Didactic Program

Didactic Program

Didactic Program Pathway in Dietetics

The mission of the Didactic Program is to provide a quality undergraduate experience of education, research, and service using a comprehensive evidence-based program in food, nutrition, and management that will prepare students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a RDN.

The Nutrition and Dietetics Didactic Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (800) 877-1600, ext 5400, https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend.

Fast Facts



Complete 4 years of undergraduate coursework to earn a BS in Dietetics



Complete 120 hours of dietetic program credits as you pursue your degree



Our program is robust but still small enough to form a tight knit community

Program Information

Our Didactic Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and consists of 4 years of undergraduate academic coursework needed to apply for a Dietetic Internship, which is a supervised practice experience. Graduates earn a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and meet ACEND core knowledge requirements, receiving a verification statement. After completing the Didactic Program and an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship, students are eligible to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) national registry exam to earn the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential.

Eligibility & Admission

Before taking courses at the 300-level or above, students must be admitted to the University of Kentucky and apply for and be admitted into upper-division of the Didactic Program. Students need a minimum 2.4 overall (cumulative) GPA and must also complete pre-dietetics courses with a minimum GPA of 2.8. If you transfer into the major from another university, you should plan to take a minimum of three semesters to complete all required coursework, assuming you have completed all pre-major requirements. Learn more about the process, materials and requirements to apply for the Didactic Program.

Goals and Objectives

  1. “At least 80% of program students complete program requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).”
  2. “At least 60% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.”
  3. “Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 50% are admitted within 12 months of graduation.”
  4. “The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of the first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.”
  5. At least 70% of program graduates will receive “satisfactory” ratings or higher in relation to their overall dietetics knowledge and skills, as reported by dietetic internship directors, graduate professors, or employers within 12 months of graduation.
  6. At least 75% of program graduates will report “satisfactory” ratings or higher in their ability to understand and utilize research within 12 months of graduation.
  7. At least 50% of program graduates will report participating in service activities to benefit their community within 12 months of graduation.

Annual program outcome data is available upon request.

Goal 2: The program will recruit, retain, and graduate students to meet the nutrition and dietetics workforce of diverse communities.

8. 80% of graduates will indicate that the DPD program prepared them to service culturally diverse communities and workplaces at the “average-level of competent” or better.

9. 80% of supervised practice or graduate program directors will indicate that DPD students were prepared to service culturally diverse communities and workplaces at an “average level of competence” or better.

Annual program outcome data is available upon request.

  • Earning the RDN Credential
  • Program Fees and Technology Information
  • Scholarships

Students who meet the criteria to receive a verification statement from the University of Kentucky Didactic Program Pathway are eligible to take the NDTR examination. There is no opportunity to receive credit for prior learning in the DPD. 

NOTE: Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor's degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement, visit the CDR website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree.

Licensing of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Most states require individuals working or engaging in any dietetics or nutrition practice to be licensed or certified. Kentucky’s dietitians and nutritionists are under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Board of Licensure and Certification for Dietitians and Nutritionists. Dietitians are licensed while nutritionists are state-certified. A professional who qualifies for dietitian licensure also qualifies for nutritionist certification. Practitioners must hold state-issued credentials unless they fall under exemption categories described in the state statute. Once a UK ACP student has proof of successful completion of the CDR exam, they are qualified to apply for Licensure for Dietitians and Nutritionists in the state of Kentucky. Students interested in working in dietetics and or nutrition in another state should learn more about whether their program and the RDN credential will lead to licensure, certification, registration, etc. at the two following links: https://www.uky.edu/academics/licensure-diclosures and https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure-agency-list

RDN Fact Sheet


Visit https://www.uky.edu/financialaid/tuition-and-fees for more information on estimated program fees.

There are minimum technology requirements that should be met. Each UK first year student is given an iPad with a keyboard and students will be expected to use this for coursework.  Students can download required software for free from https://download.uky.edu/. If you have any questions or need assistance, the UK ITS Technological Help Center is available for all supported student technology needs. Contact information for UK's Information Technology Customer Service Center: https://its.uky.edu/ or 859-218-HELP.

DPD students are eligible to apply for scholarships through the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Thanks to generous alumni, donors, and community partners, the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has one of the largest scholarship programs at the University of Kentucky. More information can be found here: https://students.ca.uky.edu/scholarships

Preparing to Apply


Get started by reviewing the Didactic Program Handbook



Review a proposed 4-year timeline to graduation

4-Year Plan


Explore the courses you will be taking in the Didactic Program



Learn more about the process and begin your application


Connect with Us

Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

204 Funkhouser Building
Lexington, KY 40506


Julie Plasencia

Director of the Didactic Program

Contact Dr. Plasencia

Kelsie Potter Headshot

Senior Academic Advisor

Contact Kelsie Potter

Contact Information

Dr. Tammy J. Stephenson, PhD, FAND
Department Chair & Professor

202 Funkhouser Building Lexington, KY 40506-0054

+1 (859) 257-3800