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University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Honolulu, HI 96822


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Pre-Dietetics Preparation at UHMānoa

Text compiled from the, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics website,
Commission of Dietetic Registration website, UHM FSHN website,
UHM 2013 Dietetics Option Handbook, and the UHM 2013-2014 Catalog

Registered Dietitian R.D. Programs
Prerequisites for Admission
What makes a strong candidate?
The Application Process
Additional Information
Downloadable Brochure


Registered Dietitians, or RDs, are experts in applying the science of nutrition to assessing or developing plans involving the diets of individuals and the community as a whole.   RDs often provide nutrition counseling, develop diet plans, and educate people about nutrition.  They can also work in large-scale food service operations and ensure that they are sanitary, cost effective, and capable of meeting the nutritional needs of the target population.  Clinical RDs can specialize in areas nutrition-related diseases (such as diabetes) or the health of different age groups.

RDs can work in a variety of settings, including in clinics, hospitals, food service and processing, private practices, government and non-profit organizations, and education.  The job of an RD is highly dependent on the setting they work in.

The terms “Registered Dietitian,” “Professional Dietitian,” and “Dietitian” are protected by law, and only those who have met the educational requirements and qualifications mandated by their state can use the title.  The term “Nutritionist” is not protected, and can be used by people with different levels of training.

Related Careers:  A related licensure is the Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR).  The scope of a dietetic technician is dependent on their work setting and state.  DTRs usually work closely and assist RDs in their work, including nutritional education and counseling.  Other related professions include food service manager, health educator, public health nutritionist, and nutrition researcher.

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Registered Dietitian RD Programs

Becoming an RD generally requires about 4 ½ to 5 years education:

  • Bachelors Degree (~4 years);
  • Internship (~6-12 months)

The Bachelors degree must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND).  The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa offers a major in Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN), which has a track called the Dietetic Option that prepares its students to become a registered dietitian.  The dietetic option is CADE accredited, and an emphasis on sports and wellness may be added to this option.

Upon completion of the Bachelors degree, a post-baccalaureate internship is required in order to sit for the Dietetic Registration Exam and become licensed as a dietitian.  The internship requires a competitive application process, and consists of supervised practice as a dietitian.  Students may apply for internships on the mainland.  An internship can also be obtained through the UH Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) program.  The ISPP program offers the opportunity for twelve UH Mānoa students, who were not accepted to mainland internship programs to complete an internship in Hawai’i.  The ISPP program involves 1,200 hours of supervised practice in various rotation sites.  (Hawaii Dietetics Association Website,

Other universities offer majors that prepare students to become an RD as well, with a variety of emphases (please see the Additional Information section for more information.)

RDs who specialize hold additional certifications awarded through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), another credentialing agency for AND.  Certificates for specialization include Gerontological Nutrition, Sports Dietetics, Pediatric Nutrition, and Renal Nutrition.

Many states have their own set of additional requirements that dietitians must meet, including specific licensing requirements.  In Hawaii, practicing as an RD requires membership with both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and the Hawaii Dietetic Association (HDA).  The list of licensure agencies by state is provided by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)All Dieticians must be licensed in order to practice.

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Prerequisites for Admission

Most importantly, remember that requirements vary from school to school! Students must research the individual programs at each of the institutions to which they intend to apply. 

The following admission guidelines pertain only to UHM’s FSHN major, Dietetics Option:

  • Incoming Freshmen – open declaration via UH Mānoa application.
  • Transfers (from other majors and/or other institutions):

Must meet with the FSHN Undergraduate Advisor, have a minimum entrance GPA of 2.8, and have completed the following courses:

    • FSHN 185 – The Science of Human Nutrition (with B or better)
    • CHEM 161/161L – General Chemistry I and Lab (with C or better)
    • CHEM 162/162L – General Chemistry II and Lab (with C or better)
    • PHYL 141/141L – Human Anatomy and Physiology I and Lab (with C or better)
    • PHYL 142/142L – Human Anatomy and Physiology II and Lab (with C or better)
    • MATH 140 (or higher, with C or better)

Note:  Transfer students must see a FSHN advisor to have their prior coursework evaluated before applying.  Please refer to the Dietetics Option Student Handbook for more information regarding the program. 

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What makes a strong candidate?

Programs need to be certain that the students they accept will be capable of completing the curriculum and are likely to become good dietitians.

UHM’s Dietetics Program is looking for students who have:

  • Completed the prerequisites
  • Satisfied admission requirements (see above)

The program would also like to see students who:

  • Demonstrate compassion, empathy, and commitment to public service
  • Are able to work in a variety of settings
  • Are able to incorporate their knowledge into their work
  • Have high ethical and moral standards
  • Live a well-rounded lifestyle and are able to balance professional and humanitarian interests
  • A well-rounded lifestyle that balances academics, social activities, and personal interests (hobbies, skills, sports, etc.)

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The Application Process

To become an RD, students must fulfill three requirements:

  1.  Complete a bachelor’s degree for dietetics that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  1. Complete an ACEND-accredited internship program.  The program is typically 6 to 12 months in length.  Students will obtain experience as a dietitian under the supervision of an R.D.
  1. Pass the national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).


For UHM Dietetics Program only:
Incoming freshmen can declare the FSHN major on their UH Mānoa application.

Transfer students need to complete all of the prerequisite courses, and must meet all admissions requirements to apply into the UHM Dietetics Program.  Students must meet with the FSHN Undergraduate Advisor in order to apply for the program.

Major courses that are open to pre-FSHN dietetics students:

  • FSHN 185 - The Science of Human Nutrition
  • FSHN 181/L - The Chemical Nature of Food/Food Preparation Lab (must obtain an override from FSHN undergraduate advisor or instructor),
  • FSHN 370 – Lifespan Nutrition (Spring Only.  Pre: C or better in CHEM 161/161L, B or better in 185; or consent. Co-requisite: PHYL 142/142L, or consent)

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Contact Information for FSHN/Dietetics Advising:

For UHM Dietetics Program information, transfer credit evaluations, and academic plans:
FSHN Undergraduate Advisor:  Dr. Maria Stewart
1955 East West Road
AgSci 314M
Honolulu, HI 96822

Phone: 808-956-9114
Fax: 808-956-4024

For information regarding the dietetic internships within the program:
Dietetics Advisor:  Dr. Anne Shovic
1955 East West Road
AgSci 314 I
Honolulu, HI 96822

Phone: 808-956-3847
Fax: 808-956-4024


Additional Resources

UHMānoa's Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center (PAC) has reference books, lists of volunteer opportunities, academic planning worksheets, and one-on-one advising by peers who can help you prepare for and apply to osteopathic medical schools.

UHM FSHN Council
UHM FSHN/Dietetics Program
UHM Dietetics Option Student Handbook

Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
Commission on Dietetic Registration

Hawaii Dietetic Association
State Licensure Agency List

Dietetic Programs in the US

Preparing for Graduate School by the Honors Program


Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN)
Undergraduate Advising Workshops

Want to learn more about the FSHN major? Thinking of transferring majors to FSHN? Attend one of these workshops in Agriculture Science 314 Mauka Table. Bring a copy of your transcript!

  • Monday: 1:30-4:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 1:30-3:00 PM
  • Thursday: 1:30-3:30 PM

Questions? Contact Dr. Stewart at


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