Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
  May 17, 2022
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Nutrition and Dietetics, BS/MS

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Students who choose to pursue Pitt’s Dietitian Nutritionist Program degree are ahead of the game! In 2024, all Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists (RDNs) entering the field will be required to have a masters level degree to enter the profession.  The program is a competency-based educational program that integrates experiential learning with didactic coursework to enable students to demonstrate the higher level of competence that will be needed for future practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Interested students will apply in the Spring Term of each year to begin the program as juniors or graduate students in Fall Term. For incoming Pitt freshmen, a guaranteed admit will be available to enable students to complete the BS/MS degree in 5-years by following the recommended course schedule.

For more information, please contact:

Deborah A. Hutcheson, DCN, RDN, LDN
Program Director, Dietitian Nutritionist Program
4036 Forbes Tower
Fax: 412-383-6636


The Dietitian Nutritionist Program, housed within the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, is an accelerated BS/MS graduate degree program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) as a Future Education Model Graduate Degree Program. The competency-based educational program that integrates experiential learning with didactic coursework affording graduates a strong foundation in medical nutrition therapy, public health nutrition, and food service. Students may apply for a specialty rotation option that provides an immersive experience in a specialty practice area.

This accelerated program offers points of entry for:

  • qualified undergraduates
  • post-baccalaureate candidates
  • graduates of Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD)

Undergraduate students will earn both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. Students who enter the program with a bachelor’s degree will earn a Master of Science. Preparation for a career in dietetics as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) requires the following:

  • completion of an ACEND accredited degree-granting program
  • completion of an ACEND accredited supervised experiential practice and meeting all required competencies*
  • successful performance on the national Registration Examination for Dietitians**

No matter your professional goals in the Dietetics profession, this program offers an entry-level and/or advanced degree option to provide a competitive edge for today’s health care environment. Upon successful completion of the master’s program graduates are eligible to take the national registration examination for Dietitians.  Graduates passing the registration exam are eligible for licensure in Pennsylvania by the Board of Nursing. For licensing information please visit Instructions for Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist (LDN) Applicants.

*This program provides supervised experiential practice required to become an RDN. The supervised experiential practice sites are randomly assigned and public transportation is not available to all sites. All students should anticipate the necessity of having a car accessible to them for Year 2 and Year 3 of the program. Please review the experiential practice information.

**The credentialing exam requirements are set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). 

For more information on becoming an RDN, visit

Program Requirements


There are three ways to enter the Dietitian Nutritionist Program. As an undergraduate, a post-baccalaureate, and as a graduate of a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD).


Prerequisite Requirements for Undergraduate & Post Baccalaureate Students

Completion of the following courses for a letter grade:

  • General Chemistry 1 & 2 with lab, 8 credits
  • Organic Chemistry 1 & 2, 6 credits (CHEM 0350, 3 credits, taken at Pitt will fulfill the requirement)
  • Foundations of Biology 1, 3 credits
  • Foundations of Biology 2, (genetics content) or Intro to Genetics, 3 credits
  • Biology lab, 1 credit
  • Intro to Microbiology, 3 credits (Food Microbiology will not fulfill the requirement)
  • *Biochemistry, 3 credits
  • Algebra (or higher math), 3 credits
  • Statistics, 4 credits
  • English Composition, 3 credits
  • English Writing (W course), 3 credits
  • *Introduction to Nutrition, 3 credits
  • +Intro to Dietetics, 2 credits
  • +Food and Culture, 3 credits
  • Introduction to Psychology, 3 credits
  • Communications, 3 credits
  • Business or Economics, 3 credits
  • Humanities or Social Science, 3 credits
  • Electives, 6 (*Elective credits may be split into multiple courses ie. Freshman Program, Physical Education, First Aid/CPR, etc.)


*These courses need to have been completed within the past five years.

+These courses can be taken in the first year of the Dietitian Nutritionist Program for BS and Post Baccalaureate entryway students.


Additional Requirements for DPD Students

Additional Prerequisites for students who have completed, or who are currently completing, a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) are outlined below:

  • Nutrition Assessment, 3 credits
  • Nutrition Education, 3 credits
  • Nutrient Metabolism, 3-6 credits
  • Food Applications with Lab, 4 credits
  • Food Service Management, 3 credits
  • Life Cycle Nutrition, 3 credits
  • Nutrition Therapy, 3 credits


Additional Requirements

  • Minimum cumulative and prerequisite GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0)
  • A minimum grade of C- in all courses designated as prerequisites taken at the University of Pittsburgh; a C or better is required for transfer.


