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Didactic Program in Dietetics (B.S.)

The Henderson State University Didactic Program in Dietetics (DP) is designed to help students build a foundation in nutritional sciences with a strong liberal arts core. Students are prepared for a career as Registered Dietitians (RDs) in health and foodservice industries through the application of food and nutritional science principles. 

The program is designed to accomplish the following goals: 1) Prepare graduates to enter an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)-accredited dietetic internship program and become competent RDs; 2) Prepare graduates for lifelong service to the community and profession through emphasis, encouragement, and provision of guidance in relation to community and professional service activities relevant to the profession of dietetics.

Upon completion of the program, students will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a specialization in Dietetics.

Due to its very low student-teacher ratio, the Henderson DP offers a highly advantageous learning environment.  Students can expect individualized attention in dietetics classes, one-on-one academic advising with a Registered Dietitian, and hands-on learning experiences at local healthcare facilities, foodservice organizations, and other community settings.

Current students: Download the Community Service Record Form to track your volunteer activities. 

The HSU DP Student Handbook and the student section of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) website provide essential information for interested students.

What are the steps required to become a Registered Dietitian?

Step 1: Complete a 4-year undergraduate (B.S.) degree in nutrition, dietetics, or another highly related field.

Step 2: Complete a dietetic internship accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).  There are over 240 ACEND-accredited dietetic internship programs throughout the United States, and they are highly competitive.  Most programs range from 6-12 months, but some combine the internship with graduate school and may last 2-3 years. 

Step 3: Pass the national examination for Registered Dietitians to obtain RD credentials.

Step 4: In order to maintain registration status, RDs must fulfill continuing professional education requirements.

*Upon completion of HSU's DP, students will be issued a verification statement which allow them to apply to dietetic internships.  Note: HSU does not issue verification statements to or complete declaration of intent statements for students with a cumulative GPA below 3.0.

Admission Information

Students must first have an accepted application from the Office of University Relations/Admissions.

The prerequisites for entry into the DP include:

  • FCS1023 Foods
  • FCS1081 FCS Seminar
  • FCS 2053 Meal Management
  • FCS 2103 Nutrition


Upon successful completion (C or higher) of the above courses and a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better, students may be accepted into the DP and allowed to register for upper-level courses. 

Financial assistance is available to qualified students. Please contact the Henderson Office of Financial Aid at (870) 230-5148. Additional Scholarships are available through the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences or through various other nutrition-related organizations.

What can I do with a degree in dietetics?

A wide variety of career opportunities are available for Registered Dietitians.

Clinical Dietitians work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities in specialty areas such as cardiology, diabetes, nephrology, pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, and nutrition support.

Administrative Dietitians work in healthcare facilities, schools, restaurants, food production sales, marketing, advertising, public relations, and other nutrition industries.

Nutrition Educators work in colleges, universities, public schools, medical facilities, and government agencies.

Research Dietitians work in pharmaceutical companies, universities, medical centers, and government agencies.

Consultant Dietitians work in private practice, contract services, and in physicians' offices. 

Community Dietitians work in public health agencies, government-funded programs, health and recreational clubs, school lunch programs, and child and adult day care programs. 

Graduates not seeking a dietetic internship also have numerous career opportunities in health-related and foodservice settings, or they may sit for the Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) exam.   

Looking for something a little different?  Check out alternative RD jobs and alternative jobs for the non-RD.

Explore more career opportunities!

What jobs do some of Henderson's dietetics graduates hold?

  • RD for the Arkansas Department of Health (5 students, various locations)
  • RD/Certified Lactation Consultant (Arkadelphia, AR)
  • RD at National Park Medical Center (Hot Springs, AR)
  • RD for Mercy Health Center (Hot Springs, AR)
  • RD for Baptist Health-Malvern (formerly Hot Spring County Medical Center) (Malvern, AR)
  • RD for White River Medical Center (Batesville, AR)
  • RD for Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (Little Rock, AR)
  • RD for North Central Baptist Hospital (San Antonio, TX)
  • Renal dietitian for DaVita Dialysis (2 students)
  • Arkansas Department of Health Environmental Health Specialist, Registered Professional Sanitarian (Hot Springs, AR)
  • FCS Cooperative Extension agent for Faulkner county, AR (Child Education Services - 4H)
  • FCS Cooperative Extension agent for Mississippi county, AR (Food and Nutrition)
  • Assistant professor/director of didactic program in dietetics at Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, AR)
  • Online instructor for the University of Phoenix 
  • WIC Nutritionist/Supervisor for the City of San Marcos (Seguin, TX)
  • Outreach Specialist for the Center on Aging (Texarkana, AR)
  • Study Coordinator/RD for Principals Research Group (Hot Springs, AR)
  • RD for Simply Fit Meals (Plano, TX)
  • RD for Gourmet Solutions foodservice management company (Fayetteville, AR)


Where have Henderson dietetics graduates gone to complete their dietetic internships and/or for graduate school?

Henderson dietetics graduates have completed internships at the following universities or through the following organizations:

  • University of Central Arkansas
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences  
  • Benedictine University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Iowa State University
  • Texas A & M University 
  • Baptist Health System (San Antonio, TX)


HSU alumni have earned Master's degrees in nutrition or a closely related area at the following locations:

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • University of Central Arkansas
  • University of Arkansas at Monticello
  • Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX)
  • Texas A & M University (Commerce, TX)
  • Texas A & M University (College Station, TX)
  • University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio, TX)
  • Louisiana Tech University (Ruston, LA)
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Benedictine University (Lisle, IL)
  • Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)


Areas of Study

  • Basic and advanced nutrition
  • Sports nutrition
  • Community nutrition
  • Nutrition through the life cycle
  • Medical nutrition therapy
  • Foods
  • Experimental food science
  • Food economics
  • Foodservice management


Watch a video featuring interviews with HSU students and the program director and take a sneak peek into a couple of dietetics classes!

The Henderson Dietetics Program is currently granted initial accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995; phone: (800) 877-1600. 

The dietetics program is located in Proctor Hall on the south side of the HSU campus.  Contact the program director, Ms. Penny Whelchel, at (870) 230-5542 or

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"HSU has a wonderful Dietetics program, and I believe it will get you fully prepared for the next step. The teachers at HSU have a hands-on approach and push you to your full potential."


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Kimberly RobertsBachelor of Science - Family and Consumer Science (Dietetics), 2010
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