Philosophy / Mission of Dietetics Program

A didactic dietetics program prepares students to integrate and apply the principles of the food and nutrition sciences, human behavior, and the biomedical sciences to design and manage effective nutrition programs in various settings. The curriculum includes instruction in human nutrition; nutrient metabolism; the role of foods and nutrition in health promotion and disease prevention; planning and directing food service activities; diet and nutrition analysis and planning; supervision of food storage and preparation; client education; and professional standards and regulations.

    Accreditation/Approval Status of the Didactic Program in Dietetics

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In 1992, the dietetics program at Western Illinois University was approved as Didactic Program in Dietetics, and was accredited in 2006 by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE), which in 2011 adopted the new name, Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics is located at headquarters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at 120 Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606; 800-877-1600.

  Program Objectives

After successful completion of the program students will be able to:

  1. Determine the science underlying the properties of various food components, and reactions that occur during food preparation/processing and storage.
  2. Apply knowledge of biochemistry and physiology to human nutrient metabolism.
  3. Demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate and use professional literature to make ethical evidence-based practice decisions in nutrition-related clinical and customer service. 
  4. Assess and resolve managerial problems and use quantitative reasoning concepts, critical thinking related to food and nutrition in a global, cultural and diverse society.
  5. Develop interventions to affect change and enhance wellness in diverse individuals and groups.
  6. Demonstrate effective and professional oral and written communication and documentation.

    DFMH Student Cooking Program Completion and Verification

Graduation is based on completion requirements of the didactic program in dietetics (Dietetic Option Requirements) and fulfillment of university requirements. Upon receiving the bachelor's degree with an option in Dietetics, a graduate will be issued a verification statement.

A graduate of the DPD is eligible to apply for admission into an accredited dietetic internship program. A verification statement is required for admission into an accredited dietetic internship program. The dietetic internship follows graduation and acceptance is based on several factors including grade point average, work experience, faculty recommendations, and participation in dietetic related activities and organizations.

After completion of an accredited dietetic internship program, the graduate is eligible to take the national registration examination for dietitians to become a registered dietitian (R.D.).The verification statement must accompany a graduate's application to sit for the registration examination.

Go Red Luncheon Feb 2011

    Admission to the Department

  1. To be accepted into the Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, a student must complete 60 semester hours (s. h.) with a minimum cumulative 3.00 GPA. 
  2. Transfer students who have earned 60 s.h. prior to matriculation at WIU, with a minimum cumulative 3.00 GPA, will enter as declared majors.
  3. After acceptance into the Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, each student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher on a 4.0 scale to be retained in the program. Students with less than a 3.0 GPA after admission into the B.S. in Dietetics will be dismissed from the Dietetics program.

    Additional Program Costs

In addition to University tuition, room and board, etc. as listed in the university catalog, certain costs will be incurred in the DPD at Western Illinois University.  The following items are estimated costs offered to assist students in planning for their financial responsibilities while at Western Illinois University.

  • Laboratory uniform (required for all food classes) --$65.00
  • Field Trips (selected courses, costs will be identified in the syllabus) -- $50.00
  • Student organization membership fee (varies) -- $10-40.00/year

  DFMH Student Cooking

Career Opportunities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment for dietitians will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014 because of increased importance placed on disease prevention, increasing population, aging population, and the interest in nutrition by the public. To grow faster than the average, according to BLS, is to grow at a rate of 18 to 26 percent. Much of the growth is expected to occur in nursing homes, residential care facilities, and the physician clinics.

Dietitians provide nutrition services, manage food service operations, and conduct research or sales with the public and private sectors in the United States and abroad. For more information on a career in dietetics, visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm.

Job settings include:

  • Clinics
  • Hospitals (inpatient/acute care)
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Sports facilities
  • Private practice
  • School food service (K-12)
  • Colleges and universities
  • Extended care facilities
  • Government programs
  • Distributors/retailers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Food service industries
  • Food manufacturers
  • Food industry catering service
  • Food equipment companies

    Faculty in this Major