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Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (D.P.D.)

Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (D.P.D.)

The Simmons College Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (D.P.D.) is a post-baccalaureate program that fulfills one of the requirements for becoming a Registered Dietitian. The D.P.D. Certificate will prepare graduates to become competent entry level dietetics professionals, as well as preparing for success in one or more of the following: a graduate program, an accredited supervised practice program (dietetic internship, or employment.

There are no prerequiste courses required for admission although applicants may have completd some of the courses in the D.P.D. curriculum before applying.The undergraduate courses required for the D. P.D. (indicated further in the nutrition catalog) can be completed within the context of the Simmons College curriculum either as a part of a Simmons Bachelor's degree or in addition to an already completed Bachelor's degree. Students not currently in possession of a Bachelor's degree should apply through the Simmons College Undergraduate Admissions office for a Bachelor's degree with a major in nutrition. Students who already have a Bachelor's degree and intend to apply for the D.P.D. Certificate Program must apply for this program through the Office of Admission of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The D.P.D. Certificate is designed for those students who have already completed a Bachelor's degree and who would like to complete solely the Didactic Program requirements to become a Registered Dietitian. Even students who have already obtained a Bachelor's degree in a different discipline can complete the D.P.D. Certificate program to apply for a supervised practice program (e.g., dietetic internship). The Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has approved the didactic undergraduate courses for the Simmons College D.P.D. Certificate  Any pre-requisite courses specified in the college catalog for each course must be completed prior to taking the course in question.

This certificate, along with a verification statement signed by the D.P.D. Director at Simmons College, will confirm the successful completion of this first step in the credentialing process for dietetics practitioners. Students must pass the D.P.D. courses at Simmons College to be eligible for a verification statement. In addition to a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, and the didactic courses, an accredited supervised practice program (dietetic internship) must be completed to ensure eligibility to take the R.D. exam. The courses in this certificate are coded as graduate courses (tuition is based on the graduate rate) but they are actually undergraduate in content. Credits earned through completion of the DPD Certificate do not count towards the Master's in Nutrition and Health Promotion degree.

It should be noted that fulfilling the aforementioned courses required for the Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics is only one step in the credentialing process for dietetics practitioners. In addition to a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, the undergraduate D.P.D. course completion must be followed by an accredited supervised practice program (e.g., a dietetic internship program (D.I.P.) to ensure eligibility to take the R.D. examination. The application to the D.I.P. is a separate process and completion of the Certificate in the D.P.D. does not guarantee acceptance into a D.I.P. The dietetics internship application process is competitive and not all applicants are accepted. Statistics on the national acceptance rates to dietetic internships are shown on the following web site: http://www.eatright.org/CADE/content.aspx?id=186.

In recent years, about half of those applying to DIs nationally were accepted into dietetic internships, among Simmons College DPD students the match rate is considerably higher with about 81%  matching in 2011 and 96% matching in 2012. For more information on becoming a registered dietitian please see http://www.eatright.org/BecomeanRDorDTR/

Students must submit the SNHS electronic graduate Nutrition application to apply to this program. Carefully review the application to be certain to submit all required materials.  D.P.D. applications are accepted for the fall (September) and spring (January) semesters and summer(May) session. However, international students requiring an F-1 visa can only apply for entry to the September semester.

The Mission of the Simmons College Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics

The mission of the Simmons College Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to educate students and foster an appreciation of lifelong learning in preparation for their success in the nutrition and dietetics profession so that they can be effective in a profession that improves the eating behaviors and subsequent health and quality of life of a multicultural and diverse population, a profession that adds to the scientific investigation about food and health, and one that fosters an appreciation of nutrition and dietetics' relationship to other sciences.

Program Goals and Objectives

The Nutrition Department is dedicated to quality teaching and learning. The following are the goals of Simmons College Didactic Program in Dietetics. The D.P.D. goals are consistent with the mission of the College and the corresponding college goals:

1. The Simmons College D.P.D. will prepare graduates capable of becoming competent entry level dietetic professionals.

2. The D.P.D. will prepare graduates to succeed in one or more of the following: a graduate program related to nutrition or dietetics, an accredited dietetic internship program (DIP), or employment.

3. The D.P.D. will prepare graduates to serve a culturally diverse population.

DPD Goals and Program Outcomes

As part of our accreditation requirements set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the A.D.A.) we have set forth measurable outcome objectives which track our progress toward attaining the aforementioned goals. The Didactic Program in Dietetics' goals and corresponding program outcomes are shown below:

1. The Simmons College DPD will prepare graduates to become competent entry level dietetics professionals.

Corresponding program outcomes:

  • At least 70% of those students enrolled in the BS/DPD will complete it within 150% of the time planned for completion. (i.e. 6 years)
  • Over a five year period, the pass rate for program graduates taking the registration examination for the first time will be at least 80%.
  • At least 75 % of graduates will assign a 4 (i.e., agree) or a 5 (i.e., strongly agree) to being well prepared on 75% of the items on the graduate survey.
  • At least 75% of Directors of supervised Practice will rate Simmons College DPD graduates as acceptable or higher on 75% of items listed on the survey.

