Nutritional Sciences: Dietetics

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Science (BS)

The Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology (NST) offers three undergraduate major program specializations: Physiology and Metabolism, Dietetics, and Toxicology leading to a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.

Now is an exciting time to explore the sciences of nutrition and toxicology. The media have highlighted many questions about the role of diet in development and aging, the safety of genetically modified foods, links among diet, cancer, and chronic diseases, and the problems of global malnutrition.

The curriculum, driven by NST faculty research, covers a breadth of topics including functions and mechanisms of nutrient actions to the benefits and hazards of chemical agents, cultural and socio-economic determinants of human diets, and development of programs and policies to address human and environmental health and safety.

Overview of Specialization

The Nutritional Science: Dietetics degree prepares students for a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). RDNs translate the science of nutrition into practical applications in clinical, food service, or community settings. Graduates of this program must complete a dietetics internship and pass a national examination to become an RDN.

The Dietetics curriculum provides an excellent foundation in the biological and chemical sciences, and a preprofessional focus on applying knowledge of nutritional sciences to benefit human health and to abate disease. The Dietetics program, known formally as the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) prepares dietitians for positions of leadership in health care, education, industry, government, and community health, as well as in professional organizations. The program fills a community need for highly trained nutrition professionals while providing academic background for graduate study in nutrition or related fields. The program focuses on excellence in intellectual development, to the development of a professional inquiring attitude, and to equality of opportunity.

Graduates of this program receive preprofessional verification and are eligible to apply to supervised practice programs in order to receive practical training in multiple aspects of dietetics practice. Such programs generally take nine to twelve months. The DPD program director assists students in applying for supervised practice programs. Upon completion of the academic course work and a post-baccalaureate program of supervised practice, students are eligible to take the nationally administered Registration Examination. Once this exam is passed, the RDN credential is earned.

The DPD at UC Berkeley is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics Education (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

Admission to the Major

Information on admission for freshmen and transfer students can be found on the Rausser College of Natural Resources Prospective Student website. Freshman students may apply directly to the major, or they may select Rausser College's undeclared option and declare the major by the end of their fourth semester. Transfer students may apply directly to the major and indicate their intended specialization through the UC application.

Information for current Berkeley students who would like to declare the major after admission, including information on a change of major or change of college, please see Rausser College's Change of College page

Rausser College Honors Program

The honors program is individual research, NUSCTX H196, for two semesters under the supervision of a faculty member. The supervised independent honors research is specific to aspects of the nutritional sciences and toxicology major, followed by an oral presentation, and written report. Acceptance in the Rausser College Honors Program is required through an application process. Students who are interested in the Honors program should apply during their junior or senior year. Students must have a 3.6 grade-point average (GPA) in order to be eligible for the honors program. Please see Rausser College's Honors webpage or visit 260 Mulford Hall for additional information.

Minor Program

The department offers a minor program in Nutritional Sciences. The course work for the minor addresses topics in Human Nutrition and Nutrient Function. Elective options range from Nutrition in the Community to Metabolic Regulation to Human Diet. The minor is best suited for students already pursuing a bioscience degree: a background in chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, and biochemistry is necessary to be prepared to do upper division work in this field.  For information regarding how to declare the minor, please contact Rausser College;s Office of Instruction and Student Affairs in 260 Mulford Hall.

Certificate Program

The full-time Individualized Supervised Practice Program (ISPP) in Dietetics prepares participants for a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). The ISPP curriculum provides experience in the application of nutrition through supervised dietetic practice at various hospitals, food service institutions, long-term care, public health, and wellness facilities across the United States.

Other Minor Offered by the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology

Toxicology (Minor only)

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

All students must complete R1A & R1B (or equivalent Reading and Comprehension course) before the end of their Sophomore year.

NOTE:  The curriculum has been revised effective Fall 2016.  Students admitted prior to Fall 16 and following the previous curriculum should refer to the 2015-16 Guide

The Rausser College of Natural Resources (CNR) Undergraduate Handbook serves as a guide to the academic policies and information that students need in order to be successful while completing their coursework at Berkeley:

Dietetics Specialization

Students should be ready to declare the Dietetics specialization at the end of their sophomore year and the program curriculum must be completed within two years of declaring the Dietetics specialization unless a petition has been approved.

