Dietetics Student Handbook

Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources 
University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI

Updated 6/9/2023


Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences

Agricultural Sciences Building III (AGSCI)
1955 East West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Web Page:


Welcome | Admission | Taking Courses at UH's Community Colleges | Mission and Goals of the UHM DPD | Didactic Program in Dietetics Core Knowledge Requirements for RDNs (KRDN) | Outcomes | Degree Requirements | General Undergraduate Foundation and Core Requirements | Costs and Financial Assistance |  Professional Portfolio | Evaluation | Grievance Procedure | Retention, Remediation and Disciplinary Action | Liability and Travel Insurance | Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) | After Graduating from the University- Now What? | Dietetic Internships | Applying for an Internship – A Supervised Practice Program | NEW Entry-level Registration Eligibility Requirements | Applying for an Internship - Suggested Time Frame | Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) | UHM Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) | Characteristics of successful dietetics internship applicants | DPD Course List | RDN Exam | Exciting Careers | Specialized Areas in DieteticsMaintaining RDN Status | Useful Websites | Student Academic Support Services | Course Descriptions




Welcome to the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences - the only dietetics program offered within the State of Hawaiʻi. It is our wish that you find personal and professional growth and rewards as a dietetics student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM).

This handbook was prepared for students interested in majoring in the field of Dietetics and interested in becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). RDNs apply the science of food and nutrition to daily living and good health. For many federal/state agencies, hospitals and universities providing nutrition services, a RDN is the required professional.

Note: Every effort has been made to ensure that the material in this handbook is accurate, up-to-date and complete. However, occasionally errors and changes occur. It is recommended to double check with your academic advisor before taking any course.

The Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is currently granted Accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, Telephone: 800-877-1600 ext. 5400, It prepares students with the knowledge base for a dietetic internship and/or graduate school.

Anti-Discrimination Policy

UHM and its dietetics programs are “committed to a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender identity and expression, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, genetic information, marital status, breastfeeding, income assignment for child support, arrest and court record (except as permissible under State law), sexual orientation, national guard absence, or status as a covered veteran. This policy covers admission and access to and participation, treatment, and employment in the university’s programs and activities. Discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, is prohibited under this policy” The entire Anti-Discrimination Policy Statement is available at Any question of interpretation regarding this Anti-Discrimination Policy Statement shall be referred to the Vice President for Student Affairs. UHM is bound by the provisions of the federal law known as Title IX which forbids any sexual discrimination (including sexual harassment) in educational activities/settings. UHM faculty members are considered mandatory reports under Title IX and will inform the university of any incident that appears to be a violation of the law. In addition, ACEND will not tolerate any acts of racism, social injustice, microaggression and discrimination in nutrition and dietetics programs. 

Sexual Harassment Policy

UHM and the dietetics program are committed to maintaining an educational and work climate that is positive and free from all forms of Harassment, including sexual harassment. Harassment in the workplace or the education environment is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated. The UHM’s policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment can be found at


Admission into the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

Undergraduate students interested in the Dietetics major are accepted either as upperclassmen or as transfer students at any time of the year once admission requirements are met.

Students who want to transfer into the Dietetics (DTCS) major are required to have:

  • 60 earned credits (Junior standing)
  • A minimum total GPA of 3.0
  • Completed FSHN 185 with a grade of B (not B-) or better
  • Completed the following courses with a grade of C (not C-) or better
    • MATH 140 (or higher)
    • PHYL 141 & 141 Lab
    • PHYL 142 & 142 Lab
    • CHEM 161 & 161 Lab
    • CHEM 162 & 162 Lab

Students who have taken courses at another university or community college outside of the University of Hawaiʻi system must arrange to have their official transcripts sent to the UHM Admissions Office for evaluation of transfer credits. Courses not meeting the university core requirements, but are acceptable academically, will be transferred and counted as elective credits. 

Upon entering the program, students will be required to meet with academic advisors to map out their academic pathway toward degree completion. Contact the CTAHR academic advisors at or schedule an appointment through STAR Balance. Students should contact the DPD director at for details on the dietetics program and post-graduation plans.

Transfer Credit: Credit for prior learning is granted for transfer students and other non-traditional students who are pursuing a DPD verification statement either via the BS in Dietetics or via the Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences. In determining acceptance of academic credit from prior institutions first, the UH System Course Transfer database is reviewed to see if courses being requested for review have already been verified for equivalency. If the course has not been evaluated, the appropriate course instructor is asked to review the pending course syllabus for equivalency to the UH Mānoa course. The last step in granting credit for prior coursework is for the DPD Director to review the credits being granted for prior coursework within the DPD curriculum and program SLO assessment plan. This is to ensure that all KRDNs are being met and program student learning outcomes assessment is occurring consistently across all students who are seeking a DPD verification.

Note to Foreign Transfer students: Thank you for considering the DPD at the UHM. The UHM’s dietetics program is nationally accredited and falls under the jurisdiction of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). All course work acquired outside of the U.S. has to go through a reciprocity evaluation. You will need to send your transcripts (along with a fee) to have your course work evaluated. View the Foreign Degree Evaluation Agencies that have been recommended by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics to do this service.

Once you have the reciprocity report, you can see how your courses fit within the requirements of the UHM's DPD. Please check the course requirements section of the Dietetics Student Handbook or the Dietetics (BS) web page.

