Nutrition and Foods
The Texas State University Nutrition and Foods program mission is to:
- Involve students in research, instruction, and service;
- Advise students to achieve optimal education and career direction;
- Prepare graduates for post graduate education;
- Prepare graduates for careers in industry, dietetics, government, private advocacy programs, research, and/or academia;
- Facilitate attainment of the post-graduate Registered Dietitian credential by qualified students; and
- Promote life-long learning and pursuit of excellence for faculty and students.
The educational philosophy of the dietetics program emphasizes the importance of scientific and evidence-based practice, ethical decision-making, and understanding of social justice issues such as health equity. We engage students through service learning and participatory activities to develop knowledge, appreciation, understanding, abilities, and skills to facilitate development of critical thinking skills necessary for a nutrition career.
- The Texas State Dietetics Program will prepare graduates for acceptance into dietetic internships and/or nutrition related employment.
- 80% of juniors enrolled in the DP will complete the program requirements within 3 years (150% of program length). This will be measured by student completion of the NUTR 2361 course, and graduate within three years from taking the course.
- 25% of DP students will apply for admission to dietetic internships prior to or within a year of graduation and 30% will apply for admission into dietetic internships within 5 years.
- 50% of DP students who apply for dietetic internships will be accepted within a year of graduation.
- 80% of graduates of a DI will pass the CDR registration exam within one year of their first attempt.
- In NUTR 4301 (Career Exploration in Nutrition and Foods), 100% of assignments will provide assistance for students in seeking employment.
- 100% of all DP students will prepare a professional portfolio prior to graduation.
- 80% of students enrolled in NUTR 4301 (Career Exploration in Nutrition and Foods) will receive high rankings (at least 50% of performance characteristics rated as “above average” and at least 25% rated as “outstanding”) from site mentors.
- 50% of DP graduates will be employed in a nutrition-related job that provides a contribution to the community within a year of graduation
- The program website will be regularly reviewed for accuracy and relevant information (including links to the AND and ACEND websites, and achievement of program objectives), and updated by October 1 of each year.
- Every fall and spring semester, the DP and/or DI directors will deliver a presentation to the Student Nutrition Organization about how to apply for dietetic internships.
- Every fall and spring semester, the Student Nutrition Organization (SNO) will host at least 5 “career-building” presentations by professionals in dietetics and nutrition-related jobs.
- 75% of supervised practice directors responding to a survey will rate program graduates preparation for supervised practice as satisfactory or above.
- The Texas State Dietetics Program will prepare graduates for lifelong learning using a research-based approach.
- 10% of graduates will enroll in graduate school within 5 years of graduation.
- Each year, 75% of Nutrition and Foods tenured/tenure-track faculty will involve undergraduates in laboratory or community-based research.
- 75% of Nutrition and Foods tenured/tenure-track faculty will apply for an average of 1 research grant per year.
- 75% of Nutrition and Foods tenured/tenure-track faculty will supervise or serve on the committee of at least 1 graduate student defending his or her thesis each year.
Results of outcome measures can be obtained upon request (email@example.com).
- The Texas State Dietetics Program will prepare graduates for acceptance into dietetic internships and/or nutrition related employment.
The Dietetics Program at Texas State University, offered in the Nutrition and Foods program (http://www.fcs.txstate.edu/degrees-programs/nutr.html) in the School of Family & Consumer Sciences (http://www.fcs.txstate.edu/), is currently granted Accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
ACEND, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
312-899-0040, extension 5400
Leslie Biediger-Friedman, PhD, RD, LD
Chelsea Burkart, MS, RD
Karen Brasfield, MS, RD
Dietetics Program (DP) Director
Sylvia Crixell, PhD, RD
Professor | Interim Director, FCS
Christopher Jenney, PhD
Michelle Lane, PhD
Ramona Salcedo Price, PhD, RD
Amanda Reat, MS, RD
Sandra Roberts, MS, RD, LD
Hannah Thornton, MS, RD, LD
Dietetic Internship (DI) Director
Christy Youens, MS, RD, LD
Krystle Zuniga, PhD, RD
School of Family & Consumer Sciences
Dr. Sylvia Crixell, Interim Director (512) 245-2155
College of Applied Arts
Dr. Jaime Chahin, Dean (512) 245-3333
Students who are admitted to Texas State can choose a major in Nutrition and Foods, including the Dietetics Program (DP) track. Requirements for the Texas State DP are detailed in the Undergraduate Catalog, which is online (http://www.txstate.edu/curriculumservices/catalogs/undergraduate/catalogs.html). In addition, degree outlines can be found at http://advising.appliedarts.txstate.edu/degrees/majors/FCS.html. The DP track requires 122 semester hours, including, in addition to general studies courses, courses in Nutrition and Foods, Chemistry, Biology, Accounting, and Family & Consumer Sciences. In order to graduate, students must maintain a Grade Point Average of 2.75 or higher. (NOTE: To be competitive for post-graduate Dietetic Internships, the GPA should be much higher. See How to Prepare for Dietetic Internships.)
