Dietetic Internship

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This dietetic internship is a post-baccalaureate, supervised practice program, and is designed to allow students to complete the requirements for the Dietetic Internship (DI)  in 15 months. This 15 month program begins in May of one year and comes to completion at graduation in August of the following year.  The UCA MSDI is currently accredited for 12 master’s eligible interns and one doctoral prepared intern.

Graduates of the DI receive a verification statement and are eligible to sit for the national exam for Registered Dietitians.  Interns selected for the UCA MSDI program will enroll as a graduate student at UCA.  Completion of the Master’s Degree will be required for entry-level practice starting in 2024.

There are two components of the MSDI , a supervised practice portion and a didactic portion.  The didactic portion includes two graduate courses, completed in the fall and spring semesters as well as weekly class meetings during the 12 week summer sessions.  The supervised practice component includes practice hours accumulated during assigned rotations.

Interns are evaluated on each rotation by Preceptors and/or the MSDI Director.  Successful completion of the required supervised practice hours and all didactic work is required for program completion.  After passing the Registration exam, graduates may apply for Arkansas licensure.  Details on requirements for Licensed Dietitians in Arkansas can be found at

Click here to see the 2017-2018 UCA DI Student Handbook.

We have several scholarship opportunities for Dietetic Interns, see the video here for more information.


The UCA MSDI is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), formerly the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetic Education (CADE), of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post-secondary Accreditation and the United States Department of Education.  Contact information for ACEND includes:

120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL  60606-6995

Phone:  312.899.0040, X 5400; 800.877.1600 X 5400




The mission of the UCA MSDI is to maintain a high quality program in dietetics, dedicated to assisting interns with  development of needed skills for the varied roles of the dietitian in today’s society, and  which ultimately culminates in registration eligibility with the  Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).    Interns will be provided opportunities to develop expertise in nutrition therapy, community nutrition, foodservice systems management, and business/entrepreneur competencies while developing professional attitudes, maturity, and competent professional behavior.

The dietetic internship implements its mission through the establishment of the following goals and outcome measures:


Goal #1 – Prepare graduates to be competent, professional entry-level dietitians.

Desired-Outcome Measures

  1. Eighty percent of students initially enrolled in the MSDI will complete the program within 24 months (150% of time planned for completion).   (1.3.1)
  2. Within 12 months of completing the program, a minimum of 70% of graduates will have taken the RD exam.
  3. Over a 5 year period, 70% or more of program graduates who sought employment in dietetics will be employed within three months of program completion. (1.3.2)
  4. Over a 5-year period, the pass rate for program graduates taking the registration examination for the first time will be at least 80%. (1.3.3)


Goal #2 – Provide graduates with a basic knowledge of a broad range of career opportunities in the field of dietetics.

Desired-Outcome Measures

  1. A minimum of 70% of dietetic interns will indicate on exit interviews or surveys a rating of “satisfactory” or above with respect to whether a broad range of career opportunities were presented to them.
  2. Seventy percent of dietetic interns will score a “satisfactory” or above rating on non-traditional rotation evaluations.


Goal #3 -Prepare graduates for employment in a community-based setting. 

Desired-Outcome Measure

  1. Seventy percent or greater of employers will rate program graduates at “satisfactory” or above on performance on employer surveys.



  • 15-month post-baccalaureate program
  • Beginning mid-May and concluding mid-August of the next year
  • 1200 hours of supervised practice, 5 day orientation, and ~200 didactic hours
  • Full time supervised practice over two summers (12 weeks each summer) with additional six weeks of supervised practice during fall and spring semesters


  • Program area of concentration is Community Nutrition
  • Planned learning experiences include but are not limited to public and university school settings, hospitals, local health departments, wellness facilities, specialty clinics, retirement communities, physician’s offices, extended care facilities, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, and the Department of Health and Human Services
  • ~40 facilities with qualified preceptors are available for rotation experiences in the area
  • The majority of facilities are located within 50 miles of UCA, however some facilities may be located beyond the 50 mile radius
  • Interns are responsible for their own living arrangements and the use of a vehicle is mandatory in order to commute to assigned rotations


  • Supervised practice in two summers allows for completion of Master’s Degree with additional courses taken in fall and spring semesters
  • Community concentration for those who desire careers in non-traditional settings including but not limited to public health, school nutrition, Cooperative Extension and corporate wellness


Anticipated Costs for Dietetic Interns


Estimated Cost
Graduate Application Fee
Graduation Fee
Cap, Gown, & Master’s Hood
Tuition and Fees
·        Resident (tuition and mandatory fees per credit hour, $383.85/credit hour X 24 credits)
·        Non-Resident (tuition and mandatory fees per credit hour, $586.60/credit hour X 24 credits)
Additional information:
Malpractice Insurance (provided by program)
Personal Health Insurance ($112 per summer)
Car / Rental Insurance
Drug testing if required by the supervised practice site (variable)
Immunizations if applicable
Travel (variable depending on rotation site and living arrangements)
Housing (highly variable, additional information at:
Books, Laptop, Internet Service (varies greatly)
RD Exam Review School
Student Professional Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic Membership
Lab coat, shoes, uniforms, NFPE equipment
Arkansas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics conference registration
Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo registration, housing, transportation**
~$22,000 -37,000
*The internship program covers the costs associated with background checks and practice exams for the registration exam for dietitians.
**FNCE cost varies greatly depending on location.
Interns are not required to live in university housing.
Interns are required to maintain an active email account and have daily computer access.


Department of Housing & Residence Life


Phone: 501-450-3132

Fax: 501-450-5374


Department of Financial Aid


Phone: (501) 450-3140
Fax: (501) 450-5159


Foundation Scholarships


Phone: (501) 450-5288

Fax: (501) 450-5293


Departmental Scholarships


Phone: (501) 450-5950

Fax: (501) 450-5958




  • Completion of Baccalaureate Degree within past five years or evidence of recency of educational preparation.
  • Statement of Verification regarding completion of Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Intent to complete form from an accredited DPD.
  • Work experience in nutrition related area, under the supervision of a Registered Dietitian.


  • Official transcript(s) of course work from all colleges and universities attended must be provided to DICAS and to the UCA MSDI Director.

Grade Point Average   

  • Minimum overall 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Preferred overall 3.5 GPA with 3.0 science GPA (on a 4.0 scale)

Graduate Record Exam

  • Successful applicants typically score at least 300 on the GRE composite (150 verbal and 150 quantitative or above), and a 3 or above on writing.

UCA Graduate School

  • UCA graduate school enrolled is required of dietetic interns.  Information on graduate school admission requirements can be found at
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) with score forwarded to UCA Graduate School.

UCA DI Specific Items

  • Complete the Hot-File-Form-and-Authority-to-Release-Information. On page one, complete the “Person” box only.  Do not complete page two.  On page three, complete in full.  Provide the completed form to the UCA DI Director before the application deadline.
  • Proof of current Serve Safe Certification—upload certificate in DICAS or provide to UCA DI Director.
  • Documentation of two recent TB skin tests the last of which will remain valid through summer—upload copies in DICAS or provide to UCA DI Director.



Interns are required to enroll and pay for 24 hours of graduate credit (24 of which count towards the Master of Science degree).  The outline below details the breakdown of the hours:


First Summer – Management Emphasis

Summer I (6 hours):    FACS 5315 Nutrition Services Practicum I (does not count towards MS degree)

FACS 5316 Nutrition Services Practicum II (does not count towards MS degree)

Summer II (6 hours):  FACS 5317 Community Nutrition Practicum

FACS 5321 Nutrition Services Administration


Fall between Summers (3 hours):     FACS 5324 Nutritional Assessment


Spring between Summers (3 hours): NUTR 6335 Nutrition Counseling

Second Summer – Clinical Emphasis

May Intersession (3 hours):     FACS 5318 Clinical Nutrition Practicum

10-Week (3 hours):                    FACS 6313 Diet Therapy

NOTE:  Students are expected to maintain a 3.0 average in all graduate level coursework.




  • Monday – Friday
    • Days
      • Supervised practice rotations for 8 hours / day
    • Evenings
      • Classes 1 day/week for 1-3 hours / week


  • Monday – Friday
    • Days
      • Classes 1 day/week for 1-3 hours / week
      • Supervised practice rotations for 8 hours / day but not every day
    • Evenings
      • Rotation required events PRN


HOW TO APPLY (for pre-select option)

The University of Central Arkansas dietetic internship participates in the pre-select option to computer matching for students receiving verification statements from UCA DPD. The preselect deadline is January 15 each spring. It is open to all students who receive a verification statement from the UCA DPD. Applications can be dropped off in McAlister Hall 100 or mailed to Dr. Alicia Landry, 201 Donaghey Avenue, McAlister Hall 100, Conway, AR 72035. There is no application fee and no need to use DICAS. The applicant will be notified confirming his/her acceptance status in the program by February 1.

If pre-selected, the applicant’s name and social security number are submitted to D&D Digital Systems, Inc. to ensure that the applicant will not participate in the computer match. If the applicant is not selected through the pre-select process, he/she may apply to any DI including UCA DI through the computer matching process.

Application Materials for Pre-select Option

Pre-selection applicants will have to submit a paper application. They cannot use the online DICAS application.