2. The DPD will prepare graduates to succeed in one or more of the following: a graduate program, an accredited dietetic internship program, or employment.

Corresponding program outcomes:

  • Over a five-year period, 60% of DPD graduates will apply to supervised practice programs the academic year they complete the program.
  • Over a five year period, 80% of those applying to supervised practice programs the academic year that they complete the program will be accepted.
  • Within 12 months of completing the program at least 70% of those who did not apply or were not accepted to a DIP will secure one or more of the following: appointment to a graduate program, or employment.

3. The DPD will prepare graduates to serve a culturally diverse population. 

Corresponding program outcome:

  • 80% of DPD students will demonstrate academic preparation in cultural factors affecting both nutrition and counseling via their DPD coursework.

Required Courses for the Certificate in the Didactic Program in Dietetics

  • General Biology* (BIOL 113)
  • Microbiology* (BIOL 221)
  • Anatomy & Physiology I and II* (BIOL 231 + 232)
  • Introductory Chemistry: Inorganic* or Principles of Chemistry (Chem 111 or 113)
  • Introductory Chemistry: Organic* or Organic Chemistry I (Chem 112 or 114)
  • Introduction to Biochemistry (CHEM 223)
  • Introductory Statistics (MATH 118)

*with Laboratory

Nutrition Courses:

  • Introduction to Nutrition Science (NUTR 112, Fundamentals of Nutrition Science NUTR 111 can be substituted)
  • Advanced Food Science (NUTR 201)  
  • The Practice of Clinical Dietetics (NUTR 231)
  • The Practice of Community Nutrition (NUTR 237)
  • Food Production and Service Systems (NUTR 248)
  • Management of Food Service Systems (NUTR 249)
  • Nutrient Metabolism (NUTR 311)
  • Advanced Practice in Community Nutrition (NUTR 381)
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy (NUTR 334) (this course must be taken at Simmons College)
  • Seminar: topics in Nutrition  (NUTR 390) 

In addition, there are two required social science courses; at least one of these should be in sociology or psychology.

The Simmons College Didactic Program in Dietetics is currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL 60606, 312.899.0040 ext. 5400.

DPD certificate students (U.S. and permanent resident aliens) may take some DPD courses at another regionally accredited post-secondary institution with prior approval from the DPD director. However, in order to receive a verification statement attesting to the completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, students must complete a minimum of five courses in residence at Simmons College, even if they have a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition from another regionally accredited college or university.

Federal immigration policies prevent foreign students needing an F-1 visa to study in the U.S. from taking courses at an institution other than the one which issued the I-20, so, students issued an I-20 by Simmons must complete all courses at Simmons.

Students must pass with a grade of B- or better all required DPD nutrition courses to be eligible to receive a Verification Statement (the latter is the official documentation of completion required by CADE). Even if coursework equivalent to the aforementioned requirements has been completed elsewhere a minimum of five courses must be completed at Simmons College with a B- or better for a student to be eligible to receive a Verification statement .

Students who complete the Certificate in the D.P.D. at Simmons College will receive this certificate and also a verification statement which documents completion of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' required courses, once they have submitted the following to the D.P.D. director:

  • All official transcripts from all colleges attended for credit toward their degree and all colleges attended at which students took courses which fulfilled the Certificate in the D.P.D. requirements (approval of all courses proposed to be taken for the D.PD. at a college other than Simmons College is required by the Nutrition Department). These official transcripts are in addition to and separate from those submitted as part of the admission process; photocopies are not acceptable.
  • A request for the verification statement (either by e-mail or hard copy). This request should include the student's full name, the last four digits of their social security number, and the address to which the verification statements should be sent.
  • There is a 1-2 week turn-around time between the time of receipt of all aforementioned and the sending out of the verification statements.

For additional information on the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Simmons College, please visit the the Undergraduate DPD program.

 

Combined Master's of Science in Nutrition and Health Promotion and DPD Program

Those who are admitted into both the MS and the DPD Certificate Program, may use graduate courses in their MS program to fulfill the requirements of two of the aforementioned DPD courses,: Advanced Practice in Community Nutrition, and Topics in Nutrition. However, to obtain the exemption from these courses the following graduate courses must be completed prior to completion of the DPD Certificate.

  • Advanced Practice in Community Nutrition (NUTR 381) is covered by the following graduate courses:
    • NUTR 452 Program Planning, Implementation and Evaluation
    • NUTR 455 Nutrition Fitness and Wellness
    • NUTR 460 Nutritional Epidemiology
    • SNHS 450 Introduction to Health Care Systems
    • SNHS 570, Health Promotion: Global Perspective
  • Seminar: Topics in Nutrition (NUTR 390) is covered by the following graduate courses.
    • SNHS 410 Research Methods
    • NUTR 489 Proposal Development