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AHS Nutrition and Dietetics

Program Overview

The Nutrition and Dietetics program results in a bachelor of science degree and helps prepare students to become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN).  The Nutrition and Dietetics program is one of three concentrations within the Hospitality Management and Dietetics (HMD) major at WKU.  Explore our website and student handbook for information on admission requirements, curriculum, estimated expenses, policies and more.

Program Mission

We prepare students for careers as dietetic professionals by providing the knowledge and skills needed to improve the quality of life of those they serve.

What is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist? 

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists translate the science of food and nutrition to healthy lifestyles. In addition to disease prevention, dietitians are a trusted source to help people manage diabetes, heart disease, weight, and food allergies.

Students interested in becoming an RD/RDN should be committed to academic achievement and have a strong science foundation.  Courses in food preparation, medical nutrition therapy, management, biology, and chemistry are taken. This vital and growing profession offers a variety of career opportunities that include nutrition counseling, wellness, and food service management.

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Complete at least a bachelor's degree at an accredited college or university in the United States and complete course work in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Completion of the Nutrition and Dietetics concentration, within the HMD major, at Western Kentucky University allows for the completion of the bachelor's degree and the necessary course work.

Students must complete an internship that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Students apply to internship programs in their last year at Western Kentucky University and complete internships after graduating from the University. Entrance into internships is competitive. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.3 to 3.5 and relevant work and volunteer experience aid in the preparation for a supervised practice program. Most internship programs utilize the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) and computer matching to review and select interns. The student handbook provides more information on the internship application process.

Students must pass the credentialing exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) following completion of an ACEND accredited internship.

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 here.

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 Nutrition & Dietetics program (Didactic Program in Dietetics) at Western Kentucky University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.

  • medical nutrition therapy in hospitals and long-term care facilities
  • sports nutrition and wellness
  • public health nutrition
  • private practice
  • food service management in schools, hospitals, or long-term care
  • business, research & education

After becoming an RD/RDN, continued learning is required. This continued education involves the generation of a professional development portfolio. Dietitians must earn 75 hours of continuing professional development related to self-selected goals within a five year period. More about the process of professional development may be found on the website of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In Kentucky, and most other states, graduates must also 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.

National Accreditation

  • The Nutrition and Dietetics Program at WKU is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606, 312/899-5400, www.eatrightpro.org/acend.   
  • As a part of accreditation, the program has established goals for performance. Program outcomes data are available upon request.
Applied Human Sciences Department
Contact Information

1906 College Heights Blvd #11037

Bowling Green, KY  42101-1037

270-7405-5128 (phone)

deirdre.lawless@wku.edu (e-mail)


dietitian counseling student on exercise equipment



dietitian counseling client about meal selection



restaurant mangers looking at menu

photos by Sheryl Hagan-Booth

Accreditations achieved within the Applied Human Sciences Department

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) - Nutrition & Dietetic Undergraduate and Graduate programs

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - Early Childhood Education Associate Degree

National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) - Interior Design program


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 Last Modified 12/5/23