While rewarding, the DP track is also challenging. New majors who are potentially interested in obtaining the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN) credential should declare the DP track as their major. As long as the GPA is ≥ 2.75, students can remain in this track and graduate when they have completed all requirements. However, if grades are consistently lower, students should consult with their advisor and consider switching to the Nutrition and Foods (with a Minor) track. To graduate from this track, the Texas State GPA must be 2.5, the major GPA must be 2.5, and the minor GPA must be 2.0.
Successful DP students have an aptitude for science, exhibit a consistent work ethic, and, like all Nutrition and Foods majors, have a passion for improving the lives of others.
It is strongly recommended that all Nutrition and Foods students visit with their academic advisor each semester prior to registration. The advisor will review your academic transcript and recommend classes that will help keep you on schedule for graduation. The academic advisor is familiar with prerequisite requirements and can provide information about special courses, such as NUTR 4301 Career Exploration in Nutrition and Foods, which require additional preparation (http://www.fcs.txstate.edu/degrees-programs/nutr/nutr_4301.html). It is also strongly recommended that students preregister for classes. The Nutrition and Foods program is popular and classes fill quickly. Students who skip advising and/or fail to preregister are much more likely to experience disappointing delays in graduation.
To schedule an advising appointment, visit http://advising.appliedarts.txstate.edu/ or contact the nutrition advisor, Ms. Jennifer Jones, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Ms. Jones holds office hours in the main office of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. You must secure an appointment to meet with Ms. Jones.
Select courses require experiential learning activities external to the organization. The school maintains several formal affiliation agreements with sites and practitioners. Instances where students select their own locations for the learning activities, formal agreements may not be in place if the organization does not require it, rather the instructor will approve the location in advance, the student will complete the required paperwork for a new site location and submit it to the instructor. The instructor will review and forward the document to ACC for review and approval. The student will aid in obtaining an “Agreement to Terms of the Field/Observational experience” form, and provide it to the course instructor for signature. This agreement will maintained on file with the course materiel. If a location requires a formal agreement, it is the responsibility of the student to work with the course instructor well in advance to ensure the agreement is in place prior to the experience. This may take up to two months to get into place. Students will also complete and submit a “Participants Release Indemnity Agreement”.
During the experiential learning it is important for students to understand several key components in advance.
- The School of Family and Consumer Sciences maintains a professional liability policy for students.
- The student is liable for safety in travel to and from the experiential learning site. Students operating a vehicle are responsible for maintaining a valid Texas or other state driver's license, current state vehicle inspection and registration, personal automobile insurance coverage, wearing seat belts and obeying traffic laws and regulations. Student should refer to the University safety guidelines in the following link. https://sa.txstate.edu/pps/upps050603SafetyGuidelines.pdf
- Students who are injured or involved in any type of accident should immediately notify the lab/experiential mentor for assistance and course instructor for assistance and guidance.
- Students should not attend the lab experience if they are ill. If they become ill at the experience, they should notify the lab mentor and course instructor and go home.
- Students should maintain personal health insuranc
- If facilities require drug testing or criminal background checks, it is the responsibility of the student to complete.
- Students performing experiential learning are not used to replace employees unless the student.
- Students may work at facilities in which they are employees of the organization for the experiential learning.
