What makes the Texas A&M University Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) unique?

Dietetic Internship (DI) Match Rate

Competition for DI programs is intense and comparable to applying to other allied health professional school programs. While the most recently documented statistics on the ACEND website report a 50% national match rate, Texas A&M University Fall 2018 to Spring 2019 DI match rate was 97% (as seen in the table below).

  • Year of GraduationTotal Matched Graduates> 3.53.49-3.33.29-3.02.99-2.0
    Prior to August 201720101
    2017-201821010
    2018-20192493120
    Totals28 (97%)10 (36%)14 (39%)13 (46%)0

Relevant Experiences

Texas A&M dietetics (DPD) program offers hands-on and relevant experiences to our students through activities within and outside of the classroom. These opportunities provide a more in-depth exposure to nutrition and dietetics that enhances learning and better prepares students for their dietetic internship and careers in the dietetic profession. 

Accreditation

Texas A&M’s Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), which prepares graduates for a dietetic internship, which is required to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

Curriculum

Texas A&M University DPD offers strong science and pre-med curriculum which elevates students. Here are some notable nutrition courses our program offers:

  • Scientific Principles of Food (NFSC 211) instructs the student on the science of food, including nutrient composition and the chemical and physical properties of foods as they relate to functionality.  This new knowledge taught in class is coordinated with hands-on food preparation activities.  In our brand new kitchen laboratory, students will experiment with food preparation, experimental foods, and recipe modification using new, commercial grade food service equipment.
  • Food Service Systems Management (NFSC 304) expands on the principles of quantity food systems with onsite visits to large industrial kitchens in College Station/Bryan and surrounding areas.  This class provides the opportunity for students to earn their Food Safety Manager Certification, which is beneficial in a dietetic internship. This course with NFSC 211 prepares the dietetics student for the food service management component of the dietetic internship.
  • Nutrition Assessment and Planning (NFSC 404) and Nutrition Care and Therapy (NFSC 407) include case studies to simulate real-life nutrition assessment and care scenarios that challenge and motivate our students.  These courses also give the students the opportunity to observe clinical dietitians working in the hospital environment.
  • Community Nutrition (NFSC 430) focuses on the principles of assessing nutrition problems in populations and planning nutrition programs to promote health in communities including nutrition education and food and nutrition policy. This course also introduces the student to food and nutrition assistance programs.

For a complete description of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), please refer to the DPD Handbook (pgs. 42-44) or the course catalog.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) students can study abroad internationally and through Study Abroad Texas. Departmental study abroad experiences include summer experiences in Italy and Brazil. The Texas A&M University Study Abroad office also offers many international opportunities.

Study Abroad Texas is a zero credit high impact learning experience for Texas A&M University DPD undergraduates in Austin and San Antonio, Texas. The activities included will enable students to explore various cultures and life experiences, provide an opportunity to apply “in-class” discussions to “real-life” experiences, contribute to the community through “hands-on” experiences and allow for the creation of professional networks.

Professional Student Organization Involvement

Nutrition and Dietetic Association (NDA): All student members are members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Students have the opportunity to engage with local dietitians at regional and area meetings.

Texas Student Dietetic Association (TSDA): The student branch of the Texas Academy. TSDA provides an excellent opportunity to network with fellow DPD students and serve at the state level.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (The Academy): All DPD students are student members of the Academy and Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Students are invited and encouraged to attend and network with local dietitians at area, regional and state meetings. 

Interprofessional Experiences

Operation Lone Star

DPD students have the opportunity to join with medical, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, psychology and public health students in participating in Operation Lone Star (OLS). OLS is an annual emergency preparedness exercise that provides free medical services to uninsured persons in South Texas and helps these communities prepare for disasters. DPD students provide basic nutrition guidance to community members under supervision of a RDN. Learn more about OLS here.

Community Health Fair

The first fall family festival for WIC, prenatal clinic clients, and community members was in October 2018. This was an interprofessional experience including nutrition, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, psychology and public health students! The plan is for this to become an annual event.

