Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Certificate

Our Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) prepares students to become Registered Dietitians. 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 credentialing process for dietetics practitioners. Learn more about the DPD program

How to Apply

To get started on your application, click the link below:

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Certificate Fall 2020

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Certificate Spring 2021

Application Requirements

An applicant must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. post-secondary institution or university abroad which is recognized by the Ministry of Education in the home country. No prerequisite courses or GREs are required. Applicants to all Simmons programs represent a varied range of academic and experiential backgrounds.

*TOEFL is required of all non-native speakers of English who did not graduate from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university at the bachelor's or master's level or from a post-secondary institution abroad which is recognized by the Ministry of Education in the home country in English-speaking countries only. This requirement is based on native language not citizenship.

The application deadline depends on the application cycle you are applying to. An applicant will be considered for review if the following requirements are submitted and completed by the deadline:

  1. Complete application
    *If you are also applying to the MS and/or CSN, you will still use just one application. There will be an option for you to select which programs you are applying to.
  2. Personal statement
  3. Current resume
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. Official college transcripts from all institutions attended, whether or not a degree was earned
  6. If applicable, additional requirements for international students

Academic Records: Transcripts

Official transcripts are required for all courses completed (undergraduate and graduate) at regionally accredited U.S. post-secondary institutions, whether or not a degree was awarded or regardless of when the courses were taken or if the courses are specific to the program to which you are applying. This requirement includes courses which appear on another transcript as transfer or study abroad credit. If you attended a study abroad program and the grades appear on the transcript of your home institution, you do not need to submit a separate transcript. Check with the Registrar's Office of your undergraduate institution to confirm this. If there are no grades listed on your home institution's transcript, and a separate transcript exists, we require an official copy. 

If you have earned a degree abroad, academic records must include end of year marks sheets for each year of attendance, not just final exam results or a copy of the degree. Educational documents should clearly indicate the degree and date awarded. Overseas post-secondary institutions must be recognized by the Ministry of Education in the home country. Academic records in the native language and an official English translation (if needed) are required.

The Office of Admission also accepts electronic transcripts from certain vendors including eSCRIP-SAFE, Parchment and National Student Clearinghouse.

Standardized Tests

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or Duolingo English Test scores taken within two years prior to the application deadline. This requirement is based on native language, not citizenship.

This requirement is waived for applicants who have graduated at the bachelor's or master's level from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a post -secondary institution abroad that is recognized by the Ministry of Education in the host country in English-speaking countries only.

Official scores are required; copies of student score reports are not acceptable. The TOEFL code is 3761. We are unable to accept electronic scores. It takes 5-6 weeks for the office to receive scores from ETS. A minimum score of 570 (paper-based), 230 (computer-based,) or 88 (internet-based) is required. Further information about TOEFL can be obtained by contacting Educational Testing Service (ETS) by telephone at 609-771-7670 or by visiting their website.

Information about the Duolingo English Test can be found by visiting their website.

The GRE is not required for any of our graduate nutrition programs at Simmons University.


Three recommendations, written within six months of the deadline, are required. For the DPD, two letters must be from current or recent instructors and one from a recent professional reference. Instructions for the recommendation process can be found within the application. 

Required courses in the DPD program

As indicated above, no prerequisites are required to apply to the DPD program. However, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) which is the accrediting body of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics requires the completion of specific courses to fulfill the didactic requirements to apply for a Dietetic Internship program. The Simmons DPD is accredited by ACEND and meets this requirement.

You may have already completed some of these courses that comprise the DPD program in previous programs or at other institutions. To determine if previous courses taken meet the criteria for the Simmons DPD program, please request approval in writing via email to [email protected] and provide the name and number of the course, where it was offered and when. All course approval decisions are made by the academic department based on course content, program curriculum requirements and applicable professional certification requirements. The approval decision will be communicated to the student via email. If additional information is needed before a decision can be made, you may be asked to complete the Prerequisite/Syllabus Review Process.

