Any student accepted to Cornell may consider the DPD. Most students however are completing one of the majors offered by the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Many nutrition majors at Cornell complete the courses required for the dietetics program. Students completing the DPD are required to register as a pre-dietetics student with the Dietetics Office and work closely with their faculty advisors and with the Dietetics Program faculty to prepare course schedules and to acquire field, work, and research experiences that enhance classroom learning. Pre-dietetics students formally apply to the DPD, typically in the junior year. Accepted students work with the DPD director to further prepare and plan for application to supervised practice programs. Guidance for students on completing DPD requirements, program policies and applying to supervised practice programs can be found in the DPD Handbook.

Candidates outside of Cornell with a degree who are interested in the DPD program may consider applying to Cornell through the special studies option. The special or visiting student option is offered through the transfer departments in both the College of Human Ecology and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Please note that earning a second bachelor's degree at Cornell is not an option. Students accepted via this option have two semesters to complete dietetics coursework. Coursework in physical and biological sciences, behavioral sciences, communications, computational sciences and nutrition core courses, including lifecycle nutrition, should be completed prior to application.