The Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is housed within the Department of Human Ecology, which is located in the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences. Students who satisfy and successfully complete the prescribed course requirements for the dietetics program will be awarded the Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Ecology with a concentration in dietetics.
The mission of the dietetics program is to provide educational opportunities for students to develop mastery of food and nutrition principles, acquire skills for effective dietetic practice, enhance leadership qualities, and foster career development. Its philosophical tenets remain central to the mission of the 1890 Land-Grant Institution.
The Didactic program in Dietetics is currently granted accreditation status through spring 2014 by the Accreditation Council for Nutrition and Dietetics Education (ACEND), an agency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 1.800/877.1600. The next scheduled site visit by ACEND program reviewers will occur fall 2013, as part of the accreditation reaffirmation process, which occurs every ten years.
Becoming a Registered Dietician (RDN) is a three-step process. Successful completion of the Didactic Program is the first step toward dietetic credentialing. The second step consists of completing a supervised practice experience through an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship. The final step is successfully passing the national Registration Examination for Dietitians administered through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Effective January 1, 2024, CDR will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing examination to become a RDN. Additionally, as of June 1, 2009, graduates of an accredited didactic program are eligible to take the Dietetic Technician Registration exam through the DTR pathway III provision approved by CDR.
Human Ecology students are required to maintain a “C” in each course in the Human Ecology Major Core requirements, Program Foundation Knowledge, Program Electives, and a “C” average in General Education and Supportive Course Requirements. Individual concentration areas may choose specific courses to fulfill General Education requirements. Students transferring into the department from another department or institution must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA.
All Human Ecology students are required to complete an out of class practical experience which can be in a form of an Internship, practicum, or research project. Each concentration has specific requirements for this out-of-classroom practical experience so students should consult with their advisors for details about this aspect of their academic preparation.
Dietetics Program graduates are eligible to receive a Verification Statement with a GPA of 2.75 or higher. Successful completion of the didactic program in dietetics and receipt of a Verification Statement does not guarantee acceptance into a post-baccalaureate dietetic internship. Most DI programs expect a 3.0 or higher GPA for serious consideration.
Students must include a minimum of 12 credit hours of out-of-class experiences. The dietetic course curriculum has six credit hours already embedded in the sequence. Students should consult their departmental academic advisor to select six (6) additional credits to meet the 12 credit hours requirements.
Program graduates who receive a Verification Statement are eligible to apply to an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship program and sit for the Dietetic Technician Registration (DTR) exam. Upon successful completion of a Dietetic Internship, students are qualified to take the national Dietetic Registration Exam to become a Registered Dietitian and apply for state licensure where applicable. Registered Dietitians are employed by industry, public health services, hospitals and medical centers, food and nutrition services, communications, and other local, state, national and international agencies in research and educational programs.