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College of Public Health

Integrated MPH/Dietetic Internship

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Dietetic Internship Overview

The University of South Florida (USF) Dietetic Internship is an integrated dietetic internship and MPH program. The dietetic internship will give you the knowledge, practical skills and professional values you need 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. The internship's concentration area is population health, leadership, and service. It integrates a Master of Public Health, concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics, with supervised practice in a planned progression of learning activities designed to advance your ability to function as a leader in your profession, as an advocate for better health for diverse members of society and a compassionate provider of nutrition care and education. An international experience is incorporated into the internship.

Interns begin the MPH in summer semester with the internship-portion beginning Fall semester. The program ends the following Fall semester. Upon completion of the 20-month program, you’ll be eligible to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). The internship is integrated with 42 hours of graduate credit, culminating in a MPH, concentration in nutrition and dietetics. All graduates will also be certified in Public Health (CPH) after successful completion of the integrated program. The program accepts 6 interns per year and participates in the spring match.

Interns will have opportunities to attend professional conferences during the program including public policy workshops and the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND) Annual Symposium.

The USF Dietetic Internship is accredited by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

To learn more about the requirements and process to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD)/nutrition, please visit the Commission on Dietetic Registration website

Successful completion of the USF Integrated MPH/Dietetic Internship leads to eligibility to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Virtual Open House

The annual Virtual Open House took place on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. A recording of the open house can be found here.

Dietetic Internship Handbook

Program Information

The mission of University of South Florida’s dietetic internship is to prepare graduates for evidence-based practice, as entry-level registered dietitians to meet the public's health-related challenges in the communities they serve.

The goals and measurable objectives of the USF Dietetic Internship Program are to:

1. Prepare graduates to be competent entry-level dietitians, with a specialty in population health.

  •  At least 80% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  •  The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
  •  At least 80% of program students complete the program requirements within 30 months (or 150% of the program length).
  •  Of graduates who seek employment, at least 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  •  At least 80% of graduates will indicate they “agree” that the internship has prepared them for professional practice.
  •  At least 80% of graduates will rate themselves as “satisfied” or above with their preparation for professional practice by the internship program.
  •  One year after program completion, 50% of graduates will be practicing in the setting of population health.
  •  At least 80% of employers will agree that graduate/employee is performing at or above the level expected as an entry-level dietitian.

2. Prepare graduates who are able to work with individuals from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

  • At least 80% of graduates will rate the internship experience as improving their skills in delivering information, products, and/or services to a culturally diverse population as “above  average” or “outstanding.”
  • At least 50% of graduates will report engagement in professional and/or volunteer work with culturally diverse populations, groups, and/or individuals.
  • At least 80% of employers will agree that graduate/employee is able to work with clients of diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

3. Produce graduates who are confident leaders capable of effective advocacy and beneficial service on behalf of the community and the dietetics profession at large.

  • At least 80% of graduates will indicate improvement in their leadership ability and advocacy skills as “above average” or “outstanding.”
  • At least 50% of graduates who respond to survey will report leadership, service and/or advocacy activities in the dietetics profession and/or the community at large.
  • At least 50% of employers will agree that graduate/employee demonstrates leadership qualities.

*Please note, program outcomes data are available upon request

To enter the program, you'll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a baccalaureate degree from an approved accredited institution (or equivalent from an approved international institution) earned prior to starting the internship/graduate program
  • 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
  • Applicants will be ranked using standard criteria on the basis of: academic performance, work and volunteer experience in the field, interpersonal skills, leadership potential, self-direction, quality of reference, and compatibility of applicant’s goals with the mission of our program.

Application to the USF Dietetic Internship has 3 parts: Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the USF Dietetic Internship Selection Committee. All materials must be submitted by the deadline for online computer matching (see dnddigital.com).

I. First, you are required to submit an application through the centralized application process (DICAS). The current fees are found here. Applicants must also register online at D+D Digital for computer matching and select dietetic internship priority choices. There is a $65.00 computer matching fee.

