Education

Best Dietetics Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Dietetics programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Dietetics is the study of food and nutrition, and the ways in which they affect human health. Dietitians work with people to develop healthy eating habits, and to design diets that meet their individual needs. Dietitians also work in the food industry, developing new products and testing their nutritional value.

Dietetics is a growing field, as more and more people are becoming interested in healthy eating. Dietitians are in demand in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, and private practice.

Dietetics degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in dietetics, including nutritionist, dietitian, and food scientist. Students in dietetics degree programs learn about the different aspects of food and nutrition, and how to apply those concepts to help people eat healthy diets.

How to Choose the Right Dietetics Program

When it comes to choosing the right dietetics bachelor’s degree program, there are a few key factors that prospective students need to keep in mind. The first is accreditation. Dietetics programs must be accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in order to be recognized by the profession. The second is cost. Dietetics programs can be expensive, so students need to research tuition rates, financial aid opportunities, and scholarships. The third is curriculum. Dietetics programs typically require students to complete a certain number of credits in core coursework, electives, and practicums. Students should make sure that the program they choose offers the courses they need to complete their degree. Finally, students need to consider their career goals. Dietetics programs typically lead to careers as registered dietitians, but some programs may offer specializations that can lead to other careers in the field.

Best Bachelor’s in Dietetics Programs

The best programs for Dietetics ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA

The Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from James Madison University is a four-year program that prepares students for a career in dietetics. The program includes coursework in food and nutrition science, chemistry, physiology, anatomy, and microbiology. Students also complete a hospital-based practicum covering all aspects of dietetics practice. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the Registered Dietitian exam and pursue a career in dietetics.

Rank 2
The University of Texas
Austin, TX

The University of Texas offers a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition with six different options to choose from. The options are: dietetics, nutritional sciences, nutrition and public health, honors in advanced nutritional sciences, Dean’s Scholars honors, and international nutrition. All of the options except for international nutrition include coursework that would prepare students to apply for a dietetic internship. The international nutrition option requires students to take courses in nutrition and other disciplines in order to prepare for study abroad.

Rank 3
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

The Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from University of Wisconsin is a popular degree program that combines clinical and managerial courses with the nutrition core to prepare students to become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN).

The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and prepares students to take the CDR exam to become RDNs.

Rank 4
Grand Valley State University
Allendale, MI

The Grand Valley State University combined degree program offers students the opportunity to complete both an undergraduate and graduate degree in a accelerated time frame. The program is designed for students interested in pursuing a career in dietetics and nutrition. The program combines coursework from the undergraduate applied food and nutrition program with the graduate clinical dietetics program. Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credentialing exam.

Rank 5
Point Loma Nazarene University
San Diego, CA

The Point Loma Nazarene University Bachelor of Science in Dietetics program prepares students for a career in dietetics. The program provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to assess, develop, and promote healthier lifestyle choices for clients and patients. The program also prepares students to earn the needed verification to apply to an accredited dietetic internship after graduation.

Rank 6
SUNY Oneonta
Oneonta, NY

The SUNY Oneonta Dietetics program is designed to give students a strong foundation in the science of human biology and biochemistry as they relate to nutrition and the role of nutrients in optimal health throughout the lifespan. The program provides a diverse curriculum that meets the accreditation standards set by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Rank 7
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY

The Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition from Rochester Institute of Technology is a four-year program that prepares students to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs). The program includes coursework in science, food science, basic nutrition, mathematics, liberal arts, and business. Students also complete three cooperative work experiences, including one in health care food and nutrition services. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the National Registration Exam for Dietitian Nutritionists.

Rank 8
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Menomonie, WI

The Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from University of Wisconsin-Stout is a program that prepares students to become registered dietitians. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and students will take coursework in clinical and community nutrition, food science and production, lifespan and sports nutrition, nutrition counseling and education, medical nutrition therapy, and advance physiology and behavior.

Rank 9
The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL

The Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from The University of Alabama is a great choice for students who want to combine their love of science with a desire to learn about human nutrition. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), and it is 100% online.

Rank 10
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

The Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Kansas State University is a program that prepares students for a career as a registered dietitian. The program combines an interest in food and nutrition with the need to meet the nutritional needs of others. The curriculum includes coursework in communications, social sciences, sciences, quantitative studies, and humanities. In addition, students take courses in integrative health and human sciences, professional studies, and unrestricted electives.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Dietetics Program

Students in a bachelor’s degree program in dietetics typically take classes in food and nutrition science, foodservice systems management, and business. The coursework emphasizes the relationship between food and human health, and students learn about the role of diet in disease prevention and treatment. In addition, they develop the skills needed to become registered dietitians (RDs).

