For individuals who have successfully completed an undergraduate program from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics, Samford University's dietetic internship program will fulfill the requirements to become eligible to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
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-nutritionists 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.
The mission of the Samford University's dietetic internship program 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. 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.
Application ScheduleDICAS Application Opens: December 4, 2020
Application Deadline: February 15, 2021
Appointment Day: April 6, 2021
Entry Month: August 2021
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:
- 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:
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
- 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.
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 a regionally accredited college or university
- Possess an official Verification Statement of Completion or Declaration of Intent to Complete from a regionally 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
- 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. regionally accredited institution. 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
Samford offers rotation experiences in Birmingham and surrounding areas as well as through a distant track option. To apply for a distance slot, a clearly stated request included in the personal statement is needed. 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. It is not required, but strongly encouraged to have medical nutrition therapy preceptor identified in the personal statement.
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
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 is 18 months (150% of the program completion timeframe).
Successful completion of supervised practice experiences is measured by:
- Preceptor and faculty evaluations that indicate satisfactory work for all planned supervised practice experiences.
- Samford requires a minimum of 1,300 clock hours in supervised practice facilities for achievement of performance requirements for entry-level registered dietitian-nutritionists.
- Simulation modules to support rotation experiences completed with a grade better than 80/100.
Supervised Practice Rotations
- Foodservice Systems Management: 6 weeks
- Community Nutrition: 7 weeks
- Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT): 13 weeks
- Child Nutrition Program Management: 3 weeks
- Lifestyle MNT: 5 weeks
- Culminating Practicum* in the concentration area of public health/community nutrition: 7 weeks
Online Didactic Course Work
- NUTR 501: Nutrition Counseling and Wellness Promotion
- NUTR 502: Cultivating Nutrition Health: Strategies for Reducing Chronic Disease
- NUTR 503: Management Leadership in Nutrition and Dietetics
- NUTR 510: Research Methods and Applications in Dietetics
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.
Earn a Master's Degree
Samford's dietetic internship is a full-time program associated with a master's degree. Students may apply 25 credits towards one of three Samford degrees:
The anticipated completion schedule for each option includes:
- Four semesters (16 months)
- Dietetic Internship
- Dietetic Internship + Master of Science in Nutrition
- Dietetic Internship + Master of Public Health
- Eight semesters (32 months)
- Dietetic Internship + Master of Healthcare Administration
The master’s level courses are offered online along with the didactic portion of the internship. Both begin in the fall semester (August). The internship follows the graduate school calendar with school breaks and holidays observed.
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 addition, CDR requires that individuals complete course work and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the Dietetic Internship program at Samford University are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN please click here.