Once accepted, you will be considered part of the DPD and the “clock will start ticking”. There is no time limit but the dietetics program is evaluated on how long it takes for students to complete required coursework. Note that the course load is quite heavy especially if you are new to the UHM campus. Dietetics is a profession where you are expected to be self-motivated, to work hard, and do what is necessary to accomplish your goals. Pace yourself accordingly, possibly taking several courses during the summer. The department requires mandatory advising of all students, including dietetic students. Each semester dietetic students will consult with his/her advisor to review coursework and assess their academic progress. At the end of the junior year, students will be encouraged to be advised by the Dietetics Program Director (if they are not already) to ensure program requirements are met for graduation and to facilitate the dietetic internship application process.


Taking Courses at University of Hawaiʻi’s Community Colleges

Many of University of Hawaiʻi’s Community Colleges offer a variety of courses required by the dietetics curriculum. In addition, parking is free! You might decide to attend a community college first, but keep in mind that there are approximately 2 years of required upper division courses that are available only at UHM.

Please meet with an academic advisor to discuss what courses could be taken at a system community college. The advisors will be able to assist students with planning courses and discussing course equivalencies.


Mission of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)

The Dietetics program mission is to provide the foundation knowledge and skills in dietetics for successful preparation of students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist with an emphasis on community nutrition and an appreciation for the unique cultural environment of Hawai‘i and US Affiliated Pacific Region.

Goals of the UHM DPD include:

  • Program Goal #1: Program graduates will be  prepared for accredited dietetic internships, institutions of higher learning, and supervised practice graduates prepared for entry level RDN practice through high quality education and training.

  • Program Goal #2: Program graduates will have demonstrated a commitment to community service and appreciation for the unique cultural environment of Hawai‘i  and the US Affiliated Pacific.


DPD Core Knowledge Requirements for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (KRDN)

Domain 1: Scientific and Evidence Base of Practice: Integration of scientific information and translation research into practice.

KRDN 1.1: Demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate and use professional literature to make ethical, evidenced-based practice decisions.

KRDN 1.2: Select and use appropriate current information technologies to locate and apply evidence-based guidelines and protocols. 

KRDN 1.3: Apply critical thinking skills.

Domain 2: Professional Practice Expectations: Beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors for the nutrition and dietetics practitioner level of practice. 

KRDN 2.1: Demonstrate effective and professional oral and written communication and documentation.

KRDN 2.2: Describe the governance of nutrition and dietetics practice, such as the Scope of Practice for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the Code of Ethics for the Professional of Nutrition and Dietetics. 

KRDN 2.3: Assess the impact of a public policy position on nutrition and dietetics practice.

KRDN 2.4: Discuss the impact of health care policy and different health care delivery systems on food and nutrition services.

KRDN 2.5: Identify and describe the work of interprofessional teams and the roles of others with whom the registered dietitian nutritionist collaborates. 

KRDN 2.6: Demonstrate cultural humility, awareness of personal biases and an understanding of cultural differences as they contribute to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

KRDN 2.7: Describe contributing factors to health inequity in nutrition and dietetics including structural bias, social inequities, health disparities and discrimination. 

KRDN 2.8: Participate in a nutrition and dietetics professional organization and explain the significant role of the organization. 

KRDN 2.9: Defend a position on issues impacting the nutrition and dietetics profession. 

Domain 3: Clinical and Client Services: Development and delivery of information, products and services to individuals, groups and populations.

KRDN 3.1: Use the Nutrition Care Process and clinical workflow elements to assess nutritional parameters, diagnose nutritional-related problems, determine appropriate nutrition interventions and develop plans to monitor the effectiveness of these interventions. 

KRDN 3.2: Develop an educational session or program/educational strategy for a target population.

KRDN 3.3: Demonstrate counseling and education methods to facilitate behavior change and enhance wellness for diverse individuals and groups.

KRDN 3.4: Practice routine health screening assessments, including measuring blood pressure and conducting waived point-of-care laboratory testing (such as blood glucose or cholesterol). 

KRDN 3.5: Describe concepts of nutritional genomics and how they relate to medical nutrition therapy, health and disease. 

KRDN 3.6: Develop nutritionally sound meals, menus and meal plans that promote health and disease management and meet client’s/patient’s needs.

Domain 4: Practice Management and Use of Resources: Strategic application of principles of management and systems in the provision of services to individuals and organizations.

KRDN 4.1: Apply management theories to the development of programs or services. 

KRDN 4.2: Evaluate a budget/financial management plan and interpret financial data. 

KRDN 4.3: Demonstrate an understanding of the regulation system related to billing and coding, what services are reimbursable by third party payers, and how reimbursement may be obtained. 

KRDN 4.4: Apply the principles of human resource management to different situations. 

KRDN 4.5: Apply safety and sanitation principles related to food, personnel and consumers.

KRDN 4.6: Explain the processes involved in delivering quality food and nutrition services. 

KRDN 4.7: Evaluate data to be used in decision-making for continuous quality improvement. 

Domain 5: Leadership and Career Management: Skills, strengths, knowledge and experience relevant to leadership potential and professional growth for the nutrition and dietetics practitioner. 

KRDN 5.1:  Perform self-assessment that includes awareness in terms of learning and leadership styles and cultural orientation and develop goals for self-improvement. 

KRDN 5.2: Identify and articulate one’s skills, strengths, knowledge and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals. 

KRDN 5.3: Practice how to self-advocate for opportunities in a variety of settings (such as asking for needed support, presenting an elevator pitch). 

