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  • SDA is the Student Dietetic Association. Officers of SDA are juniors and seniors of the BYU dietetics program. SDA sponsors fun social activities and community service projects throughout the academic year. Anyone interested in dietetics or nutrition can become a member of SDA. Anyone entering the dietetics program is strongly encouraged to become a member.
  • During the beginning of fall semester the NDFS advisement office located in S-221 ESC building will have a short form to fill out to join SDA. Dues for the year are approximately seven dollars.
  • You should have finished about 300 hours before applying to the program. The additional 700 required hours can be volunteer and/or work hours. Students get hours by working or volunteering in institutional foodservice (at hospitals, nursing homes, university dining services, schools, etc.) and/or in nutrition care (working as a diet tech at a hospital or nursing home, or volunteering at WIC, Cancer Society, Heart Association, March of Dimes, hospitals, etc.). The NDFS website lists many examples of dietetics-related experiences. If you have questions on whether or not certain activities will count toward hours, Dr. Nyland, the dietetics program director, can help you determine if the hours are appropriate.
  • The senior year differs quite a bit from the junior year. This year will still be demanding, but in a different way. Students spend a lot more time working in groups doing projects together. Also, there is less focus on food service and clinical dietetics. There are fewer exams to take so less time is spent preparing for tests, but more time is spent working in groups. By working in groups, students learn how to deal with different personalities, which isn’t always easy, but is an important skill to have as you enter the workforce. It really is a great learning tool because most dietitians work with multi-disciplinary teams in the field and they need to know how to work and get along with other people. It helps if students try to be more flexible and adjust to different schedules and learn to compromise.

    During fall semester, students take NDFS 400, 401 (Community Nutrition, Lab), NDFS 405 (Nutritional Assessment Lab), NDFS 458 (Management in Dietetics), NDFS 440 (Teaching Methods), and NDFS 491 (Internship Prep). This year there is more emphasis on teaching students how to teach others what they have already learned about dietetics.

    In Community Nutrition, students learn more about what resources are available in the community and also learn more about working with others from different cultural backgrounds. Students apply their knowledge by completing projects and volunteering in the community. It is a little time demanding, but it’s doable even if students are working.

    The Nutritional Assessment Lab teaches students how to screen individuals for nutritional risk, to measure and interpret body composition data, and interpret laboratory parameters relating to nutritional status.

    Management (NDFS 458) helped me to understand better why and how you interact a certain way with groups." There are also a lot of projects done in teams.

    Teaching Methods gives students the opportunity to practice a lot. Some theory is taught, but most of the time students write lesson plans and teach in front of the class. “It was challenging and fun.”

    The Internship Prep class is very helpful. It takes students through the application process step by step before they actually have to do the real thing, helping them feel more confident when it comes time to apply.

    Winter semester is a little stressful because students are applying for internships, not to mention being plagued by senioritis! The hardest class this semester is Nutrient Biochemistry (NDFS 435). “It takes up a lot of study time--you just can’t get around it--but it’s really interesting and useful.” The other classes are NDFS 475 (Research Methods), NDFS 466 (Advanced Dietetics Practice), and NDFS 490 (Professionalism Seminar).

    In Research Methods, students learn how to write a proposal and how research is conducted to answer different types of research questions.

    Advanced Dietetics Practice is a combination of management and clinical dietetics. Students brush up on some clinical things they may have forgotten by doing case studies. For the management part, the class is divided into two groups which are responsible for developing the entire dietary department for a hospital. “You’ll have to apply lots of food service, management, and clinical principles into it. You have the whole semester to do it, so don’t get discouraged.”

    Professionalism Seminar is a pass/fail class. Though it is not very stressful, it provides much important information about finding jobs, The American Dietetic Association, and the health care systems.

    (Information about the Senior Year was adapted from comments by Vera Branson, a previous BYU dietetics student. Thanks Vera!)
  • Yes, the program is demanding, but it is also very rewarding. During the junior year, students learn about clinical nutrition and food service. One of the food service classes,NDFS 374, has a lab portion (NDFS 375) that students sign up to take either fall or winter semester. NDFS 375 (the food production management lab) is held in the Pendulum Court. NDFS 375 is twice a week for one semester from approximately 9 AM to 1:30 PM. In this lab, the students rotate positions as baker, cook, salad preparer, and manager.It is time-consuming, but is doable even if you’re working.
    Clinical Nutrition is both semesters, the first half taken during the first semester junior year (NDFS 300) and the second half taken the second semester (NDFS 356). In clinical nutrition, students learn all about various diseases that can affect nutritional status and what can be done to help patients achieve their optimal health nutritionally. Although the class is challenging, it is a favorite for many students, especially those interested in clinical nutrition as a profession.

    The other required class during fall semester is Zool 361 (Pathophysiology). This is a difficult class, but students learn a lot that helps build a good foundation for clinical nutrition. Some students prefer taking NDFS 375 (Pendulum Court lab) winter semester so they don’t have to worry about it while taking Pathophysiology. On the other hand, some students prefer taking NDFS 375 fall semester to get it out of the way before winter. It’s just a matter of preference.

    During winter semester, students will take NDFS 356 (Clinical Nutrition2), NDFS 445 (Food Service Systems), and NDFS 424 (Nutrition LifeCycle).

    In Food Service Systems, students learn about the different aspects of food service and how they are interrelated. Students learn to apply their knowledge by completing a few big group projects during the semester.

    Nutrition of the Life Cycle teaches students about the differing nutritional needs during the life span. Students will complete two projects during the term. For the first project,students follow a pregnant woman throughout the semester and take a diet history before and after making suggestions to improve her diet. For the second project, students follow the diet of a young child.

    To view the course sequence for dietetics go to:
  • After graduation, students that majored in dietetics who wish to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) must pass a national examination. However, in order to take the exam students must first complete an internship. There are internships available all over the country, sponsored by various universities, colleges, and hospitals. Internships generally vary in length from 6 months to a year. Some are full-time while others are offered on a part-time basis, taking longer to complete (sometimes up to two years). Some internships offer stipends and many charge tuition. During winter semester of the senior year in the program, students apply for the internships of their choice. Students will rank their choices in order of preference. Likewise, the various internships will rank their choice of potential future interns in order of preference.

    Finally, interns will be matched to internships through computer matching. Unfortunately, everyone that applies for an internship is not guaranteed a spot. However, there is a “Second Round” or a second chance for students to apply for internships after the computer matching is finished. How does this work? Students who were not placed by the computer matching will be informed of all internships that were not filled by the computer matching process; students then have the opportunity to directly apply for any of these open internships without having to go through another computer matching. To find out more about dietetics internships (DI), search for them on the American Dietetic Association website at The ADA website lists all the internships in alphabetical order (by state) and has links to all the internships that have websites for more detailed information about specific ones.