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Nutrition and dietetics


Devoted to a Healthier World

Bluffton’s nutrition and dietetics department is designed to prepare students for health-service careers. We are one of two private, liberal arts colleges in Ohio with a nutrition and dietetics major leading to a post-baccalaureate internship, dietetics registration and licensure.

Within one year of graduation, 85 percent of our graduates placed in an accredited internship position (the national average is 50 percent.) This internship is required to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).





Food and nutrition major

The study of food and nutrition includes courses in science, behavioral sciences and management strategies, with a solid foundation in liberal studies. This major is for those who do not plan to become a registered dietitian. If you are interested in becoming a registered dietitian, see our nutrition and dietetics major.

Nutrition in healthcare, food and wellness industries is growing rapidly, and opportunities for employment in those fields are available. 

Becca Starn

“The internship was perfect because I could look at the human resources aspect of the business as well as the food and nutrition aspect.”

Becca Starn earned a competitive paid summer internship with Cracker Barrel.
Becca’s story >

The food and nutrition major offers two concentrations, both combine coursework emphasizing the foundations of nutritional sciences with the physical and biological sciences necessary for professional practice.
  • WELLNESS works with people, families and communities to enhance their quality of life. Career options include corporate wellness programs, health/fitness clubs, educational institutions, community agencies and personal training/consulting.
  • FOOD AND NUTRITION IN BUSINESS: There is considerable demand in the global food industry for persons who understand food and nutrition. Career opportunities include managing food service organizations, food production, food product development and marketing, culinary arts and food sales. A variety of business courses are included in this major and a hands-on practice internship is required as part of the curriculum. 

Harvest Dinner 2018
Explore the courses required for a

Four-year plans are provided as guidelines for course selection leading to a food and nutrition major with a business concentration or a food and nutrition major with a wellness concentration. 


Nutrition and dietetics major

Being a dietetics student at Bluffton University means taking a challenging curriculum in which you'll learn the scientific foundation knowledge and skills that prepare you for a dietetic internship. All of our students receive practical experience in hospitals and the community while at Bluffton. 

Dietetics is a profession concerned with the science and practice of human nutritional care. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is an allied medical professional who puts into practice the science and art of food and nutrition in the service of people, individuals, families and communities. In Ohio, a registered dietitian must also be a licensed dietitian (LD).

Alexa Lammers '19

Alexa Lammers spent 10 weeks over the summer immersing herself in a highly competitive internship with Purdue University’s Department of Nutrition Science.

“I like the idea of working with people who are trying to achieve the very best that they can.”
Alexa’s story >

The first step in becoming a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist is to complete a baccalaureate degree in an accredited dietetics curriculum, which Bluffton provides.

After graduation, as a dietetics student, you are eligible to apply for an accredited internship program. Following completion of this 10-12 month internship, you a eligible to take the national registration examination, which in Ohio is also the state licensure exam. Upon passing this exam, you are a registered and licensed dietitian.

The Bluffton University dietetics program has maintained a high success rate. 

  • 85% of our graduates have been placed in ADA internship positions within a year of graduation.
  • 95% of our graduates have passed the registration examination on their first attempt (100% on second attempt).

A post-graduation dietetic internship is a required step to becoming a registered and licensed dietitian. 

Internship placement is highly competitive. To increase your chances, you are advised to pay attention to the following, beginning with your first year of college.

  • Earn good grades.  An undergraduate grade point average of at least a 3.0 GPA is needed to be competitive. The higher the GPA, the better chance a student may have of gaining entrance into an internship.
  • Gain relevant work experience. Paid work in the food service industry such as cooks and cooks assistants, servers, cashiers, cleaning and general workers can be beneficial.
  • Gain dietetic-related volunteer experiences. Examples include assisting with health-related events at a local hospital or assisting with events sponsored by the health department.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities. Gaining leadership experience in your extracurricular activities can increase your interpersonal skills.

Guide to the dietetic internship application process >

Lunch and Learn presentation

Explore the courses required for a

A four year course plan is provided as a guideline for course selection leading to a nutrition and dietetics major.


Wellness minor

Are you interested in wellness issues but leaning toward a major in another department? Consider a minor in wellness.

The main concern of nutrition and dietetics major is the health promotion and disease prevention for the general public. The wellness minor offers the student studies in food, nutrition, fitness, exercise and wellness concepts for the general public. Employment opportunities for graduates include the fitness industry, corporate wellness programs, resorts and spas, and community and public health settings.

Explore courses for a minor in:

  • Wellness (not available to food & nutrition majors)

Find your greater purpose at Bluffton