What is Dietetics?

Dietetics is the practice of integrating biochemical, physiological, social, and managerial concepts into the science of nutrition to achieve a healthy lifestyle. A degree in dietetics offers challenging and rewarding employment opportunities working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health agencies, food industry, research labs and more. Whether administering medical nutrition therapy in a health-care setting or directing food service operations, registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) work toward the prevention and treatment of disease.

Is Dietetics for me?Clinical Nutritionist meeting with a child in a hospital setting.

If you are concerned with the nutrition and health of individuals and communities you should consider pursuing a degree in nutrition and dietetics. An interest in science and enjoyment in working with people will also be beneficial for those considering this degree. In many cases those with a degree in nutrition and dietetics spend much of their time working with people as patients, clients, consumers or employees. For more information watch the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Career Video on the Eat Right Pro website.

Why Dietetics at UW-Madison?

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education and Nutrition in Dietetics (ACEND). The DPD program at UW-Madison is consistently ranked among the highest in the nation. The program is offered through the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Within the past 10 years, over 400 students have received their B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from UW-Madison.

What can I do with a Dietetics degree?

Depending upon your interests, you may choose to apply for a  Dietetic Internship (DI) which will allow you to pursue certification as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). A RDN is the most widely recognized nutrition professional. Although it is possible to specialize in nutrition without being an RD, many nutrition-related jobs require the RDN credential because it signifies professional competence. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the professional association that establishes the criteria for becoming registered and administers the process.

What does the job outlook look like for graduates of a Dietetics program?

Increased emphasis on disease prevention, a growing and aging population and public interest in nutrition are factors that are influencing the demand for dietitians. The employment rate for dietitians is expected to increase 11% by 2028. Full-time salaries for dietitians can range from ~$40,000 to >$98,000*. Variability in salary is based on many factors including scope of responsibility. For more information on employment and salary projections visit the information provided by the Academy’s Compensation and Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession


How do I apply for the Dietetics Program?

Once you have decided you want to pursue a degree in Dietetics, you will need to:

  • Determine if you meet the requirements for entry into the program
  • Declare the major (Pre-Dietetics)
  • apply to the program (Dietetics)

Please see the Application Process page for complete details.

Please note that admission to the ‘Pre-Dietetics’ Program does not guarantee admission to the B.S. Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics Program (Dietetics Classification).