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Dietetics programs teach people how to use food to prevent and accommodate health problems.

Dietetics programs teach people to apply food and nutrition science to patient health. Students learn food science and dietary management. They learn to apply nutrition to the needs of patients and clients.

Dietetics programs include topics such as:


In dietetics programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Students can choose either a coordinated or didactic program. A coordinated program includes an internship, which is necessary to become a registered dietitian (RD). A didactic program does not include an internship. However, completing the course work in a didactic program qualifies students to apply for accredited dietetic internships.


Many community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in dietetics. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program at a community college usually takes two years of full-time study to complete. An associate degree will qualify you to work as a dietetic assistant.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in dietetics. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in dietetics. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Some colleges require you to first complete the following prerequisites before entering their dietetics programs:

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and in some cases, good test scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General. Your bachelor's degree should be in dietetics, and you may also need to be a registered dietitian.

In the case of doctoral programs, you also need a master's degree in dietetics or nutrition.

In all cases, you will need letters of recommendation.

Most schools require you to complete the following prerequisite courses:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

Course work in dietetics graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree varies from program to program. The variation partly depends on what aspect of dietetics and nutrition you want to focus on. You might want to study pediatric dietetics, or maybe you would rather run a business that involves dietetics. Whichever the case, there are some common graduation requirements.

That list is as follows:

Many dietetics programs, especially undergraduate programs, include clinical internships in their curriculum. This gives you a hands-on opportunity to apply your knowledge and sharpen your skills under the supervision of a registered dietitian. You might, for example, work in a clinic and both plan and oversee the preparation of low-sugar meals for children who have diabetes.

Things to Know

Some schools offer dietetics programs under their nutrition or food science departments.

To become a Registered Dietitian (RD) you need to complete an internship and pass an exam. You need to complete continuing education courses throughout your career as an RD to maintain your registration.

In addition, many states require you to be licensed or certified before you can practice. Becoming an RD may fulfill some or all of your state's requirements to become licensed or certified.

You are expected to pay for your own lab coat and equipment for laboratory courses and clinical internships.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla Community College

Walla Walla University

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Bastyr University

Cascadia College

Everett Community College

Highline College

Northeastern University - Seattle

Seattle Pacific University

Shoreline Community College

South Seattle College

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Washington State University Health Sciences - Spokane

Tacoma Area

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Yakima Area

Yakima Valley College