Background Information

NDSU has a long-standing history in food and nutrition. Since 1925, NDSU has educated nutrition experts who are active nationwide in the profession of nutrition and dietetics and leaders in professional organizations.

Program Information

NDSU offers two tracks for those interested in studying nutrition science. The first is an accredited BS/MS Accelerated Coordinated Program in Nutrition Science and Dietetics (CPD) to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). An RDN is a nutrition expert and is a nationally recognized credential that is required for most employment in the healthcare industry and preferred for many other employment opportunities in the area of food and nutrition. The BS/MS Accelerated Coordinated Program in Nutrition Science and Dietetics combines the required 1,000 hours of supervised practice with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science and Master of Science in Exercise Science and Nutrition. Students graduate at the end of five years with the necessary preparation to take the Commission on Dietetic registration exam to become an RDN. Please see the CPD website for more information.

The second track is a four-year BS in Nutrition Science. This is a non-accredited program that provides students a background in nutrition but also serves as a pathway for advanced degrees in other health professions such as Pre-Physician Assistant, Athletic Trainer, or Accelerated (Post-Baccalaureate) BSN to become a licensed Registered Nurse. This degree path allows flexibility in courses to ensure students are able to meet prerequisite course requirements for other degrees they may pursue in the future.

Career Opportunities

Dietitians are employed in facilities such as hospitals, clinics and long-term care, providing nutrition therapy as well as foodservice administration. Dietitians work in various fields including high school, college, and professional sports, in business as sales or educational professionals, for commercial and government establishments, or in community or clinical settings and public health. Some registered dietitian nutritionists work for food commodity groups such as the Dairy Council or Wheat Commission. Dietitians work in education by teaching dietetics, nutrition and foodservice management in colleges, universities, medical schools and public school systems. In community settings, dietitians provide counseling and nutritional services for city and county health departments, older American feeding programs, childcare centers, school foodservice programs, and in retail settings like grocery stores. Dietitians also work in wellness centers, hospitals, and consulting positions as part of the health promotion team.

The practice of dietetics is continuously changing as more research is conducted on foods and on the role of food in human health. Many dietitians work in hospital settings, either in clinical management or nutrition therapy as clinical dietitians. Clinical dietitians who work in nutrition therapy assess the nutritional needs of patients, plan menus, recommend or prescribe diets and nutritional support for patients, consult with physicians and direct educational programs on nutrition and special diets. They are members of the interdisciplinary team both in healthcare and wellness facilities.

Career Outlook

Placement surveys conducted in the Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences at NDSU show that more than 90 percent of graduates from the Coordinated Program in Nutrition Science and Dietetics are employed or enrolled in graduate training within 12 months of graduation. In recent study, it was projected there will be a continued demand for dietitians in both traditional and nontraditional areas for years to come. During college, many opportunities are available for students to obtain experience in the field. Some of those opportunities are offered through multiple healthcare facilities such as acute care hospitals and nursing homes, food service in a variety of venues, and public health service.

Academic Advisement

The Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences prides itself on giving individual attention and advisement to each student. A faculty advisor is assigned to each nutrition science major. The academic advisor helps students set goals for their college work, helps them choose courses and encourages them to seek community work experience during their college career. In addition to the academic advisor, each incoming freshman and transfer student is assigned a student advisor to help with routine questions and to give assistance in adjusting to college life.

High School Preparation

Students interested in nutrition science should have a background in the natural sciences and mathematics. Strong communication skills, both oral and written, is an advantage to students considering nutrition science.


Numerous scholarships are available through the College of Human Sciences and Education and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Contact the department for more information or visit: