A-Z Index

Foods and Nutrition

Program(s) Available: B.A.S., B.S., Minor

Do you want to play a role in improving the well-being of others? Students majoring in foods and nutrition or dietetics help clients meet individualized nutritional needs and achieve happy and healthy lifestyles. If this is something that interests you, keep reading!

Why Study Foods and Nutrition at Northwest

Foods and nutrition students study the science behind nutrition and how nutrition impacts the human body. Faculty teach students how to modify and assess individualized nutrition plans such as meal plans, and nutrition counseling as it relates to human behavior, food science, food preparation and food service management.

There are two tracks for this program. One provides education for those seeking the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credential, and the other will offer a degree in foods and nutrition for students who do not wish to seek the Registered Dietitian credential.

At Northwest, becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is a four-step program. 

Step 1: Undergraduate degree
Complete the requirements to be in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and receive your undergraduate degree.

Step 2: Dietetic internship
Complete the requirements to participate in the dietetic internship.

Step 3: Master's degree
Northwest offers an M.S. in nutrition.

Step 4: RDN Exam
Completing these steps through Northwest's offerings enables one to sit for the examination leading to registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) status.

Step 5: Licensure and Continuing Education
Many states require licensure to practice as a RD/RDN. Check out your state’s licensing regulations. To maintain the RD/RDN credential you are required to complete 75 hours of continuing education every five years. Learn more about registration maintenance.

Did you know? This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Pick your path

Foods & Nutrition: Dietetics

This track allows students to meet the knowledge requirements for dietetics practice through an undergraduate program. Students will be prepared to apply to a supervised practice program and/or masters program leading to eligibility for the registration examination for dietitians.

Dietetics 4-YEAR PLAN (B.S.)

Foods & Nutrition: General

This track is designed for students not interested in the registered dietitian credential but who desire a strong foods and nutrition-focused educational background to prepare them for many careers in health, wellness, food service management, and other related fields.

B.A.S. (for transfer students)

For transfer students the Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) is a flexible, individually tailored degree for students pursuing a vocational, technical or associate degree. Coursework for these degrees build on workplace skills and practical career training provided by an associate degree. Students may find a B.A.S. appealing for the following reasons:

  • Shorter time to degree by maximizing the transfer of vocational and technical courses toward a four-year degree
  • Requires fewer Northwest Core courses (general education courses)
  • A personalized and flexible degree plan
  • Cost-effective

Please note this program is not a traditional four-year program. It is structured for transfer students. Check out more on the benefits of our B.A.S. programs.

Minor Programs

You may also minor in food service or nutrition. These programs are designed for students interested in restaurant food service or business management. A minor in food service requires the completion of 24 credit hours. A minor in nutrition requires 23 to 24 credit hours and is perfect for students interested in nutrition and food science.

Career ready
Foods and Nutrition: Dietetics

“I feel like I’ve gotten a personalized, individualized education. Being able to know that faculty care if I understand these concepts and care how I perform in my job in the future is one of the biggest things I love.” — Bri Hersom

Career Opportunities

  • Clinical dietitian
  • Food service director
  • Food and nutrition specialist
  • Food services supervisor
  • Nutrition counselor
  • Pediatric dietitian
  • Registered dietitian
  • School food service director
  • Sports dietitian
  • Weight-management consultant

What Can I Do With a Major in Foods and Nutrition?

The foods lab

Northwest's foods lab houses stainless steel and state-of-the-art food production equipment. Recent renovations included countertops, flooring, stainless steel preparation tables, lab stools and modernized technology for demonstration. This facility allows students to design food science experiments and learn proper food preparation techniques!

The foods lab

Hands-on experience

Students are required to complete dietetics practicum. Students are required to complete 40 hours of job shadowing in a minimum of five areas including clinical in-patient, clinical out-patient, long-term care and dialysis. Students may choose between sports nutrition, mental health, community or food services for their fifth area. 

Hands-on experience

Physical assessment labs

Since the fall of 2016, the nutrition-focused physical assessment labs have offered hands-on learning experiences like checking blood pressure, studying skin integrity and health, analyzing skin fold measurements and more. 

