Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Path to Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at California State University, Long Beach is an undergraduate program that fulfills the academic requirements to provide students with a foundation of knowledge and skills to enable them to be eligible to apply to and to perform successfully in a dietetic internship upon graduation, as part of their path to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN). 

Students who complete the DPD will receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Dietetics and Food Administration, Option in Nutrition and Dietetics, Concentration in Dietetics. Students take a pre-defined program of study that includes a variety of subjects, ranging from food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, computer science, culinary arts, sociology, and communication to science courses such as biochemistry, food science, physiology, microbiology, and chemistry.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The DPD at CSULB is closing and will no longer accept new students. CSULB will offer a new B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science in Fall 2024. However, it will not be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and will not result in a Verification Statement. Students already enrolled in the DPD will have until Fall 2025 to complete program requirements at CSULB. 

In closing the DPD, we are moving our resources to create a new accelerated Graduate Program (GP) in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics (training to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) that will not require a Verification Statement to apply. This new GP is currently under ACEND accreditation review; details can be found here. 

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 DPD program at CSULB are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here. California does not have state licensure requirements.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.

We provide a student-centered program offering foundational knowledge and experiences to prepare culturally competent graduates for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist and/or entry-level practice as registered dietitian nutritionists serving residents in California and beyond.”

Since our Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) also offers Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPP), the following goals and objectives reflect what we expect for our students (DPD) and interns (ISPP). 

Goal 1: The DPD/ISPP will prepare competent graduates capable of succeeding in an accredited supervised practice program (e.g. dietetic internships, individualized supervised practice pathways) or in entry-level practice as a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Related Objectives:

  1. At least 80% of DPD students will complete the program requirements within 3 years (150% of program length). 
  2. At least 60% of DPD graduates will apply for admission to supervised practice programs prior to or within 12 months of graduation. 
  3. At least 50% of DPD graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation. 
  4. The DPD’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%. 
  5. Within 12 months of completing the DPD, at least 80% of graduates responding will be enrolled in a supervised practice program, a related graduate program and/or employed in a nutrition and dietetics-related position. 
  6. At least 80% of directors of supervised practice programs will rate admitted DPD graduates as having “competent” to “extremely competent” preparatory knowledge to succeed in supervised practice.
  7. At least 80% of DPD graduates will rate themselves as “competent” to “extremely competent” in preparatory knowledge required to succeed in a supervised practice program, a related graduate program and/or employment in a nutrition and dietetics-related position. 
  8. At least 80% of full-time ISPP interns complete program requirements within 18 months (150% of program length). 
  9. At least 80% of part-time ISPP interns complete program requirements within 26 months (150% of program length). 
  10. Of ISPP graduates who seek employment, 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of program completion.
  11. At least 80% of ISPP graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  12. The ISPP 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%.
  13. At least 80% of ISPP graduates will report “adequate” to “extremely adequate” training for their career in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation. 
  14. At least 80% of employers will rate ISPP graduates as having “adequate” to “extremely adequate” foundational skills in nutrition and dietetics.

Goal 2: The DPD/ISPP will prepare graduates competent in serving culturally diverse communities.

Related Objectives:

  1. At least 80% of directors of supervised practice programs, graduate school advisors, and employers will rate DPD graduates as “competent” to “extremely competent” in their ability to provide service to culturally diverse communities.
  2. At least 80% of DPD graduates will rate themselves as “competent” to “extremely competent” in their preparation for serving culturally diverse communities. 
  3. At least 80% of employers will rate ISPP graduates as having “adequate” to “extremely adequate” competency to work with clients of various ethnic/cultural backgrounds. 
  4. At least 80% of ISPP graduates will self-report “adequate” to “extremely adequate” competency in their ability to work with clients of various ethnic/cultural backgrounds.

All program outcomes are available upon request.

