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 2000, 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.

Details on the Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics are provided in the Department of Nutrition Student Guide.

Required Courses

BIOL 113 General Biology*
BIOL 221 Microbiology*
BIOL 231 Anatomy and Physiology I*
BIOL 232 Anatomy and Physiology II*
CHEM 111 Introductory Chemistry: Inorganic* or CHEM 113 Principles of Chemistry 
CHEM 112 Introductory Chemistry: Organic* 
CHEM 223 Introduction to Biochemistry 
MATH 118 Introductory Statistics
*with Lab

Required Nutrition Courses:

NUTR 112 Introduction to Nutrition Science or NUTR 111 Fundamentals of Nutrition Science*
NUTR 201 Advanced Food Science*
NUTR 331 The Practice of Clinical Dietetics*
NUTR 237 The Practice of Community Nutrition
NUTR 248 Food Production and Service Systems
NUTR 249 Leadership in Nutrition Management
NUTR 301 Introduction to the Dietetics Profession (staring with those entering Fall, 2017)
NUTR 311 Nutrient Metabolism*
NUTR 334 Medical Nutrition Therapy
NUTR 381 Advanced Applications in Community Nutrition
NUTR 390 Seminar: Selected Topics in Nutrition 
*with Lab

In addition, there are two required social science courses; at least one of these should be in sociology or psychology.

Learn more in Section 8 of our Nutrition Guide.

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. 

The mission of the Simmons University Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to educate students and foster an appreciation of lifelong learning in preparation for their 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 (updated June, 2018) are shown below:

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

Corresponding program outcomes:

  • At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 6 years (150% of program length).
  • 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 assign a 4 (i.e., "agree") or a 5 (i.e., "strongly agree") 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 acceptable or higher on 75% of items listed on the survey.

Goal # 2:
Simmons University DPD graduates will be prepared to succeed in one or more of the following: a graduate program, an accredited dietetic internship program, or employment.

Corresponding program outcomes:

  • 50% of BS/DPD, and 70% of DPD graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
  • 55% of BS/DPD and 80% of DPD graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation*.

*Among those who applied for supervised practice programs.

Program outcome results for the Simmons University DPD are available upon request.

This program is designed to be completed in 129 weeks. 

This program will cost $56,500 if completed within normal time. There may be additional costs for living expenses. These costs were accurate at the time of posting, but may have changed. 

Of the students who completed this program within normal time, the typical graduate leaves with $ N/A of debt. *

*Fewer than 10 students completed this program within normal time. This number has been withheld to preserve the confidentiality of the students 

For more information about graduation rates, loan repayment rates, and post-enrollment earnings about this institution and other postsecondary institutions please click here.

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 Dietetic Internships