Nutrition & Dietetics: Overview


What Is An RDN?

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) or Registered Dietitians (RDs) are food and nutrition experts who have met criteria and earned the opportunity to continue to refer to themselves with an RD or RDN credential.

How Can You Become An RDN?

  • Currently, by completing a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college or foreign equivalent.
  • Earning a Verification Statement through a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) which includes the necessary coursework to meet knowledge requirements set by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
  • Completing 1200 hours of supervised practice through an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship, Coordinated Program in Dietetics or an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) offered through an ACEND accredited program.
  • Passing a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Complete continuing professional educational requirements on an ongoing basis in order to maintain the credential of RD or RDN after passing the national registration exam.
  • State certification or licensure varies from state to state. Please reach out to your state Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for more details. 

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 Pennsylvania, graduates must also obtain licensure to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND- accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics at Marywood University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/ apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN please visit 

Similar to other health care professions, RDNs must take and pass a national board registration examination to earn the RDN certification. The RDN exam is a computer-based exam that covers the content in the three major areas of dietetics: clinical, community, and food service. The registration examination is updated every five years to reflect the information that entry-level dietitians should master after completing a Didactic Program in Dietetics and internship. For more information regarding the examination, refer to their website at

How Can Marywood Assist You?

Marywood offers several program options that lead to the RDN credential. You may choose to earn:

  1. A Bachelor’s of Science (BS) in Nutrition and Dietetics degree and your Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD*) Verification Statement which provides you eligibility to apply for an accredited Dietetic Internship Program. 
  2. A BS in Nutrition and Dietetics degree, your DPD Verification Statement, which provides you eligibility to apply for an accredited Dietetic Internship Program, and your MS degree in Nutrition in an accelerated time frame.
  3. Your DPD Verification Statement, which provides you eligibility to apply for an accredited Dietetic Internship Program (for those students who have an earned BS/BA), while you also earn your Master’s of Science (MS) degree is in Nutrition or Sports Nutrition Exercise.
  4. Dietetic Internship Program Verification Statement from either our onsite or distance tracks. 

* All students must apply and be accepted into each ACEND-accredited program and be in good standing in the program to earn a Verification Statement from that program.

Part of our perseverance through ever changing times is a strong history of keeping abreast of current trends in the profession. We are approved to offer a Masters Dietetic Internship with coursework offered completely online and the option of completing your supervised practice experience through an onsite track or through a distance track. 

Additionally, once approved, there will be a fast track option offered to eligible candidates. You can enter as an undergraduate freshman, and if accepted, complete your Bachelor’s, Masters and Internship seamlessly. This accredited program will meet all the criteria to allow you to sit for the RD exam in just five years.

Marywood University is one of the best places to prepare for a career in the health professions. USA Today ranked Marywood 4th on its list of the 10 Best Colleges to Study Health Professions. That's because our programs are rigorous, providing students with the academic expertise and practical skills necessary to address our world's most pressing healthcare challenges. How will you be a part of global efforts to provide healthcare for everyone?

About Nutrition & Dietetics

Marywood's nutrition and dietetics programs integrate the theories, practices, and skills of nutrition and exercise science, applying them to the challenges that both athletes and non-athletes face in choosing diet and exercise regimens that will maintain optimum health and maximize performance. Our programs also address the challenges of choosing appropriate diet and exercise patterns to prevent chronic diseases.

Professional Practice

  • Includes the application of knowledge of foods, nutrients, and their requirements to the care of individuals and groups throughout the life cycle.
  • Involves medical nutrition therapy, food systems management, community nutrition, health promotion and entrepreneurial activities, and sports nutrition.
  • Aims to provide quality learning experiences in nutrition and dietetics that are based on the standards from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics(ACEND)

Mission Statement

The mission of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program is to provide dedicated faculty, quality facilities, and a diverse environment which support nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate education, research and service in the areas of nutrition, dietetics, and sports nutrition/exercise science.