Dietetic Students at Operation Lone Star

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Students interested in gaining research experience have the opportunity to work with some of our distinguished research faculty. The Nutrition and Food Science faculty conduct research on topics related to socioeconomic disparities, cancer, phytochemicals, gut microbiome, and even neurology. Texas A&M DPD students can enroll for undergraduate research (NFSC 485) or Directed Research (NFSC 491) to work with some of these researchers in their laboratory, helping to prepare the student for a dietetic internship and graduate school.

For resources on employment opportunities and high impact learning experiences see the DPD Handbook.

University and Nutrition Honors Program

An exclusive program for students to gain a deeper insight in specific topic areas of nutrition interests, experience a different approach to learning and be more competitive for admission to professional schools, graduate schools, dietetic internships, scholarships, and employment.

Leadership Opportunities

DPD students are encouraged to take leadership roles by running for office for professional organizations such as NDA and TSDA, leading in other organizations, serving as team leaders and/or leading groups in volunteer and employment environments.

Two Dietetic Students holding the 2018 Workshop Workbooks.

Dietetic Internship (DI) Preparation Workshop and DI Fair

Two DPD students are selected annually to organize, coordinate and lead the planning
committees for the DI Preparation Workshop and DI Fair. DPD students have the opportunity to lead and participate in committees that together plan, organize and implement this event for Texas A&M DPD students and DPD students across Texas.

DPD Accreditation Advisory Committee Student Members

The DPD Accreditation Advisory Committee provides guidance to Karen Beathard, DPD Director. The committee is comprised of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, faculty, graduate students/DI interns, and a junior and senior DPD student. A junior DPD student is selected annually based on a committee selection process and serves a two-year term. The primary role of the student members are to provide peer feedback and guidance regarding the DPD program.

Scholarship Opportunities

  • Department of Nutrition & Food Science (NFSC)https://nfs.tamu.edu
      • Deadline: Check with the NFSC advising office for exact date – usually around the end of February
    •  
  • Texas Student Dietetic Association (TSDA) http://www.eatrighttsda.org/
      • Deadline: Usually April
      • Must be an TSDA and Academy student member
    •  
  • The Texas Academy Foundationhttp://tandfscholarships.org/
      • Deadline: Usually November
      • Must be an Academy student member who is a DPD Junior, Senior, or Dietetic Intern in a Graduate Program.
    •  
  • The Academy Foundationhttp://www.eatright.org/Foundation/scholarships/
      • Deadline: Mid-February. Deadline date usually coincides with the DI application deadline
      • Must be an Academy student member who is a DPD Junior, Senior, or Dietetic Intern in a Graduate Program.

Excellent Resources to Prepare DPD Students for Application to DI programs and Graduate School

Faculty with Industry Experience

Our faculty includes Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs); many have industry experience in clinical dietetics or food service management and are active in the dietetic profession.  As RDNs, they offer a perspective on their teaching that facilitates learning and engagement in the dietetic profession.  They are also available to help guide and counsel students throughout their academic career on their way to pursing a dietetic internship and a successful career as a RDN.  Many of the same teachers that enrich the minds of our students also spend much time and effort researching the latest topics in their respected field of nutrition.

For more information on the Nutrition Faculty click here and a summary of their research can be found here.

DPD Orientation

Exclusive meeting for students who want to be in the DPD program that provides all the eligibility requirements and guidance for success in matching a DI program.

Texas A&M University DPD E-campus Website

This website includes relevant DPD and DI program forms and information and is exclusively for DPD students. DPD students who do not appear to have access to this website should email Karen Beathard, DPD Director at kbeathard@tamu.edu.

Texas A&M University DI Preparation Workshop and DI Fair

The DI Preparation Workshop and DI Fair is an annual event planned for students preparing to apply to DI programs. It is generally scheduled early in the fall semester. Workshop participation is open to all DPD students.

Applicant Guide to Supervised Practice Experience

The original Applicant Guide to Supervised Practice Experience publication is a resource that includes an information sheet on each DI program and is one of the best resources to use to learn more about individual DI programs. This publication is available for viewing in the NFSC advising office and on the NFSC web site at https://nfs.tamu.edu/students/dpd-program.

DPD Handbook

An annually updated handbook that provides detailed information for application and match to a DI Program.