II. Second, Applicants must apply to the MPH program, Nutrition and Dietetics (Online Program) at USF College of Public Health for the Fall semester. The steps are as follows:

  1. Complete a SOPHAS application and submit all required application materials. Be sure to select College of Public Health, Master of Public Health, concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics and register for the FALL semester. If matched to the internship this will be adjusted for the Summer semester start. Information about application fees can be found at www.sophas.org.
  2. Allow two to four weeks for SOPHAS to verify the application. Once verified, the application will be sent to USF and entered into our Graduate University System. You will receive an email confirming your verified SOPHAS application has been received by USF.

III. Third, While waiting for SOPHAS to verify your application, complete the USF application and submit the fee. This will avoid delay in processing your SOPHAS application when it is verified and complete. The application takes ~30 minutes to complete and can be accessed using the online application. The application fee is $30.

  1. Select College of Public Health, Master of Public Health, concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics for the SUMMER semester.
  2. Do not upload or submit any application materials directly to USF. All application materials must be submitted only to SOPHAS.

Monitor your email for application decisions and other important communications. If you have questions about the SOPHAS or USF application, contact cophinfo@usf.edu.

Before starting the application process, we recommend that you complete the following checklist:
  • Obtain student copies of your college transcripts to assist you in completing the coursework section for the application.
  • Obtain 3 Letters of Reference: two references must be from a prior faculty member, academic advisor, or other professional who has supervised the applicant’s 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.
  • Prepare a resume/portfolio.
  • Be prepared to fill out all sections of the application including thoughtful answers to all questions on the personal/career statement.
  • Create an application account: The DICAS system simplifies the process of applying to Dietetic Internship programs. Complete one application and send it along with other information to our centralized service. DICAS will verify your application for accuracy, calculate your GPA and send your materials to the Dietetic Internship admissions at USF. All application materials become the property of the Dietetic Internship at USF and will not be returned.
  • Request official transcripts from each institution attended by using the transcript request form in DICAS.
  • Complete the form, submit it to the registrar's office of each institution attended and instruct them to enclose the form with your official sealed transcript. Transcripts must be sent to the DICAS Transcript Department.
  • Be sure to check your Spam folder to ensure you are not missing any important communications.

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. Pay the initial service fee of $50 when submitting the DICAS application. $25 for each additional institution.

The dietetic internship and MPH, concentration in nutrition and dietetics is a full time program completed in 20 months. The internship program begins in the fall semester and ends the next fall semester. The MPH coursework begins in the summer semester and finishes the second fall semester. The MPH, concentration in nutrition and dietetics is an on-line program. Maximum timeframe allowed to complete the Dietetic Internship Program is 30 months (150% of the program completion timeframe).

Following is a sample rotation schedule and MPH plan of study integrated with the supervised practice rotations. Interns are not required to identify their own supervised practice rotation sites. For policy and procedure regarding credit for prior learning experiences, please see page 15 in the Dietetic Internship Handbook.

The supervised practice experiences align with the institution academic calendar, with breaks at Thanksgiving, between the Fall and Spring semester and Spring break each year. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for the USF academic calendar.

PDF Downloads

The dietetic internship is integrated with an MPH, concentration in nutrition and dietetics. Tuition paid for the MPH coursework includes supervised practice. Current tuition and fee information can be found here.

Estimated costs:

  • Tuition: $17,551.80 for residents / $36,272.88 for non-residents
  • Books: Approximately $300 per semester
  • Housing: Off-campus student housing ~$1000/month
  • SAND Annual Membership: $15
  • AND Student Membership: $58
  • FAND Public Policy Meeting: ~$150 shared hotel and travel and registration
  • FAND Annual Meeting: ~$350 shared hotel and travel (registration waived for volunteering)
  • Background Check:  Background checks, drug testing $233
  • International trip: (See below: Dietetic Internship in Panama)
  • Liability Insurance: Approximately $30
  • Lab coat: Approximately $25

Dietetic Interns are eligible for federal loans. Step-by-step guidance is available for USF graduate students.