The DP prepares students for a variety of careers in nutrition and foods. For example, upon graduation, students are qualified for employment in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), county extension, managerial positions in food service establishments, laboratories, and in a variety of venues promoting health.
In most cases, students can significantly increase their employment potential by seeking the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN) credential after graduation. An RD is a food and nutrition expert who is qualified to work in the prevention and treatment of disease by administering medical nutrition therapy in health care settings in collaboration with a medical team. Many RDs work outside of the hospital setting in industry, journalism, sports nutrition, research, sales, school lunch programs, and in wellness programs. With additional education and training, RDs can work in academic settings and/or specialize in age specific areas or disease states. See Frequently Asked Questions about Careers in Dietetics (http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/acend/students-and-advancing-education/information-for-students/faqs-about-careers-in-dietetics).
There are 3 steps to becoming an RD:
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university and complete course work from an ACEND-accredited Dietetics Program (DP), and receive a Verification Statement.
- Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. This is generally referred to as a Dietetic Internship (DI).
- Pass a national registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR, http://www.cdrnet.org/).
The state of Texas does have licensure for RD’s and many organizations require RD’s to apply for licensure. Information can be found on the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation web page. https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/diet/diet.htm
Graduates of the Texas State DP can receive a Verification Statement(VS) after verification of passing all required KRDN’s within the degree plan, and are eligible to apply for admission to Dietetic Internships (DI). The Texas State DI is accredited by ACEND. There are many DIs located throughout the US.
All Registered Dietitians must maintain their accreditation status by completing continuing professional education requirements. For more information, visit https://www.eatrightpro.org/practice#continuing-professional-education
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 RD. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetic (ACEND).
DP program graduates who receive a Verification Statement are qualified/eligible to take the national Commission on Dietetics Registration Examination to become a Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR). The NDTR credential enables employment as a dietetic technician and other nutrition-related positions. Once credentialed, these individuals will be required to comply with CDR recertification requirements, The Academy/CDR Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics and the Standards of Practice for NDTRs. NDTR’s can apply for DI Programs and become RDNs upon passage of the exam. More information and resources regarding the NDTR credential are available at https://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/dietetic-technician-registered-dtr-certification.
Graduates who are interested in pursuing the NDTR credential should complete the Dietetic Technician Registration Eligibility Application and the NDTRE Misuse Forms (program director copy) located at http://www.cdrnet.org/program- director/grad-info-dpd-pathway-iii, order an official transcript from the registra office and submit to Ms. Karen Brasfield for processing.
While the NDTR credential is an option, DP graduates should be aware the RD credential will offer many more employment and career opportunities. It is not required that graduates get the NDTR certification before pursuing the RD credential
Acceptance to DIs is awarded on a competitive basis, and most DIs use a computer-matching process (http://www.dnddigital.com/). It generally takes 8-24 months to complete a DI, depending on whether the DI is full-time, part-time or combined with a Master of Science degree plan. All DIs require at least 1200 hours of supervised practice. For students who wish to become RDs, it is important to begin preparation from the time you enter college, by making every effort to:
Maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher (in particular, earn good grades in DP and supportive science courses),
Obtain relevant experience in nutrition and foods through work and volunteer activities,
Develop a resume and professional portfolio that demonstrates your expertise and quality work,
Obtain positive references from professionals who can attest to your unique skills and qualifications,
Exhibit a professional demeanor, positive attitude, and excellent oral and written communication skills.
It is important to note that the match rate for acceptance into Dietetic Internships is approximately 50%. Graduates who are not matched during their first attempt often work for a year, or attend graduate school and then apply again.
All DP students are automatically added to the Nutrition Majors TRACs site. This site hosts a variety of information to include; resources for the DI application process, DICAS, NDTR, job and volunteer opportunities, scholarships, DI open houses, announcements and careers information. Students are encouraged to review the information provided and watch for email messages.
Each semester the DP or DI directors provide informational sessions to students about how to apply to dietetic internships. It is highly recommended that all students attend a session upon entrance to the program, and again in their junior year to fully understand the application process. Information about these sessions are advertised via email messages, fliers and the SNO Facebook page.
