Didactic Program in Dietetics Certificate

Our Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), prepares students to become Registered Dietitians.

Students in class

You'll combine biology and chemistry with advanced food science and clinical dietetics. Our students improve the eating behaviors, health and quality of life of our culturally diverse population. You'll investigate the theories and best practices of food and health — and develop an appreciation of nutrition and dietetics' relationship to other disciplines.

This certificate, along with a verification statement signed by the DPD Director at Simmons and a previous bachelor's degree, will confirm the successful completion of this first step in the Commission for Dietetic Registration (CDR) administered credentialing process for dietetics practitioners. Students are eligible to sit for the Registered Dietitian credentialing exam after completing an accredited supervised practice program

Our students are prepared for entry level nutrition positions, graduate school and accredited supervised practice programs.

Our Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL, 60606-6995 telephone: (312) 899-5400. 

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 order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor's degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree. 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). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at Simmons University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements see https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN, see https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend /students-and-advancing-education/information-for-students.

Research, internships and clinical experience are essential to nutrition students. You’ll have opportunities to explore your interests, build your skills and develop mentoring relationships with leaders in the field. We take full advantage of our location in the heart of Boston, and more specifically the Longwood Medical Area. Our students have been placed at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, ABCD/Head Start, Women’s Lunch Place, Community Servings, Greater Boston Food Bank, a variety of local WIC programs, and a variety of local hospitals.  

Upon graduation, completing a Dietetic Internship Program and passing the registration exam are required steps in becoming a Registered Dietitian. Our students are successful in internship programs nationwide – and we have an excellent registration examination pass rate. 

Program mission:

The mission of the Simmons University DPD is to educate students and foster an appreciation of lifelong learning in preparation for supervised practice, and success in the nutrition and dietetics profession. We aim to prepare students to be effective in a profession that improves the eating behaviors and subsequent health and quality of life of a multicultural and diverse population, a profession that adds to the scientific investigation about food and health, and one that fosters an appreciation of nutrition and dietetics' relationship to other sciences.

The Didactic Program in Dietetics' goals and corresponding program outcomes are shown below:

Goal 1: Simmons University DPD graduates will be prepared to become competent entry level dietetics professionals.

Goal 2: Program graduates will be well prepared to succeed in one or more of the following: a nutrition related graduate program or nutrition related employment.

Corresponding Program objectives:

  • At least 80% of students complete program requirements within 3 years (150% of planned program length).
  • At least 50% BS/70% of DPD students of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  • Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 55% BS/80% DPD students% are admitted within 12 months of graduation.
  • The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
  • At least 75 % of graduates will agree or better to being prepared on 75% of the items (that pertain to content they learned at Simmons) on the graduate survey.
  • At least 75% of Directors of Supervised Practice will rate Simmons University DPD graduates as adequately prepared or better on 75% of items listed on the survey.
  • Of graduates who applied to nutrition/public health related graduate programs, 70% will be admitted  within 12 months of application.
  • Of graduates who sought nutrition/public health related employment, 50% will be employed within 12 months of application.


This program is designed to be completed in 129 weeks. The Simmons academic calendar can be found here.

Graduate tuition is calculated on a per credit basis. The 2021-2022 graduate Nutrition tuition rate is $1,280 per credit hour. The DPD program consists of 32 credits of science requirements and 43 credits of nutrition requirements . Additional student fees are mandatory and not included in the per credit tuition rate. More information regarding program cost and financial aid can be found here.  

Additional information regarding program information and policies can be found in the Nutrition Student Guide.

For more information about graduation rates, loan repayment rates, and post-enrollment earnings about this institution and other postsecondary institutions please visit collegescorecard.ed.gov.

Additional Program Costs

  • Laboratory coat ($35).
  • Individual course materials (e.g. books, access to professional electronic resourses) should be expected.
  • Membership fees recommended for the program may include the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ($58, OPTIONAL but strongly recommended).
  • Transportation to clinical and fieldwork sites ($30/semester).
  • Transportation, meal costs, and registration fees to attend professional meetings and practical experiences should be expected.
  • Most internships charge an application fee between $50 and $100. Additionally, there is a fee to register with the Centralized Application System (]~$50 for the first application and $25 for each application after) and $55 to apply to the computer matching process used to determine intern placement (through D & D Digital). Note that these fees are subject to change.

Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.

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Offered As
  • Certificate
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Our Faculty

Lisa Brown photo

Lisa Brown

  • Associate Professor and Director of the Dietetic Internship Program
Sharon Gallagher photo

Sharon Gallagher

  • Associate Professor of Practice and Assistant Director of the Dietetic Internship Program