KRDN 5.4:  Practice resolving differences or dealing with conflict. 

KRDN 5.5: Promote team involvement and recognize the skills of each member.

KRDN 5.6: Demonstrate an understanding of the importance and expectations of a professional in mentoring and precepting others.


University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Outcomes

The following UHM DPD outcomes are continuously monitored to ensure high quality learning experiences and program effectiveness. Program outcomes are available upon request to the Dietetic Program Director.

Goal 1: Program graduates will be  prepared for accredited dietetic internships, institutions of higher learning, and supervised practice graduates prepared for entry level RDN practice through high quality education and training.
1 “At least 80% of students complete program requirements within 3 years (150% of planned program length)”.
2 "At least50 percent of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation”.
3 Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 40 percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation”.
4 “The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%”.
5 80% of Supervised Practice program directors, graduate program advisors, and employers who responded to the program director survey will rate our program graduates as prepared or well prepared for current role (intern, graduate student, employee).

Over a 3-year period 90% of graduates who responded to the alumni survey will rate themselves as prepared or well prepared for their Supervised Practice program

Goal 2: Program graduates will have demonstrated a commitment to community service and appreciation for the unique cultural environment of Hawai‘i  and the US Affiliated Pacific.
1 100% of graduates will participate in an outside professional learning experience or volunteer activity with an organization that serves Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders or is unique to the Hawaiian community



University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Requirements

The Dietetics program sheet and four year plan can be found at the Bachelor Degree Program Sheets and Sample Four Year Academic Plans website. Please scroll down the page to the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

The UHM DPD is based on requirements mandated by the College and University requirements and the Standards of Education of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. Due to the large number of required courses, especially those courses that have prerequisites, scheduling can be challenging. As an entering freshman you can complete the dietetics undergraduate program at the UHM in four years if you closely follow the course sequence on the sample four year plan. This plan specifies all required coursework including the University undergraduate core requirements. Many of the courses required in the first two years are offered at the community colleges.

All UHM DPD students are required to complete a 100-hour field experience while enrolled in FSHN 492. This experience can be paid or volunteer. Email the DPD program director for a list of potential field experience sites. Students are required to meet all volunteer criteria of the field experience organization and all costs are the responsibility of the student (e.g. travel, immunizations, background checks). A formal affiliation agreement is not required by mutual agreement of the program and experiential site. If the field site requests an agreement, one will be negotiated.

Academic Integrity and Honor Pledge

UHM and the Dietetics program expect that students be responsible in relations with other members of the UHM community and are subject to the student code of conduct which includes matters around academic dishonesty (cheating and plagiarism. Details on the student code of conduct can be found 

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Code of Ethics

As UHM dietetics students are on the pathway to becoming Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics members and credentialed RDNs, students should also be aware of the Academy’s Code of Ethics and will be expected to adhere to the four principles and standards; 1. Non-maleficence, 2. Integrity, 3. Beneficence, and 4. Justice. Students should review this resource for further information on these expectations 



General Undergraduate Foundation and Core Requirements

A complete course list and most up to date information on the University's general education and core requirements is available online at the Undergraduate General Education Requirements page in the catalog.


Costs and Financial Assistance

Please see the Office of the Registrar website for the most updated tuition and fees. You may also need to take into account living or possible additional expenses such as: $5 fee to join the FSHN Student Council; $58 for student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics membership; about $90 for attendance at the Hawaiʻi Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics conference; about $35 in malpractice insurance and gas for the senior FSHN 492 Field Experience class and food class lab fees.

The University and CTAHR offer some financial assistance. Please see CTAHR’s scholarship website. Nutrition and Food Science scholarships are also available; however, most are for Juniors or Seniors with a grade point average above 3.0.  Check out the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences scholarships website.

Tuition Refunds

Tuition refunds are issued by the Bursar’s Office. Tuition refunds are pro-rated according to the schedule available at 

Professional Portfolio

As students progress through the dietetics program they will be required to develop, and continually update, a professional portfolio, which is submitted in FSHN 492.  A variety of material may be included such as: evidence of oral and written communication, ability to use technology, evidence of research skills, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving ability. The process of accumulating and storing materials digitally is now available through the UH computer system, Laulima. Student also can develop their own website to showcase their portfolio using free software such as WordPress or GoogleSites. The DPD director will provide more instructions upon admission. 


Evaluation is a critical continuous process that is an integral component of the UHM DPD. Faculty and students are each given opportunities to offer their input. Constructive suggestions and recommendations are always encouraged. A variety of mechanisms exist to ensure that this evaluation process takes place:

  1. At the end of each dietetic required course, students will be given the opportunity to evaluate the instructor’s performance and the course itself.
  2. Students have the right to give input to the given professor, student advisor, dietetics program director, department chair and college dean of students.
  3. At the end of the DPD, students are given an “exit survey” administered by the college and are asked to evaluate the quality of the education they received while attending UHM.
Students receive formal assessment of student learning from course instructors throughout the semester. First, instructors are required to make a syllabus available to students at the start of the semester to outline course expectations. Students throughout the semester have access to performance and progress in a course through Laulima, the course learning management system. Students are encouraged to utilize syllabi and other resources provided by course instructors for feedback on performance. Lastly, course instructors are required to have available office hours for students to meet to discuss course performance and learning. 
The Dietetics program director also conducts annual assessment of student learning on required KRDNs at a programmatic level. These annual assessments support program improvement plans to ensure that students are obtaining the knowledge needed to function as RDNs in the future. 

