Undergraduate Academic Programs

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Science (BSAHS), Dietetics Major

Description of Program

Dietetics, broadly speaking, is the profession of connecting food to health. Lifestyle choices such as eating patterns and exercise can make a dramatic contribution to a person's quality of life. Students in the dietetics program at Indiana University are trained in understanding and communicating the nutrition and health connection. A dietetics education involves nutrition science (including chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, and food science), medical nutrition therapy, food preparation, menu planning, communication, information technology, management—in other words, a broad, useful course of study aimed at promoting the health of individuals and communities.

A Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) is the credentialed professional in the field of dietetics. There are four steps to becoming an RDN:

  1. Obtain at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited university
  2. Meet basic educational competencies established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
  3. Complete a supervised practice experience through an ACEND-accredited institution
  4. Take and pass the national RD exam

A person who graduates from IU as an undergraduate dietetics major fulfills steps 1 and 2 at the same time.


Apply online for undergraduate admission to Indiana University at http://admissions.indiana.edu/

Before entering the School of Public Health - Bloomington as a dietetics major, students begin studies in the University Division, and then enter the major upon satisfying the following three admission criteria:

  1. successfully complete at least 30 credit hours.
  2. achieve a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) at Indiana University.
  3. complete CHEM-C 117 Principles of Chemistry and Biochemistry 1 and CHEM-C 127 Chemistry and Biochemistry Laboratory, each with a minimum grade of C.

Students in the University Division must declare their intention to major in dietetics to the University Division Records Office. If a student earns less than a 2.0 semester GPA for the term before entering the School of Public Health-Bloomington, the student may be admitted on academic probation as long as the student has completed 30 credits, has at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA, and has completed CHEM-C 117 and CHEM-C 127 with minimum grades of C.

International applicants for admission to a second undergraduate degree program in the School of Public Health - Bloomington, whose primary language is not English, must satisfy one of the following criteria before being considered for admission directly into one the School's degree programs:

  • submit a minimum score on the Test Of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL), of 550 on the paper-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or 80 on the Internet-based test.
  • submit a minimum score of 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
  • complete at least three full years of secondary school in a predominantly English speaking country.

For students from countries where the TOEFL and the IELTS are not available, other evidence of English proficiency may be considered.

All entering international students whose primary language is not English will be required to take a special examination in English with IU prior to registering. Prepared by IU and designed to test a student’s ability to use English in an academic setting, the exam consists of three parts: an essay on a general topic; a listening comprehension exercise; and a grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension section. There is little that one can do to prepare for this exam other than to continue using written and spoken English at every opportunity. Appropriate remedial English courses may be prescribed on the basis of the results of this test.

International students whose primary language is not English must agree to take any English language courses prescribed from the results of this examination. Fees for special part-time English courses are the same as for other courses; however, credits earned do not meet degree requirements. If the results of the proficiency examination indicate that full-time work in English is required, the student will be assigned to the Intensive English Program (IEP).  

Students enrolled in IEP do not take academic courses until they achieve adequate English proficiency. If a student has serious doubts about English ability and is not financially prepared to undertake the additional time and expense of an intensive English program here, the student should consider completing English study in the student’s home country. In addition, the student may consider delaying admission to a future session.

Degree Requirements

This is a four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Science degree with an emphasis in dietetics. A minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and minimum grades of C in CHEM-C 117 and CHEM-C 127 are required for admission to this program. Graduation requirements include:

  • completion of general education requirements;
  • completion of dietetics major requirements;
  • a minimum of 120 successfully completed credit hours which count toward the degree program;
  • a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA;
  • a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA in courses used to complete the portions of this degree entitled: Dietetics Core and Additional Major Courses;
  • No Pass/Fail except for free electives.
General Education (20 – 39 credits)

All undergraduate students must complete the IU Bloomington campus-wide general education common ground requirements. Such students must visit the 2018-2019 General Education Bulletin to view these requirements.

Major (94 cr.)

Dietetics Core (47 cr.)
A minimum grade of C– is required in each professional core course.
Complete each of the following courses:

  • SPH-N 120 Introduction to Foods (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 231 Human Nutrition (3 cr.) +N&M
  • SPH-N 320 Food Chemistry (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 321 Quantity Food Purchasing and Production (4 cr.) (See advisor for scheduling.)
  • SPH-N 322 Management  Systems in Dietetics (3cr.)
  • SPH-N 325 Food Chemistry Laboratory (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 331 Life Cycle Nutrition (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 336 Public Health Nutrition (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 401 Issues in Dietetics (1 cr.)
  • SPH-N 416 Nutrition Counseling and Education (3cr.)
  • SPH-N 430 Advanced Nutrition I (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 431 Medical Nutrition Therapy (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 432 Advanced Nutrition II (3 cr.)
  • SPH-N 433 Medical Nutrition Therapy Application (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 351 Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-H 494 Research and Evaluation Methods in Health and Safety (3 cr.)

