College of Education and Professional Studies

Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Management

Students prepare for a variety of careers in the food and/or health industries. This rapidly growing profession prepares students to assist people in selecting and obtaining nourishing, healthy food. There are diverse opportunities for the graduates that include food service management, healthcare in hospitals and clinics, private practice, education, research, community nutrition, and business and industry. The Nutrition program offers a diverse mixture of courses that may lead to an entry-level position in the area of dietetics. Completion of the program allows the graduate to enter a dietetic internship and/or enter a graduate program. 

The Nutrition and Food Management program at The University of Central Oklahoma is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Upon completion of this degree, also called the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), students are eligible to apply for entry into a supervised practice program (internship), which will make them eligible to take the Registration Examination to become a Registered Dietitian (R.D.). At the undergraduate level, this degree emphasizes the knowledge and skills essential for competent entry-level dietetics practice.

To become a Registered Dietitian (R.D.), a student must:

  1. Earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Management or have a degree from an accredited university.  Upon successful completion of the degree requirements, students are provided with a verification statement that allows them to apply for entry into a supervised practice program (see Post Baccalaureate section)
  2. Successfully complete an ACEND accredited supervised practice program (dietetic internship).
  3. Pass the Registration Exam for Dietitians.

Students may not apply for entry into a dietetic internship until the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) has been successfully completed. Likewise, students are not eligible to sit for the registration exam until they have successfully completed their supervised practice program.

Students not wishing to become a registered dietitian may complete a degree in Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Management.  This degree is designed to meet the requirements for Pre-med, dental, optometry, pharmacy and other post-graduate programs in the health care arenas as well as foodservice management and food science.  Students earning a degree in Nutrition and Food Management will have an in-depth knowledge of the science of nutrition and a solid foundation in applied science.  No verification statement will be issued.

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) DPD is to provide high quality nutrition education and skills necessary to encourage responsible, ethical, competent professionals in nutrition and related fields.  The program will foster an environment, which will encourage leadership, professional development, and community service through transformative learning.

Program Goals

Goal 1:  The program will prepare entry-level practitioners with basic knowledge and skills necessary to prepare individuals to act as clinician, teacher, foodservice administrator and consultant.

Outcome Measures

  1. 80% of students applying for an internship will be admitted
  2. 80% of graduates will have knowledge in clinical nutrition by making a B or above in required classes
  3. 80% of graduates will have knowledge in nutrition education by making a grade of B or above in required classes
  4. 80% of graduates will have knowledge in foodservice administration by making a B or above in required classes
  5. 80% of alumni will indicate on a survey with a score of 2 or better that they were adequately advised to successfully complete their undergraduate requirements
  6. Alumni will achieve an 80% first-time pass rate on the RD exam over a 5 year period

Goal 2.  The program will foster a commitment for students to participate in professional development activities that lead to an ethical understanding of professional practices.

Outcome Measures

  1. 80% of alumni will indicate on a survey that they experienced exposure to different professionals within dietetics through guest speakers during undergraduate education
  2. 80% of students in Overview of Dietetics will complete an ADA website computer scavenger hunt earning a C or better grade
  3. 80% of students in Overview of Dietetics will complete an ADA Code of Ethics case study earning a C or better grade
  4. 80% of alumni will indicate on a survey with a 2 or better that they were exposed to the ADA Code of Ethics during undergraduate education
  5. 80% of students in Overview of Dietetics will complete a professional goal statement
  6. 80% of alumni will indicate on a survey with a score of 2 or better concerning the use of current technologies for information and communication activities
  7. 80% of alumni will indicate on a survey with a score of 2 or better they were adequately exposed to leadership activities

Career Opportunities

  • Clinical Dietetics
    • Hospitals long term care, and outpatient settings
    • Many specialties (pediatric, renal, diabetes, nutrition support, etc.)

RD generally required. 
American Dietetic Association (ADA) 2006 salary survey: median = $43,260
  • Food & Nutrition Management
    • Hospitals, long term care, businesses, schools (contract service management)
    • Work with chefs or at spas
    • Consult regarding healthy choices on menu.

 ADA 2006 salary survey: median = $57,700
  • Public Health Nutrition
    • Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
    • Public Health Department with state and county agencies
    • Cooperative Extension
    • Congregate Meals program. 

ADA 2006 salary survey: median = $43,000. 
Without RD the salary is lower, but jobs are available
  • Education and Research
    • College, university, health professional school & culinary school
    • Teach K-12 (requires further course work)
    • Create and write curriculum for state board of education, Dairy Council, Cooperative Extension
    • Worksite wellness--teach nutrition, exercise, fitness and other health promotion to employees
    • Manage or assist with clinical protocols, interventions, or clinical trials.

 Advanced degrees are usually required for research and university based jobs. RD credential frequently preferred, but not required.
 ADA 2006 salary survey: median = $57,900
  • Consultant / Private Practice
    • Private practice consultation to hospitals and long term care facilities on hourly or "job" basis
    • Client counseling for weight management, eating disorders, sports nutrition, diabetes management, etc. from either physician referrals and/or advertisements
    • Write cookbooks, educational programs, or articles for local newspapers or specialty magazines
    • Food photography
    • Consult at health clubs / spas as a personal trainer-nutritionist

 RD generally required for patient counseling
. ADA 2006 salary survey: median = $51,700.
  • Related Health Professions
    • Use your nutrition degree and skills for a career in a health related profession
    • Chiropractor (DC)
    • Dentist (DDS)
    • Naturopathic Doctor (ND)
    • Physical Therapist (PT)
    • Physician (MD or DO)
    • Physician Assistant (PA)
    • Podiatrist (DP)
    • Veterinarian (DVM) 

Additional post-baccalaureate schooling is required
  • Business and Industry
    • Careers in business and industry include jobs such as sales, marketing, public relations, research and development (labeling, recipes & product information) and production quality control.
    • Food (eg. Cambell Soup, Kraft Foods, Proctor & Gamble)
    • Information Technology (eg. CBORD, Compu-Cal, Computrition, ESHA Research, First DataBank)
    • Nutritionals (eg. Mead Johnson, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Novartis Nutrition, Ross Products)
    • Nutraceuticals (eg. Archer Daniels Midland, Cooke Pharma, GeniSoy Products)
    • Pharmaceutical (eg. Eli Lily, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer)
    • Food Service Equipment (eg. Diversey Lever, Ecolab, Hamilton Beach Commercial, Hobart)
    • Food Service Contract Management (eg. Aramark Healthcare, Morrison Management, Sodexho)
    • Food Service Vendors (eg. Precision Foods, Super Bakery, Sysco, US Foodservice)
    • Medical Equipment (eg. Bodystat, HealtheTech, Johnson & Johnson)
    • Trade Associations (eg. Cranberry Institute, Dairy Council, Peanut Institute, Pork Producers)
  • Media
    • Commodity groups (trade associations) hire public relations firms
    • Radio, TV, newspaper and magazines are a major source of nutrition education for the public
    • Cooperative Extension agents often write for the local media
  • International Food Organizations
    • Peace Corps
    • Non-governmental organizations such as CARE, Food for the Hungry, or World Relief
    • United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization
    • US AID (Agency for International Development)
    • Multi-national corporation
    • Consulting and research collaboration
  • Public Policy / Government
    • Staff resource to legislator Government agency--USDA, FDA, NIH, etc.
    • Health care reform
    • Supplement labels
    • Regulatory
    • Lobbyist in state or federal government

Related Professional Organizations