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Combined BS/MS in Dietetics

Pathways to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN):

In order to become a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RD/RDN), a student must complete an ACEND-accredited program in education and supervised practice. After completing an ACEND-accredited Coordinated Program (CP) , Future Education Model Graduate Programs (FG), Foreign or International Dietitian Education Program, or a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) followed by a Dietetic Internship (DI) or Individualized Supervised Practice Program (ISPP) students that have earned verification are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians. After passing the Registration Examination for Dietitians, RD/RDNs may seek state licensure, if applicable. In order to become a Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR) students must complete an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Technician Program. Examination requirements for the RD/RDN and the NDTR are set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

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 addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Combined BS/MS in Dietetics program at Texas Christian University are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN please click here.

 

The TCU CDP Pathway to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN):

The Combined BS/MS in Dietetics (CDP) is replacing the 2-year Coordinated Program in Dietetics and will graduate the first class of students with their BS in Dietetics in May 2022 and their MS in Dietetics in May 2023.  The first class of applicants to the CDP will apply to the program in February 2020. The 2-year TCU Coordinated Program accepted applications in February 2019 for the last class of students to complete the 2-year program and earn a BS degree in May 2021.

The CDP is a dual undergraduate and graduate level Coordinated Program in Dietetics accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).  The TCU Department of Nutritional Sciences offers the CDP option which is a unique opportunity for students to complete the required didactic instruction (lecture and laboratory courses) and supervised practice experience hours necessary to meet the Core Knowledge and Competencies for the RD/RDN as mandated by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetic (ACEND) in five years (two years of prerequisite courses followed by three years of combined didactic courses and supervised practice experiences in the CDP). Curriculum is based on educational standards mandated by ACEND. Graduates receive verification and establish eligibility to write the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

In the state of Texas, after passing the Registration Examination to become a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN), one may also become a Licensed Dietitian (LD). For more information about Texas State Licensure visit https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/diet/diet.htm.

 

Program Mission, Goals and Objectives:

The mission of the CDP is to support the missions of the University, college and department by fostering a rigorous academic curriculum culminating in a Master of Science (MS) degree with a concentration in nutrition education that prepares students to be scientifically competent, accountable and ethically responsible citizens who are prepared to be productive leaders and research-literate professionals and entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists within the global community.

The program goals and student learning objectives of the program support the CDP mission and are as follows:

Program Goal #1 –   To prepare graduates to achieve Knowledge Requirements and Competencies as entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RD/RDN).

  • Objective Measure 1.a: At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within four and a half years (150% of the program length). *
  • Objective Measure 1.b:  The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%. *
  • Objective Measure 1.c: Seventy percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion. *
  • Objective Measure 1.d:  Over a five-year period, 70% of program students will receive a “competent” or better rating from preceptors on summative evaluations.

Program Goal #2 – To provide graduates with adequate knowledge and skills to secure employment and/or post-graduate education.

  • Objective Measure 2.a:  Of graduates who seek employment, 70% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation. *
  • Objective Measure 2.b:  Over a five-year period, 80% of program graduates (on the Exit Evaluation) will indicate their readiness for employment as entry-level dietitians as “good” to “excellent”.
  • Objective Measure 2.c:  On the Post-Graduate Survey, 70% of program graduates who complete the survey will rate his/her perceptions of preparedness as “good” to “excellent”.
  • Objective Measure 2.d:  On the Employers of Post-Graduates Survey, 70% of employers of program graduates (alumni) who complete the survey will rate the preparedness of the graduate to work in an entry-level dietetic position as “good” to “excellent”. *

Program Goal #3 – To prepare graduates to participate in activities that provide opportunities for growth and/or leadership, including education, research and service in their professions and communities.