Most programs require students to complete an internship, and many also require a capstone project. The internship gives students the opportunity to gain practical experience working in a professional setting, such as a hospital, school, or community health center. The capstone project is usually a research-based project that requires students to apply what they have learned in the program.

To become an RD, students must complete a bachelor’s degree program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In addition, they must pass a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Common Dietetics Courses

The coursework for a degree in dietetics will vary depending on the school and program. However, there are some common courses that are frequently taught in these programs. The following list looks at five of these courses.

Principles of Human Nutrition

This course covers the basic concepts of human nutrition with an emphasis on the nutrients and their functions, energy balance and metabolism, and the assessment of nutritional status. The course also covers the relationships between diet, health, and disease; current controversies in nutrition; and global perspectives on nutrition. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of human nutrition to assess an individual’s nutritional status and develop dietary plans to promote health and prevent chronic disease.

Diet Therapy

This course covers the use of the Nutrition Care Process to develop, implement, and monitor evidence-based nutrition interventions for individuals and groups. Emphasis is placed on the integration of medical nutrition therapy into health care delivery, the application of the Nutrition Care Process to specific disease states, and the development of nutrition education materials. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the Nutrition Care Process to develop, implement, and monitor nutrition interventions for individuals and groups with various medical conditions.

Introduction to Aging

This course covers the physical, psychological, and social aspects of aging. Emphasis is placed on the impact of the aging process on nutritional needs and the role of diet in the promotion of health and prevention of disease. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of nutrition to the promotion of health and prevention of disease in the aging population.

Food Science

This course covers the scientific study of food, including the physical and chemical properties of food, the principles of food processing, and the sensory evaluation of food. Topics include the composition of food, the role of nutrients in the human body, foodborne illness, food preservation, food additives, and the sensory evaluation of food. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of food science to the selection, storage, preparation, and consumption of food.

Clinical Nutrition

This course covers the application of the science of nutrition to the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of disease. Emphasis is placed on medical nutrition therapy, including the integration of pathophysiology, assessment, and intervention. Topics include macronutrients, micronutrients, and their metabolism; energy balance and weight management; and nutrition across the lifespan. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of medical nutrition therapy to the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of disease.

Career Options for Dietetics Graduates

Graduates of dietetics programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including food service, nutrition, and healthcare. They may also work in fields such as education, research, and public health.

Nutritionist

Nutritionists are food and nutrition experts who advise people on how to eat healthy and make good food choices. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, private practices, and research organizations. Nutritionists typically have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field, and many states require them to be licensed. Their duties may include developing meal plans, providing nutritional counseling, and conducting research.

Dietitian

Dietitians are food and nutrition experts. They advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal. Dietitians typically work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, schools, and other settings. They often develop and oversee food service operations, create nutrition education materials, and provide one-on-one counseling to patients.

Food Service Manager

Food service managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of restaurants or other food service establishments. They ensure that the establishment is run smoothly and efficiently, that customers are satisfied with their experience, and that food quality and safety standards are met. Food service managers typically have a background in the food service industry, either in a culinary role or in a front-of-house role such as server or bartender. Many food service managers also have a degree in hospitality management.

Health Educator

Health educators teach people about healthy lifestyle choices. They work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, community centers, and businesses. Health educators typically have a background in public health, health promotion, or nursing. Their job is to develop and implement programs that promote healthy behavior, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding risky behaviors like smoking and excessive drinking. Health educators also work to raise awareness about health issues and advocate for policies that will improve the health of their community.

Research Dietitian

Research dietitians develop and conduct research studies on the relationship between diet and human health. They work with a team of other dietitians and health professionals to design and carry out studies, collect and analyze data, and write reports and scientific papers on their findings. Research dietitians typically work in hospitals, clinics, or research laboratories, and their work may involve both laboratory and fieldwork.

Insights From a Dietetics Graduate

Sage Ewing is a Registered Dietitian at NYU Langone Health. She has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of Vermont. Sage has over 3 years of experience as a registered dietitian.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Dietetics program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Sage Ewing: The biggest takeaways I got from my dietetics program were the importance of time management, communication, and teamwork. I was also able to learn about different areas of dietetics that I may not have been exposed to otherwise.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in a Dietetics career?

Sage Ewing: I would say that a successful dietitian is someone who is passionate about food and nutrition and helping others. You have to be able to work with a variety of people and be able to adapt to different situations. You also have to be able to work well under pressure and be organized.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Dietetics program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Sage Ewing: I didn’t realize how much of the program would be focused on business and management. I expected to learn a lot about food and nutrition, but I didn’t realize how much of the program would be focused on the business side of things. I think this was a good surprise, though, because it prepared me well for my career as a registered dietitian.

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