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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 23, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Dietitian Nutritionist Program, Accelerated BS-MS

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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 RDN.

Interested students will apply in the Spring Term of each year to begin the accelerated program as juniors.

For more information, please contact:

Trisha A. Cousins, EdD, RDN, LDN, CLC
Program Director, Dietitian Nutritionist Program
6037 Forbes Tower


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 (FG). 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. Preparation for a career in dietetics as an RDN requires the following:

  • completion of an ACEND accredited degree-granting program
  • completion of an ACEND accredited supervised experiential learning 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 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 learning required to become an RDN. The supervised experiential learning sites are randomly assigned and public transportation is not available to all sites. All students should anticipate the necessity of having access to their own transportation for Year 2 and Year 3 of the program. Please review the experiential learning 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, or as a graduate of a DPD. The application deadline for all entry points is March 1. Application review begins in January. Admission is for the fall term only. Applications can be submitted when course requirements are in progress.

Entry Point for Undergraduate Students to the Accelerated MS Program

Prerequisites must be completed for a letter grade, minimum grade of C- (C for transfer) unless otherwise noted; with the exception of AP/IB credits and/or exemptions awarded by the University of Pittsburgh. Courses listed below are offered at the Pittsburgh Campus, courses taken at the regional Pitt campuses or external institutions must be evaluated as equivalent to satisfy these requirements.

  • General Chemistry 1 with lab, CHEM 0110
  • General Chemistry 2 with lab, CHEM 0120
  • Foundations of Biology 1, BIOSC 0150
  • Foundations of Biology 2, BIOSC 0160
  • Biology Lab, BIOSC 0057 or BIOSC 0058
  • Organic Chemistry, CHEM 0350, or CHEM 0310 and CHEM 0320
  • Biochemistry, BIOSC 1000*
  • Introduction to Microbiology, BIOSC 1850
  • College Algebra, MATH 0031 or higher math required. Exemption accepted.
  • Statistics, STAT 0200 or STAT 1000
  • Seminar in Composition, ENGCMP 0200 or equivalent
  • English Writing, any “W” or upper-level writing course
  • Oral Communication, COMMRC 0520 preferred; COMMRC 0500, COMMRC 0510, and COMMRC 0530 are also accepted. 
  • Business, any Business or Economics course
  • Social Science, any
  • Psychology, PSY 0010
  • Introduction to Nutrition, HRS 1006 or NUTR 1006*
  • Introduction to Dietetics, NUTR 1600+
  • Food and Culture, NUTR 1612+

*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.

Additional Requirements

  • Minimum cumulative and prerequisite GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0)
  • Personal interview with nutrition faculty
  • 61-63 credits are required to begin the program

Application Requirements

  • Complete the application for admission. Please visit the SHRS website to access information about applying;
  • A personal essay addressing the following:
    • What you have done to learn about the field of nutrition and dietetics (both the science and supervised experiential learning) in preparation for our dietitian nutritionist program (maximum word count: 200 words); and,
    • An accelerated nutrition and dietetics program is challenging and the application process will be very competitive. Please explain what academic and personal skills you have developed since starting college that will allow you to be successful in this professional degree program. What do you feel are the critical skills, practices, and attitudes that you must continue to work on as you proceed further in your academic studies? (max. word count: 500 words)
  • 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;
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended. Pitt students do not have to provide transcripts they have already submitted to Pitt.

SHRS General Education Requirements are included in our upper-level program prerequisites and curriculum requirements.

Essential Standards

This information is provided to inform applicants of the non-academic technical performance and expectation standards required to complete the program successfully. Applicants should review the essential program standards to ensure that they are able to meet and maintain the standards program. The University fosters a culture of inclusiveness and is committed to providing an accessible environment for its faculty, staff and students. Please note, the Dietitian Nutritionist Program is committed to non-discrimination, including on the basis of disability. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply and reasonable accomodations will be provided as appropriate. The following link provides detailed information on Essential Program Standards.

Please note that this program requires students to complete portions of their education (e.g., supervised experiential learning 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 RDNs 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 the program 156 credits.

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

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