For Breadth, students are required to take 5 additional units of course work in American Cultures, Arts & Literature, Historical Studies, International Studies, Philosophy & Values, Social & Behavioral Sciences, or Foreign Language. Please refer to the L&S seven course breadth categories here

Lower Division Requirements

Select one course from the following:
ANTHRO 3Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology4
or ANTHRO 3AC Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology (American Cultures)
or PSYCH 1 General Psychology
or PSYCH 2 Principles of Psychology
or SOCIOL 3AC Principles of Sociology: American Cultures
Select one course from the following:
ECON 1Introduction to Economics4
or ECON 2 Introduction to Economics--Lecture Format
or ECON C3 Introduction to Environmental Economics and Policy
Select one sequence from the following:
Analytic Geometry and Calculus
and Introduction to Statistics
and Introduction to Statistics
Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics
and Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics
Complete all of the following:
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory
Chemical Structure and Reactivity
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Chemical Structure and Reactivity
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
NUSCTX 10Introduction to Human Nutrition3
Introduction to Human Physiology
and Introduction to Human Physiology Laboratory
General Biology Lecture
and General Biology Laboratory

Upper Division Requirements

MCELLBI 102Survey of the Principles of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology4
NUSCTX 103Nutrient Function and Metabolism3
NUSCTX 104Food, Culture, and the Environment (or NUSCTX W104 [3])2
NUSCTX 108AIntroduction and Application of Food Science3
NUSCTX 108BApplication of Food Science Laboratory1
NUSCTX 135Food Systems Organization and Management4
NUSCTX 145Nutrition Education and Counseling2
NUSCTX 160Metabolic Bases of Human Health and Diseases4
NUSCTX 161AMedical Nutrition Therapy4
NUSCTX 161BMedical Nutrition Therapy II4
NUSCTX 166Nutrition in the Community3
NUSCTX 192Junior Seminar in Dietetics1
NUSCTX 194Senior Seminar in Dietetics2
PB HLTH 162APublic Health Microbiology4
UGBA 105Leading People3

Certificate Requirements

Individualized Supervised Practice Program

Students who are pursuing the opportunity to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) will participate in either an internship or Individualized Supervised Practice Program (ISPP) before they are qualified to sit for the RDN exam. The Dietetics Program Director works with students in seminars and 1-on-1 to help plan for either of these pathways. Below is more information about the ISPP specifically.

The ISPP in Dietetics prepares participants for a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). The ISPP curriculum provides experience in the application of nutrition through supervised dietetic practice at various hospitals, food service institutions, long-term care, public health, and wellness facilities across the United States. The ISPP is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics Education (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dietetics is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field. The ISPP will offer training in various practice settings to provide participants with a strong foundation in applied dietetics. Participants of the ISPP can apply for one of two program concentrations: clinical nutrition or community nutrition.

The ISPP is 10 months and will generally begin in August and end in May. The ISPP requires a minimum of 1,360 hours of supervised dietetic practice in a professional work setting or alternate practice experience and 40 hours of orientation/instruction within a ten-month period. There are no courses associated with this certificate. The ISPP is full-time. Participants must meet performance standards from all preceptors and maintain professional and ethical standards as outlined in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Code of Ethics. Upon successful completion of the ISPP, a continuing education/specialized professional (CESP) certificate program in dietetics supervised practice and verification of completion statement will be issued. A degree will not be granted.

For more information on earning this certificate, please see the Individualized Supervised Practice Program handbook.

College Requirements

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing and critical thinking all majors in the College require two semesters of lower division work in composition. Students must complete a first-level reading and composition course by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

Foreign LanguageEEP Majors only

The Foreign Language requirement is only required by Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP) majors. It may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Quantitative ReasoningEEP Majors only

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is only required by Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP) majors. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Undergraduate Breadth

Undergraduate breadth provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program and many students complete their breadth courses in their first two years. Breadth courses are built into the Rausser College major requirements and each major requires a different number of breath courses and categories. The EEP major is the only college major that requires the entire 7 course breadth. Refer to the major snapshots on each Rausser College major page for for additional information. 

