The Mississippi State University (MSU) Dietetic Internship (DI) program, offered in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, is a post-baccalaureate program designed to prepare interns for rewarding careers in traditional and non-traditional roles. Interns complete the requirements for the DI and 21 hours of graduate credit within 11 months. The program provides a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised practice experience in various clinical, research, food service management, community nutrition, and nutrition education settings. Upon completion of the internship, graduates are prepared for the registration examination offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), as well as entry-level practice. In some states, graduates may also apply for provisional state licensure once the program verification statements are issued.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following criteria to earn the RDN credential:
- Completed a minimum of a bachelor's degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.*
- Completed an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program (Dietetic Internship) at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies.
- Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at www.cdrnet.org.
- Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
Some RDNs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice. These are awarded through CDR, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), and/or other medical and nutrition organizations and are recognized within the profession but are not required. Some of the certifications include pediatric or renal nutrition, sports dietetics, nutrition support and diabetes education.
In addition to RDN credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. Frequently these state requirements are met through the same education and training required to become an RDN. (Adapted from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic website).
*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 coursework 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 ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Mississippi State University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.
More information about this credential and the requirements for this credential can be found at https://www.eatrightpro.org/about-us/become-an-rdn-or-dtr/dietetic-careers.
Role of Dietetic Internship in the Credentialing Process
If you have completed the first step in becoming a RDN by successfully completing an accredited ACEND Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) academic program, providing at least a bachelor's degree, you are eligible to apply for an ACEND accredited DI that will provide supervised practice experience. Upon successful completion of the DI, the DI director will prepare and sign a Verification Statement of Completion of the DI and send a copy to CDR that indicates eligibility to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians, which you will then be able to schedule. Most states require licensure of dietitians to be able to work in some jobs such as nursing homes and hospitals. Requirements for licensure vary by state. You should contact the licensing agency in the state in which you wish to work.
Interns must meet the following criteria to be considered for the MSU DI program:
- Completion of a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) with minimum academic requirements as approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Verification statement issued by the DPD Director of your college/university
- Overall GPA of at least 3.00 (strongly recommended)
- Nutrition (DPD) GPA of at least 3.25 (strongly recommended)
- GRE scores (combined GRE scores above 290 strongly recommended)
- MSU Graduate School Admission
- $35 application fee payable to MSU DI and mailed to Dr. Terezie Tolar-Peterson (Mosby)
- Completed DICAS application
- Member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (student member)
Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy
Application Procedure/Computer Matching
MSU DI participate in both the Spring Dietetic Internship Computerized Application System (DICAS) and D&D Digital computer matching service for July admission.
Required Application Items:
For application directions and required materials, see the Application Checklist for Computer Matching Process.
February 15, 2022 is a deadline for submitting completed applications through DICAS and fees. The MSU DI $35 additional supplemental fee is also due at this time. Checks should be paid to the order of MSU DI and addressed to:
Terezie Tolar-Peterson (Mosby), EdD, RDN, LDN, FAND
Director, Mississippi State University Dietetic Internship
204 Herzer, 945 Stone Blvd
P.O. Box 9805
Miss. State, MS 39762
All completed applications will be reviewed. The MSU DI Intern Selection Committee ranks applications on the basis of all components of the internship application. Please see application scoring sheet.
Applicants are able to reorder or remove (not add) their rank profile on-line with D& Digital March 21-March 28, 2022. No changes in DI rankings may be made after 11:59 PM Central Time on March 28, 2022. If an applicant will not be able to accept a match that may occur, D&D Digital must be notified in writing of the decision to withdraw from Dietetic Internship matching by March 28, 2022.
Applicant matching results will be posted on www.dnddigital.com from 6:00 PM Central Time, April 3, 2022 (Notification Day) through April 4, 2022 (Appointment Day). This is the ONLY source of notification for applicants. Each applicant will receive either ONE MATCH or NO MATCH after Log In.
All applicants who receive ONE MATCH will find the matched DI program name and contact information to accept the matched appointment. The MATCHED DI program is planning that the MATCH will be accepted. Matched applicants must contact the Dietetic Internship Program by email on or before 6:00 PM (time zone of the program, which is Central Time for the MSU DI Program), Monday, April 4, 2022 to confirm acceptance of the match. No arrangements should be made with any other DI programs. After this time, the program is under no obligation to hold the opening for the matched applicant. Applicants who receive NO MATCH will be given other instructions.
Participants in the computer matching process are expected to adhere to the results of the match and accept a match that may occur. It is unethical to decline a match in order to pursue appointment to another program.
Graduation and Program Completion Requirements
The following components must be successfully completed to receive a Verification Statement, which qualifies the intern to sit for the Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians:
Performance will be evaluated on an ongoing basis throughout and at the end of each rotation. Satisfactory performance and practice skills must be demonstrated throughout the program as evaluated by each site coordinator or preceptor. Dietetic interns are eligible for graduation from the program when assignments are completed satisfactorily and when the intern has been in supervised practice for the required number of hours. All competencies (CRDNs) for entry-level dietitians must be met by graduation. Dietetic interns who successfully complete the program will receive a signed program Verification Statement and will be eligible to sit for the national examination.