Additional Major Courses (47 cr.)
A minimum grade of C- is required in each pertinent major course, except CHEM-C 117 and CHEM-C 127, which each require a minimum grade of C for admission to the dietetics program.
Complete each of the following courses:

  • ANAT-A 215 Basic Human Anatomy (5 cr.) +N&M
  • BIOL-L 330 Biology of the Cell (3 cr.) or SPH-N 480 Mechanisms of Nutrient Action (3 cr.) or BIOL-L 312 Cell Biology (3 cr.)
  • BIOL-M 200 Microorganisms in Nature and Disease (3 cr.)
  • CHEM-C 117 Principles of Chemistry and Biochemistry I (3 cr.) (minimum grade of C required for admission) +N&M
  • CHEM-C 127 Chemistry and Biochemistry Laboratory I (2 cr.) (minimum grade of C required for admission) +N&M
  • CHEM-R 340 Survey of Organic Chemistry (3 cr.) or CHEM-C 341 Organic Chemistry Lecture I (3 cr.)
  • CLAS-C 209 Medical Terms from Greek and Latin (2 cr.)
  • COLL-P 155 Public Oral Communication (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W 231 Professional Writing Skills (3 cr.)
  • PHSL-P 215 Basic Human Physiology (5 cr.) +N&M
  • PSY-P 101 Introductory Psychology 1  (3 cr.) +N&M
  • PSY-P 325 Psychology of Learning (3 cr.) or PSY-P 335 Cognitive Psychology (3 cr.) or EDUC-P 254 Educational Psychology for Teachers - All Grades (3 cr.)
  • SPEA-V 373 Personnel Management (3 cr.) or SPEA-V 336 Management Concepts and Applications II: Public and Private Organizations (3 cr.) or SPEA-V 366 Managing Behavior in Public Organizations (3 cr.)
  • SPH-B 150 Introduction to Public Health (3 cr.) +S&H
  • SPH-Q 381 Introduction to Biostatistics (3 cr.) or MATH/PSY-K 300 Statistical Techniques (3 cr.)

+ Courses with an N&M notation apply toward both major requirements and the natural and mathematical sciences general education requirement. These count in both places.

Suggested Dietetics Courses for the First-Year Student
Fall Semester
ENG-W 131 Elementary Composition 1 (3 cr.)
PSY-P 101 Introductory Psychology (3 cr.)
Arts and Humanities Elective /World Languages and Cultures Elective (3 cr.)
CHEM-C 117 (3 cr.) and CHEM-C 127 (2 cr.) or CHEM-C 103 (5 cr.) or MATH-M 118 or M 119 (3 cr.)
SPH-N 120 Introduction to Foods (3 cr.)

Spring Semester
CHEM-C 117 (3 cr.) and CHEM-C 127 (2 cr.) or CHEM-C 103 (5 cr.)
CLAS-C 209 Medical Terms from Greek and Latin (2 cr.)
PSY-P 102 Introductory Psychology 2 (3 cr.)
SPH-B 150 Introduction to Public Health (3 cr.)
Arts and Humanities Elective /World Languages and Cultures Elective (3 cr.)

Special Opportunities

IU has a Dietetics and Nutrition Club for students - the Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetcs at IU (SANDIU). SANDIU encourages seniors to mentor sophomores and juniors and provides opportunities for planned community nutrition efforts. The Department of Applied Health Science has laboratories dedicated to the dietetics and nutrition science programs. Dietetics majors start to interact directly with program faculty beginning in the sophomore year. Classroom activities include labs (applying the science and art of food preparation); community projects; planning and preparing a special event meal; designing a research project; role-playing and designing nutrition games; and learning in-depth about special issues in nutrition. Research opportunities with faculty may include already existing projects or designing one's own project under faculty guidance. The program's location in School of Public Health - Bloomington allows students and faculty to focus beyond nutrition to the areas of fitness, health, and leisure.


Dietitians promote healthy eating habits so that people can prevent or treat illnesses. IU dietetics graduates go on to complete a supervised practice experience (internship) and are then eligible to take a national exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). RDNs are the nationally and internationally recognized nutrition health care professionals.

RDNs may choose to work in clinical settings such as hospitals, long term care facilities, nutrition clinics, or private practice, in order to work as part of a health care team and to work one-on-one with people in the treatment and prevention of disease. Community-based RDNs counsel individuals and groups on nutritional practices designed to prevent disease and promote health. Management RDNs often oversee large-scale meal planning and preparation in health care facilities, schools, universities, restaurant chains, or private industry. In such settings nutrition education and activities are often included. A growing number of RDNs work in business, journalism, marketing, sports nutrition, and corporate wellness programs. Dietitians who enjoy research may prefer the food industry in which they can work in research and development of food products, services, or educational programs, or in major medical centers where clinical research is conducted. With advanced degrees, dietitians may pursue careers in dietetics education.

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