Bachelor of Science in Dietetics

Welcome to the Department of Nutrition & Family Sciences at the University of Central Arkansas. The Bachelor of Science in Dietetics is the only degree plan that can result in students being eligible to take the credentialing exam for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. 


The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics and Nutrition (DPD) at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) is to prepare graduates who have the academic preparation necessary for success in an internship / supervised practice in dietetics and nutrition.  This mission is accomplished by providing students with the concepts of the interdependence of human nutrition and food in the health and behavior of individuals, and with a general foundation of food service systems management.  This preparation will allow for students to be eligible for a dietetic internship leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.


Program goals were developed by the DPD Faculty during Nutrition Faculty meetings.  Every constituency participated in the process to develop goals including all DPD faculty members, FACS Department Chair, Dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, and the DPD Advisory Board.

The program will:

  • Prepare graduates to be competent for entry into supervised practice or other post-graduate programs through high-quality educational offerings.
  • Equip graduates with foundational knowledge necessary for competent supervised practice.

Students and the public may request a copy of these program outcome data by contacting the DPD Director, Dr. Rachel Schichtl at or 501-450-5953.

ACEND Accreditation

The Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Central Arkansas is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995 (Phone: 800/877-1600). ACEND website:

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Dietetics degree, also called the Didactic Program in Dietetics, students are eligible to apply for entry into a supervised practice program (dietetic internship). Upon successful completion of the supervised practice program, students are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians. At the undergraduate level, this degree emphasizes the knowledge and skills essential for competent entry-level dietetics practice.

Supervised practice programs, which include dietetic internships, like the one at UCA, are available across the United States. Completion of one of these programs is required to become eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians. For students enrolled in a Didactic Program in Dietetics and wish to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), the pathway to the RD credential is:

  1. Earn a Bachelor of Science degree from an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics.  At that time, students are provided with a verification statement that allows them to apply for entry into a dietetic internship*.
  2. Successfully complete a ACEND accredited supervised practice program or dietetic internship.
  3. Pass the Registration Exam for Dietitians.
  4. Apply for state licensure if you live in a state with licensure.

Details on requirements for Licensed Dietitians in Arkansas can be found at ARKANSAS DIETETICS LICENSING BOARD. According to the Arkansas Dietetics Practice Act, “no person shall engage in the practice of dietetics in the State of Arkansas unless said person has in his/her possession a current license or a provisional license duly issued by the Board under provisions of the Dietetics Practice Act.”

Currently, 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have statutory provisions regulating the dietetics profession or associated titles such as “dietitian” and “nutritionist”. To learn more about other states’ regulations, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides a Licensure Map for links to boards, statutes, and rules, in addition to information about the type of nature of dietetics regulation in each state. The Academy also provides detailed information about the importance of licensure to consumer protection HERE.

Please be aware of the 2024 CDR Mandate (Standard 9, Required Element 9.3.d): 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 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). 

*Students should be aware that a review of the data on the demand for dietetic internships in relation to the number of available positions indicates that the supply is not keeping up with demand. The data are being provided, by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), so that students who are currently enrolled in Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) or those who are considering becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD) are aware of this situation in order to make informed career decisions.  Students should visit with their DPD Director to assess individual progress toward this goal.  Students should also visit EatRightPro Internship Availability for more information and for suggestions to improve their chances of getting into a dietetic internship.

Program Requirements

Students who are seeking the Bachelor of Science in Dietetics degree will use the following checklists:

Dietetics Checksheet

Nutrition Pre-Req List

BS Dietetics Academic Map

Students who already have a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics or a related field will use the following checklist:

DPD Checklist


Career Opportunities

Graduates enjoy a wide variety of  Career Opportunities, included but not limited to:
County Extension Agent
Dietary Aide
Diet Clerk
Nutrition Assistant
Nutritional Aid
Nutrition Ambassador
Child Nutrition Director

DPD Student Handbook

The DPD handbook provides additional information on the program goals and objectives.  All DPD students are required to comply with the DPD-Student-Handbook-4202021.docx


The following brochures provide additional information which students may find helpful.

BS in Community Nutrition

DPD Program

BS in Nutrition Sciences

MS in Dietetic Internship

MS in Nutrition

SDA Schedule

To Apply to UCA

Undergraduate Admissions and Enrollment Services Click here

Graduate Admission Information Click Here