Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist Program

This innovative bachelor's plus master's program provides a foundation in nutrition, food science, medical nutrition therapy, health promotion and wellness. Completion of the didactic coursework meets the academic requirements for the Didactic Program in Dietetics (coursework to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist or RDN), set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  This program also fulfills the 1200 hours of supervised practice experience for RDN credentialing exam eligibility.  

Changes in the Nutrition & Dietetics Field 

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 [program type] program at [Institution name] are eligible to [apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN].

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.

Note: All those holding the RDN/RD credential before 2024 will not be required to earn a master's degree in order to keep that credential.

In response to these accreditation changes, the University of Cincinnati has developed a combined program that allows students to graduate with the bachelor's, masters' and supervised practice internship completed in just 5 years. A traditional pathway would take a student about 6-7 years to complete. The program is a coordinated program in that students learn about different aspects of nutrition and dietetics practice in the classroom and then apply it in clinical, community, food service and a variety of other settings. 

Students currently enrolled in Nutrition & Dietetics major (in either the Community or Sports Nutrition Tracks) can apply to the accelerated program in their sophomore year. The program includes 3 of the 4 steps to prepare you to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN):

  1. The didactic coursework which is completed in year 1 and
  2. The supervised practice, which is a minimum of 1200 hours, is completed in year 
  3. Students will complete the program with a graduate degree (required after Jan 1, 2024)
  4. Upon completion of the Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist program students will be eligible to take the national credentialing exam for the RDN. 

In many states, RDNs will need a license or certification to practice. In the state of Ohio, with the RDN credential, a background check and payment of a fee is the requirement for a practitioner to receive his or her license to practice.

RDN professionals work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, supermarkets, private practice settings, eating disorder centers, with athletes, in academia, research, health departments, business corporations, health clubs, and many other areas.

Beginning in 2024 to practice as a RDN, you must complete the DPD courses, obtain a master’s degree, complete 1200 hours of a supervised practice internship, and pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration credentialing exam for RDNs. The RDN credential enables an individual to perform nutrition risk assessments and prescribe medical nutrition therapy to treat or prevent diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disease, renal disease, and so forth.  Dietitians also work with healthy clients who have specialized dietary needs such as athletes, vegetarians, pregnant women, children who are picky eaters, etc. 

High School Students

The Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist Program is only available to current students in the Nutrition & Dietetics major (Clinical Community or Sports Nutrition Track). 

Current Nutrition & Dietetics majors

Current Nutrition & Dietetics students should visit the How to Apply page to learn more about the Admissions process for the Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist Program. 

The curriculum information for the Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist Program is intended as a general information guide for students considering enrollment in this program. These online tools are designed to assist the student, but are not a substitute for planning with an academic or faculty advisor.

Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist Program Year 1 = Junior year undergraduate program

  • Students take undergraduate coursework through spring semester Year 1
  • Students complete supervised practice preparation in spring semester Year 1.  This is an orientation class to the supervised practice experience.
  • Student begin Supervised Practice Experience I in summer semester Year 1 at UC and the Greater Cincinnati area (30 days/240 hours); these experiences include community and elective rotations.

Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist Program Year 2 = Senior Year undergraduate program

  • Students complete undergraduate didactic coursework Fall semester Year 2
  • Students complete undergraduate Supervised Practice Experience II in Fall semester Year 2 at UC and the Greater Cincinnati area (25 days/200 hours).  These experiences includes rotations in food service, retail and business settings and clinical simulation practice. 

Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist Program Year 3 and 4 = 1.5 years graduate program

  • Students complete their graduate didactic coursework in 3 semesters.  
  • Students complete a quality improvement project for their capstone experience while in supervised practice rotations.
  • Students complete Advanced Supervised Practice of Dietetics I and II between mid-August and the third week of April (98 days or 784 hours).  These experiences will include acute care, long term care or pediatrics, and food service management.

Review the program outline to access program curriculum(s) and more.

Program outcome data is available upon request

Headshot of John Pantel, MS, RDN, LDN

John Pantel, MS, RDN, LDN

Program Director, Department of Rehabilitation, Exercise & Nutrition Sciences

3225 Eden Ave | Cincinnati, OH 45267-0394