  • Objective Measure 3.a: On the Post-Graduate Survey, 75% of program graduates who complete the alumni survey will indicate they hold membership in a professional and/or volunteer/ service organization.
  • Objective Measure 3.b: On the Post-Graduate Survey, 25% of program graduates who complete the survey will indicate their employment and/or volunteer/service responsibilities include opportunities for professional growth and/or leadership.
  • Objective Measure 3.c: Seventy-five percent of CDP student research will be presented at a state or national professional meeting or published in a peer reviewed journal within 3 years of program completion.

Data collected to determine achievement of program goals is available upon request to ACEND and to the public. However, at this time, the TCU CDP has neither accepted nor graduated a class of students and therefore has no data to report that shows compliance with the program goals and student learning objectives.

The current TCU CP one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the Registration Examination for Dietitians is 91%. The CP’s current three-year average on the one-year pass rate on the Registration Examination for Dietitians is 96.9%. This indicator measures the percentage of graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt. The TCU CDP has neither accepted nor graduated a class of students at this time and therefore has no pass rate data to report.

 

CDP Curriculum and Supervised Practice:

The three-year (junior/senior/graduate years) CDP combines didactic course work with over 1,400 hours of supervised practice. The Core Knowledge and Competencies for the RD/RDN emphasize the scientific and evidence base of dietetics practice (integration of scientific information and research into practice), professional practice expectations (beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors for the professional dietitian level of practice), clinical and customer services (development and delivery of information, products and services to individuals, groups and populations), practice management and the use of resources (strategic application of principles of management and systems in the provision of services to individuals and organizations) and additional support knowledge (underlying the requirements specified above). The curriculum includes courses in human nutrition, food science, food and culture, community nutrition, food systems management, medical nutrition therapy, and nutrition research. These courses are based on a solid science, business, and math background, which include general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, psychology, sociology, economics, marketing, management and elementary statistics.

The supervised practice component of the CDP involves working with food/nutrition/dietetics professionals to demonstrate performance in nutrition therapy, community nutrition, food systems management, business/entrepreneurial dietetics, culinary medicine, nutrition research, interprofessional education and leadership. The program does not grant credit or supervised practice hours for prior learning, self-organized volunteer activities, or other professionally-related activities. The TCU CDP has a nutrition education concentration that builds on the Core Knowledge and Competencies for the RD/RDN. This concentration is consistent with available resources and the need for nutrition education in the Fort Worth/Dallas area. Nutrition education has long been considered a focus and strength of the program in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, and supervised practice experiences include varied opportunities to build expertise in this area throughout the three-year program.

 

Admission to the CDP:

Admission to TCU is required for all programs; however, admission to the University does not guarantee admission to the CDP. Eligibility for admission to the CDP is based on successful completion of at least 60 semester hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA in required Nutrition (NTDT) classes and an Associated Requirements GPA of 2.75, no more than 3 grades below a “B-“ in the Associated Requirements, 45 semester hours of required prerequisites and major courses, 200 hours of documented food or nutrition practical experience, and an application packet.  Students must earn a grade of ‘C-‘ or better in all NTDT and Associated Requirement courses taken prior to program admission. Application packets for the CDP must be received by February 1 (typically of the sophomore year), and applicants are notified of provisional acceptance by April 15. Students who are provisionally accepted begin the program in August of the following academic year (typically the junior year).  Final acceptance/enrollment in the CDP depends on successful completion of required prerequisite courses and summer requirements. The GRE is not required for this degree.

 

Students must apply for graduate school admission during the last fall semester before graduating with the BS in Dietetics (typically the senior fall) through the College of Science & Engineering. Current $60 graduate application fee applies. Students must comply with all university and college requirements for graduate students to gain admission. Conditional admission to the MS program in Dietetics is granted to applicants who have completed all admission formalities, have a superior undergraduate record but who have not completed undergraduate requirements. Conditional admission will be changed to unconditional admission when the necessary prerequisites and/or admission formalities are fulfilled. Students must abide by all program policies and procedures in order to continue in the MS in Dietetics program.

A student’s continuation in the CDP is contingent upon attainment of a strong academic record and successful completion of the program sequence.

 

Graduating from the CDP with a BS Degree:

In order to earn the BS in Dietetics degree, the student must attain a minimum Nutrition (NTDT) GPA of 3.0, earn a grade of “C-” or better in all NTDT courses and Associated Requirements, earn no more than 3 grades below a “B-“ in the Associated requirements, complete a minimum of 128 hours, and meet all of the requirements of the university and college. Students who do not meet all of these requirements for graduation of the BS in Dietetics or the requirements for admission into the graduate program may change their major to Nutrition or another major in order to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree but cannot continue in the Combined BS/MS in Dietetics. Students who do not meet all of the requirements to continue in the CDP have the option to pursue verification from the TCU Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) in order to be eligible to pursue a Dietetic Internship upon graduation and/or graduate with a BS in either Nutrition or Dietetics. Students must formally apply to the DPD and satisfy all DPD requirements for verification. Acceptance into the DPD is not guaranteed. Students are required to abide by all DPD policies and procedures. Students can graduate with a BS in Dietetics and begin the graduate program, but they will not earn verification to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians if they are unable to complete the graduate degree requirements and do not earn the MS in Dietetics degree. In order to earn the MS degree, the student must attain a minimum graduate NTDT GPA of 3.0 and earn a grade of “C-“ or better in all NTDT graduate courses.  In addition, all final 50000- and 60000-level course grades will be included in the computation of the graduate GPA, but no more than two grades of “C+” or lower may be used in satisfying the degree requirements.

 

Graduating from the CDP with an MS Degree:

Students complete 12 hours of dual undergraduate/graduate credit toward the MS in Dietetics during the fourth year of undergraduate study.  At the end of the fourth year, assuming that all other undergraduate graduation requirements are met, the student earns his/her BS degree in Dietetics. Beginning with the summer session following graduation in May and continuing with the fifth year of the CDP, the student completes the remaining 20 graduate credit hours (10 credit hours of coursework, 10 credit hours of supervised practice), toward the MS in Dietetics degree. Students may also choose to complete a thesis. This option requires that students take an additional 6 credit hours (3 hours of NTDT 70980 and 3 hours of NTDT 70990). Thesis students are required to complete all other coursework necessary for the MS in Dietetics and meet all of the same requirements for graduation and verification. Thesis students graduate within four years from enrollment into the CDP and are required to complete all other coursework and supervised practice necessary for the MS in Dietetics.  Non-thesis students graduate within three years of program enrollment.

Students intending to pursue the CDP must earn a BS in Dietetics from TCU. In addition, all 30000-, 40000-, 50000- and 60000-level NTDT courses must be taken at TCU.

 

Additional Program Information:

Information about costs for tuition and fees at both the undergraduate and graduate level are available through the TCU Office of Admission & Financial Aid. Students may qualify for financial aid and/or loans. After the fourth year of the CDP, students receiving undergraduate financial aid will lose their funding. However, several types of graduate financial assistance are available to full-time graduate students. Additional detailed costs for students are outlined in the CDP Student Handbook and include approximately $1,000-$1,500 per year for travel to supervised practice sites, vaccinations, lab fees, photocopying, school and office supplies, textbooks, lab coats, malpractice insurance and professional dues. Students that pursue the thesis option must pay for six hours of additional graduate credit.

The TCU CDP is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL. 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040, ext. 5400, www.eatright.org/ACEND.

Program admission/application and other policies and procedures shall protect student civil rights, privacy of information, and comply with institutional equal opportunity programs. TCU is committed to providing a positive learning, living and working environment free from discrimination and harassment.  In support of this commitment, TCU prohibits a range of behaviors, including unlawful discrimination and harassment based on age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ethnic origin, disability, predisposing genetic information, covered veteran status, and any other basis protected by law, except as permitted by law.