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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Didactic Program in Dietetics

If You Already Hold a Degree

This page is for those who already have a degree in something other than nutrition and are interested in our degree program or becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

Unfortunately, at this time CSULB only allows first-time bachelor degree students. This means students who already have a non-nutrition degree cannot complete the course requirements to become a registered dietitian nutritionist at CSULB (even if the previous degree was health related).

If you have an international undergraduate or graduate-level degree in nutrition, dietetics, or nutrition science, please visit Foreign Degree Evaluation

Why can't I go to CSULB to become a RDN if I already have a degree?

In order to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (see the steps here), you need to complete bachelor’s level training at an ACEND-accredited program. The limit on courses taken at CSULB by non-students is 9 units, which is not adequate to fulfill the DPD requirements. It typically takes about 2 years of full-time study to complete DPD requirements if someone already possess a degree.

At this time we do not offer any certificate programs or non-degree options to allow students to complete DPD requirements without being an enrolled CSULB bachelor’s degree student. Additionally, DPD classes cannot be taken as part of CSULB’s Master of Science Program in Nutritional Science, which actually requires a degree in Nutrition or Dietetics as part of its admission requirements. Please be aware that having a M.S. in Nutritional Science or a nutrition-related degree alone will not allow you to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

What are my options if I want to become a RDN?

We recommend you inquire with other programs to see which classes, specifically for their programs, you can take there or at a community college. The program would need to evaluate your transcripts and give you a list of classes to take based on your course history. You might want to look for their “DPD Director” to find the person with whom you should talk. See a complete searchable list of all undergraduate options here. If you completed this route elsewhere then in the future you could apply to CSULB's Dietetic Internship and/or Master of Science Program in Nutritional Science.

Another route to explore is a Coordinated Program, in which some dietetic internships will accept students who do not have all undergraduate courses completed. Some even combine this course of study with a Master’s degree. There are both local and distance options – a complete list of Coordinated Programs can be found here. We encourage you to contact the programs directly to find out what their pre-requisite requirements are.

In very rare cases we may be able to offer a verification statement to a student who has completed a Nutritrion/Ditetetics degree at an ACEND-accredited program (such as another DPD) and just needs to update a course or two. Please contact the DPD Director if this is your unique situation.