  • Application cover letter (professional letter format)
  • Handwritten Essay: An essay of 150 words or less describing a significant experience, achievement or risk that you have taken and the impact it has had on you.
  • Personal Statement: Typed essay of 1000 words or less. Questions to be addressed in order in the personal statement include:
  • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
  • Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career.
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
  • Resume: A current summary of your academic, employment and professional activities. Please include your email address.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Complete the hot file and release of information form for a background check.  On page one, complete the “Person” box only.  Do not complete page two.  On page three, complete in full.  Provide the completed form to the UCA DI Director before the application deadline
  • Proof of current Serve Safe Certification
  • Documentation of two recent TB skin tests the last of which will remain valid through summer-upload copies in DICAS or provide to UCA DI Director.


HOW TO APPLY (for spring match—not preselect option)

The University of Central Arkansas participates in the spring match via D & D Digital Systems and DICAS and is approved for 12 dietetic interns.

  • Your DPD Director should have an application checklist or other guidelines to follow.
  • Completion of the on-line application (DICAS), which can be accessed at https://portal.dicas.orgA personal statement and three references are part of the DICAS application.
  • Participation in the computer matching program sponsored by D & D Digital Systems, which can be accessed at The UCA DI participates in D & D Digital computer matching process.  Applicants rank their choice of internships using codes supplied by D & D.
    • Provide DI Director with
      • All official transcripts
      • Proof of two negative TB skin tests good through August
      • Hot file and release of information form


HOW TO APPLY (for ISPP option)

The University of Central Arkansas is approved to accept one dietetic intern for the Individualized Supervised Practice Program option. This candidate must hold a PhD in nutrition or related field.


Selection Criteria / Minimum Qualifications for ISPP Candidates:

  • GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Hold a PhD in a nutrition related field.
  • Required to arrange and secure all practicum placements for the internship. It is recommended you have majority of your sites confirmed prior to applying.

Coursework requirements for applicants who hold a PhD will be evaluated on an individual basis for recency.

Application Process for PhD Applicants

  1. Complete ISPP_Application_Form_2015
  2. Apply to the UCA graduate school online and pay $25.00 application fee.
  3. Mail the ISPP Application form and a copy of your resume/CV.  Please mail all application materials to the MSDI Director, Alicia Landry.
  4. Request 3 letters of recommendation to be sent to the MSDI Director, Alicia Landry @
  5. Proof of AND Membership
  6. Request all applicable Official Transcripts to be mailed to:

Alicia Landry, PhD, RDN, LDN, SNS
Assistant Professor & MSDI Director
McAlister Hall 100
201 Donaghey Avenue
Conway, AR 72035

**Date of B.S. & PhD degree conferral must be included.

Application Review Process

  • The UCA MSDI selection process involves a committee of faculty and preceptors who review applications along with the MSDI Director.
  • Each applicant is reviewed by multiple committee members who then meet to discuss applicants and assist in the ranking process.
  • An objective protocol is used to ensure all applicants are held to the same standard and ranked fairly.
  • All members of the selection committee adhere to the Code of Ethics for the Profession of dietetics.




 Acceptance Procedure    

  • Deadline
    • Matched applicants must contact the Dietetic Internship program by telephone, FAX or email to confirm the acceptance of the MATCH. After this time, the program is under no obligation to hold the opening for the matched applicant.
  • Special Accommodations
    • Students requiring special accommodations must register with Disability Support Services located in the Student Health Center.


Welcome and Checklist

  • Upon acceptance the intern will receive a welcome letter from the MSDI Director which will include an extensive checklist of items required prior to or on day 1 of orientation.
  • This is time that should be spent making arrangements for 100% focus on the dietetic internship. Once orientation starts, there is little time for outside activities.


Professional Liability    

  • Liability Insurance
    • The UCA MSDI provides professional liability insurance for all dietetic interns. Additional coverage can be purchased if desired and may contact the carrier recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Background Check
    • The UCA MSDI requires that a background check be completed as part of the application process.
  • Drug Test
    • The UCA MSDI requires random drug testing at the intern’s expense. Interns will be notified by the MSDI Director when a drug test is needed along with necessary instructions.


Additional Requirements

  • Immunizations and TB Skin Tests
    • Dietetic interns must provide UCA with documentation of current immunizations for admission into the graduate school.
    • Dietetic interns must provide documentation of influenza vaccination in the fall semester. This is typically available free of charge by UCA Student Health Service.
    • Dietetic interns must keep tuberculosis skin test documentation throughout the dietetic internship. Interns are responsible to provide the MSDI Director with a copy of their TB skin tests prior to starting the dietetic internship and with updated documentation when appropriate.
  • Health Insurance
    • Dietetic interns are required to carry personal health insurance. Student plans are available through the UCA Student Health Center if needed. Interns are responsible to provide the MSDI Director with a copy of their health insurance card prior to starting the dietetic internship.
  • Auto Insurance
    • Dietetic interns are required to carry automobile insurance. Interns are responsible to provide the MSDI Director with a copy of their auto insurance card prior to starting the dietetic internship.