Physical assessment labs

Martindale Hall Renovation

Martindale Hall, the home of Northwest's School of Health Science and Wellness, will have seven new lab spaces through the new renovation, including a Sports Science lab and a Recreation and Abilities lab.

Martindale Hall Renovation

Didactic Program in Dietetics


Northwest's dietetics program has been granted Full Accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) through 2031.

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza
Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Phone: 312.899.0040 ext. 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: 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 Didactic Program in Dietetics program at Northwest Missouri State University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/Dietetic Internship.

steps to become registered dietitian

(click to enlarge image)

Not sure which path is best for you or just need more information? 

We recommend contacting:

Kelli Wilmes
Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics/Instructor
Advisor, Kappa Omicron Nu
Advisor, Northwest Student Dietetics Association

800 University Drive
ADM 311
Northwest Missouri State University
Maryville, MO 64468

Program’s Mission, Goals, and Objectives

Dietetics (DPD program) Mission Statement

The mission of the Didactic Program in Dietetics is to instill in dietetics graduates a desire to be life-long learners, leaders, to prepare them for dietetics internships and to deliver food and nutrition services throughout society and across the lifespan to sustain or enhance their quality of life.

Goals and Outcomes

The goals for the DPD program at Northwest are appropriate for the mission of the present program and are consistent with the vision of the university and mission of the School of Health Science and Wellness. Each set of goals at our university really highlights the importance of helping that student accomplish their goals to excel in their studies and ultimately becomes excellent professionals in their field. At Northwest we pride ourselves on the focus we put on students each and every day. We strive to provide excellent learning opportunities, a supportive environment, and the knowledge they need to become successful in their professional careers and personal endeavors. Our goals are as follows:

Goal 1. The DPD program will prepare competent graduates with the knowledge and skills to be successful in dietetic internships or post-secondary schooling or employment in a food and nutrition related field.


  1. Program Completion: “At least 80% of DPD students will complete the program requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).”
  2. Graduate Application and Acceptance into Supervised Practice:
    1. “At least 60 percent of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation”.
    2. “Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 80 percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation”.
  3. Graduate Performance on Registration Exam:
    1. “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%.”
  4. Satisfaction with Graduate Performance:
    1. “Employers/supervisors/advisors will rank graduates on satisfactory preparation for employment, graduate program, or supervised practice with a rank of at least 3 or higher on a five-point scale.”

Goal 2. The DPD will prepare graduates to elevate the dietetics profession through membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), to become leaders, and develop a commitment to working with families and individuals to sustain or enhance their quality of life.

  1. 60% of the DPD graduates will be members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  2. 75% of the graduates, who respond, will indicate some form of continuing education within one year of graduation, and/ or have held leadership roles or offices.
  3. 70% of graduates who respond, within 12 months of graduation, will agree that they are still committed to helping families and individuals with their quality of life.

Program outcomes data is available upon request.

Admission Requirements

Entrance into the Didactic Program in Dietetics requires completion of an application view pdf document. Please check the requirements below before applying, and if you have any questions contact the Program Director.

  1. Declare your major. The major in Food and Nutrition, Dietetics may be declared by the completion of a university-required form.  This form may be obtained at the Registrars offices or by filling out the Online Catalog Program Change Form.
  2. Completion of at least 45 hours, including: 47-234 Nutrition and Diet Behavior, 47-230 Food Science/Lab, 04-102 General Biology and 04-103 Lab, 24-112 General Chemistry and 24-113 Lab.
  3. Grades of “C” or better in each of the above courses.
  4. A current Northwest Missouri State University GPA and cumulative GPA of at least 2.9.

Kelli Wilmes
Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics/Instructor
Advisor, Kappa Omicron Nu
Advisor, Northwest Student Dietetics Association

Estimated Costs

A description of fees charged by Northwest Missouri State University is outlined in the undergraduate course catalog and is on the Northwest web site. The textbook rental fee covers only one textbook per class. Required laboratory manuals or special texts will need to be purchased by the student. Also, transportation to and from sites required in 47-338 Practicum in Dietetics, will be defrayed by the student, and a $50 liability insurance will be billed. Student memberships in professional organizations are optional, but highly recommended. The cost for student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is $58/year. This fee also covers membership in the Missouri Dietetic Association. The cost of membership in the Northwest Student Dietetic Association is $20 annually. The lab fee for 47-230 Food Science is $50 and the lab fee for 47-333 Quantity Foods lab is $50, 47-433 Medical Nutrition Therapy I is $30 and 47-434 Medical Nutrition Therapy II is $30.

