I have been asked time and time again if it’s worth it to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I LOVE my role and want to provide some insight on the journey to getting there. This post will tell you all about the prerequisite courses that will set you up for success in your future journey of becoming a dietitian.

Pin My Journey To Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist: Prerequisites here!


Today, we are going to talk about the prerequisites required for a dietetics program in my second post about my journey to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist.  If you missed the first post about choosing the program for you, click here to check it out!

How to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist from Treble in the Kitchen Prerequisites

If you are going back to school to become a registered dietitian nutritionist, you most likely have quite a few prerequisites to take.  In my first undergraduate degree, I studied music and arts administration so I was literally starting from scratch with the courses I had to take.

From what I understand, many prerequisites for dietetics programs are very similar.  That being said, you will want to make a list of the specific prereqs you will need for the program you are working towards.

The courses I find are necessary for most programs are:

  • Chemistry 1 (with lab)
  • Biology 1 (with lab)
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • General Microbiology
  • Intro to Biochemistry
  • Intro to Nutrition

Some other courses that may be required

  • Chemistry 2 (with lab)
  • Medical Terminology
  • Intro to Statistics
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Research Writing 

The courses I had to take prior to beginning my program:

  • Chemistry 1 (with lab)
  • Biology 1 (with lab)
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Intro to Nutrition
  • Medical Terminology
  • Intro to Statistics
  • Intro to Psychology

The courses I took while completing my nutrition program:

  • Organic Chemistry
  • General Microbiology
  • Intro to Biochemistry
  • Research Writing 

I completed all of these courses through online programs that were accepted through my school so that I had flexible hours allowing me to work part time and so that when we moved for Brian’s residency I didn’t have to worry about being done with my coursework.  I could easily take it with me wherever we moved!

While it has been very convenient to take these courses online, I’ll admit that it is very challenging because I feel as though I am teaching myself almost all of the material.  Some of the courses have powerpoints and lectures, but it’s not quite the same as sitting in an actual lecture or having a conversation about the topic with your professor.  Basically, all of the courses require a lot of reading. a lot of hours, and a lot of organization.  It’s not impossible, but if I could choose to take some of these courses again I would probably choose to take them in the classroom setting.

Checkout my guide with prereqs needed to become an #RDN Click To Tweet

Some online programs I have taken courses through are:

When thinking about what order to complete the courses, I would recommend starting with Chemistry 1 and Biology 1.  These classes are very general, but many of the more advanced courses (organic chemistry, biochem, microbio, etc) refer to material that you learn in these courses, so it’s good to get them out of the way.

OK! That’s a lot of information, but hopefully, it’s a starting point for those that are interested in going back to school for nutrition.


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  1. Hi Tara,
    I am currently a Nutrition major at Clemson University. I hope to pursue a career in sports nutrition, but I have some concerns about class work. I really enjoy and understand the nutrition classes I am taking, but struggle in the other sciences. Would you suggest pursuing another career? Or keep grinding it out? If you could shoot me an email that would be awesome and I hope to hear from you soon.
    Thank you,

  2. Hi Tara,
    I am interested in becoming a Dietitian, but do not really know where to start. I graduated from Towson University in the Spring of 2021 with a Bachelor’s in Health Education and Promotion. Luckily, most of the pre-required courses that you have mentioned I have completed, such as Chemistry 1, Biology 1, Anatomy & Physiology 1 and 2, Nutrition 101, Medical Terminology, and Psychology 101. Although most websites list out similar pre-required classes, I was wondering which exact ones I would need to take before moving on to my Master’s. How would I find this out? I was hoping I can take those additional classes at my local community college before moving on to my Master’s. Also, can you clairfy what are the steps to becoming a Dietitian? Would it be completing all coursework and graduating, then applying to a dietetic internship, and lastly, passing the CDR exam?

    Thanks so much,

  3. Hi Tara,
    I am currently studying Biochemistry in the University of Ibadan. But I wish to become a dietitian.
    Can my biochemistry degree be used to start my dietetics career or I would have to start with nutrition and dietetics degree? If the latter applies, which online website can you suggest for me to get a fist degree in nutrition before proceeding?
    Thanks, Tara

    • Hi! While you don’t necessarily need a full degree in nutrition and dietetics, the prerequisites needed to take the dietetic registration exam really set you up for the degree. I would check out the information at eatright.org.

  4. Hi Tara!
    I am planning to start the dietetics program at UNC this summer. I already have a Bachelor’s degree so I only needed a few prerequisites. I’m curious about your experience with Calcampus. I took a chemistry class there and I thought it was extremely difficult. I’m not a chemistry fan though. I am debating on taking organic chemistry and biochemistry there also. They’re the last two prerequisites I need to take. Did you take those classes at Calcampus, and what did you think of them? Also, I’m curious what you thought of the UNC program. Thanks for your help! Any advice you have is appreciated! I know this will be stressful, but very rewarding in the end!. Also, if you see two submitted posts, sorry! I tried to type one up earlier and I’m not sure it submitted. My one year old got ahold of my phone!

  5. Hi Tara,

    I am looking to start the UNC program this coming summer. I’ve been procrastinating with taking my last couple prerequisites over the last few years. I was wondering if you took organic chemistry or biochemistry through Calcampus? I took my first chemistry class through them and I was surprised how much I struggled. I’m not a fan of chemistry, but I’m willing to persevere because I have such a passion for nutrition and becoming a registered dietitian. If you took those courses through Calcampus, did you think they were easy? If you took those courses somewhere else, please let me know your experience! I’m also curious on your thoughts of the UNC program. Did you take bio chem while enrolled in the program or prior to? I have a 1 year old so I’m a little nervous on the stress of going back to school and taking care of a little one!

  6. Hi Nicole, thank you for sharing this information. I recently got accepted at UNC to do the Distance Dietetic Program (Online Bachelors,) but now they’re telling me I have to take some pre-requisite courses at Cal campus or a local university before I’m admitted to the program.
    I’m a bit confused about the requirements as they also said applicants would need to complete 60 credit hours along with the pre-requisite courses. I’m still passionate about becoming a RDN, but I need some advice on how to proceed. Any information you can provide me with, I would be grateful for, Thank you for your time.

  7. I know this post is fairly old, but I wanted to THANK YOU so much for posting about this… I’m currently trying to figure this all out as well but I’m also interested in a distance dietetics program. I was looking at UNC but when I was discussing with someone from admissions, she explained that these pre-requisites were not offered there and had to be taken at a local school… confused and wanting to complete everything online I counted them out and have been looking into K State.
    So, you completed all of your pre-requisites online? Did you have to complete any classes in person?
    Thanks for the help! 🙂

    • Hi Nicole! Thanks for reaching out! YES! I completed everything online. Once I was accepted into the program at UNC, they sent a list of courses that were accredited and accepted by the school. Most of the course options were online. Email me if you have more questions! Happy to help!

  8. I JUST registered for my first pre-req. I am 31 and going back to school! I have a Health Promotion degree from a University where I graduated in 2009 but am having to re-take some sciences as they are expired. I am so nervous but finding your blog has been a huge help! I am starting with Anatomy and Physiology and taking it at Edukan while I continue to work full time. Any words of wisdom about Edukan? I think I will apply to the University of Kansas. I am excited, scared, nervous, but so happy that I have something i am passionate about! I graduated college and bounced around to things and still hadn’t found my calling until in the last 6 months I realized how obsessed I am with meal planning and finding out about what I am putting in my body and what is good and bad…so I was like wait a minute…can I make this into a career? I am pretty excited! Any words of wisdom would be so appreciated!

    • Hi Misty!! Congratulations on making that choice, I know it is not easy but it will be so worth it! I will send you an email 🙂

  9. Were you paying out of state tuition for your prerequisites at all those colleges? Or do the online schools like those have a general cost?

    • Hi Nicole! For the online courses, there is typically just a course fee listed. I hope this helps! It can vary from around $800-$1200 per course.

  10. I’ve been researching Registered Dietician programs, but was not quite sure where to begin, so this was very helpful. As far as pre-requisite classes, it looks as if I took all but 1 as an undergraduate (Intro. to Nutrition). Do I need to take that class somewhere before applying online to one of the online programs you mentioned above? Also, once I am in a RD program, how long does that take to complete on average?

    Thank you!

    • That’s amazing, Jen! I would recommend reaching out to the programs you are interested in. There are some prerequisites that you can be taking DURING the application process, but each program is a bit different. My program started in June of 2015 and I will be done with my coursework December 2016( so about a year and a half). The internship is 9 months to a year, so I think it just depends on the program 🙂

  11. Well done girl!! You are so impressive! I was going to study Dietetics, but I just couldn’t do the sciences! But I’m so impressed with those who do! It’s a lot of hard work!! Well done!

  12. I’m glad you’re doing this series! I’d talked with over email about the program that you’re in, but when I checked into it, I found that Arkansas residents (me) can’t enroll! Boo.
    So where were you able to get those science classes with labs online–at the universities that you listed above? It seems that I can never find many options online that are decent or within budget.

    • I’m so sorry you can’t enroll!! Hopefully there is a program that works for you 🙂 YES! I did labs in my kitchen at home…crazy right!?

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