College of Agriculture & Human Ecology

Nutrition and Dietetics

What is Nutrition and Dietetics?

The Nutrition and Dietetics area of study was first identified as a concentration in the Tennessee Technological University (TTU) undergraduate catalog in 1975 as part of the Home Economics major. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has continuously approved the program since 1975. The name of the school was changed to the School of Human Ecology (SOHE) in 1997. The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) received initial Accreditation in 2003. Dr. Cathy Cunningham served as DPD Director from 1975-1999, and again from 2002-2007. In October of 2007, Dr. Melinda Anderson was appointed DPD Director. Dr. Terezie Mosby served as DPD Director from August 2014-2015. Dr. Melinda Anderson was appointed Director in August 2015.


The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Tennessee Tech University is currently granted Accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (Phone: 800-877-1600 ext 5400 or 312-899-0040) or ACEND is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation and the United States Department of Education. The DPD program is scheduled for another review of its accreditation status in 2017.


Dietetics is a dynamic health profession based on the science of nutrition. Dietetic education should provide opportunities for students to grow in their knowledge of the profession and to consider current and future societal issues and trends that will impact the profession. The undergraduate curriculum in dietetics should provide a broad intellectual experience which prepares graduates to think critically, problem-solve, and communicate easily in a variety of professional settings.


The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Tennessee Technological University seeks to provide a high quality curriculum that allows graduates to successfully enter dietetic internships, graduate programs, and a variety of employment opportunities related to food, nutrition and dietetics.


  1. Prepare students to be qualified and competent to pursue careers in food, nutrition and dietetics using a curriculum that conforms to the ACEND 2012 Accreditation Standards for Didactic Programs in Nutrition & Dietetics, and the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Body of Knowledge (2010 Version).
  2. Prepare graduates to improve quality and quantity of food and nutrition for individuals, families and communities.


Program outcomes data are available on request. Please send a written request to Dr. Melinda Anderson, DPD Director, at or School of Human Ecology, 715 Quadrangle Drive, Cookeville, TN 38505.


In order to become a registered dietitian (RD), individuals must complete a BS degree from an accredited program, complete an accredited dietetic internship, and successfully pass the national examination for registered dietitians. The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics administers the examination, and also establishes the criteria for eligibility of applicants to take the exam. Eligibility criteria include both knowledge and performance standards. The knowledge requirements are stated above, and provide the core knowledge base for entry-level dietitians. The performance requirements involve completion of an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics accredited post-baccalaureate dietetic internship program designed to provide students with practice experience and opportunity to master specific performance skills necessary for entry-level dietitians. The DPD Program at TTU fulfills the first requirement to becoming an RD - the completion of a Bachelor of Science degree from an ACEND accredited undergraduate program. TTU DPD students who wish to complete the second part of the process, a dietetic internship, must apply - be accepted - and successfully complete a post-baccalaureate supervised practice program at another institution or facility, in order to be eligible to sit for the RD exam. Tennessee Tech University DOES NOT OFFER a dietetic internship program.


According to data from the ACEND Connection April 2012, during the Spring 2012 DI Match Process, a total of 4,585 applications were submitted, and only 2,313 matches occurred, with 2,272 students not being matched due to unavailability of slots. This match rate is currently 50%. It is important for all students who desire to pursue a career as a Registered Dietitian to be informed of this shortage of internship positions, and that graduation from an accredited BS program does NOT guarantee acceptance into an internship program. Application to any dietetic internship program is extremely competitive, and students should realize that GPA is very important along with work and volunteer experiences as measures of student success.



In addition to earning the BS degree, students who satisfactorily complete all DPD program requirements receive a ACEND Verification Statement from the DPD Director signifying the completion of the academic qualifications required by ACEND to be eligible to apply for a ACEND-accredited dietetic internship.

In order to receive a verification statement, students enrolled in the DPD program at TTU must:

  1. Achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, with no grade lower than a C in all DPD required courses. A list of DPD required courses is found in Appendix A of the DPD Student Handbook.
  2. Complete a minimum of 21 hours of upper division food and nutrition courses from TTU, to specifically include: HEC 3240 Quantity Food Production, HEC 4271 Medical Nutrition Therapy, and HEC 4994 Field Experience - Health Care.

Students not awarded the ACEND verification statement are NOT eligible to apply for any ACEND accredited dietetic internships, and thus, will NOT be able to take the examination to become a registered dietitian.

Transfer students (without a BS degree) must complete at least 21 hours of upper division food and nutrition courses at Tennessee Tech University (to specifically include: HEC 3240 Quantity Food Production, HEC 4271 Medical Nutrition Therapy, and HEC 4994 Field Experience - Health Care) in order to be eligible to receive the verification statement. Transcripts from universities/colleges will be reviewed by the DPD Director to determine whether previous coursework satisfies any of the DPD program requirements.

All coursework meeting upper division (3000 and 4000 level) food and nutrition course requirements must be completed within five years of receiving the verification statement. Students who completed upper division food and nutrition courses five or more years ago will be required to retake all of the 3000 and 4000 level food and nutrition courses, in addition to satisfying all of the requirements listed above.


The School of Human Ecology at TTU uses a self-managed application process for admission to its undergraduate didactic program (DPD) in Nutrition and Dietetics. It is the student's responsibility to collect and prepare all forms, applications, and credentials; and to submit them at one time to the DPD Director. Fulfillment of specific requirements does not ensure admission into the program.

Effective Fall Semester, 2009, students interested in pursuing a ACEND Verification statement from the TTU DPD program will be required to complete an application process.

A complete listing of the courses required in the FND/DPD program is found in the undergraduate catalog: Curricula and Course Descriptions