Interns are expected to complete all requirements of the program in 11 months. If an intern cannot complete all requirements in 11 months due to extraordinary circumstances, the DI director, site coordinator and/or preceptor will work to reach a consensus with the intern to enable the intern to complete the requirements of the program in a timely manner.
Professional Meetings: Interns are required to become student members of A.N.D. by the time they enter the DI program. During the DI program, interns are required to attend specific professional meetings, such as the annual FNCE meeting, Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic meeting and the Northeast District Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic meetings.
Project: Interns will complete individual or group research project and prepare it for publication or presentation.
All interns will be assessed for prior learning and given up to 300 supervised practice hours for the prior learning. The prior learning will be assessed by the Director as follows:
- Previous Work Experience
Interns must provide a resume and portfolio that contains the learning activities completed in their previous work experience. Credit for competencies met, will be given to the intern based on their resume and portfolio.
- Prior learning hours will be given on a 1 to 1 ratio.
Supervised Practice Facilities that Participate in the MSU DI
The total amount of possible travel will be 33 weeks x 4 days/week. The estimated amount of travel to rotation sites is 11,000 miles. Costs for mileage vary tremendously depending on price of gasoline, miles per gallon of your automobile, etc. Carpooling is encouraged. Estimates of round-trip mileage to the rotation sites from the MSU campus for the duration of the internship, based on the number of weeks at each site are provided in parenthesis.
- Baptist Memorial Hospital - Golden Triangle, Columbus, MS | 6 weeks
- Fresenius Medical Care, Columbus, MS | 2 weeks
- Mississippi State Department of Health, Starkville, MS | 3 weeks
- Mississippi State University Extension Service, Starkville, MS | 4 weeks
- North Mississippi Medical Center - Tupelo, Tupelo, MS | 8 weeks
- Choctaw Indian Reservation/Food Distribution Center, Choctaw, MS | 3 weeks
- Mississippi State University - Aramark, Starkville, MS | 3 weeks
- MSU Health Center, Starkville, MS | 3 weeks
- Sports Nutrition – Mississippi State Athletics, Starkville, MS | 6 weeks (optional)
- Starkville School District Food Service, Starkville, MS | 1 week
- Research, Starkville, MS | 2 weeks
Additional travel may be required to attend meetings. You are encouraged to carpool whenever possible. However, please be aware that you need to be at the site when preceptors or staff to whom you are assigned requires you to be there. Preceptors and others may not be able and do not need to change their schedules to accommodate your desire to carpool.
Fees and Financial Information
Tuition and financial aid information for graduate students is posted at www.sfa.msstate.edu/cost. Interns are classified as full-time graduate students for both semesters of the Internship. The MSU Office of the Graduate School also has financial and other information at www.grad.msstate.edu. Other fees may include, but are not limited to: living expenses, campus parking permit, textbooks, supplies, health and liability insurance, Academy membership, professional meeting attendance (in-state only), transportation costs to supervised practice facilities.
Internship fee $2,500.00 (payable in two installments $1,250.00 in Spring semester, $1,250.00 in Fall semester).
Transportation: Interns must provide their own reliable, sufficiently insured transportation between university and facilities. Some carpooling is possible.
The MSU Dietetic Internship is currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; 1200 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000; Chicago, IL 60606-6995 | 312-899-0040 ext. 5400 | www.eatrightpro.org/acend. Program outcomes are available upon request.
Janice Giddens, a registered dietitian and alumni of the MSU Dietetics program is the Applied International Nutrition Research Fellow in Africa. Her work is featured in this video
MSU DI Mission
The mission of the Mississippi State University Dietetic Internship (MSU DI) is to provide supervised practice experience which instills in dietetic interns ideals of diversity, citizenship, leadership, and service, and to provide an integrative approach to foods, nutrition, and health and prepare interns who are competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists. The program accomplishes this mission through learning experiences in a variety of practice settings with diverse populations, contrasting delivery systems, and research oriented graduate education.
MSU DI Goals
- Graduates are employed as competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.
- Graduates are engaged leaders who work within diverse populations.
MSU DI Objectives
- Based on graduate surveys conducted 3 months post-graduation, 100% of interns will self-rate a competent level of "3-adequate" or "4-more than adequate" for overall preparation for entry-level dietitian nutritionist (based on 4 point scale).
- 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 interns complete program requirements within 16.5 months (150% of the program length).
- Of graduates who seek employment, 80 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
- 80% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 month of program completion.
- At least 80% of employers will respond "3-good" or "4-excellent" that the internship adequately prepared graduates for entry-level practice.
- Five years post completion of the program at least 25% of graduates will work with diverse populations in service-oriented settings.
- Five years post completion of the program at least 25% of graduates will obtain leadership or management positions.
Program outcomes data are available upon request.
Here what our students have to say about the program: