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School of Education & Health Sciences

Nutrition Science

Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Science

The Nutrition Science degree is a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) comprised of 128-semester hours of coursework related to science, food, nutrition and dietetics. The nutritional science program offers a broad based curriculum anchored in liberal arts and dedicated to evidenced-based coursework and relationship-centered practice. North Central's nutritional science degree will prepare students for supervised practice programs and careers as registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) or as entry-level professionals in fields related to health promotion, food service and the food industry. Students pursuing a bachelor's degree may also choose to use the nutrition science major to prepare for graduate nutrition programs or other graduate programs in health care or science. The demand for nutrition professionals is increasing in many sectors, as awareness grows of the importance of food and nutrition for health, wellness, and disease prevention in the wider population. The Nutrition Science DPD curriculum provides both informational and experiential learning with a goal of developing knowledge, skills and behaviors important in the rapidly changing field of human nutrition and dietetics. More broadly, a North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead personally and in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Why Pursue a Nutrition Science Degree at North Central College?

The Nutrition Science DPD program at North Central provides:

  • A minimum of 300 hours of hands-on experience to help you:
    • practice nutrition counseling
    • develop health promotion campaigns
    • explore sustainable food/gardening practices
    • develop food service management skills
    • be competitive when applying for jobs or graduate school
  • Competency based assessments that prepare you for supervised practice programs
  • Opportunities for undergraduate research
  • Small class size with committed faculty involvement

Accreditation Status

The Nutrition Science DPD program received candidacy for accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) located at 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995. The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) grants accreditation status to dietetics education programs. ACEND’s telephone number is (800) 877- 1600, ext. 5400 and Web address is ACEND@eatright.org.

More Department Information 

Kim Milano, Nutrition Science Program Director

If you are interested in food, eating and nutrition this major might be for you. As awareness and interest for public health nutrition and is increasing, the need for advanced nutrition professionals is also growing. The nutritional science program at North Central prepares you for these demands by providing integrated learning experiences in and out of the classroom. As nutrition concepts are introduced, each nutrition student is encouraged to reflect on their own attitudes towards food, nutrition and health and then apply nutrition concepts more broadly to larger populations and more diverse situations. Emphasis in the program is placed on critically evaluating the effectiveness of nutrition intervention, diets and other claims, integrating food and health systems and working with other health professionals for a more holistic approach to health. If this sounds appealing to you, then our nutrition program will provide you with the tools you need to work with others to improve nutrition and health and to pursue a Registered Dietitian credential.


The North Central College Nutrition Science Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) will prepare our diverse students for career opportunities by becoming competent practitioners who deliver relationship-centered nutritional care, collaboratively with health professionals. This nutrition sciences program in dietetics (DPD) will prepare students to enter dietetic internship programs that lead to eligibility for the CDR credentialing exam and to become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), while developing future leaders committed to life-long learning, evidenced-based practice, and the advancement of the professional field.

Program Goals and Objectives:

Goal # 1: Through experiential and applied learning, program graduates will be prepared for dietetic internship programs, graduate school or employment.

  1. Objective 1. At least 80% of nutrition program students complete program/bachelor's degree requirements within 6 years (150% of the program length). 

  2. Objective 2. At least 60% of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  3. Objective 3. At least 50% of program graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation. 

  4. Objective 4. The nutrition program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionist is at least 80%.
  5. Objective 5. Of graduates applying to graduate or professional education programs, 80% will gain admission. (Program-specific objective) 

Goal # 2. Program graduates will demonstrate intercultural competence and application of evidence-based practice to supervised program directors and preceptors.

  1. Objective 1. Supervised Program Directors and Preceptors will rate program graduates, (on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being highest), with a score of 3 or higher as being prepared for supervised practice. 

  2. Objective 2. Supervised Program Directors and Preceptors will rate program graduates (on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being highest) with a score of 3 or higher for intercultural competence. (Program-specific objective).
  3. Objective 3. Supervised Program Directors and Preceptors will rate program graduates (on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being highest) with a score of 3 or higher for ability to apply evidence- based practice. (Program-specific objective) 

  4. Objective 4. Program graduates will rate their preparation for supervised practice programs with a score of 3 or higher as being prepared for entry-level practice. 

Program data and information collected on these program outcomes are available on request.

Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian (RDN)

RDNs are recognized as nutrition experts providing credible nutrition information to healthcare professionals, patients, clients and the public at large. Services provided by RDNs range from clinical nutrition counseling and therapy in hospital or outpatient settings to managing food service operations. Opportunities also exist for career flexibility in diverse areas that include, but are not limited to, the media, food science, sports medicine, consulting, sales, and research and development. To earn the registered dietitian nutritionist credential (RDN), there are three steps students must follow.

  1. Students must complete a baccalaureate degree from a DPD program, such as the Nutrition Science DPD offered at North Central, which meets the ACEND Core Knowledge Requirements. Upon successful completion of the DPD program, students will receive a DPD Verification Statement from their institution to indicate they are eligible to start an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship (DI).
  2. The next step involves completing a supervised practice program (DI) that meets the ACEND Core Competency Requirements. After January 1, 2024, a minimum of a master’s degree will also be necessary to move on to the final step. Acceptance into a supervised practice program is a competitive process and students will need to apply to these programs in their senior year. Upon successful completion of the DI program, the student will receive a DI Verification Statement from their program to indicate they are eligible to sit for the national Registration Examination for Dietitian Nutritionists
  1. The final step, after completion of all education and supervised practice requirements, is to pass the national Registration Examination for Dietitian Nutritionists offered by the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR). Individuals are eligible to take the exam if they have a Master’s degree (after January 1, 2024) and a Verification Statement from a supervised practice program (DI). Successful completion of the registration examination allows individuals to place the RDN initials after their name and begin practicing independently. More information about becoming an RDN is available at https://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/registered-dietitian-rd-certification. In the state of Illinois, a license is required to legally practice nutrition therapy, and passing the registration examination qualifies you to apply for licensure. Similar requirements exist for most states in the United States. Information related to Illinois licensure can be found at https://www.idfpr.com/profs/dietNutrition.asp.

Not interested in becoming an RDN?

If you are not interested in becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist, there are several other options for careers after completing your bachelor's degree in Nutrition Science at North Central. These include:

  • Food Service management – after completing our advanced nutrition science program, you are eligible to take the Certified Dietary Managers (CDM) exam. Successfully passing this exam will allow you to apply for positions in school, retail or institutional food service management that require this certification. More information about the CDM certification can be found at https://www.anfponline.org/become-a-cdm/cdm-cfpp-credential.
  • Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered (NDTR) – NDTRs work under the supervision of RDNs in healthcare, community, food service and business settings. NDTRs perform duties related to food service or assist a RDN in providing nutrition information and therapy. Individuals successfully completing an accredited DPD and obtaining a verification statement are eligible to take the NDTR registration exam. More information about the NDTR exam can be found at https://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/dietetic-technician-registered-dtr-certification
  • Wellness and Health Promotion Coursework in the Nutrition Science DPD will prepare students to pursue positions in health and wellness promotion in a variety of settings including educational, community, business and fitness industries.

Graduate School - Students are also well positioned to apply to graduate school if they wish to pursue advanced degrees in nutrition or in other health professions.

Nutrition Science, B.S.

Nutrition Science Major (B.S.) is a Didactic Program in Dietetics that offers students an opportunity to study the impact of biological, chemical and physical properties of food on the human body and apply these concepts through experiential learning. Students will be prepared to apply to supervised practice programs that lead to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist, to attend graduate school or for employment in a range of nutrition related careers including health & wellness counseling and food service management and  food industry jobs. Emphasis is placed on the development of interprofessional communication skills, cultural competence and evidence –based application of knowledge.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Health Sciences.

One of the Following:

One of the Following:

To successfully complete the Nutrition Science DPD program and graduate with a B.S in Nutrition, students will need to:

  • Complete all required coursework (see course catalog)
  • Have an overall GPA ≥ 2.0 and a GPA ≥ 3.0 in all Nutrition courses
  • Satisfactorily complete DPD core knowledge requirements

In addition, North Central requires nutrition science students to:

  • Participate in a minimum of 300 hours of supervised experiential learning
  • Satisfactorily complete all program competencies assessed

General information about requirements for graduation can be found at http://catalog.noctrl.edu/content.php?catoid=18&navoid=1449#Graduation

Program Schedule

Students enrolled in the Nutrition Science DPD program follow the College’s academic calendar, which can be accessed at https://www.northcentralcollege.edu/academic-calendar. Occasionally students will be expected to engage in experiential learning activities outside of classroom time or in the evenings and on the weekends. Instructors and student (s) will mutually agree on any additional time required for these activities.


Course Descriptions

NUTR 101 - Introduction to Nutrition in Health

4.00 credits

Introduces the role of nutrition in human biological systems as related to human health. The types of nutrients in foods, their properties and interaction with genetics, the environment and health risk are addressed. Human nutrient requirements and the composition of healthy diets are also discussed within a cultural context. How nutritional guidelines are developed, assessed and the role of the nutritional professional in health promotion is also explored.

NUTR 110 - Food Systems and Health

4.00 credits

Provides an overview of food systems in the United States from agriculture to food production and processing. The impact of food system practices on human health, food insecurity and the environment is examined and contrasted with other global food systems. The accessibility and availability of foods across populations in the United States is discussed as well as the sustainability of current food trends. Food safety is also examined from a “farm to fork” perspective highlighting potential health hazards in the modern food industry.

NUTR 210 - Life Cycle Nutrition

4.00 credits

Nutrition requirements, considerations and health risks are examined across the human life cycle from birth to senescence. Early development, growth, maturation and aging are discussed in relationship to nutrition, food and lifestyle choices. Health disparities, cultural, environmental, psychosocial, physical, and economic factors affecting nutritional status through the life cycle are also explored.

Prerequisite - NUTR 101: Introduction to Nutrition in Health

NUTR 220 - Nutrition and Metabolism

4.00 credits

The study of nutrients is continued through a biochemical and biological perspective by examining the process of digestion, absorption and metabolism. Biochemical principles of nutrition and metabolism are discussed in relation to the body’s normal state of nourishment as well as in altered disease states.

Prerequisites-BIOL 202: Anatomy and Physiology II; NUTR 101: Introduction to Nutrition in Health

NUTR 230 - Food Science Principles

4.00 credits

Food science principles related to food preparation are examined, including the chemical, physical and sensory properties of foods. Emphasis is placed on food preparation techniques and practices and their impact on the nutritional content of foods. Altering food preparation techniques based on health or economic concerns are discussed in the context of food science and food quality. Experiential learning through food preparation and demonstration will connect food science and sensory evaluation techniques with nutrition and food science concepts.

Prerequisites- CHEM 121 – General chemistry and lab; ServSafe Food Manager Certification

NUTR 301 - Foundations of Nutrition Practice

4.00 credits

Basic concepts related to professional ethics, inter-professional collaboration and the scope of practice for nutritional professionals are explored. Assessment tools and methods for screening and assessing nutritional status, evaluating diet/nutrient intake and eating behavior are introduced. Emphasis will be placed on the nutrition care process and how assessments and plans are documented in the medical record or communicated with other health care professionals.

Prerequisite- NUTR 101: Introduction to Nutrition in Health

NUTR 310 - Community Nutrition

4.00 credits

The role of the nutrition professional in community settings is explored with a focus on needs assessment, intervention, development and evaluation of nutrition programs. Nutrition problems in contemporary American communities, as well developing nations, are examined with a focus on vulnerable populations and the role nutrition policy plays on the local, state and national level. Programs and strategies to meet nutrition needs outside acute care settings, such as nutrition education and food assistance are explored. Experiential learning opportunities through health initiatives on campus or in the community provide students an avenue to apply assessment and intervention techniques.

Prerequisite- NUTR 101: Introduction to Nutrition in Health

NUTR 315 - Nutrition Therapy I

4.00 credits

Students apply evidence-based knowledge of nutritional interventions to the prevention and management of diseases related to energy imbalance, cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal diseases. Topics explored include medical terminology, clinical laboratory values, nutritional assessment, menu planning, behavioral interventions and dietary analysis as they relate to these disease states. Emphasis will be placed on the nutrition care process, therapy options within a cultural context and indications for referral when the condition warrants specialized care. Opportunities to apply concepts are provided through the use of case studies, standardized patients and client interactions.

Prerequisites- NUTR 101: Introduction to Nutrition in Health; NUTR 301: Foundations in Nutrition Practice

NUTR 361 - Nutrition Research I

2.00 credits

Examines the fundamentals of quantitative and qualitative research methods and designs found in nutrition research. Students will apply knowledge through analysis of research papers and by rating the strength of findings, as well as developing study designs for nutrition research questions. Emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking skills and analyzing key elements of research designs related to nutrition practice.

Prerequisite- PSYC 250: Statistics

NUTR 362 - Nutrition Research II

2.00 credits

Research concepts presented in Nutrition Research I will be applied through the development and participation in research projects. Collection, analysis and interpretation of data found in health or community settings will be the focus of the course. Topics explored include survey design, qualitative interviews and simple data analysis. Students will complete a project using one of these research methods.

Prerequisite- NUTR 361 - Nutrition Research I

NUTR 416 - Nutrition Therapy II

4.00 credits

The study of evidenced-based knowledge related to the prevention and management of specific disease states continues with the examination of nutritional interventions for endocrine, renal, neurological, respiratory, metabolic, musculoskeletal and neoplastic diseases. Topics explored include medical terminology, clinical laboratory values, nutritional assessment, menu planning and dietary analysis as they relate to these disease states. Emphasis will be placed on the nutrition care process, therapy options and the use of enteral and parenteral nutrition in the critically ill. Opportunities to apply concepts are provided through the use of case studies, standardized patients & client interactions.


Prerequisite - NUTR 315: Nutrition Therapy I

NUTR 410 - Quantity Foods Management

4.00 credits

Principles of food preparation related to quantity food production and service are examined, including care and operation of equipment, ordering/storing foods and other goods, menu development, food costing and managerial responsibilities required for food service. Students apply quantity food principles, sustainability, nutrition and management principles to planning and executing a meal service in a campus dining or catering facility.

Prerequisites- NUTR 230: Food Science Principles; ServSafe Food  Manager Certification

NUTR 420 - Nutrition Education Counseling

4.0 credits

Various strategies are explored to assist individuals in making changes in health behavior related to food and nutrition with emphasis on nutrition education and counseling. Approaches are based on theoretical behavior change models, teaching and learning styles and other behavioral concepts. Students will actively apply techniques through case studies, hypothetical situations and supervised counseling opportunities. Application of principles will occur through group nutrition education exercises and direct interactions with clients.

Prerequisites: NUTR 315: Nutrition Therapy I

NUTR 470 - Capstone: Nutrition Myths and Controversies

4.00 Credits

Using integrated knowledge obtained through nutrition science course work, students will choose a nutrition-related health app, diet program or cuisine to evaluate depending on their area of interest. Evaluation includes adhering to the diet program, using the app or preparing and consuming the cuisine for two to four weeks, assessing the program/app/cuisine for safety, nutrition or health outcomes, potential for behavior change and cost-effectiveness. Students will present their findings through a presentation in an open forum.

Nutrition Electives:

NUTR 390 - Special Topics in Nutrition

2.00 Credits

Reviews specialty areas of nutrition practice including critical care, pediatrics, geriatrics, obesity, sports nutrition, diabetes, eating disorders, food service management, food product development etc. Students will choose an area they are interested in, research it and present opportunities for nutrition careers and the scope of practice within that area of nutrition to the class.

NUTR 242 - Culinary Arts for Health

2.00 Credits

Examines how cooking can be used to enhance behavior change for healthy lifestyles. Topics include eating behavior at home or dining out in the United States, incorporating cooking demonstrations/active education into nutrition education, nutrition comparisons of processed and home cooked foods and tasting assessments. Small groups of students will create and demonstrate an active cooking/food preparation lesson.

NUTR 241 - Food and Culture

2.00 Credits

Explores food cultures and eating traditions in the United States and globally. Nutrition principles are applied to evaluate healthy eating behaviors and diet quality across cultures. Barriers to adopting unfamiliar eating traditions or incorporating unfamiliar foods into the diet are discussed and current dietary guidelines are evaluated for cultural diversity. Students complete a project that adapts a nutrition education tool to reflect different food cultures.

Tuition, room, board, orientation and student activity fees are the same for all undergraduate programs at North Central College. For updated information about the cost of attendance, please go to this link https://www.northcentralcollege.edu/tuition-aid/costs.

Approximately 95% of new students receive some type of financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships or loans. For more information about financial assistance go to https://www.northcentralcollege.edu/financial-aid/assistance.

Additional costs associated with the Nutrition Science DPD program include:

  • Textbooks –  ~$1000 - $1200 a year (costs may vary)
  • ServSafe Food Manager Certification - $152.95 (needed for NUTR 230 & NUTR 410)
  • Lab/Chef’s coat & head covering - $25.00 – 30.00
  • For experiential learning sites located off campus, the following costs may apply:
    • Liability insurance (annual) - $35.00
    • Drug test and TB test - $0-50.00
    • Background Test - $0 – 50.00
    • Transportation Expenses - $0 - $100.00

Admission requirements to the Nutrition Science DPD are the same as general admission requirements for all undergraduates at North Central College. For more information on these requirements see https://www.northcentralcollege.edu/apply/freshman-applicants. While not required for admission to the program, college preparatory science courses, good high school science grades (a C or higher) SAT or ACT scores in the 75 percentile and good communication skills prepare students for the requirements of the program.