Grievance Procedure

It is the policy of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa that faculty and students be provided consistent and equitable treatment in resolving disputes arising from the academic relationship between faculty and student(s).  Students are encouraged to use the Academic Grievance Procedure available on the Office of Student Affairs website The student should attempt to resolve the issue with the faculty member/director by consulting the DPD Director, the Department Chairperson, the Office of Judicial Affairs, and/or the Dean of Students. If the problem is not resolved, then the student should present a formal written complaint to the Department Chairperson. The student may file a written appeal via the Office of Judicial Affairs with the Chairperson of the Academic Grievance Committee (AGC) if not satisfied with the prior steps.  – Students as well as preceptors or field experience supervisors may also bring their complaint informally to the DPD Director. If the complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, that person can make a formal complaint to the Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences (HNFAS) department chair, and then further make a complaint to the Dean of the CTAHR who makes the final ruling.  If these options are exhausted without satisfaction, a complaint may be submitted directly to ACEND. It should be noted that ACEND does not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeals. It acts only upon a signed allegation that the program may not be in compliance with the Accreditation Standards or policies.

Students who have a grievance related to the DPD program should contact the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, Telephone: 800- 877-1600 ext. 5400.


Retention, Remediation and Disciplinary Action

As with all students who fail to meet the academic requirements of UHM, students may be placed on probation, suspended, or dismissed. The guidelines for these procedures are found in the UH catalog (  Further information may  also be obtained from the UH student academic services office, Dietetic students are encouraged to develop a collaborative relationship with their advisors so if necessary, they can work together to proactively develop positive strategies to avoid negative disciplinary action.

All CTAHR students are required to complete mandatory advising, by appointment, with the CTAHR advisors each semester. This is an opportunity for CTAHR advisors to identify student performance in the program, supports retention and remediation as needed. When admitted into the program, an introductory meeting with the DPD Director is required of all new dietetics program majors. Throughout the program, students can make dietetic advising appointments to evaluate academic progress by signing up on her electronic calendar. 

Students who have been accepted into the Dietetics major and are not performing well in the required DPD courses are counseled by CTAHR academic advisors, who are familiar with the Dietetic Internship application process. Academic advisors also recommend that these students meet with the DPD Director to discuss potential strategies and solutions to overcome poor performance (i.e., retaking classes, identifying work opportunities to reinforce course material, etc.).  Students that are not matched with a dietetic internship may be counseled into becoming a registered dietetic technician as a career path or to gain professional dietetic experience or apply to graduate school. 


Health, Liability, and Travel Insurance

Students enrolled at UHM are encouraged to have adequate health care insurance coverage, international students are required to have health insurance. Dietetics students enrolled in the ISPP program are required to have health/medical insurance coverage and provide proof of insurance upon admission into the program. UHM has a number of student plans available and provides assistance in enrolling ( Students are expected to obtain prompt medical care to treat any accident, illness, or injury that occurs while enrolled at UHM and when completing hours in the required field experience. Students are responsible for costs incurred for treatment of illness and injury that occurs. 

Liability insurance provides protection to students from any injury they may cause or are alleged to have caused to others. Dietetic students participating in community or hospital work experiences are required to purchase at least $1,000,000 worth of liability insurance or certify that they are covered by the liability insurance policy of the cooperating agency or firm. Marsh Affinity Group Services provide $1,000,000 or $3,000,000 worth of liability insurance for an annual fee of about $30. The Department has no relationship with this firm. The applications are provided by the department for convenience only. Students are responsible for transportation to and from work sites. Individual health and travel insurance is strongly recommended.


Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

To become a registered dietitian nutrition (RDN), the successful completion of these components is required:

  1. An accredited/coordinated program (CP) or an approved didactic (instructional) program in dietetics. A Bachelor's degree is acquired upon completion of this program.
  2. Starting 2024, complete a master's degree program.
  3. Dietetic internship (supervised practice)
  4. The Dietetic Registration exam.
  5. Apply for state licensure as applicable.

The Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is currently granted Accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, Telephone: 800-877-1600 ext. 5400. It prepares students with the knowledge base for a dietetic internship and/or graduate school.


After Graduating from the University- Now What?

After graduating from an accredited didactic program in dietetics, an accredited internship (supervised practice) for a minimum of 1200 hours is required for eligibility to take the Dietetic Registration Examination. The purpose of registration is to protect the nutritional health, safety and welfare of the public by encouraging high standards of performance of persons practicing the profession of dietetics. The computerized exam is offered on a regular basis in Hawai‘i during the year. Exam questions cover four domains: food and nutrition sciences; nutrition care for individuals and groups; management of food and nutrition programs and services; foodservice systems. After completing an internship, the student is "RDN eligible." Only after successfully passing this exam can the student become an RDN.

Licensure for Hawaiʻi’s RDs became law in year 2000. The licensure law is a “title protection” law. The Hawaiʻi Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics (HAND) continues to work with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health to implement an active licensure program. The statute and administrative rules are available on the HAND website.


Dietetic Internships

The most common route to becoming a registered dietitian (RDN) is completing a dietetic internship. Internships follow completion of a bachelor's degree program that meets the academic requirements of the ACEND. The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Department meets these requirements and issues a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition.

