Dietetic Internship

Samford University's dietetic internship is a post-baccalaureate program in which you will fulfil  the requirements to become eligible to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Applicants are selected through the DICAS spring match, requiring application information to be submitted by February of each year. Please see the Application Process section below for specific deadline and application information. 

Students completing Samford's dietetic internship may apply 25 credits towards a Master of Science in Nutrition or 21 credits towards Samford's Master of Public Health (M.P.H.). The internship follows the graduate school calendar with school breaks and holidays observed. The didactic part of the internship and the master's level courses are online and begin in the fall semester (August). The supervised rotation experiences begin in the spring semester (January) and are offered in the Birmingham area or as a distance option. See the Distance Learning section below for more information about the distance option. 

The anticipated completion schedule is:
Dietetic Internship: 4 semesters
Dietetic Internship + M.S. Nutrition: 4 semesters
Dietetic Internship + M.P.H.: 6 semesters

Samford’s dietetic internship emphasizes public health nutrition with a strong focus on leadership and advocacy. Graduates are prepared to be resourceful leaders effectively serving and advocating for the nutrition needs of diverse persons with integrity, compassion and respect. Students in the program should demonstrate a commitment to the enhancement of quality of life for individuals, communities and global societies through service and the nourishment of body and spirit. 

Each year, 20 interns are accepted into the program and a distance track is available. Interns have opportunities to attend professional conferences, such as public policy workshops, annual state dietetic meetings and the Academy's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). Upon completion of the program, students will possess the knowledge, practical skills and professional values needed to meet the standards of education and core competencies for registered dietitians established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Program outcomes data available on request. 

Admission Requirements +

DICAS Application Opens: December 8
Application Deadline: February 15, 2017
Appointment Day: April 2, 2017
Entry Month: August, 2017

Samford University's qualifying criteria for the dietetic internship is listed below. Upon acceptance into the dietetic internship, candidates are automatically accepted into the master's program. There is not a separate process to complete for interns.

Qualifications for Admission: 
  • Possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Possess an official Verification Statement of Completion or Declaration of Intent to Complete from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), with original signatures issued within the last 5 years
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. 
  • Have a minimum of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale of all major courses
  • Have a minimum of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale in all science courses
  • Submit a GRE within the past 5 years
    • GRE Minimum scores: Verbal: 153; Quantitative: 144; Analytical: 4.0 
  • Possess 150 hours or more dietetics-related and/or food service work experience, volunteer or paid
  • International applicants or American citizens who learned English as a second language must score at least 550 (paper), 213 (computer), or 80 (internet) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language.
  • Exceptions to any admission requirements will be handled on an individual basis

Application Process+

The steps below outline the application process for the Dietetic Internship. To apply, you are required to submit an application through DICAS, the centralized application system, as well as a Dietetic Internship Supplemental Form.  DICAS charges an initial service fee of $45 to send the completed application to an institution. There is an additional $20 fee for each additional institution.

Samford utilizes the match system for selecting applicants. Upon completion of the DICAS application, you must also register online at D+D Digital for computer matching. Be sure to select Samford as a dietetic internship priority choice. Please note that there are two choices for Samford, a local option and a distance track. There is a $50.00 computer matching fee charged by D+D Digital.

Before starting your application, we recommend that you complete the following checklist:

  • Obtain student copies of your college transcripts to assist you in completing the coursework section of the application
  • Set the following sites as “trusted” sites for your e-mail so all communication will be received:
    dicasinfo@dicas.org
    donotreply@webadmit.org
    @sendgrid.dicas 
  • Create an application account at https://portal.dicas.org/
    • The DICAS system simplifies the process of applying to Dietetic Internship programs. Complete one application and submit it with the other information requested to the centralized service. DICAS will verify your application for accuracy, calculate your GPA and send your materials to the Dietetic Internship admissions department at Samford University. 
  • Request official transcripts from each institution attended by using the transcript request form in DICAS. You must complete the form, submit it to the registrar's office of each institution attended and instruct the institution to enclose the form with your official sealed transcript. Transcripts must be sent to the DICAS Transcript Department:
    DICAS Online
    P.O. Box 9118
    Watertown, MA 02471
    • DICAS accepts official transcripts sent directly from the registrar's office only. Please send transcripts as early as possible and no less than four to six weeks before the application deadline due to the time needed by DICAS to verify your application.
  • Submit 3 Letters of Reference: two references must be from a prior faculty member, academic advisor, or other professional who has supervised your academic studies; the other reference may be from an employer or other professional who can provide a knowledgeable testament regarding character, ethics, responsibility, potential for success, and other attributes which predict an applicant’s favorable performance in an internship.  
  • Attach a resume/portfolio
  • Complete all sections of the application including thoughtful answers to all questions on the personal/career statement
  • Submit official test scores to Samford University – Code:  1302
  • Submit a recorded personal interview via online video software. An invitation to complete the interview will be provide upon submission of your application. 
  • If accepted, a non-refundable fee of $1,000 is required to secure admission into the program. Instructions pertaining to the fee are provided in the acceptance letter. The fee is applied to the first semester's tuition.