High School Exam Credit

Rausser College students may apply high school exam credit (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, A-Level Exam) towards many College and Major Requirements. See AP Exam Equivalency Chart and Higher Level IB Exam Equivalency Chart in the Rausser College Student Handbook for more information.

Unit Requirements

Students must complete at least 120 semester units of courses subject to certain guidelines:

  • At least 36 units must be upper division courses, including a minimum of 15 units of upper division courses in the Rausser College. 
  • A maximum of 16 units of Special Studies coursework (courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198, or 199) is allowed towards the 120 units; a maximum of four is allowed in a given semester.
  • A maximum of 4 units of Physical Education from any school attended will count towards the 120 units.
  • Students may receive unit credit for courses graded P (including P/NP units taken through EAP) up to a limit of one-third of the total units taken and passed on the Berkeley campus at the time of graduation.

Semester Unit Minimum

All Rausser College students must enroll in at least 12 units each fall and spring semester.

Semester Unit Maximum

To request permission to take more than 20.5 units in a semester, please see the major adviser.

Semester Limit

Students admitted as freshmen must graduate within 8 fall/spring semesters at UC Berkeley. Students admitted as transfer students must graduate within 4 fall/spring semesters at UC Berkeley. Students who go on EAP and UCDC can petition for additional semesters. Summer session, UC Extension and non-UC study abroad programs do not count towards this semester limit. Students approved for double majors or  simultaneous degrees in two colleges may be granted an additional semester. Rausser College does not limit the number of total units a student can accrue.

Senior Residence Requirement

Once you achieve and exceed 90 units (senior status), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence at the Rausser College of Natural Resources over at least 2 semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units taken while the student is a member of Rausser. At least one of the two terms must be a fall or spring semester. Senior residence terms do not need to be completed consecutively. All courses offered on campus for the fall, spring, and summer terms by Berkeley departments and programs and all Berkeley online ('W') courses count. Inter-campus Visitor, Education Abroad Program, UC Berkeley Washington Program, and UC Berkeley Extension units do not count toward this requirement.  Students may use Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence Requirement, provided that 6 units of coursework are completed.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in a fall, spring or summer UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program may meet a modified Senior Residence Requirement by completing 24 of their final 60 semester units in residence (excluding UCEAP). At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after senior status is reached. International travel study programs sponsored by Summer Sessions and education abroad programs offered outside of the UC system do not qualify for modified senior residence.

Most students automatically satisfy the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless students go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through University Extension during their senior year. In these cases, students should make an appointment to see an adviser to determine how they can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Grade Requirements

  • A 2.0 UC GPA is required for graduation.
  • A 2.0 average in all upper division courses required of the major program is required for graduation.
  • A grade of at least C- is required in all courses for the major

Student Learning Goals

Rausser College Learning Goals

  1. To provide preparation in critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills.
  2. To provide insight and in-depth information on the interaction of natural and man-made toxicants with people and their impact on human health and disease (depth).
  3. To provide strong academic preparation for successful contributions to research, education, industry and government, and/or participation in advanced studies in health and biosciences (breadth).
  4. To inspire students to advance the health and well-being of citizens (value)

Major Map

Major Maps help undergraduate students discover academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities at UC Berkeley based on intended major or field of interest. Developed by the Division of Undergraduate Education in collaboration with academic departments, these experience maps will help you:

  • Explore your major and gain a better understanding of your field of study

  • Connect with people and programs that inspire and sustain your creativity, drive, curiosity and success

  • Discover opportunities for independent inquiry, enterprise, and creative expression

  • Engage locally and globally to broaden your perspectives and change the world

  • Reflect on your academic career and prepare for life after Berkeley

Use the major map below as a guide to planning your undergraduate journey and designing your own unique Berkeley experience.

View the Nutritional Sciences Major Map PDF.