A Verification Statement will be issued to you by the Dietetics Program Director upon completion of your B.S. degree regardless if you choose to pursue a dietetic internship. This standardized form verifies that you have met the dietetic undergraduate academic requirements and is to be submitted with the internship application. A copy will be kept in the Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences department and another copy will be given to you upon successful completion of the DPD requirements. If you have not completed your academic requirements when you apply for an internship, a Declaration of Intent Form will be given to you to accompany the application.

The ACEND website provides a list of accredited dietetic internships. The duration of these internships ranges from 6-12 months. Some are combined with master's degree programs. Also listed are distance education programs.


Applying for an Internship - A Supervised Practice Program

Please note that even though the DPD is completed, this does not guarantee acceptance into a dietetic internship. Applying for an internship requires a lot of preparation time. As stated in the March 2009 issue of AND’s Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), newsletter: “An analysis of data on dietetics programs from January 2007 through October 2008 showed that 3,795 individuals applied for 2520 internship positions, a shortage of 1275 sites or 33%. Effectively, one third of students paid for an education to become Registered Dietitians when there was no possibility of this ever occurring. Unfortunately, the situation is expected to only get worse.” The good news is that UHM dietetic students have higher than average acceptance rates. The national acceptance rate for those who applied 2012-2014 averaged 50% versus Hawaiʻi which was 75%, 63% and 73% respectively.


NEW Entry-level Registration Eligibility Requirements

Beginning in 2024, the entry-level registration eligibility education requirements for dietitians will change from a baccalaureate degree to a minimum of a graduate degree. A graduate degree includes a master’s degree, practice doctorate, doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.Dor, D.Sc.) All other entry-level dietitian registration eligibility requirements remain the same. By January 2023, supervised practice programs (aka dietetic internships) will either require a graduate degree for admission or result in a graduate degree.


Applying for a Supervised Practice Program/Dietetic Internship - Suggested Time Frame

Applying for an internship involves extensive research, time and money. It is never too early to start preparing for this stage of your undergraduate education. It is important that you apply for an internship within 5 years upon completion of your didactic experience. If you wait longer, you will need to take a series of "refresher" courses.


Freshman to Senior Year: 

It is very important to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. It is also very important to make the effort to know your department faculty. Often they will be the individuals you will be depending upon to write your letters of recommendations. If you have not already done so, start developing a résumé. Some internship programs require a résumé as part of the application process. Give a resume to those who are writing a letter of evaluation for you. The information you provide will enable them to write a more in depth letter on your behalf. Be sure to ask for extra letters of evaluation in case you need to apply to more internships than you originally planned.


Sophomore to Junior Year: 

Research internship/AP4 programs to which you may want to apply. Ask returning students, faculty and community professionals for their opinions/suggestions. If a Graduate Record Exam score is required, check into when the exam is offered. You might consider taking the exam in your Junior year in case you need to retake it.

Go to the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics Website and check out the available listing of internship sites.


Second to Last Semester (e.g. Fall Semester - Senior Year): 

Narrow your choices down to about 5-8 programs. Correspond with these programs and ask for more specific information, but before you do, read the fine print. Check to see if the programs that include a graduate degree require the taking of the Graduate Record Examination.

The AND website, has a listing of all internships in the country. The number of internships to which you may apply is not limited. However, before making your selections, you need to assess your qualifications realistically and apply accordingly. The internships that are in more favorable geographic locations or pay higher stipends and are better known typically attract more applicants and are therefore more competitive. The cost per application ranges from $50 to $100.

It is highly recommended that you broaden your educational experience by applying to mainland internships. If it is a hardship to go away (leaving young children, for example) there is one distance dietetic internship program now available on O‘ahu, Sodexo . Usually three students a year are chosen. So far, all students have expressed overall satisfaction with their distance internship experience and all who have completed their internships have passed the RDN exam. Be sure to also check out the distance internship listing at the end of the AND list of internships website. New distance programs are added periodically.

Gather your transcripts. Write to each college/university you have attended and request a copy of your transcripts. These transcripts are an important component of the total internship application packet. A transcript must document all college/universities attended.


Graduate Record Exam:

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are often required especially for combined internship/graduate programs. The GRE is administered at the University of Hawai`i. Currently the cost is $160. Only the 41/2-hour general test is given.
Call 956-3454 for an appointment. You will be going to Queen Liliuokalani Center for Student Services, room 307. Tests are given weekly. To prepare for taking the GRE you can purchase GRE practice books and software found at
most bookstores. You can also download a GRE practice test for free.  Go to the GRE website

Make sure you allow plenty of time for your chosen internship to receive your GRE scores. It takes up to 2-4 weeks for processing. Scores are valid for 5 years.

You can take the GRE up to five times a year.  (It is good to have a score of over 1000 total for the verbal and math areas).  Remember, all your past and current GRE test scores are sent to the designated site(s).  You will be asked what sites you wish to have your scores sent.  Four sites can be chosen free of charge.  There will be a cost of $20.00 per site if you decide to have your scores sent later.  Since GRE information changes often it is best to refer to the web site.


Mid-Point of Second Month of the Last Semester (e.g., February - Senior Year):

  • Applying to Dietetics Internships using Dietetics Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS)

The online Dietetics Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS) is used for the majority of dietetic internship programs. Most application materials can conveniently be uploaded online and submitted. (Not all programs participate so it is your responsibility to check). There is a $50 fee for the first application and $20 for each additional application. This application, similar to the standard dietetic internship application, will calculate your DPD GPA and Science GPA when grades are entered. Transcripts will need to be sent to the DICAS Company to be scanned into your online application. An email via DICAS can be sent to the DPD director requesting a Declaration of Intent or Verification Statement. You will use an electronic signature for your application. DICAS and D&D Computer Matching are two separate processes. You still need to register with D&D Digital if the program you are applying to participates in computer matching.