We review outcomes with our DPD Advisory Committee made up of students, alumni, faculty, employers, and community educators.Our DPD has been accredited to offer Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPP) to qualified bachelor or doctoral degree-holders. An ISPP is similar to a distance dietetic internship with different requirements. To read about how ISPP works, click on the dropdown "Individualized supervised practice pathway (ISPP)" below or access the CSULB-ISPP Policy and Procedure Manual.

The DPD/ISPP at CSULB is currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®).

Knowledge for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (KRDNs)

To ensure our students achieve preparatory knowledge to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), they must obtain a passing grade on all ACEND Core Knowledge assessments based upon the instructor’s rubric assessing student achievement (e.g. "C" or better on an ethics assignment to achieve KRDN 2.2). Students must successfully complete all 22 KRDNs (Knowledge for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists) assessments, as well as obtain “C” grades or better in all DPD-relevant coursework in order to receive a Verification Statement upon graduation. A Verification Statement is an official, signed document confirming that you have successfully completed the DPD program and are ready to complete a dietetic internship.

Upon completion of our DPD, graduates will be able to:

  • KRDN 1.1 - Demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate and use professional literature to make ethical, evidence-based practice decisions. 
  • KRDN 1.2 -  Use current information technologies to locate and apply evidence-based guidelines and protocols.
  • KRDN 1.3 - Apply critical thinking skills.
  • KRDN 2.1 -  Demonstrate effective and professional oral and written communication and documentation.
  • KRDN 2.2  - Describe the governance of nutrition and dietetics practice, such as the Scope of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice and the Code of Ethics for the Profession of Nutrition and Dietetics; and describe interprofessional relationships in various practice settings.
  • KRDN 2.3 - Assess the impact of a public policy position on nutrition and dietetics practice.
  • KRDN 2.4  - Discuss the impact of health care policy and different health care delivery systems on food and nutrition services.
  • KRDN 2.5 - Identify and describe the work of interprofessional teams and the roles of others with whom the registered dietitian nutritionist collaborates in the delivery of food and nutrition services.
  • KRDN 2.6 - Demonstrate an understanding of cultural competence/sensitivity.
  • KRDN 2.7 - Demonstrate identification with the nutrition and dietetics profession through activities such as participation in professional organizations and defending a position on issues impacting the nutrition and dietetics profession.
  • KRDN 2.8 - Demonstrate an understanding of the importance and expectations of a professional in mentoring and precepting others.
  • KRDN 3.1 - Use the Nutrition Care Process to make decisions, identify nutrition-related problems and determine and evaluate nutrition interventions.
  • KRDN 3.2 - Develop an educational session or program/educational strategy for a target population.
  • KRDN 3.3 - Demonstrate counseling and education methods to facilitate behavior change and enhance wellness for diverse individuals and groups.
  • KRDN 3.4 - Explain the processes involved in delivering quality food and nutrition services. 
  • KRDN 3.5 - Describe basic concepts of nutritional genomics.
  • KRDN 4.1 - Apply management theories to the development of programs or services. 
  • KRDN 4.2 - Evaluate a budget and interpret financial data. 
  • KRDN 4.3 - Describe the regulation system related to billing and coding, what services are reimbursable by third party payers, and how reimbursement may be obtained.
  • KRDN 4.4 - Apply the principles of human resource management to different situations. 
  • KRDN 4.5 - Describe safety principles related to food, personnel and consumers.
  • KRDN 4.6 - Analyze data for assessment and evaluate data to be used in decision-making for continuous quality improvement.

Table of Contents

  1. Academic Calendar and Important Dates
  2. Academic Advising & Student Performance Monitoring 
  3. Ethical and Academic Integrity
  4. Experiential Learning 
  5. Grade Appeals 
  6. Grievances
  7. Liability Insurance Coverage 
  8. Injury During Experiential Learning 
  9. Privacy and Access to Student Files 
  10. Withdrawals and Refunds
  11. Licensure and Certification Disclosure

Academic Calendar and Important Dates

CSULB operates on a semester system, with academic breaks during winter and summer. Students are expected to consult the Academic Affairs Calendar to stay apprised of all important dates and deadlines. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure they are enrolled in required coursework and follow the academic plan of study outlined by the CHHS Academic Advising Center. Students who are applying for dietetic internships should review the DPD website for updated DICAS application dates and deadlines.

