Skip to main content
Main Content

MS in Nutrition with DPD Verification (MS DPD)

This program culminates in a Master’s degree (MS) with DPD verification. Please visit the BS DPD website for information about the undergraduate DPD program at TCU.   An MS in Nutrition degree without DPD verification is also offered at TCU.

A Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is designed for those who wish to enter the dietetics profession. It is an academic program in a U.S. regionally accredited college or university that culminates in a minimum of a baccalaureate degree. The TCU MS DPD is a three-year program that meets the eligibility requirements and accreditation standards for entry-level dietetics education programs specified by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework is based upon achievement of Core Knowledge Requirements for the RDN for Didactic Programs in Dietetics and emphasizes the scientific and evidence base of dietetics practice, professional practice expectations, clinical and customer services, practice management and the use of resources. MS DPD curriculum provides students with a course of study in advanced nutrition topics related to disease prevention and management, health optimization, and food and nutrition sustainability. Students are able to tailor the degree with additional course options within, and outside of, the Department of Nutritional Sciences.  


The goals and student learning objectives of the MS DPD support the DPD mission and are listed below. Data collected to determine achievement of Program goals is available upon request to ACEND and to the public.

DPD Program Goal #1 - Prepare graduates to achieve competence in Core Knowledge for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

  • Objective Measure 1.a: Program Completion Rate

At least 80% of students complete program requirements within 4.5 years (150% of the program length).

  • Objective Measure 1.b: Graduate Readiness for Supervised Practice

At least 80% of program graduates will indicate their readiness for supervised practice as "good" to "excellent" on the MS DPD Exit Evaluation.

  • Objective Measure 1.c: Graduate Perception of Preparation

At least 70% of program graduates who respond to the MS DPD Post-Graduate Survey indicate a “good” or “excellent” perception of his/her preparedness regarding Core Knowledge required for entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.

  • Objective Measure 1.d: Supervised Practice Director Perception of Graduate Preparation

At least 70% of Supervised Practice Directors who respond to the MS DPD Supervised Practice Director Survey indicate MS DPD graduates are competent in Core Knowledge for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist within 12 months of graduation.

Program Goal #2 - Provide graduates with adequate knowledge for post-graduate education, including supervised practice programs, to secure employment as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

  • Objective Measure 2.a:  Supervised Practice Application Rate

At least 60% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation. 

  • Objective Measure 2.b: Supervised Practice Acceptance Rate

Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 50% of program graduates are admitted within 12 months of graduation.

  • Objective Measure 2.c: Supervised Practice Director Perception of Graduate Performance

At least 70% of Supervised Practice Program Directors who respond to the MS DPD Supervised Practice Director Survey indicate a “good” to “excellent” perception of MS DPD graduates’ performance in supervised practice within 12 months of graduation.

  • Objective Measure 2.d: Registration Exam Pass Rate

The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of the first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.


Students must have earned a Bachelor’s degree and meet the Program admission requirements to be accepted into the MS Nutrition with DPD Verification program (MS DPD). This includes successful completion of the following Nutrition and Associated Requirements prerequisite courses: General Chemistry I, General Chemistry II with lab, Organic Chemistry, Physiology with lab, Nutrition, Nutrition Throughout the Lifecycle, Medical Terminology, Microbiology, and either Human Behavior, Psychology, Sociology or Anthropology. 

Students must apply to, and be accepted into, the TCU MS DPD.  Students must apply to TCU Graduate Admissions and the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Links to both applications are listed below.  Both applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.  Applications are due no later than April 30 in order for candidates to begin coursework in the following fall semester. Eligibility for admission to the MS DPD track is based on completion of prerequisite courses with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for Nutrition classes, an Associated Requirements GPA of at least 2.75, no more than 3 grades below a "B-" in the Associated Requirements, 200 hours of documented food or nutrition practical experience, an application packet, and three letters of recommendation.  No GRE is required.  Applicants for whom English is a second language must pass the TOEFL at the level set by the University (>80).  All candidates who meet the Program requirements will be interviewed by a panel after applications are reviewed.   Students accepted to the MS DPD receive conditional acceptance pending completion of post-baccalaureate coursework at TCU. Details of specific program completion requirements, including post-baccalaureate required courses, will be specified in the letter of conditional appointment. Admission is made without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ethnic origin, disability, predisposing genetic information, covered veteran status, and any other basis protected by law.  Program policies and procedures shall protect student civil rights, privacy of information, and comply with institutional equal opportunity programs. 