  • D&D Digital Computer Matching

The dietetic internship selection process includes a computerized system that matches a student's choices (1, 2, 3, etc.) with the internship programs' choices for student interns. The matching process is administered twice a year by D&D Digital, a private computer firm. Their website gives directions for submitting the required materials. The cost to you is approximately $50.


Mid-Point of Last Month of the Last Semester (e.g., Mid-April - Senior Year): 

  • Notification Day

Applicant matching results for each applicant will be posted by D&D Digital, in mid-April or mid-November. This is the only source of notification. If you received a MATCH, the dietetic internship program will be listed. A MATCH means that using your priority choices and the dietetic internship priority choices, you have been selected to accept an appointment to the program. This dietetic internship is planning on your being a part of their internship program. Only one match can occur. You must contact the internship program director within 48 hours to accept or decline the appointment. 

  • Appointment Day

Appointment or acceptance day is always the Wednesday closest following the notification day. If the applicant is MATCHED to an internship program, she/he must contact that program director on this date to confirm her/his appointment. Please also follow-up with the UHM Dietetics Program Director to share the results of appointment day.


What if you do not receive a match?

Please contact the UHM dietetics program director and work together to determine the best plan of action.


Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPP)

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) has made it a priority to assure that qualified students have opportunities to complete the supervised practice component of their education without compromising the autonomy of education programs. Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPPs) have been developed along with preceptor recruiting efforts to give students more options for educational experiences that will make them eligible to sit for the registration exam.

ISPPs allow 1) graduates who did not match to a dietetic internship, but who possess a DPD verification statement, 2) individuals holding a doctoral degree without a DPD verification statement to apply for an ISPP; however eligibility requirements and options may vary by program. You can see which Dietetic Internships, Coordinated, or Didactic programs currently offer ISPPs by visiting Accredited Education Programs. Doctoral degree holders without a DPD verification statement must attend an ISPP that is approved to offer a track for individuals with a doctoral degree. Students interested in applying to an ISPP should research the eligibility requirements of the program where they intend to submit an application, including whether you are required to locate your own preceptors, and then contact the program director. Individuals with work experience should also inquire whether the program grants credit for specific competency requirements through an assessment of prior learning. For more information on the ISPP, view the Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPP) page.



The UHM Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) within the DPD provides students with the supervised practice experience needed to fulfill the competencies for becoming a RDN. Upon successful completion of the ISPP, each student will receive a verification of completion and be eligible to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians. Visit the UHM ISPP website for more information.


What are the characteristics of successful dietetic internship applicants?

The AND conducted a survey of graduates of dietetic programs who received appointments to dietetic internship programs. The survey helped to identify characteristics of successful applicants. Students who had been through the
process reported that they wished they had known the following prior to the application process:

  • acceptance to a dietetic internship program is competitive
  • good grades are essential
  • relevant work experience is important and involvement in volunteer activities is also important

Although programs have varying selection criteria, applicants who received appointments to internship programs had the following characteristics.

Grade point average

  • 79% had over 3.0 for all courses
  • 89% had over 3.0 for food, nutrition, and management courses.
  • 56% had 3.0 for biological and physical science courses.

Work Experience

  • 85% had more than one year of paid work experience.
  • 54% had dietetics-related volunteer experience.
  • 53% had worked with a RDN.

What other characteristics do dietetic internship program directors look for in applicants?

  • 87% use volunteer experience as a criterion.
  • 96% require letters of recommendation.

It is important to get to know the FSHN department faculty members as soon as you can because you will most likely ask them to provide letters of reference. These letters are commonly specified as one being from the dietetics program director, one from the food service professor and the other from an advanced nutrition professor. Often you will be asked to add an additional reference from your work experience. Your letters of reference should be detailed and give an accurate picture of who you are. Many internships provide a standardized reference form in their application packet. "Prior work experience" determines who will get an internship if grades, references and letter of application are of similar quality. You need to develop a good work record in jobs related to dietetics and food service. Rather than taking classes in the summer, you might want to consider working or volunteering in a hospital, nursing home or restaurant as a diet aid or clerk, and/or in the production and service areas of a food service.

The dietetics faculty will assist you in assembling your application packet; however, the final responsibility rests with you. Your letter of application should present an articulate, dynamic picture of who you are. Internship applications should be neat and well written. It is particularly important to be able to state professional goals clearly and concisely. You should make sure that each application is filled out carefully. It is your responsibility to make sure that directions are followed, ample time allowed for references to be received, all materials submitted, and all deadlines met!


Dietetic Internship Applications Require a Supplemental DPD Course List.

If you are applying to dietetic internships, the Nutrition and Dietetics Educators and Preceptors committee of the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is requiring students to include as part of the application the Supplemental DPD Course List form listing UHM DPD course requirements. In the past many students and internship directors had to guess where courses "fit" within the dietetics internship application- designating it either a DPD Professional or DPD Science course. With the help of this Supplemental DPD Course List form the information is already available to you.