Academic Advising & Student Performance Monitoring

Our program receives academic advising from the  CHHS Academic Advising Center which promotes students' initiative, independence, and scholarship through holistic and innovative advising methods. CHHS Advising offers monitors student performance early and often each semester and provide counsel and remediation solutions (e.g. tutoring, major counseling) as needed. Their academic advising policies/syllabus, philosophy, and goals can be found on their website. 

Ethical and Academic Integrity

Ethical and academic integrity is critical to the successful training of future RDNs. The CSULB catalog provides explicit definitions of Cheating and Plagiarism. We take academic honesty seriously and follow all procedures outlined by the CSULB Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development for tracking, reporting, and responding to complaints against students regarding violations of campus regulations. This includes academic integrity, Student Conduct violations, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, or any other behaviors of concern. Incident report forms can be found directly on this website. Students should consult their course syllabi which will refer to these policies and the instructor's approach to addressing such issues at an assignment and course level (e.g. redo a plagiarized assignment vs. failing grade, etc). 

We expect our students to abide by the AND/CDR Code of Ethics in their pursuit of careers as RDNs. In cases where students commit major violations that demonstrate a habitual or serious lack of honesty or integrity (i.e. academic warning due to cheating, etc), their case may be discussed among the FCS Chair, DPD director, and select DPD faculty to determine if a verification statement should be withheld upon graduation. Without a verification statement, students are not eligible to pursue a career as an RDN.

Experiential Learning

We provide experiential learning in our DPD in order to offer hands-on activities for students to apply course knowledge during NUTR 437: Nutrition Counseling & Motivational Techniques and NUTR 461: Community Nutrition. These experiences may be on campus (e.g. providing peer nutrition counseling at Student Health Services) or off-campus (e.g. community center to conduct cooking lessons). As the scope of activities is small, short-term, and only in the context of specific assignments, students will not be compensated for their time and will never be used to replace employees at an experiential learning site. If a student wishes to file a complaint about their service-learning site, they should follow the Grievance Policies outlined above and notify their instructor immediately if they have any concerns for their safety or well being in a site.

Grade Appeals

See the CSULB University Catalog - Grade Appeals for information about the grade appeal process. 


The CSULB Student Grievance Policy outlines procedures for addressing formal grievances not related to grade appeals, prohibited discrimination, or any other issues that are covered by existing policies. If a student is ever unsure about what to do with their grievance or complaint they may always contact the CSULB Office of University Ombuds. Due to the confidential, neutral, independent, and informal nature of the Ombuds Office, communication with the office does not constitute notice to the University. 

We recommend the following steps to resolve student complaints about an instructor, staff member, or student(s) in the DPD: 