Distance Learning Option

Samford offers rotation experiences in Birmingham and surrounding areas as well as through a distant track option. The distance learning option is available to a limited number of students. Distance students are responsible for finding all of the internship preceptors required to follow the calendar of rotations. Once accepted into the internship, the program director will provide the intern with the specific rotation needs, such as dates and skills to be learned. Preceptors are needed for the following experiences: public health/community, quantity food service management; child nutrition school based program; medical nutrition therapy (hospital, long term care, and outpatient settings); lifestyle; and a final practice rotation of the intern’s choice. Once the preceptor is identified, the director of the program works to secure a contract, provide the specific competency list and evaluation forms needed.

Internship Completion Requirements+

Samford's dietetic internship is a full-time program associated with a master's degree. Students completing Samford's program may apply 21 credits towards Samford's Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) or 25 credits towards a Master of Science in Nutrition (details coming soon).

The anticipated completion schedule is: 
Dietetic Internship: 4 semesters
Dietetic Internship + M.S. Nutrition: 4 semesters
Dietetic Internship + M.P.H.: 6 semesters

The didactic portion of the internship and master's level courses are online and begin in the fall semester (August). The supervised rotation experiences begin in the spring semester (January) and are completed by December. The maximum timeframe allowed to complete the dietetic internship is 18 months (150% of the program completion timeframe). 

Successful completion of the dietetic internship requires supervised practice experiences and didactic course work.

Successful completion of supervised practice experiences is measured by:

  • Preceptor and faculty evaluations that indicate satisfactory work for all planned supervised practice experiences. 
  • A minimum of 1200 clock hours in supervised practice facilities for achievement of performance requirements for entry-level dietitians.
  • Simulation modules to support rotation experiences completed with a grade better than 80/100. 

Supervised practice rotations include:

  1. Foodservice Systems Management: 6 weeks
  2. Community Nutrition: 7 weeks
  3. Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT): 13 weeks
  4. Child Nutrition Program Management: 3 weeks
  5. Lifestyle MNT: 4 weeks
  6. Culminating Practicum* in the concentration area of Public Health/Community Nutrition: 6 weeks
    *The culminating practicum provides the opportunity for interns to apply their accumulated learning and skills in leadership, interprofessional collaboration and development/implementation/evaluation of a product, program or service promoting health and wellness.

Successful completion of the required didactic course work is measured by a passing grade. Didactic courses include: 

  • NUTR 501: Nutrition Counseling and Wellness Promotion  - theory of health promotion; community needs assessment; development, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion interventions and programs, focusing on engaging communities, patients and families in valuing and protecting their own health. Includes training in client-centered counseling techniques such as motivational interviewing.
  • NUTR 510: Research Methods and Applications in Dietetics – review of design and evaluation of research methods and databases for nutrition interventions and monitoring
  • NUTR 502: Cultivating Nutrition Health: Strategies for Reducing Chronic Disease – explores evidence-based approaches in community nutrition and public health which have demonstrated success in promoting sustained health improvements. The primary teaching platform in this course will be engaging the students in informed discussion and root cause analysis of contributors to chronic disease.
  • NUTR 503: Management Leadership in Nutrition and Dietetics - combines elements of business management and resource management skills for institutional settings, principles of entrepreneurship, and training for transformational nutrition leadership and advocacy for improving public health. With the ulterior motive being to produce increased numbers of entry level dietitians with a strong leadership ethic and elevated understanding of the crucial role leadership plays in the success of the profession, this course will facilitate engagement with congressional representatives and other policy makers to advocate for nutrition-related legislation as opportunities arise.

After satisfactory completion of the required didactic courses and supervised practice experiences, the program director will provide the dietetic intern with a copy of the Verification Form and notify the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the intern’s successful completion of the Dietetic Internship at Samford University. The intern will then complete the paperwork and make the arrangements to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. The Program Director will also provide the dietetic interns with information on becoming a Licensed Dietitian in the state of their residence.

Plan of Study+

Accreditation+

The program is currently granted Candidacy for Accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, (800) 877-1600 ext. 5400.

Program Leadership+

Miriam (Mim) Gaines, MACT, RDN, LD
Assistant Professor and Dietetic Internship Director
Department of of Nutrition & Dietetics
Email: mgaines@samford.edu
Phone: 205-726-4870

Web Resources+

Student Handbooks+

Tuition & Fees*+

Per credit, per semester (degree or audit) $789
Application Fee DICAS $40
Technology fee, per semester $175
*Additional expenses, including estimates for travel, housing, books, liability insurance, medical exams, drug testing, background checks, verigication of intern identity, lab coats and other program specific costs are explained in the handbook.
For information about Financial Aid and loan deferment, please visit Samford Financial Aid.