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
Master of Science in Nutrition + Dietetic Internship: 4 semesters
Master of Public Health + Dietetic Internship: 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-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.
Application Deadline: February 15, 2018
Appointment Day: April 2, 2018
Entry Month: August 2018
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
- 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
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 coursework 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 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:
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. 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 the Samford internship, 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. 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
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.
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.
- Samford requires a minimum of 1,300 clock hours in supervised practice facilities for achievement of performance requirements for entry-level registered dietitain-nutritionists.
- Simulation modules to support rotation experiences completed with a grade better than 80/100.
Supervised practice rotations include:
- 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
*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. All didactic courses are offered online and 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
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 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, (800) 877-1600 ext. 5400.