  • Where appropriate, we encourage students to practice open communication with faculty, staff, and fellow students at CSULB. Expressing our concerns is an important part of professional growth and development. If a student has a complaint about a specific course (e.g. structure, grading, academic integrity, pace, etc), we recommend that they address this either in writing (email) or in-person (office hours) with the faculty member or person in question. In most cases, a challenge or misunderstanding can be resolved through respectful, direct communication. 
  • If the problem is unresolved or the student does not wish to communicate with the individual directly, they may follow the CSULB Student Grievance Policy or reach out to the DPD Director and/or FCS department Chair to discuss their concern and identify possible solutions/courses of action. After discussing the matter with the DPD Director and/or Chair, if the student wishes for additional action or investigation, they must document their complaint in writing (email is fine). The DPD Director and/or FCS department Chair may consult with other faculty or relevant parties as needed, maintaining confidentiality whenever possible. The Chair will be able to provide resources and is able to address complaints directly in most circumstances. If the issue is of a more serious nature, it may be taken to the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Dean of Students,  Office of the Title IX Coordinator, or University Police. 
  • If a student issues a complaint in writing that is shared with the DPD Director, its contents, and the outcome/resolution of the complaint will be kept on file for seven years. Students may not be able to access the contents of these files or the outcome of their complaint if any confidential information pertaining to a faculty/staff member is included. 
  • If a student does not wish to communicate with their instructor, DPD Director, or Department Chair, they may also reach out to the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services. 
  • If all possible options have been exhausted after following the recommended system for filing complaints with the DPD, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, the College, or the University, and program noncompliance with ACEND® accreditation standards, the student may submit a complaint to ACEND®. 
    • According to the ACEND® policies about  Filing a Complaint, "ACEND®  has established a process for reviewing complaints against accredited programs in order to fulfill its public responsibility for assuring the quality and integrity of the educational programs that it accredits. Any individual, for example, student, faculty, dietetics practitioner, and/or member of the public may submit a complaint against any accredited program to ACEND®. However, the ACEND® board does not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeal for individuals in matters of admissions, appointment, promotion, or dismissal of faculty or students. It acts only upon a signed allegation that the program may not be in compliance with the Accreditation Standards or policies. The complaint must be signed by the complainant. Anonymous complaints are not considered." 

Liability Insurance Coverage

See Student Professional Liability Insurance for information on how students are covered through course enrollment. The official policy on CSU Insurance Requirements outlines liability insurance needs and limits related to student travel. Refer to Student Travel Accident Insurance for policies about coverage for students traveling to or from or participating in a university-sponsored activity away from campus (including experiential learning). For all other questions about insurance refer to CSULB Risk Management.

Injury or Illness During Experiential Learning

DPD instructors follow the CSULB Division of Administration & Finance policies on field trips and off-site learning. Thus, all experiential learning activities (e.g. course activities that occur off-site or out of the or out of the classroom) are selected to minimize risk and maximize student learning. If a student becomes ill or injured while off-site, they must contact their instructor immediately. If a student needs medical attention they should seek it without delay. All instructors will provide emergency response action plans and emergency contact information to students prior to engaging in off-site learning. 

Privacy and Access to Student Files

See the University Catalog General Policies for information on the Privacy Rights of Students in Education Records. According to University policy, " the campus must give students access to most records directly related to the student, and must also provide the opportunity for a hearing to challenge the records if the student claims they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate." 

Withdrawals and Refunds

See the University Catalog Withdrawal Policy for procedures on cancellation of registration or withdrawal From CSULB. Refer to the Refund of Student Fees for information on tuition/fee refunds.

Licensure and Certification Disclosure

Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at CSULB are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. Completing the DPD does not guarantee that a student will become a registered dietitian. For more information, please visit the CSU Chancellor's Office statement on the calstate.edu website.

What is ISPP? 

This Individualized Supervised-Practice Pathway (ISPP) is a student-centered supervised practice experience, which fulfills the same requirements as a dietetic internship. To read about dietetic internships and the process of becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), visit the Career Options page for the Steps to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. 

The CSULB-ISPP maximizes a dietetic intern’s freedom in fulfilling supervised practice hours needed for eligibility to take and pass the CDR Registration Examination for Dietitians. The CSULB-ISPP program is an approved program under the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), within the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, but is administered by the College of Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE). 

Who is eligible to apply? 

The CSULB-ISPP program is divided into two pathways:

  • Pathway 1 (P1) - accepts qualified DPD graduates who received a DPD Verification Statement (VS), and were not matched on one occasion through Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS).
  • Pathway 2 (P2) - accepts applicants who have earned doctoral degrees and met other criteria as set forth by the program.

More information on the ISPP Admissions Requirements page

The DPD and ISPP at CSULB are currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®)