If applicants are/were enrolled in institutions which used quarter or trimester systems, two or three quarters/trimesters may be required to equal one semester. This will be determined on such aspects, but not only, course content, frequency of class meetings per week and length of the course.

Carefully review the Course Syllabus Data and the Prerequisite Review Process forms below about this process and submit the required information if needed. It is likely you that you will not need to submit syllabi for all courses.

All science courses, with the exception of Biochemistry, must include labs and must have been completed at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, see below for recency requirements. These courses must be graded and may not be completed on a pass/fail basis or audited. CLEP or IB scores are not accepted for such required courses. The labs must be hands on labs (not online).

  • General Biology *
  • Microbiology *
  • Anatomy and Physiology I *
  • Anatomy and Physiology II *
  • Inorganic Chemistry *
  • Organic Chemistry *
  • Biochemistry
  • Introductory Statistics

* With Lab

All of the nutrition courses must be taken at Simmons:

  • Introduction to Nutrition Science
  • Advanced Food Science
  • The Practice of Clinical Dietetics
  • The Practice of Community Nutrition
  • Food Production and Service Systems
  • Leadership in Nutrition Management
  • Nutrient Metabolism
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Advanced Practice in Community Nutrition
  • Seminar-Selected Topics in Nutrition

Other required courses:

  • Two courses in social sciences. One of these must be in either sociology or psychology.

For the DPD program, (BS or DPD Certificate) there is a recency requirement for courses. If the student has been working in a field that uses the skills and knowledge taught in a specific course that was taken more than the recency limit prior to beginning the program, the DPD director may waive this recency requirement for that specific course.

Recency limits for courses:

  • 5 years: All nutrition courses, Anatomy and Physiology I & II, and Biochemistry.  However, if a student took Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Biochemistry, or NUTR 111/112 greater than 5 years but less than 10 years prior to beginning the DPD program, the student may choose to take a competency examination to place out of those courses.
  • 10 years: All other courses

Enrollment Deposit

Accepted applicants to the DPD program are required to submit a non-refundable $750 enrollment deposit. This deposit is applied to the first term bill. 

Deferred Entrance for Nutrition Programs

An accepted student may request, in writing, to the Director of Admission of the Office of Admission a deferral of the entrance date for a maximum of one year. The student must indicate what they will do in the interim. Deferrals cannot be granted if an accepted student to Simmons wants to take classes at another institution in the interim. If granted a deferral, a non-refundable enrollment deposit is required by the date stated in the letter of admission to ensure enrollment. 

Re-application Procedure

An individual who wishes to re-apply must submit a new electronic application, transcripts for courses completed since the original application, an updated resume, recent recommendations and another application processing fee. Contact the Office of Admission at 617-521-2605 for further information.


Simmons welcomes applications from international students for the Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). 

Visa Requirements and Full-Time Academic Status

Due to immigration stipulations, international students requiring a student visa to study in the U.S. must be enrolled full-time (at least 9 credit hours per semester) in a degree-granting academic program. 

Additionally, if you are currently in the U.S. and have any visa other than an F-1, you must check with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding procedures for changing your visa status. International students requiring an F-1 visa cannot enroll in non-degree courses nor can they be admitted provisionally pending completion of admission requirements.

Application Deadlines

It is imperative that students who have or are studying abroad begin the application process at least six months prior to the deadline. Please allow ample time for the pace of international postal systems, obtaining visa documents, arrival in the U.S., and transitioning to a new environment. International students will not be allowed to enroll if they arrive after the official start of the term.

Required Academic Records

In the U.S. academic records or mark sheets are called "transcripts" (this is the term used throughout this website). All applicants who have studied abroad must submit official (signed in original ink and stamped with a seal) academic records for study completed at all universities (including schools where no degree or certificate was earned by the student). These documents should include end-of-year result sheets for each year of university study, national exam results, and a copy of degrees or certificates, both in the native language and English translations. Photocopies or facsimiles of mark sheets and exam results for the final year alone are not acceptable. Additionally, the academic records may need to be evaluated by an agency specified by the Office of Admission. Degrees earned abroad must be from an institution of higher learning which is officially recognized by the home country's Ministry of Education.

