Want to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

Exciting changes are in process related to the future education and training of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.  These changes are in response to recommendations that future registered dietitian nutritionists be trained at the graduate degree level for the purpose of advancing the profession and protecting the public.  Another impetus for the movement to graduate degree level preparation is the decision by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to change the degree requirement for eligibility to take the registered dietitian nutritionist exam from a baccalaureate to a master's degree effective January 1, 2024.

This movement toward graduate degree level preparation has resulted in the development of the Future Education Model Graduate Program for the professional education and training of individuals who want to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

What is a Future Education Model Graduate Program?

The Future Education Model Graduate Program aligns dietetic professional education and training with other health care professions.  For the majority of health care professions, an individual earns a baccalaureate degree by completing a major of the student's choice and in addition completes specific prerequisites prior to applying to the professional program.

Future Education Model Graduate Programs are completed at the graduate level resulting in a master's degree.  In addition, the program provides nutrition and dietetics coursework and supervised experiential learning to meet the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics competency requirements.  Following completion of the program, students are eligible to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration Credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

UNL graduates will have the choice of applying to two Future Education Model Graduate Programs in Nebraska- at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC will accept identical prerequisites as UNL beginning with their fall 2020 application process) and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (tentative start date of August 2021).  Students can also apply to Future Education Model programs outside of Nebraska.

What Major Should I Choose To Be Eligible to Apply to the Future Education Model Graduate Program?

Students can choose any major offered at UNL to earn the bachelor's degree and meet prerequisites for application into the program.  Several options within the Nutrition and Health Science major will provide a solid foundation in science and the role of nutrition and exercise in achieving and maintaining health.

Within the Nutrition and Health Sciences major, students interested in becoming a RDN can choose any of the following options:

  • Nutrition, Exercise and Health Science

Prepares students to plan, deliver, manage and evaluate fitness, health and wellness programs in a variety of settings with a focus on exercise and physical activity.  The option will also assist in preparing students for a number of nationally recognized certification examinations related to exercise and strength and conditioning.

  • Community Health and Wellness

Prepares students to plan, deliver, manage and evaluate fitness, health and wellness programs in a variety of settings with a focus on all aspects of wellness.  The option will assist in preparing students to take the Certified Health Educator Specialist (CHES) examination.

  • Nutrition Science

Provides students with the opportunity to study the biological and physical sciences as a basis for understanding the science of nutrition.  This option will prepare students who want to conduct research in their career and/or complete a doctorate program.

Prerequisites for Application to the Future Education Model Graduate Program

Additional information about the Pre-Dietetics program prerequisites for the UNL and UNMC program can be found on the Explore Center website

Questions?  Contact:
Linda Young, MS, RD, LMNT
Professor of Practice
Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences


  • Health care
  • Sports nutrition
  • Diabetes education
  • Weight loss / management
  • Community nutrition programs
  • Nutrition education
  • Public health
  • Wellness programs
  • Schools
  • Extension health and wellness

Application to this program


Bachelor of Science 4-Year Plan

Year 1

Semester 1 · Fall
Course Credit Hours
LIFE 120 Fundamentals of Biology I 3 cr
LIFE 120L Fundamentals of Biology I Laboratory 1 cr
NUTR 100 Healthy Living 3 cr
ACE 1 3 cr
MATH 101 or higher 2-5 cr
Total Credits 12
Semester 2 · Spring
Course Credit Hours
LIFE 121 Fundamentals of Biology II 3 cr
LIFE 121L Fundamentals of Biology II Laboratory 1 cr
ACE 2 3 cr
ACE 7 3 cr
PSYC 181 Introduction to Psychology 4 cr
NUTR 150 Career Preparation in Nutrition and Health Sciences 2 cr
Total Credits 16

Year 2

Semester 3 · Fall
Course Credit Hours
CHEM 109 General Chemistry I 4 cr
NUTR 244 Scientific Principles of Food Preparation 3 cr
NUTR 245 Scientific Principles of Food Preparation Laboratory 1 cr
NUTR 250 Human Nutrition and Metabolism 3 cr
ACE 5 3 cr
Total Credits 14
Semester 4 · Spring
Course Credit Hours
CHEM 110 General Chemistry II 4 cr
NUTR 251 Nutrition Through the Life Cycle 3 cr
NUTR 253 Cultural Aspects of Food and Nutrition 3 cr
BIOS 213 Human Physiology 3 cr
BIOS 213L Human Physiology 1 cr
Total Credits 14

Year 3

Semester 5 · Fall
Course Credit Hours
BIOS 111 or BIOS 312 & 314 or NUTR 372 3-4 cr
CHEM 251 Organic Chemistry I 3 cr
CHEM 253 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory 1 cr
NUTR 370 Food Production Management 3 cr
NUTR 371 Applied Food Production Laboratory 1 cr
STAT 218 or EDPS 459 3 cr
Total Credits 14
Semester 6 · Spring
Course Credit Hours
BIOC 321 Elements of Biochemistry 3 cr
BIOC 321L Laboratory for Elements of Biochemistry 1 cr
NUTR 356 Nutrition Education in the Community 3 cr
Electives 3 cr
NUTR 302 3 cr
NUTR 344 4 cr
Total Credits 17

Year 4

Semester 7 · Fall
Course Credit Hours
NUTR 450 Medical Nutrition Therapy I 3 cr
NUTR 455 Advanced Nutrition 3 cr
NUTR 473/873 Organization and Administration of Foodservice 3 cr
NUTR 490 Professional Preparation for Careers in Dietetics 1 cr
ACE 8 3 cr
Electives 3 cr
Total Credits 16
Semester 8 · Spring
Course Credit Hours
NUTR 452 Medical Nutrition Therapy II 3 cr
NUTR 452L Medical Nutrition Therapy II Laboratory 1 cr
NUTR 453 Nutrition and Fitness Communication Strategies 3 cr
Electives 6-10 cr
Total Credits 13


Under Semester Five please add the following choice:
CHEM 251 or CHEM 255 (3 cr)
CHEM 253 or CHEM 257 (1 cr)


This document represents a sample 4-year plan for degree completion with this major. Actual course selection and sequence may vary and should be discussed individually with your college or department academic adviser. Advisers also can help you plan other experiences to enrich your undergraduate education such as internships, education abroad, undergraduate research, learning communities, and service learning and community-based learning.