Application Materials:

A student’s continuation in the TCU MS DPD is contingent upon attainment of a strong academic record and successful completion of the program sequence.  The MS DPD will follow the University calendar in regard to vacations and holidays. 


Program curriculum includes 22 hours of required undergraduate Nutritional Sciences (NTDT) post-baccalaureate course credits taken at TCU, 30 semester hours of graduate credit, including six hours of thesis, and additional elective courses to meet the minimum 30 hours required for the MS degree.  A list of required coursework is available in the TCU Graduate Catalog, TCU DPD Student Handbook, and MS DPD Sequence of Courses.

All 30000 and 40000 level NTDT post-baccalaureate courses must be taken at TCU.  Per the University’s policy for Master’s degree requirements, limited graduate credit earned from another accredited college or university will be considered for transfer to the MS DPD. Written request for transfer credit, with appropriate transcripts, should be made at the time of application for admission. Such credit must be applicable to the student's program as determined by his/her advisor; carry at least a "B" grade (3.0 on a 4.0 scale); and be residence credit, not extension or correspondence. Six semester hours of transfer credit usually is all that will be accepted, but under special circumstances additional hours may be considered, subject to approval by the chair of the major department and the dean of the school/college. Transfer credit will not be accepted towards courses in which ACEND required learning objectives are assessed.  The DPD Director will evaluate course work and letter grades on students’ transcripts to determine credit for MS DPD requirements. 

In order to earn the MS degree, a student must attain a minimum graduate Nutritional Sciences (NTDT) GPA of 3.0 and earn a grade of ‘C-‘or better in all graduate courses. All final 50000- and 60000-level course grades will be included in the computation of the graduate GPA, but no more than two grades below a ‘B-‘may be used in satisfying the degree requirements. In addition to earning the MS degree, students must complete 500 hours of documented food or nutrition practical experience prior to the completion of their final semester at TCU.

Students who meet the requirements above, and successfully complete the 30-credit hour requirement of the MS DPD, will graduate with a Master of Science degree and receive DPD Verification and are therefore eligible to apply for a supervised practice program (Dietetic Internship). The Dietetic Internship Match is a computer-based method which provides an orderly and fair way to match the preferences of applicants for Dietetic Internships (DIs) with the preferences of DI program directors. The Academy contracts with a company called D&D Digital to operate the DI Match and help applicants obtain an Internship (supervised practice position).  More information about the computer matching process can be found here.   Successful completion of a Dietetic Internship (or other accredited supervised practice program) is necessary for students to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Although some DPD programs allow students to earn DPD Verification without earning a degree from that program, the TCU MS DPD will not provide DPD verification for students who do not earn an MS from the TCU DPD.  Students who do not meet the requirements for DPD verification, but complete the requirements of the MS in NUTR, will graduate with the MS in NUTR without DPD verification.


Direct graduate costs for tuition, room, board, books, and supplies for each academic year are available through the TCU Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid.  Students may qualify for scholarships, financial aid and/or loans.  More detailed costs for MS DPD students are outlined in the DPD Student Handbook and include approximately $1,000 per year for lab fees, photocopying, school and office supplies, textbooks, and professional dues.

The TCU Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid loan comparison chart details deferment options for student loans while enrolled in the program. Students are eligible for federal student loan deferment if they are enrolled at least half-time.  Questions regarding deferment of privately funded loans should be directed to the lending institution.

A student who applies to the TCU MS DPD plans to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).  The TCU MS DPD was offered for the first time in Fall 2023 and, therefore, data is not available for this specific track regarding pass rate on the Registration Examination for Dietitians.  However, the current TCU DPD one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of the first attempt) on the Registration Examination for Dietitians is 100%.  The TCU DPD’s current three-year average of the one-year pass rate on the registration examination is 100%.