Didactic Program in Dietetics

DPD Student Handbook

Access to the Didactic Program in Dietetics Student Handbook in PDF form.

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Overview of DPD

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is the first of the three required steps in the education and training of dietetics professionals. Dietitians are the health professionals who translate the science and art of nutrition and food in the service of people. They can do this best if they are confidently grounded in their foundational knowledge and skill development. The DPD is intended to provide this firm foundation and to prepare the student for entry into the second educational requirement - that of the supervised practice experience. The well-designed didactic program in dietetics will provide courses and educational experiences in the basic sciences of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and microbiology, nutrition sciences - including basic nutrition, food science, clinical nutrition, advanced nutrition, and the nutrition care process, as well as the social sciences, such as sociology and psychology, and resource management.

Graduates of the DPD Program will successfully complete the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)-Required Core Knowledge and competencies. DPD Program graduates are eligible to apply to and, upon acceptance enter into a Supervised Practice Program in Dietetic (aka - Dietetic Internship or DI). Completing a DI leads to eligibility to take the exam to earn Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) status.

Description of Process - From DPD to Dietetic Internship (DI) to RDN

Application to a supervised practice program (DI) is done via the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS; information at: https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/students-and-advancing-education/dietetic-internship-match-students), whereby student applicants submit their application(s) electronically to DI programs via DICAS, and selection/admission (“matching”) is done through a computer matching process by D&D Digital Systems (https://www.dnddigital.com). Upon completing our DPD Program, students will receive a document called the “DPD Verification of Completion Statement” (DPD Verification Statement). This document is required for and enables students that are selected (matched) to DI to enter into and start work in the internship.

PLEASE NOTE: Completion of the DPD program (the 1st step) does not guarantee acceptance into a DI. Completion of the DPD program is required for eligibility to apply and enter into a DI (which is the 2nd step in the process to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, or RDN)). After completing the DI, one must take and pass the Registration Examination, Credentialing Exam (see at: https://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/registered-dietitian-rd-certification) to earn the RDN license (the 3rd and final step to becoming an RDN).

The DPD program in the Department of Nutrition is situated within the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Its focus is on human clinical nutrition and the application of the science of nutrition to health maintenance and health improvement. The Nutrition Department was established in 1913, and over the years it has developed and evolved in exciting ways. Historically, our first student identified as a “dietitian” graduated in 1918. Thus, we have a long history of providing a strong, successful nutrition program.

DPD Mission

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Case Western Reserve University is to provide quality dietetic courses and didactic course learning experiences for students to complete the DPD, which prepares students to successfully enter into and complete supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and/or obtain employment in a health-related field.

DPD Philosophy

The philosophy of the DPD at Case Western Reserve University is to educate individuals through quality dietetic courses and didactic course learning experiences, to develop professionals who will translate the science and art of nutrition and food chemistry into application through practice of dietetics and to develop visionary and competent individuals who will be able to understand and solve complex problems encountered by the professional dietitian.

DPD Program Goals and Objectives*

Program Goal 1: Provide quality recruitment and educational guidance for students interested in the profession of dietetics, as well as retain and mentor students who are in the program.

Objectives for Goal 1:

  • At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).
  • 100% of all DPD students will receive advising at least three times per year.
  • 80% percent of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  • 90% of graduates will indicate “satisfactory” or better score with respect to quality of educational guidance provided by the DPD Director and Nutrition faculty.

Program Goal 2: Prepare students to successfully enter into and perform competently in a supervised practice program in preparation to be an entry-level dietitian.

Objectives for Goal 2:

  • 80% percent of graduates are admitted into a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
  • 90% of graduates will indicate a “satisfactory” response or better that the DPD program prepared them for their supervised practice experience.
  • 90% of graduates will receive “satisfactory” ratings or higher on their overall knowledge and performance from their supervised practice program (DI) director.

Program Goal 3: Provide excellence in nutrition and dietetics education in order to prepare graduates to work as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and/or in a health-related field.

Objectives for Goal 3:

  • 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%.
  • 80% of graduates who did not apply to a supervised practice program will enter either a post-baccalaureate educational program or be employed in a health-related field within six months of completing the DPD.
  • 90% of graduates who did not apply to a supervised practice program will indicate “satisfactory” or better that the DPD program prepared them for a career in a health-related field.

*Outcomes (objectives) data available upon request.

Accreditation Status

The CWRU Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Accreditation by ACEND ensures that graduates are eligible to apply to and, upon acceptance enter into a Supervised Practice Program in Dietetic (aka - Dietetic Internship or DI). Completing a DI leads to eligibility to take the exam to earn Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) status.

ACEND® can be contacted by:

Applying to the DPD

Students wishing to apply* to the DPD Program and thus, pursue eligibility for 'Dietetic Registration' should consult with the Program Director: James Swain, PhD, RD, LD, FAND.

Office location: School of Medicine | Nutrition Department | Rm. W-G48
Phone: 216.368.6554
Email:  james.swain@case.edu

The DPD Admission Criteria and Application form are located in Appendix A of the DPD Student Handbook.

Review the DPD Student Handbook.