Application Deadline

March 15; however, we encourage students to apply prior to the deadline as the program will begin reviewing applications and interviewing in January.


All applicants must:

  • Complete the SHRS ApplyYourself application;
  • Submit a self-evaluation essay, discussing strengths, skills and experiences that will contribute to success in the program and your professional goals as a registered dietitian;
  • Submit resume demonstrating evidence of adequate exposure to the field of dietetics and an appreciation of the breadth, depth and scope of practice. This can be accomplished through either volunteer or paid work experience in a nutrition and dietetics related settings; there is no minimum number of hours required;
  • Submit three letters of recommendation: one from a registered dietitian, one from a supervisor in volunteer or work experience and one form a college professor. These letters should address the applicant’s academic, professional and personal attributes and potential for meaningful graduate study. At least one letter should speak to your leadership experience and commitment to service;
  • Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended; a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale is required.

Applications can be submitted when course requirements are in progress.

Admission is for the fall term only.


International Applicants

International applicants, please review specific requirements here.


Technical Standards

All candidates and graduates must possess the essential physical, cognitive and behavioral abilities considered necessary for students admitted to this program to achieve the knowledge, skills and competencies of an entry-level dietitian. Candidates with disabilities will be considered on a case by case basis. The following link provides detailed information on technical standards.  

Please note that this program requires students to complete portions of their education (e.g., supervised experiential practice experiences) at facilities external to the University to meet requirements for graduation. Many of these external facilities require screening measures such as, but not limited to, criminal background check, child abuse clearance, health appraisal, fingerprint-based background check and/or drug test prior to placement at the facility. The results of these requirements may limit and potentially eliminate placement options for the student which can, in turn, result in an inability to meet graduation requirements. Additionally, a conviction of a misdemeanor, felony, or felonious or illegal act abuse may prevent the student from becoming credentialed and/or licensed to practice in the field.

The University of Pittsburgh, as an educational institution and as an employer, values equality of opportunity, human dignity, and racial/ethnic and cultural diversity. Accordingly, the University prohibits and will not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era. Further, the University will continue to take affirmative steps to support and advance these values consistent with the University’s mission. For information on University equal opportunity and affirmative action programs and complaint/grievance procedures, contact the Office of Affirmative Action, 901 William Pitt Union, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, 412-648-7860412-648-7860.

The Dietitian Nutritionist Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.),  (, phone (1-800-877-1600 or 1-800-877-1600 x5400), or mail (120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995).

Program Mission, Goals and Objectives

The mission of the Dietitian Nutritionist Program is the development of graduates with the competence and advanced skills to practice effectively as entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) to enhance the health and wellbeing of individuals and diverse populations. In addition, the vision is to lead among dietetics programs in advancing knowledge, skills, and evidence-based practice of RDNs.


The program goals are:

1.  Development of graduates with the competence and advanced skills to practice effectively as entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN).

2.  To prepare entry-level graduates with advanced knowledge and skills that contribute to the evidence-informed practice of RDNs.

Program outcomes are available upon request.


Students entering as a junior will complete 156 credits and students entering with a baccalaureate degree that is not from a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) will complete 93-95 credits during this three-year program. Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) graduates will complete Year 2 & Year 3 of the program fulfilling a 60-credit course of study.

First Year

Second Year

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) graduates will enter the Dietitian Nutritionist Program here.

Spring Term

Third Year

Fall Term

  • HRS 2654 - Practicum in Dietetics
  • HRS 2647 - Experiential Practice: Community Nutrition
  • HRS 2648 - Experiential Practice 1
  • HRS 2649 - QI Research Project Development

Credits / Units: 15

Spring Term

  • HRS 2008 - Entrepreneurial Skills for Nutrition Professionals
  • HRS 2656 - Practicum in Dietetics, 1 credit
  • HRS 2651 - Experiential Practice 2, 7 credits
  • HRS 2652 - Experiential Practice 3, 3 credits 
  • HRS 2653 - QI Research Project, 1 credit

Credits / Units: 15

All students will receive a Master in Science and a Verification Statement after the successful completion of Year 3.

*Courses may vary dependent on transfer courses accepted.

**Each course is offered only once during the academic year, therefore, any departure from completing a course in its planned sequence (for example: failure, for any reason, to satisfactorily complete a required course; an unresolved “G” or “Incomplete” grade) will result in a one year delay in completing the course, the remaining program requirements, and the year of graduation.

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Catalog Navigation