General Undergraduate Terms


Each school and college within U.W. Madison has a set of requirements that students must complete to earn a degree. Degrees are offered at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral level. The Department of Nutritional Sciences offers two Bachelor’s of Science degrees: Nutrition and Dietetics and Bachelor of Science.


Both degree programs (Nutrition and Dietetics, Bachelor of Science) offer one major – Nutritional Sciences. A specific degree program may offer more than one major. A specific major may be found in more than one degree program.

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)expand_more

The DPD is the in-class instruction that provides students with a B.S. degree and the course work needed to apply to a Dietetic Supervised Practice Program (Indernship – see below). The mission of the DPD is to provide a high-quality, broad-based education that will equip graduates with the foundation knowledge and skills needed to pursue their professional goals, including the successful practice of dietetics.

Dietetic Supervised Practice Programs or Dietetic Internship (DI)expand_more

Dietetic Internships are post-baccalaureate, supervised practice programs. During the internship, knowledge and skills obtained from the DPD coursework are applied in actual work settings. Some internships offer a stipend and others may charge tuition. Acceptance into DI programs is very competitive. In recent years, approximately 50% of the students, nation-wide, who applied were accepted into a DI program. For more information on improving your chances of acceptance into an internship go to Improving Your Chances for an Internship.

What is the difference between Dietetics and Bachelor of Science Degree?expand_more

The B.S. Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics (Major: Nutritional Sciences) provides students with the course work needed for a career in dietetics. Upon graduation, students will receive a verification statement verifying completion of a DPD program needed to participate in the majority of  Supervised Practice Programs. Starting January 1, 2024, students who wish to be a credentialed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, must complete a Supervised Practice Program (Dietetic Internship) plus hold a Master’s degree. The Bachelor of Science Degree (Major: Nutritional Sciences) is focused on the sciences necessary for a solid background in the biological aspects of nutrition. The program offers study in Zoology, Bacteriology, Genetics, Chemistry, Physics and Math along with Nutrition classes. It includes all of the pre-requisite courses required for medical school and provides an excellent foundation for graduate or professional study. With graduate work, this option prepares students for work in research laboratories, clinics or experiment stations. Employment opportunities without graduate or professional study are limited. It does not provide the coursework needed to obtain the Registered Dietitian credential.

What is the ‘Didactic Program in Dietetics’ and what is its purpose?expand_more

The Dietetics Program at U.W. Madison is a ‘Didactic Program in Dietetics’ (DPD). A Didactic Program in Dietetics is one in which in-class instruction provides students with a B.S. Degree and the course work needed to apply to a Dietetic Supervised Practice and to be a credentialed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. The mission of the DPD is to provide a high-quality, broad-based education that will equip graduates with the foundation knowledge and skills needed to pursue their professional goals, including the successful practice of dietetics. The DPD at UW-Madison provides the required dietetics coursework to meet the Foundation Knowledge and Skill requirements.

When I complete the DPD what kind of degree will I have?expand_more

Undergraduate students in the DPD will have a major in Nutritional Sciences. Those who successfully complete the program will obtain a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and are then eligible to apply for Dietetic Supervised Practice Programs (Internships).

Once I have completed my degree, what are my chances of getting a Dietetic Internship and passing the Registration Exam?expand_more

If you have successfully completed a B.S. Degree in Dietetics, you must be accepted into a Dietetic Supervised Practice Program (Internship). When considering students for acceptance, internship programs look at many factors. Some of these include:

  • Overall undergraduate GPA and GPA in science and professional courses (3.3 or above, although a slightly lower GPA may be accepted along with strong work or volunteer experience)
  • Dietetics related work and volunteer experience
  • Leadership experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of application
  • Interview
  • Since 2018, 96% of the UW graduates who applied for dietetic internships were placed. This exceeded the national average acceptance of about 74%. Of the U.W. graduates taking the registration examination, more than 90% passed the examination on the first try. For further information, see Improving Your Chances for an Internship.

What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?expand_more

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is knowledgeable in the science of nutrition. An RDN learns how to interpret research studies and apply that knowledge to counseling individuals on how to improve their lifestyle and health. They are able to review a person’s medical history, current symptoms, medications, supplements, exercise routine, weight, and eating habits and give advice that is safe and effective for them to reach their goals. Starting January 1, 2024, eligibility for taking the RDN examination is to compete a Dietetic Supervised Practice Program (Internship) plus have a Master’s degree. Once a credentialed RDN, individuals must complete 75 continuing education credits every 5 years.A “Nutritionist” may or may not have the credentials of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. An RDN is the recognized authority on nutrition in the US. Some nutritionists claim they have credentials, but if they are not an RDN, their credentials may not be backed by science, education, and experience.

Requests for Verification Statementsexpand_more

The Verification Statement attests to your successful completion of the DPD and can be considered as important as a diploma for the DPD. Every student will need a Verification Statement before they start their Dietetic Supervised Practice Program (Internship). In other words, YOU CANNOT START WITHOUT ONE! The Verification Statements will be sent directly to you, NOT the DI program, so please don’t wait until the last minute because they may not let you begin the program if you don’t have it.

If you have graduated, you may obtain a Verification Statement by submitting the following to Tara LaRowe:

  • “Official” UW-Madison transcript with the degree posted.
  • “Official” transcripts from all other colleges/universities attended (unless you have already submitted them previously).
  • Request Form –Verification Statement
  • Academic Requirement Checklist

If you are requesting a Verification Statement, DO NOT submit this request until after your degree is posted to your transcript! Please allow 1-2 weeks for completion of the Verification Statement.

DPD Director Information
First Name: Adam
Last Name: Kuchnia
Email address: kuchnia@wisc.edu

If you have not submitted the proper documentation to Tara LaRowe prior to requesting the form via DICAS, your request will be denied.

Once the appropriate form has been completed, you will be able to review it and then add your electronic signature so it can be included in your application. If you are matched, you will need to send a “hard copy” to the internship program.