Occupational license HB 1508. The dietetics track degree plans prepare students for occupational licenses, such as education and dietetics. Jobs in these and related fields may require background checks. An individual who has been convicted of an offense may be ineligible for issuance of an occupational license upon completion of the educational program. You are encouraged to review all applicable eligibility requirements related to any occupational license of interest. Questions related to eligibility requirements should be directed to the applicable licensing authority. For more information, see: http://www.txstate.edu/curriculumservices/programs/occupational-license-HB-1508.html.
General Timeline. You should begin investigating DI programs (http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=6442485414) during the end of your junior year, and apply during the last semester of your senior year.
The annual application deadlines are in February and November, with more DIs accepting applications in February. Students graduating in May or during the summer typically apply by the February deadline.
Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS). Each DI provides directions for applying to their programs. Most use the DICAS site (https://portal.dicas.org/) hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It is recommended that you watch the DICAS instructional video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP28aNF_hkI.
In general, DICAS requires that you create an account and provide personal and background information, including details about your college education (transcripts for all colleges attended), details about DP courses, contact information of your DP Director (Ms. Brasfield at Texas State), a list of awards, experience, certifications, volunteer activities, an updated resume, three letters of reference (2 academic and 1 from volunteer/work experience), a list of DIs for which you are applying, etc. It takes some time to gather these materials. This system requires $45 to apply for the first DI, and an additional $20 for each additional program to which the student applies.
Computer Matching. Application to most DIs includes a computer matching process. Application is made online at D&D Digital (https://www.dnddigital.com/ada/index.php). Applicants rank their preference for all internship to which they apply. This system requires $55 to register.
Specific Timeline. For those applying in February, the DICAS portal opens December 1, the application deadline is in February, and results are reported at the D&D Digital (matching) website (http://www.dnddigital.com/) on April 1. For those applying in November, the DICAS portal opens July 1.
Verification Statements. To receive a Verification Statement from the Texas State DP Director, students enrolled in the DP must:
- Successfully complete all DP degree requirements and demonstrate achievement of the Knowledge for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (KRDN) requirements within specific courses. Courses are described in the DP degree plan in the undergraduate catalog and during student advising appointments. All DP students must pass (earn a score of at least 70%) for the assignment/test/quiz/presentation associated with the KRDN during the course. If the KRDN is not passed, the student will have the opportunity for remediation during the semester. Remediation will require additional work and/or testing. If a student does not pass the assignment/test even after remediation, the course instructor will notify the Didactic Program Director. A verification statement will not be awarded unless the student provides the Didactic Program Director with evidence that he/she has demonstrated achievement the KRDN. This evidence can be in the form of a non-course assignment or activity that will be reviewed and graded by the Didactic Program Director.
- Provide accurate permanent physical and email addresses to Texas State. (It is helpful if you complete a survey (link emailed shortly after graduation by DP Director) verifying contact information.
- The DP Director will mail 6 copies of the Verification Statement to the address provided.
Verification statements are issued after the University Registrar has posted the final grades and indicated the bachelor’s degree was issued on the designated graduation day, and the DPD verifies all of the KRDN’s were met by the student.
Students who already have a bachelor’s degree can complete the dietetics curriculum in consultation with the DP Director to obtain a Verification Statement. Students enrolled in the MS in Human Nutrition take a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses, in consultation with the DP Director, and receive a Verification Statement upon completion of the designated courses and demonstrated achievement of KRDN’s being met during the coursework.
Course Substitutions. When students have attended other universities prior to enrolling to Texas State, they must submit their transcripts for review. Transfer courses from other institutions in Texas that automatically transfer as Texas State equivalents can be found at (https://tim.txstate.edu/transferguide). For Nutrition and Foods courses taken at colleges or universities outside of Texas, the DP Director will review the syllabus and textbooks used in each course (provided by the student) and determine whether that course is an appropriate substitute for a specific Texas State course. If a course is considered to be an appropriate substitute, the DP Director will notify the College of Applied Arts advisor and an official substitution will be granted. In rare cases, for second degree-seeking students, prior experience may be counted in lieu of a course. For example, a student who has a degree from a culinary school may receive a waiver for NUTR 1362 Food Systems, NUTR 2362 Food Science, and/or NUTR 4367 Food Systems Production and Management. KRDN requirements for these courses may need to be verified by the DP director via an assignment, case study, quiz, or project to demonstrate achievement.
