring with advisors, instructors, and faculty members. Learn more about faculty research here.
Elevated Education requirements For The Future Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
Students completing dietetics coursework and a dietetic internship by January 1, 2024 will still be eligible to take the RDN exam with a baccalaureate degree.
Freshmen declaring Pre-Dietetics in 2020 and beyond will be held to the new 2024 mandate, which will require students to hold the minimum of a master's degree in order to be eligible to take the RDN exam.
resources and scholarships
The Bursar's Office lists the tuition and fee expenses for full-time resident and nonresident undergraduates.
Students seeking a degree are eligible to obtain federal financial aid. For further information about receiving financial aid at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website.
Each year the Department of Nutritional Sciences awards $40,000–$50,000 in scholarships to nutritional sciences majors. In order to be considered for a DNS Scholarship, students must have a current FAFSA filed and a completed scholarship application submitted. A list of available DNS scholarships may be accessed on our Scholarships page.
Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2026.