Nutrition is an integrative science that draws from physiology, biology, chemistry, behavior sciences and other disciplines to understand food, behavior and health. In addition to preparing students to become registered dietitians/nutritionists (RDN), nutrition science is a great pre-professional major for careers in the allied health sciences. Two concentrations within the degree are offered: the didactic program in dietetics (DP) concentration and the nutrition with science (NS) concentration. The DP concentration is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) which is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the US Department of Education. Completing an accredited DP program is the first step in becoming a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN).
The DP concentration requires 120 semester hours and is suited only for students who intend to pursue the RDN credential. Admission to the didactic program in dietetics requires a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA from ECU. Program admission is very competitive and requires completion of all prerequisites and an application submitted in February of the preceding year. There is a cap of 26 students enrolled as a cohort each year into the DP concentration.
The nutrition with science concentration (NS) requires 120 semester hours and includes 16 s.h. of electives. This concentration promotes elective flexibility to support a variety of professional goals. The NS concentration is well suited for pre-professional programs in occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, dental medicine, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. Students should consider minors in areas that complement their career goals. Suggested minors could include community health-public health services, business, psychology, exercise science, hospitality management, or health promotion. There is no cap on enrollment for entry into the NS concentration. Because there are few pre-requisite requirements for the upper-level NUTR courses within this concentration, it is well suited for students who transfer from other programs and other universities. Student must maintain a 2.5 GPA to stay in this concentration.
The Department of Nutrition Science also offers a dietetic internship that is accredited by ACEND. (See graduate catalog for details.) Completion of an accredited DP and an accredited dietetic internship or other accredited/approved supervised experience program are required to become a RDN. Completion of the BS degree in nutrition and dietetics does not guarantee admission into an internship. Admission into the ECU dietetic internship is competitive due to the limited availability of internship positions and requires admittance into the Graduate School, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and mean minimum GRE verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning scores at the 30% percentile.