Getting Prepared

  • Required Materials
    • A list of required and suggested textbooks and other materials will be provided to interns upon acceptance.
    • Typical school supplies (pens, paper, folders, jump drives, computer, calculator, etc.) will be needed.
  • Orientation Schedule
    • Will be provided to interns upon acceptance.
    • Interns should not plan to work during the summer months as rotations and required classes typically exceed 40 hours per week.
  • Intern Rules and Responsibilities
    • The MSDI Student Handbook will be provided and reviewed in detail during orientation. Interns should keep this handbook readily accessible and refer to it throughout the program.


Requirements for Successful Completion

    • The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics has identified multiple competencies which interns must demonstrate at a degree consistent with entry-level practice.
    • Four categories of competencies are identified and include the scientific and evidence base of practice, professional practice expectations, clinical and customer services, and practice management.
  • UCA DI
    • Interns must complete all rotations at entry-level or above and all coursework with a 3.0 GPA or above.
    • Interns must complete 1200 clock hours including foodservice management, clinical, community, and research as scheduled by the MSDI Director.
  • UCA MS
    • Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in good standing with the graduate school.
    • Graduation involves a two-step process: payment of the graduation fee AND completion of the application forms.
  • Evaluations
    • Interns will receive multiple sources of feedback including preceptor evaluations and self-reflections
    • The MSDI Director will provide ongoing feedback as well as a formal mid-point and final evaluation.
    • Evaluations should be viewed as opportunities for professional development and to set and pursue stretch goals.
  • Verification Statement
    • All interns who satisfactorily complete the requirements of the dietetic internship will receive verification statements and verification statements will be submitted to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) so that interns who completed the internship are eligible to take the RD examination.
  • RDN Exam
    • The Registration Examination for Dietitians is offered by The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), which is the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Those who complete either an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) Coordinated Program, Dietetic Internship Program, or the Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway will be eligible to take the exam.
    • Registering for the Registration Examination for Dietitians must be completed on the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As soon as the CDR certifies that an applicant is eligible to take the exam, an email will be sent from ACT, which is the testing service for the exam. The examination must be taken within one year of the date a test taker was deemed eligible to take the test.
    • The exam includes four domains: Food and Nutrition Sciences, Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services, and Foodservice Systems. The Nutrition Care domain by far is the longest section of the exam (50 percent), and the Food and Nutrition Sciences domain is the shortest (12 percent). Not all test takers will have an exam of the same length. All test takers will be asked a minimum of 125 questions. One hundred of those questions are scored and 25 of them are pretest questions which are not scored. No test taker will be asked more than 145 questions, and all test takers will receive exactly 25 pretest questions. However, test takers will not know which questions are pretest questions. All questions are in a multiple choice format. Test takers who are doing well on the exam will have to answer fewer questions; those who are not doing as well will need to answer more questions in order to answer enough correctly to receive a passing score.
    • In order to receive a passing score, all test takers must answer a minimum of 125 questions, which means time management is extremely important while taking the exam. The entire testing appointment will take three hours, with a half hour given for a tutorial and two-and-a-half hours (150 minutes) given to answer as many questions as possible. On average, test takers must answer a little more than one question per minute to ensure answering just the minimum number of questions to receive a score. However, skipping questions to answer at a later time during the exam is not allowed, as test takers must answer each question in order before moving to the next. If the minimum number of questions is not answered, the exam will not be scored at all. Once an answer is submitted for a question, the test taker will not be given the chance to review it. Questions from the four content domains are spread throughout the entire exam, as there is no order given to the domains within the exam.
    • The exam is based on a scale of 1 to 50. The scaled score required to pass the exam is always 25. However, the actual number of questions required in order to achieve a scaled score of 25 can change from one exam to another. The exams are offered in a computer adaptive test format, which means that the computer monitors the test taker’s performance throughout the exam.
    • The registration fee to take the exam is $200 for dietitians and must be paid at the time of registration. Fees will never be refunded for any reason. Test takers may change the appointment time or location online or via the telephone a minimum of two business days (and in some instances more) before the exam date. Those who arrive late will not be allowed to take the examination and will be required to complete a brand new application.
    • Test takers will be given their score report when they leave the testing center and scores will also be available on the website. Test takers who wish to have an additional verification of their exam score can submit to the Commission on Dietetic Registration a Score Verification Request form. The fee to submit a form is $31.50.
    • Those who do not receive a passing score are allowed to retest 45 days after the exam. However, to qualify to retake the exam, test takers must again contact the Commission on Dietetic Registration to be reauthorized as eligible and again pay the examination fee.



For program outcomes data, additional questions and information, contact Alicia Landry, PhD, RD, LDN, SNS

Phone: (501) 450-3101