Financial Resources

Scholarships are available to dietetic students. The Dr. Mary Rose Gram scholarship, Phyllis Combs Leet Scholarship, and the Jake Cavanaugh Memorial Scholarship are all scholarships with a focus on dietetic students. In addition, students who participate in the Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society and meet membership criteria may apply for undergraduate and graduate scholarships. Application information is distributed to eligible students during the application period. Students may search for scholarships. Other financial assistance resources are available through the Financial Assistance office.

Supporting Documents

Academic Calendar

University calendar: Our program follows the university’s academic calendar.

Degree Requirements

To earn a B.S. in Foods and Nutrition: Dietetics students must complete 120 credit hours consisting of the university’s core requirements and the courses specified below. Students majoring in Foods and Nutrition must earn a grade of C or above in all courses required for the major.

DPD Professional Courses and hours

  • 39-276 Bio-Medical Ethics (3)
  • 54-313 Principles of Management (3)
  • 08-103 General Psychology (3)
  • 35-101 General Sociology (3)
  • 29-225 Intercultural Communication (3)
  • 51-201 Accounting (3)
  • 47-230 Food Science (4)
  • 47-232 Food Service Management (3)
  • 47-234 Nutrition and Diet Behavior (3)
  • 47-240 Introduction to Dietetics (2)
  • 47-332 Quantity Food Preparation (2)
  • 47-333 Quantity Food Preparation Laboratory (2)     
  • 47-334 Lifespan Nutrition (3)
  • 47-335 Community Nutrition (3)
  • 47-431 Macronutrients (3)
  • 47-432 Micronutrients (3) 
  • 47-433 Medical Nutrition Therapy I (4)
  • 47-434 Medical Nutrition Therapy II (4)             
  • 47-436 Medical Nutrition Counseling (3)
  • 47-338 Practicum in Dietetics (1-3)
  • 47-440 Senior Seminar in Dietetics (2)

DPD Science Courses and hours

  • 04-102/103 General Biology/Laboratory (4)
  • 04-104 Medical Terminology (3)
  • 04-140 General Microbiology (4)
  • 04-236 Anatomy Allied Health (4)
  • 04-238 Physiology Allied Health (4)
  • 24-112/113 General Chemistry/Laboratory (4)
  • 24-242/243 Organic Chemistry (4)
  • 24-362/363 Elementary Biochemistry (4)                    

Institutional Requirements and hours

  • 44130 Computer and Information Technology (3)

Next Steps: Verification of Completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

The Verification Statement signifies that all the classes and requirements of the didactic program have been successfully met and the student is eligible to apply for a supervised practice/dietetic internship program. The policy for issuing verification statements follows:

  1. The student must successfully complete the core and the Food & Nutrition dietetics major requirements for graduation in the catalog in effect in the year of admission to the University or in a subsequent catalog.
  2. A Senior Statement must be applied for prior to the student’s last two trimesters.
  3. To receive a Verification Statement, it is expected that each student will receive a B or better in their 300 level and above Foods and Nutrition Dietetics courses. A student may receive the maximum of one C in the above stated courses.
  4. The student must successfully complete the Dietetics capstone course, Senior Seminar and obtain a “B” or higher grade.
  5. The student must achieve a minimum cumulative grade point of 3.0 (as of May 2016) point on a 4-point scale.
  6. The student must show proof of attending or participating in a dietetic professional meeting or event. Approval required by DPD Director.
  7. Verification Statement will be issued and sent via certified mail after the date final grades and conferring of the Bachelor of Science Degree are posted by the University Registrar and have been verified by the DPD director according to the student’s final degree audit on CatPaws.
  8. Those students that do not qualify for a verification statement will be notified formally by mail.
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