The 2017 Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) Accreditation Standards for Nutrition and Dietetics Didactic Programs requires the curriculum to be designed to ensure the breadth and depth of requisite knowledge needed for entry into supervised practice to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. The program’s curriculum must include required components, including prerequisites. The Knowledge for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (KRDN) Knowledge for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (KRDN’s) are within the required course work. The following is the complete list of the required KRDN’s.
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 the 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.
Complaints. Complaints about the DP should be made directly to the DP Director, Ms. Brasfield (email@example.com). If the situation is not resolved, the student can then contact the School Director (Dr. Sylvia Crixell, firstname.lastname@example.org). All complaints will be documented and handled in a professional manner. As a last resort, students may consult with the staff at ACEND (email@example.com) regarding complaints about the program. 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. If still not satisfied students may consult with the Dean of the College of Applied Arts. Additionally, the Dean of students Office provides Ombuds Services to address student concerns. For more information, the Texas State Procedures for Students Seeking Resolution or Reporting University Related Complaints is found at: http://www.txstate.edu/effective/upps/upps-07-10-06.html. The Dean of Students also makes referrals to other campus departments or offices when necessary. Students are advised to review policies in the University Student Handbook (http://www.dos.txstate.edu/handbook.html) before proceeding to the Dean of Students.
Students are encouraged to join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) as a student member (www.eatright.org). AND membership will help you find AND scholarships, search for specific employment, network with other nutrition students and professionals, sign up to find a mentor, and provide access to the Journal. When you pay your Academy dues, you also automatically join the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (TAND) (http://eatrighttexas.org). Each spring TAND sponsors an annual conference and exhibition, the Student Nutrition Organization’s goal is to organize and sponsor student attendance.
It is strongly recommended that all students participate in the SNO at Texas State. Besides providing friends and colleagues, SNO meetings hosts a variety of speakers, including professionals who provide insight into employment and professors describing how to become a Registered Dietitian. Each semester two meetings are open to all DP students regardless of SNO membership. One will explain how to apply to a dietetic internship program, it is recommended that students attend this session as soon as they become members, and then again closer to application time. The other will educate on the application to TXSU Masters of Science in Human Nutrition and other graduate program application requirements. SNO also hosts activities that might provide you with volunteer experience to enhance your resume.
CATSWEB. This site provides many helpful links for students http://www.catsweb.txstate.edu/students.html, and you should visit this site first when you have questions about Texas State.
Dietetics Program. http://www.fcs.txstate.edu/degrees-programs/nutr.html
Undergraduate Admissions. http://www.admissions.txstate.edu/
Course catalog: http://mycatalog.txstate.edu/
Texas State Application Fee. The application fees for freshman and transfer students is $75, and that for former students is $40 (http://www.admissions.txstate.edu/resources/forms.html). More information on tuition and fees can be found at: http://www.sbs.txstate.edu/billing.html.
Cost of Attendance. The cost of attending Texas State is detailed at http://www.finaid.txstate.edu/undergraduate/cost.html#In-StateCoAFallSummer. For Texas Residents taking 15 hours/semester for 2 semesters, the total of tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation and miscellaneous is an estimated $23,260. Non-residents may pay as much as $37,700 for the same time period.
Refunds and Withdrawal from the University. Information regarding refunds or withdrawal from the university can be found at http://www.sbs.txstate.edu/students/refunds.html. Additional information can be found at Student Services (http://www.sbs.txstate.edu/students.html). The difference between dropping and withdrawing is described at http://www.registrar.txstate.edu/.
Financial Aid. http://www.finaid.txstate.edu/
Scholarships offered: School of Family and Consumer Science (http://www.fcs.txstate.edu/scholarships.html) Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (http://eatright.org) Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (http://nutrition4texas.org)
Student Privacy. To learn how the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affects your privacy, see http://www.registrar.txstate.edu/persistent-links/ferpa.html.