In the Rausser College of Natural Resources, we provide holistic, individual advising services to prospective and current students who are pursuing major and minors in our college. We assist with a range of topics including course selection, academic decision-making, achieving personal and academic goals, and maximizing the Berkeley experience.

If you are looking to explore your options, or you are ready to declare a major, double major, or minor, contact the undergraduate adviser for your intended major. Visit our website to explore all of our advising services.

Rausser College of Natural Resources Undergraduate Advising

260 Mulford Hall


Related Courses

Faculty and Instructors


Gregory W. Aponte, Professor. Health and nutrition, nutritional sciences, signaling between the gut and the brain, neuropeptides, G-protein coupled receptors.
Research Profile

Danica Chen, Associate Professor. Aging, stem cell, diseases of aging.
Research Profile

Marc Hellerstein, Professor. Plant biology, health and nutrition.
Research Profile

Dale E. Johnson, Adjunct Professor.

Sona Kang, Assistant Professor. Epigenetics, chromatin remodeling, gene expression, diabetes, metabolic diseases .
Research Profile

Ronald M. Krauss, Adjunct Professor. Lipid metabolism, diet, genetics.
Research Profile

Isao Kubo, Professor. Agriculture, insect biology, pest management.
Research Profile

Dale Leitman, Adjunct Professor.

Anders Naar, Professor. Gene expression, microRNAs, Mammalian Cell Metabolism, Metabolic Diseases, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, NAFLD/NASH, cancer therapies .
Research Profile

Joseph L. Napoli, Professor. Metabolism, nutritional biochemistry, fat-soluble vitamins, retinoids, retinoic acid, retinol, vitamin A, vitamin D, analytical biochemistry.
Research Profile

Daniel K. Nomura, Associate Professor. Chemical biology, metabolism, toxicology, cancer.
Research Profile

James Olzmann, Assistant Professor. Cell biology, organelle biogenesis, lipid droplet regulation, lipotoxicity, lipid storage, cell death, protein quality control, systems biology, metabolic disease, cancer .
Research Profile

Robert Ryan, Adjunct Professor.

Andreas Stahl, Associate Professor. Metabolism, obesity, adipose tissue, brown fat, thermogenesis, tissue engineering, diabetes, fatty acid transport, fatty acid, stem cells.
Research Profile

Hei Sook Sul, Professor. Plant biology, health and nutrition, nutritional sciences and toxicology.
Research Profile

Jen-Chywan (Wally) Wang, Associate Professor. Steroid hormones, glucocorticoids, molecular physiology, Metabolic Diseases.
Research Profile


Mary Henderson, Lecturer.

Mikelle McCoin, Lecturer.

Kristen Rasmussen, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Nancy Amy, Professor Emeritus. Nutritional science and toxicology, nutrition, cell metabolism, trace elements.
Research Profile

Leonard F. Bjeldanes, Professor Emeritus. Nutritional science and toxicology, diet and cancer, metabolic regulation.
Research Profile

Kenneth J. Carpenter, Professor Emeritus.

George W. Chang, Professor Emeritus. Microbial biology, health and nutrition, food safety.
Research Profile

Ben De Lumen, Professor Emeritus. Cancer prevention, academic enterpreneurship.
Research Profile

Sharon E. Fleming, Professor Emeritus. Plant biology, health and nutrition.
Research Profile

Janet King, Professor Emeritus.

Angela C. Little, Professor Emeritus.

Susan M. Oace, Professor Emeritus.

Barry Shane, Professor Emeritus. Plant biology, health and nutrition, nutritional sciences and toxicology.
Research Profile

Fernando E. Viteri, Professor Emeritus. Plant biology, health and nutrition, nutritional sciences and toxicology.
Research Profile

Mary Ann Williams, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology

119 Morgan Hall

Phone: 510-642-6490

Fax: 510-642-0535

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Hei Sook Sul

219 Morgan Hall

Phone: 510-642-3978

Graduate Student Services

Majabeen Samadi

115 Morgan Hall

Phone: 510-643-2863

Undergraduate Advisor

Meaghan DeRespini

260 Mulford Hall

Phone: 510-642-2879

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