International Supervised Practice

$2,478 to $2,900 per student. The trip will take place during the second summer in the program. Dietetic interns will visit such sites as Ghana or Panama. This international internship includes airfare, lodging, transportation, most meals, tours and excursions, and international medical and evacuation insurance. This price does not include additional costs such as acquiring a passport, personal expenses or tuition and fees as outlined above.. For more information, click here. If you have any questions, please contact Gina Granich at 813.974.8462 or via email at ginagranich@usf.edu.

Financial Resources

Dietetic Interns are eligible for federal loans. Guidance can be found here.

Applicants and Interns are encouraged to apply for scholarships through The Academy in addition to their state and local dietetic associations.

If considering loan deferment, contact the DI director. Forbearance is often the best choice but depends on each individual loan agreement.

Because of the intensity of the dietetic internship and graduate studies, employment is highly discouraged. If you plan to become employed, it is important to consult with the program director on how a working schedule may affect your performance in the program. While faculty and preceptors are sympathetic to the students’ need for employment, employment schedules cannot take priority over the academic and clinical requirements of the program.

Nutrition and Dietetics Scholarship

For the recruitment of an outstanding NEW Masters student accepted into the Nutrition and Dietetics program at  USF, COPH. The award is for five semesters; $2,000 award per term.

Criteria:

  • Acceptance into an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA 3.5
  • Personal statement* that includes the following:
    • Brief summary of personal accomplishments demonstrating your potential to succeed in graduate school
    • Specific career objectives related to the field of public health
    • How you would benefit from receiving this award
      *This should be different from your DI personal statement and clearly demonstrate your potential to be a strong contributor in the Nutrition and Dietetics MPH program.   

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Heewon Gray via at hlgray@usf.edu.

Submit via email to hlgray@usf.edu with the subject "Nutrition and Dietetics Scholarship Application." The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. EDT, two weeks following Appointment Day each year. 

Completion of the Dietetic Internship requires the following:

  • Successful completion of all planned supervised practice experience rotations for each core and concentration competency as evaluated by preceptors and the Dietetic Internship faculty
  • Completion of a minimum of 1200 clock hours in supervised practice*
  • The MPH, concentration in nutrition and dietetics

After satisfactory completion of the supervised practice experiences and MPH, 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 USF. The graduate is then eligible to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Credentialing Process

Completion of the dietetic internship allows interns to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. After successfully passing the Registration Examination for Dietitians, one may practice as a registered dietitian nutritionist. Application for state licensure may be made after credentialing.

The USF Dietetic Internship is accredited by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). 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 a.m. midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited USF Dietetic Internship program at The University of South Florida are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become a RDN. In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice.

Contact info for ACEND:

Accreditation for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
(312) 899-5400

Website: https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/accredited-programs/about-accredited-programs
Email: acend@eatright.org

Contact info for the Commission on Colleges:

University of South Florida is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Contact the Commission on Colleges at:

1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA 30033-4097

Call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.

Lauri Wright, PhD, RDN, LD/N, FADA — Director, Dietetic Internship

Dr. Lauri Wright is the Director of Nutrition Program and an Associate Professor at the USF College of Public Health. With a specialization in Food Insecurity & Health Disparities, Malnutrition, Global Nutrition, Dr. Wright received her PhD at the University of South Florida.

Heewon L. Gray, PhD, RDN 

Dr. Gray is a nutrition researcher and the interim concentration lead for the online MPH program in Nutrition and Dietetics. She completed her master’s and PhD degrees in nutrition at Columbia University and has extensive experience in nutrition research related to childhood obesity, nutrition education, and community nutrition. She teaches MPH courses for dietetic interns and is actively engaged in local and national nutrition and dietetics professional organizations.