Introduction to the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
Cornell University offers both a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and supervised practice through the Dietetic Internship (DI). These programs are separate. Both programs may be of interest to students pursuing the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN) credential. The Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN) credential is the most widely held credential of nutrition practitioners. Many jobs in nutrition require the RD/RDN credential to be considered for employment. The Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) confers this credential once you have met all of the criteria to be registered. In brief, to become an RD/RDN, candidates must first complete minimum academic requirements and hold a Bachelor's degree. Candidates are then eligible for supervised practice in dietetics. Once supervised practice (typically in a dietetic internship) is completed, candidates are eligible to take the RD/RDN exam. The RD/RDN credential is granted upon passing the exam. Beginning in 2024, candidates for the RD/RDN exam will also need a graduate degree, in any area, to sit for the exam.
The DPD at Cornell is accredited through 2023 by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)* and includes required coursework necessary to complete ACEND's knowledge requirements and learning outcomes. The DPD is a program, not a major, and as such DPD coursework may be completed with any major. DPD coursework fits best, however, with majors in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Issuance of a Verification Statement verifies that a student has completed DPD requirements and is eligible for supervised practice. The Verification Statement is the form used by ACEND-accredited programs to document that an individual has completed the requirements of a dietetics education program. The completion of ACEND Didactic Program requirements and at least a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college/university or foreign equivalent are necessary for eligibility to enter an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. The Verification Statement is also used to verify that all academic requirements are met for Active membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A Verification Statement will be issued to Cornell students after all necessary steps required by the program and successful completion of required course work has been verified (see Policies and Procedures).
Selecting the DPD at Cornell
Admission to supervised practice programs is competitive. Students with a strong GPA, relevant work/volunteer experiences and letters of support often do well in placing to their top choice of supervised practice programs. The Cornell DPD currently graduates approximately 20-30 students per year. Of students who apply to supervised practice programs the year they complete the program, approximately 90% are accepted (vs. national rate of 50%). Graduates of the Cornell DPD may also pursue graduate studies either with or prior to supervised practice. Cornell DPD graduates are highly successful and well-prepared for evidence-based practice, leadership and graduate study. Placement rates of our graduates in dietetic internships and graduate schools are 95% percent and better. Feedback from our graduates, program directors and employers indicates satisfaction with knowledge and skills developed through the program. The passing rate of our graduates taking the Registration Examination for Dietitians for the first time is 99% (five year average). Tuition and fees depend on several factors, including which undergraduate college you apply to and if you are a New York state resident. We encourage you to explore all available financial aid options at Cornell.