Student Health Center. http://www.healthcenter.txstate.edu/
Counseling Center. http://www.counseling.txstate.edu/
Academic Calendar. http://www.registrar.txstate.edu/persistent-links/academic-calendar.html
Professionalism. Successful students adopt a professional attitude and maintain that attitude through their careers. This attitude should manifest in the classroom, when among peers, and when communicating with the faculty and staff at Texas State. For example, students should take care to use correct grammar and good communication skills when writing emails to professors and mentors. In addition, students should make every effort to gain additional experience through paid or volunteer work. Participation in the Student Nutrition Organization (SNO) often provides volunteer experience. Volunteering also fosters a spirit of community service, which is an essential feature of the dietetics profession.
Study Groups. The DP curriculum is challenging. Successful students often study together for exams. Teaching information to another solidifies learning. SNO does offer some but limited tutoring. SLAC offers tutoring services for certain classes.
Job Shadowing. If at all possible, students should make every effort to shadow Registered Dietitians in a variety of settings. Shadowing provides experience beyond the classroom, and can help students transition from classroom learning to professional application.
The Nutrition and Foods program at Texas State provides a current, dynamic education. Students learn the scientific basis for optimizing diets, which should be based primarily on whole foods, and learn how to practically apply sound principles of nutrition. The program offers a variety of courses including food systems, food systems production management, food science, advanced food science, nutritional science, nutritional assessment, medical nutrition therapy, nutritional counseling and education, nutrition in the lifespan, wellness, functional foods and nutraceuticals, nutrition and genetics, and biochemical nutrition. Many of the courses require supporting coursework as pre- or co-requisites in chemistry and biology.
The Nutrition and Foods program offers 3 tracks that prepare students for a variety of careers and/or graduate education. Students should carefully review the tracks and consult with their academic advisor to determine the best fit for their career goals. If you are not sure which track to choose, it is suggested that you select the Dietetics Program.
This major is for students who may wish to pursue the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential. The RD credential is required for many job opportunities, including positions in hospitals, and significantly improves qualification for employment in many nutrition-related jobs. Graduates from this track are also well prepared for graduate school.
The first step in pursuing the RD credential is obtaining a degree from an accredited Dietetics Program (DP). The Dietetics Program at Texas State is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). An accredited program is approved under the ACEND Accreditation Standards for Didactic Programs in Nutrition & Dietetics, meeting Core Knowledge for Registered Dietitians. In order to pursue, continue in, and graduate with this major, you must maintain a GPA of at least 2.75. There is no minor for this major. A graduate of an accredited Dietetics Program earns a Verification Statement issued by the DP Director.
The second step in pursuing the RD credential is to apply for, gain acceptance into, and successfully complete a post-graduate Dietetic Internship (DI). The application process is competitive. DI programs evaluate and rank applications by considering GPA, relevant work and volunteer experiences, and letters of recommendation by faculty and work supervisers. There are many DI programs throughout the US. Texas State University has a post-graduate DI, and graduates from the Texas State undergraduate program, graduate students enrolled in the Texas State MS in Human Nutrition program, and graduates from didactic programs across the nation compete to fill 9 slots per year. Upon successful completion of a post-graduate DI, graduates are qualified to complete the final step in the credentialling process. Each year, approximately 50% of graduates from DPs across the nation who apply for post-graduate DIs are accepted. Graduates who are not accepted into DI programs pursue one of the many career opportunities in food-related or hospitality businesses, education, research, health agencies, sales, or media communications. Often work-related experience strengthens applications submitted in subsequent years.
The third and final step for becoming an RD is to pass the national Registration Examination for Dietitians. This exam draws on undergraduate coursework and experience gained through completion of the DI.
Texas State recommends that you maintain an overall GPA of at least a 3.0 in your undergraduate DP major. The GPA cut-off for post-graduate dietetic internships varies, and may be higher than 3.0. Dietetics majors can learn more about this major by visiting the Texas State Dietetics Program page.
Major in Nutrition and Foods with Minor
This degree is for students who are interested in studying nutrition but who do not plan to seek the RD credential. This major allows you to choose from a variety of minors. Graduates with this degree may pursue one of the many career opportunities in food-related or hospitality businesses, education, research, health agencies, sales, or media communications.
Major in Nutrition with Hospitality, Nutrition and Food Science Teacher Certification
This degree option is for those who wish to teach in high school programs. The program includes many courses in Nutrition and Foods, and prepares graduates for careers in education.