Dietetics: Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Food Lab

The Virginia Tech Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is an undergraduate program issuing a bachelor of science degree in HNFE that prepares graduates to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

The DPD is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The DPD successfully completed a self-study and site visit in 2017 and continued accreditation was approved by the ACEND board through December 2025.

Learn more about careers as a RDN.  

Upon program completion and earning a DPD Verification Statement, HNFE alumni are eligible to move on to Dietetics Supervised Practice Programs, graduate and professional schools, and employment. HNFE students are competitive applicants in all of these pathways  (see Program Outcomes).

Of alumni who have taken the national Registration Exam for Dietitians in the past five years, 100 percent have passed the exam within one year of first attempt. More program outcomes data are available upon request.

To become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, students must:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree* (at minimum);
  2. Complete a Verification Statement from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics;
  3. Complete a Verification Statement from an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship, Coordinated Program, or Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP);
  4. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration Examination for Dietitians; and
  5. Follow appropriate state laws that regulate the practice of dietetics.
*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.

To earn a DPD Verification Statement from Virginia Tech, students must:

  • Be degree seeking and earn a bachelor’s of science degree in HNFE
  • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and earn a "C" or better in these courses (General Chemistry; Organic Chemistry; and Foods, Nutrition, and Exercise)
  • Complete all required DPD coursework approved by ACEND, including the following 18 credits that must be taken at Virginia Tech: HNFE 2004, HNFE 3034, HNFE 3025/4025, HNFE 3026/4026, HNFE 4004, HNFE 4125, HNFE 4126
  • DPD course list for undergraduate students