The mission of the Samford University dietetic internship (DI) is to produce entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists who are resourceful leaders, effectively serving the nutrition needs of diverse persons in their communities with integrity, compassion, and respect.

The DI is designed to provide the knowledge, practical skills, and professional values that meet the standards of education and core competencies for registered dietitian nutritionists established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The dietetic internship is a 16-month post-baccalaureate certificate program with a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised practice experiences and coursework to prepare interns for a successful career in nutrition. Each year, a maximum of 20 interns are accepted into the program and a distance track is available. Interns choose to complete a Master of Science in nutrition (M.S.) or Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) along with the dietetic internship certificate program. Students who have a graduate degree may choose to complete the standalone dietetic internship.

Once students successfully complete the dietetic internship and graduate degree and are validated by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), they are eligible to take the registration examination for dietitians.

Application Process

Application Schedule

DICAS Application Opens: Oct. 4, 2022 - http://dicas.liaisoncas.com

  • D&D Digital opens to allow applicants to register on their website at www.dnddigital.com: Dec. 1, 2022

Application Deadline: Feb. 15, 2023
Notification Day: Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 6 p.m. CT
Program Start: Aug. 21, 2023

Samford utilizes the DICAS match system for selecting applicants. To apply, you are required to submit an application through DICAS, the centralized application system. Upon completion of the DICAS application, you will be directed to register online at D+D Digital for the computer matching process. At this point, be sure to select Samford as a dietetic internship priority choice. Please note that there is one choice for Samford. We do offer a local option and a distance track; therefore, the option for which you are seeking must be clearly stated in the personal statement document. 

D+D Digital will notify Samford of the applications waiting to be reviewed. When the DICAS paperwork is reviewed by Samford administration, a Samford-specific Dietetic Internship Supplemental Form will be sent via email to you. You will pay DICAS and D+D Digital fees as they require; Samford does not have additional fees.

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 course work 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 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.
    • If course work is completed in an institution outside of the United States, an international credential evaluation is required reporting prior university. Samford accepts evaluations from World Education Services (WES), found at wes.org or AACRAO International Education Services (IES), found at ies.aacrao.org.
  • Submit three letters of reference.
    • Two references must be from a prior faculty member, academic advisor, or other professional who has supervised your academic studies. It is strongly recommended for one of the two letters be from the medical nutrition therapy course or the DPD director.
    • The third 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 GRE test scores to Samford University – Code:  1302. Please note: This entry exam requirement has been waived for the 2021 application cycle.
  • If accepted to Samford, 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.

Admission Requirements

Samford University's qualifying criteria for the dietetic internship are 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.

Contact program director for information on prior assessed learning and transfer credits.

Qualifications for Admission

  • Possess a baccalaureate degree from a college or university that holds institutional accreditation.
    • Students who choose to complete the standalone dietetic internship must have completed a graduate degree prior to internship start date.
  • Possess an official Verification Statement of Completion or Declaration of Intent to Complete form from a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) that holds institutional accreditation, 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. Please note: This entry exam requirement has been waived for the 2021 application cycle.
    • 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
  • 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 (TOEFL). Must complete 24 credit hours as a full-time student in a U.S. college or university that holds institutional accreditation. We cannot issue an I-20 for this program at this time.
  • Exceptions to any admission requirements will be handled on an individual basis

Distance Learning Option

The program's distance learning option enables interns to complete their supervised practice rotations in the city or state where they live. To apply for distance learning, applicants need to include a clearly stated request their personal statement. There is no limited to the number of students who participate by distance learning.

Distance interns are responsible for finding their own supervised practice sites and preceptors in the following areas of practice: community and public health, food service management, medical nutrition therapy, elective lifestyle and a final practicum rotation of the intern’s choice. Distance interns are supported by Samford faculty during the search process.

Once the preceptor is identified, faculty work to secure a contract, and provide the specific competency list and evaluation forms needed.

Internship Completion Requirements

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

The didactic portion of the internship (as well as master-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 with a graduate degree is 24 months (150% of the program completion timeframe). 

Completion Requirements

Successful completion of the Samford dietetic internship program requires achievement of the required education and core competencies for entry-level practice as a registered dietitian nutritionist from the 2022 Accreditation Standards for Nutrition and Dietetics Internship Programs (DI) as demonstrated by:

  • Successful completion of graduate degree requirements (M.S. in Nutrition or M.P.H. at Samford University or previous degree awarded before starting DI) simultaneous to or prior to completion of dietetic internship program. (Beginning with the 2023 admissions cycle).
  • Achieving a minimum rating of “average” (3 on a 5-point scale, 80%) in all supervised practice rotations and associated assignments.
  • Achieving a grade of B (80%) or higher in all didactic courses and on specific didactic assignments for each course (as indicated on course syllabi).
  • Completing of all didactic coursework and mandated 1,000 hours of supervised practice within 150% of program length (24 months).
  • Satisfactory evaluations from rotations.
  • Adherence to all behavioral and academic integrity standards are expectations for successful completion of the dietetic internship, as outlined in the Academy’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Performance and the Samford University policy on academic integrity as outlined in the student handbook.

Supervised Practice Rotations

  • Community and Public Health: 200 hours
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy (Acute and Ambulatory Outpatient): 350 hours
  • Food Service Management (Includes School Nutrition and Culinary): 250 hours
  • Elective Lifestyle: 150 hours
  • Practicum: 200 hours

Online Didactic Course Work

  • NUTR 501: Nutrition Counseling and Wellness Promotion
  • NUTR 503: Management Leadership in Nutrition and Dietetics 
  • NUTR 601: Advanced Clinical Nutrition (3)
  • NUTR 610: Research Methods and Applications 

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.

Verification of successful completion of the dietetic internship will be given to all interns who complete all didactic and supervised practice components according to the established performance requirements. Verification statements and other required information will be submitted to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to establish eligibility to sit for the Registered Examination for Dietitians (RD Exam). Copies of the Verification Statement are also provided to interns to use for state licensure applications and proof of registration eligibility for potential employers. After completing the dietetic internship, graduates will be competent to function as entry level registered dietitian nutritionists but must obtain state licensure (if applicable) and pass the national registration examination for registered dietitian nutritionists within a certain period as specified by a new employer. 

Earn a Master's Degree

Dietetic interns choose to complete a Master of Science in Nutrition or Master of Public Health along with the dietetic internship certificate program. Online coursework leading to these degrees are taken in conjunction with the dietetic internship. The 25 credit hours earned during the dietetic internship will be applied towards the degrees. The M.S. and M.P.H. degrees are completed in the same four semesters. 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. Students who choose to complete the standalone dietetic internship must have completed a graduate degree prior to internship start date.

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR’s Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023.

For more information about this requirement visit CDR’s website.

Licensure

In most states, RDNs also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Specific licensure requirements vary from state to state, and among territories. Individual state licensure requirements can be found on CDR’s website. In Alabama, the Alabama Dietetics/Nutrition Practice Act of 1989 provides for licensing qualifications, renewals and revocation, exemptions, reciprocity, and penalties. It is the purpose of this Act to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public by providing for the licensing and regulation of persons engaged in the practice of dietetics and nutrition. More information is available on the Alabama State Board of Examiners for Dietetics/Nutritionists website.

Plans of Study

Student Handbooks

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Program outcomes data available on request.

Samford University's dietetic internship program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, (800) 877-1600 ext. 5400, https://eatrightpro.org/acend/.