The Office of Admission may require an evaluation of an applicant's academic credentials from abroad. These evaluation reports do not replace the need for signed/sealed academic records. These reports are interpretations of a student's academic history and U.S. colleges and universities may accept all or partial information in these assessments.

A "college" abroad usually means a secondary institution whereas in the U.S., a college is an institution providing higher education. A college can be part of a larger university or represent a singular institution such as Simmons University. Academic records from overseas colleges which are actually secondary schools (high schools in the U.S.) are not required as part of the application process. Courses taken at the secondary level do not fulfill the prerequisite requirements for application and admission to a graduate program. A baccalaureate in the U.S. is a first university degree. Many overseas systems award baccalaureates which represent the completion of secondary education or a year beyond.

Required Standardized Test Results

Students whose first language is not English (regardless of citizenship) must submit official scores of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), taken within two years prior to the application deadline. No other English proficiency exam is acceptable. 

The TOEFL is waived for applicants who have graduated from post-secondary institutions abroad (recognized by the Ministry of Education in the host country) in English-speaking countries or who have earned a bachelor's or master's degree at regionally accredited U.S. institutions.

The minimum acceptable score is 570 (Paper Test) or 230 (Computer Test) or 88 (Internet based). Copies of student score reports are not acceptable. Please be certain to take the TOEFL 2-3 months in advance of the deadline to assure that we receive an official score report on time. The code is 3761.

Further information about this exam can be obtained by directly contacting TOEFL; Educational Testing Service; P.O. Box 6151; Princeton, New Jersey; 08541-6151; telephone: 215-750-8050 or their website.

Required Financial Documentation

All non-U.S. citizens who will require a student visa for study in the U.S. must provide accurate and current evidence of ability to pay for the cost of a Simmons education. These costs are variable (but include fixed and living costs beyond tuition) and outlined on the Certification of Finances Form. This form is available by calling the Office of Admission at 617-521-2605.

This form must be completed and returned directly to the Office of Admission. In addition, an original signed statement from the applicant's sponsor indicating a willingness to provide financial support and a statement from the sponsor's bank verifying the availability of sufficient funds must be received. All documents must be signed in original ink, written in English, and funds must be shown in U.S. dollars ($).

It is very important for the applicant to inquire about the regulations in the home country concerning transfer of funds. Applicants may submit these forms during the application process or after being admitted to the program. Please keep in mind that the documents cannot be older than six months. This information is required in order to process an I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa.

Academic Year

For each academic semester, students receive grades for each subject (course) taken. The first (fall) semester generally begins in early September and ends in mid December. The second (spring) semester begins in mid January and ends in mid May. Additionally, there are summer sessions lasting from May to August. 

Grading and Credit Hours

Simmons University awards letter grades for all completed courses: A=Excellent, B=Good, C=Fair, D=Poor, F=Fail, and P=Pass. Each letter grade is assigned a value: A=4.00, B=3.00, C=2.00, D=1.00, and F=0. Each course carries a certain number of credit hours, where usually, one credit is equal to one hour of classroom instruction. Graduate courses are usually worth three credits although some are worth four, two, or one. The total number of credit hours required to obtain a specific degree will determine the number of courses a student needs to complete the program.

Arrival at Simmons University

It is important that international students plan properly to arrive at the required time to commence their studies. Allow ample time for obtaining immigration documents, shipping personal items and adjustment due to time and climactic changes. Students will NOT be allowed to enroll in classes if they arrive after classes have officially started. It is imperative that students allow adequate time for moving, student orientation, and establishing contacts.


Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees at Simmons are updated annually each spring. They are assessed each semester based on the number of credits enrolled, the level of degree, and the particular program of study.

Health insurance

All students taking 9 or more credits are required by Massachusetts State law to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan or be covered by a health insurance plan with comparable coverage.

Contact us

Questions? Contact us via email or at 617-521-2605. We're happy to schedule visits and campus tours.