DPD Course List
Required Supplemental Form

To Be Completed By the DPD Program Director

DPD Program Institution:  University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 
DPD Director: Monica Esquivel, PhD, RDN
Website for Course Catalog:


DPD Professional Courses DPD Science Courses
FSHN 181/L Intro to Food Preparation BIOL 171/L Introduction to Biology I
FSHN 185 The Science of Human Nutrition BIOL 340 Genetics, Evolution and Society or CMB 411 Human Genetics
FSHN 311 Inst Food Service Systems or BUS 315 Mgt and Org Behavior CHEM 161/L General Chemistry
FSHN 312 Quantity Foods and Inst. Purchasing CHEM 162/L General Chemistry II
FSHN 322 Marketing Nutrition & Food or BUS 312 Principles of Marketing CHEM 272 Organic Chemistry
  MBBE 375 Multidisciplinary Biochemistry
FSHN 370 Nutrition Through the Lifespan FSHN 440 Food Safety or MICR 130/140L General Microbiology
FSHN 381/L Experimental Foods PHYL 141/L Human Anatomy & Physiology/L or PHYL 301/L Human Anatomy & Physiology
FSHN 389 Nutritional Assessment PHYL 142/L Human Anatomy & Physiology/L or PHYL 302/L Human Anatomy & Physiology
FSHN 451 Community Nutrition & Nutrition Education PHRM 203 General Pharmacology
FSHN 467 Medical Nutrition Therapy I  
FSHN 468 Medical Nutrition Therapy II  
FSHN 469 Nutrition Counseling  
FSHN 480 Nutrition in Exercise & Sports  
FSHN 485 Nutritional Biochemistry I  
FSHN 486 Nutritional Biochemistry II  
FSHN 488 Obesity, Science, and Issues  
FSHN 492 Field Experience  
NREM 310 Statistics in Agricultural & Human Resources or ECON 321 Introduction to Statistics  
MATH 140 or higher Pre-Calculus  
PSY 100 Survey of Psychology  
SOC 100 Introduction of Sociology  
COM 151 Personal &Public Speech or COMG 251 Principles of Effective Public Speaking  




Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Exam

The RDN exam is administered through Pearson VUE. There are two hundred and fifty (250) Pearson VUE professional test centers in the United States and selected international locations. Further information on scheduling an exam can be found at the Commission on Dietetic Registration page.


Exciting Careers in Dietetics

A career in dietetics can be exciting! Some graduates work in business, selecting and marketing food products to meet the needs of specific populations. Others work with healthy, overweight or ill people guiding them nutritionally towards better health, or in the case of athletes, towards peak performance.

Clinical dietitians work in hospitals, clinics, physicians' offices and nursing homes. These dietitians work as members of the health care team with doctors, nurses and pharmacists to help people who are ill. They also teach nutrition concepts to healthy groups and individuals, including children, pregnant women and the elderly. Many have established private practices.

Community dietitians work in areas of public health such as the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, Children Program (WIC), and the State Departments of Health. They facilitate better health by promoting and teaching good eating practices to the public.

Administrative dietitians direct the food service operations in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, universities, business and industry, restaurants, and correctional institutions. These professionals plan nutritious and attractive menus, purchase foods, control large food service budgets, and manage food service workers.

Other dietitians conduct research in nutrition in health and disease, develop new food products, promote nutrition through radio, television and written media, or teach nutrition and food service management at the college and university level.


Specialized Areas in Dietetics: 2017-2018 Dietetic Practice Groups

See Dietetic Practice Groups page at the Eat Right Pro, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is one of the major professional organizations for dietetic practitioners. The purpose of the Association is the promotion of optimal health and nutritional status of the population through the
provision of direction and leadership for quality dietetic practice, education, and research. Currently, there are about 100,000 AND members in the United States and across the globe. The majority of members are RDNs.

  • Behavior Health Nutrition
  • Clinical Nutrition Management
  • Diabetes Care and Education
  • Dietetic Technicians in Practice
  • Dietetics in Health Care Communities
  • Dietitians in Business and Communication
  • Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine
  • Dietitians in Nutrition Support
  • Food and Culinary Professionals
  • Healthy Aging
  • Hunger and Environmental Malnutrition
  • Management in Food and Nutrition Systems
  • Medical Nutrition Practice Group
  • Nutrition Education for the Public
  • Nutrition Educators for Health Professionals
  • Nutrition Entrepreneurs
  • Oncology Nutrition
  • Pediatric Nutrition
  • Public Health/Community Nutrition
  • Renal Dietitians
  • Research
  • School Nutrition Services
  • Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionists
  • Vegetarian Nutrition
  • Weight Management
  • Women's Health



Maintaining RDN Status

To maintain RDN status, a fee is paid to the Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR). Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) membership dues are also paid yearly. RDN’s do not need to be members of AND to be registered, but membership is encouraged. Member benefits include:

  • Access to the Journal of the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition and other information, which features current food and nutrition research and practice information as well as national AND news
  • Access to Evidence Based Library and resources for Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Access to Daily News featuring top news stories related to nutrition
  • Membership in your state dietetics association
  • Membership in 28 professional interest practice groups Dietetic Practice Groups (DPGs)
  • Member of AND's National Referral System, which serves consumers looking for nutrition services
  • Member discounts on many publications, continuing education opportunities and meetings
  • Professional liability insurance at economical rates
  • Long-term care, home owner, auto and life insurance programs at reduced rates
  • AND-sponsored Master Card credit card with WorldPoints
  • Policy initiative and advocacy voice in Washington and in the media

After obtaining an RDN, seventy-five clock hours of approved continuing education in the field over a five-year period is also required. Approved continuing education activities include conferences, workshops, seminars, academic coursework, and other learning experiences.


