In this major, students explore nutrition through clinical and management courses and prepare for postgraduate training required to become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN). With an increased emphasis on the role of food and nutrition in treating and preventing disease, employment of registered dietitians is projected to grow faster than other occupations.
Registered dietitian nutritionists work in a wide variety of settings, including health care, business and industry, community and public health, education, research, government agencies, and private practice. Many organizations, particularly those in medical and health care settings, require RDN credentials.
Learn through hands-on, real world experiences
Courses expose students to clinical problem solving, assessing medical record data, evaluating food intake, planning modified diets, and reviewing medical and research literature related to certain diseases or conditions. This training develops critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills needed by dietetic interns and registered dietitians.
build community and networks
The Dietetics and Nutrition Club is an academic and professional registered student organization offering a variety of opportunities for members to participate in networking events, volunteer activities, and community outreach opportunities.
customize a path of study
Students in the program can pursue Honors in Research through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Many students enhance their major by participating in a certificate program, including Global Health.
make a strong start
A popular First Year Interest Group (FIG) focuses on issues of food and identity, and promotes respectful and inclusive interactions with patients and communities.
gain a global perspective
Several courses emphasize global health and world nutrition and UW–Madison offers more than a dozen study abroad and exchange programs that include a nutritional science component. Students can explore studying abroad utilizing the Nutrition and Dietetics Major Advising Page. Students work with their advisor and the CALS study abroad office to identify appropriate programs.
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 Workplace Writing and 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. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies, Science, and Capstone), 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|
|Complete one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam):||3-5|
|Algebra and Trigonometry 1|
|Complete 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|
|Complete one of the following:||5-9|
| General Chemistry I|
and General Chemistry II
|Advanced General Chemistry|
|Complete one of the following:||3|
|Elementary Organic Chemistry|
|Organic Chemistry I|
|Complete one of the following:||3|
|Survey of Biochemistry|
|Introduction to Biochemistry|
|Complete one of the following:||5|
| Animal Biology|
and Animal Biology Laboratory
|Complete 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 310||Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors||3|
|GEN BUS 360||Workplace Writing and Communication||3|
|FOOD SCI 301||Introduction to the Science and Technology of Food||3|
|FOOD SCI 437||Food Service Operations||4|
|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 540||Community Nutrition and Health Equity||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 641||Applications in Clinical Nutrition I||1|
|NUTR SCI 642||Applications in Clinical Nutrition II||1|
Note that placement into MATH 114 does not guarantee that credit has been earned for MATH 112.
Consult advisor about combining MICROBIO 303 with MICROBIO 102.
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||3||PSYCH 202||3-4|
|CALS First Year Seminar||1||BIOLOGY/ZOOLOGY 101||3|
|Ethnic Studies||3-4||BIOLOGY/ZOOLOGY 102||2|
|Elective (NUTR SCI 132 recommended)||3||Elective||3|
|CHEM 3411||3||NUTR SCI 332||3|
|MICROBIO 101 or 303||3||ANAT&PHY 335||5|
|MICROBIO 102 or 304||2||GEN BUS 360 or 310||3|
|FOOD SCI 301||3||NUTR SCI 4312||3|
|NUTR SCI 200||1||NUTR SCI/BIOCHEM 510||3|
|GEN BUS 310 or 360||3||NUTR SCI 5403, 4||3|
|BIOCHEM 501 or 3015||3||CALS International Studies||3|
|NUTR SCI 6311||3||NUTR SCI 6323||3|
|NUTR SCI 6411||1||NUTR SCI 6423||1|
|FOOD SCI 4371||4||Electives||11|
|NUTR SCI 500||1|
|Total Credits 117-124|
Students must complete at least 120 total credits to be eligible for graduation.
Offered only fall semester
Offered only spring and summer semesters
Offered only spring semester
May be taken spring of third year or spring of fourth year.
BIOCHEM 501 is offered Fall and Spring. BIOCHEM 301 is offered Spring only.
- Advisors can recommend elective courses.
- Students interested in pursuing the nutrition and dietetics program must first complete specific prerequisite courses, hold pre-dietetics classification, and must achieve the necessary grade point average criteria, as listed on the How to Get In tab. Consult https://www.nutrisci.wisc.edu for specific information on the application procedure.
Students are assigned a professional advisor who assists them with building their personalized Wisconsin Experience—including a strong curriculum to match student interests—and provides advising on career paths including graduate school or pursuing advanced degrees in the health sciences.
Professors provide mentorship to students in the program through work on faculty-led research, including learning research paper- and grant-writing skills, communicating about scientific concepts, and presenting research results to different audiences.
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 receive a Nutritional Sciences B.S. in Dietetics and fulfill the requirements of the Didactic Program 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.
Alumni of the program are working as Registered Dietitians, clinical nutritionists, physician assistants, nutrition directors and counselors, and health coaches.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers more information on career paths in dietetics.
Dave Eide (Department Chair)
Adam Kuchnia (Director of Didactic Program in Dietetics)
Tara LaRowe (Coordinator of Didactic Program in Dietetics)
Sarah Golla, MSW
Mona Mogahed, MPS
The Dietetics and Nutrition Club (DNC), open to undergraduate and graduate students, hosts biweekly evening meetings featuring speakers on many topics related to nutrition. The group also assists students in finding volunteer and job opportunities in the field of nutrition.
Students can join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, providing public information on advocacy, leadership, career development, dietetics resources, position, and practice papers.
Community engagement and volunteering
Students in the program volunteer throughout the community on projects related to nutrition and food through student organizations like Slow Food UW or the Campus Food Shed. Several students have developed their own community projects to educate people about nutrition and to fight food insecurity.
Faculty and students in the program have many connections with global activities. The UW Mobile Clinic and Health Care in Uganda study abroad program provides students an opportunity to visit Uganda and learn about nutrition and public health. The Village Health Project student organization grew out of students traveling to Uganda on UW–Madison programs and supports ongoing public health projects in the region.
Undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in independent research in labs to learn research techniques. Students can expand their scientific knowledge outside of the classroom and contribute to ongoing papers, research, and discoveries. These experiences lead some students to pursue graduate studies in research after graduation. Read more about faculty research opportunities.
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.
Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)
The United States Department of Education requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Following is this disclosure information for this program:
The requirements of this program meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
The requirements of this program do not meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
The requirements of this program have not been determined if they meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming; District of Columbia; American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
resources and scholarships
The Department of Nutritional Sciences awards tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for students each year, and Nutrition and Dietetics students are also eligible for scholarships in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation provides dietetic scholarships to students. Visit eatrightfoundation.secure-platform.com/a for more information.
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2027.
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) 2022 Standards of Education
2. Receive a Nutritional Sciences, B.S. Nutrition and 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.
* Many ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship Programs now include both supervised practice and graduate requirements to meet the 2024 CDR mandate.