Useful Websites for Students Entering into the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

All information for students covering how to apply, academic calendar, financial aid, catalog, transfer credit search, new database, on-campus activities, housing (dorms), parking, etc.

MyUH Services is a mobile-optimized, one stop shop for UH business tasks, form, apps and more. It includes one-click access to services customized for students, faculty and staff across our 10-campus system.

STAR for students is the online degree tracking system for UH. You can view your degree requirements, register for classes, search for scholarships, and view your transcripts through STAR.

Select “Academic and Student Affairs” will open all the programs up for students interested in all that CTAHR has to offer for Undergrad and Graduate Programs, financial aid/scholarship information, course requirements and information on who we are, Department, Faculty and Staff as well as publications and research projects.

Use this website to make an appointment with our academic advisors. Advisors can assist you with developing a degree plan and making sure you’re taking the appropriate classes for graduation.

This website shows the different programs, courses and resources available within the HNFAS department. UH Dietetic Student Handbook is located under “Degree Programs, Dietetics”. There is also a link to “Scholarships” that specifically targets dietetics students.

UH Core requirements and class listings.

This web site shows information on how your credits transfer into UH Mānoa.

This site is the home site for 70,000 nutrition professionals, mostly Registered Dietitians. It provides information about the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, its journal, dietetic registration process, dietetics education, member benefits and professional resources such as the evidence-based library.

This site is represents Hawai‘i's largest organization for nutrition professionals. Current happenings and job opportunities are listed.

You are encouraged to join the Undergraduate FSHN Student Council for a nominal fee of $5.00/semester. You will have a chance to meet other students in your major and have the opportunity to share information and good times. Often graduating seniors leave behind jobs/career opportunities that are now available to you.


Student Academic Support Services

Access to student academic support services is important to ensure your success while a student at the UHM. Below is a listing of some of these services that can also be found in the UH Manoa Catalog along with appropriate contact information:

  • The Office of Civic and Community Engagement assists UH Manoa students and community organizations find ways to partner together to tackle important issues in the community by matching students’ passions and interests with the needs of community non-profit organizations through service.
  • First Year Programs and ACE ease the transition of new students into the academic and social communities at UH Manoa. First-Year Programs provide the opportunity to develop personal relationships with faculty and other students, enhance active involvement in the educational process, and build connections to UH Manoa. In addition, First-Year Programs familiarize students with the array of resources and programs available at UH Manoa.
  • Honors Program provides opportunities for talented and motivated undergraduates to excel in their academic studies. Students complete a challenging inquiry-based curriculum that encourages learning through independent research and creative expression. They enjoy intimate and personalized educational experiences within the setting of a large research university through small classes, dedicated advising, peer mentorship, and faculty guided projects.
  • International Student Services has the responsibility for meeting University federal compliance with regard to international students.  ISS strives to support international student success through the following endeavors:
      • Advising students on immigration regulations that affect their status in the U.S.
      • Providing programs that help promote cross-cultural adjustment
      • Serving as a resource to the campus and international student communities
      • Advocating for international students and international education
  • Kokua Program (Disability Access Services)  is UH Mānoa’s primary campus unit responsible for providing disability access services to students with disabilities toward equal opportunity.
  • Learning Assistance Center provides tutoring, workshops, Supplemental Instruction (SI), and one-on-one appointments in which students learn appropriate study strategies and problem solving skills to achieve their academic goals.
  • Mānoa Advising Center is an advising office for exploratory students who have not yet declared a major. MAC assists exploratory students with their major selection process by presenting options and providing general education advising.
  • Mānoa Transfer Coordination Center is to help students transfer smoothly from a UH community college to UH Manoa and provide advising support throughout the transfer process, including the Ka‘ie‘ie Degree Pathway Program.
  • Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center is a walk-in resource for students interested in law, medicine, and other health fields (dentistry, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, etc.). PAC advisors help students explore and clarify their career goals, plan appropriate course work, find opportunities to gain experience, apply to professional programs, review personal statements and résumés, provide mock interviews, and hold workshops throughout the year.
  • Student Athlete Academic Services is the academic support program for student-athletes at UH Manoa. Working closely with instructional faculty, coaches, and campus resources, academic advisors assist students in formulating and meeting their academic goals while participating in intercollegiate athletics.
  • Student Success Center in Sinclair Library offers students a welcoming and convivial place to study and to learn, and provides them the information and skills they need to be successful in their academic career and beyond. The center provides seating that facilitates collaborative learning, is open long hours, and permits students to bring their own snacks, all in a space that has natural light and air.
  • Student Support Services is a federally funded TRIO program that provides academic advising and planning, special courses, financial aid advice, graduate and professional school advising, tutoring, mentoring, and academic enrichment activities to program students enrolled at UH Manoa. Students are selected to participate based on a combination of income and financial aid eligibility, parents’ level of education, and potential to benefit from program services.
  • Writing Center is a pedagogical space that supports writing and research at UHM. Our primary service is one-to-one writing consultations provided free of charge to all students, faculty, and staff affiliated with the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. Our writing consultants are trained to help writers working in different disciplines at every stage of the writing process and with various writing projects (i.e., essays, research papers, resumes, letters, creative work).

Do not hesitate to discuss your needs with your academic advisor who can help refer you to the appropriate resource. 


Course Descriptions

Viewable online at the UH Manoa Catalog.


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