M.S. Thesis/Dietetic Internship

The mission of the Dietetic Internship program is to prepare a diverse group of students as entry level registered dietitian nutritionists for successful careers in dietetics and encourage students to assume leadership roles in their profession and in society.

Program Requirements

To be eligible for the UGA MS-DI program, applicants must have completed or be in the process of completing an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). The DPD provides the required dietetics coursework leading to a bachelor's or graduate degree. See the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics for more information.

Students will complete all program requirements for the M.S. as well as the additional requirements for Dietetic Interns listed below. Direct questions to DI Director, Dr. Lauren Housley, lhousley@uga.edu 

  • Dietetic Interns must register for an additional 18 credits of NUTR 7910 (9 credits for each of 2 summers). 
  • Dietetic Interns must register for additional 8 credits of NUTR 7911 (2 credits each fall and spring semester, for two years).

For an inside look into our program, follow us on Instagram (@ugadieteticinternship).

Goals and Objectives

Program Goal 1: Program graduates will be prepared to be competent entry level dietitians or professionals, who engage in lifelong learning, in fields related to dietetics.

Program Objectives for Goal 1:

  • Objective measure 1: At least 80% of interns complete program requirements within 3 years (150% of the program length).
  • Objective measure 2: The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of the first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
  • Objective measure 3: Of graduates who seek employment, 70 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetic or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective measure 4: At least 80 percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within registration 12 months of program completion.
  •  Objective measure 5: At least 80% of program graduates will be rated as “more than satisfactory” or “outstanding” by surveyed job supervisors in 50% of the 19 selected knowledge and skill areas.
  • Objective measure 6: At least 50% of program graduates will pursue further education, additional degrees or certifications, and/or be active in professional organizations or in legislative activities.

Program Goal 2: Graduates will have demonstrated proficiency in understanding and communicating current research findings.

Program Objectives for Goal 2:

  • Objective measure 7: At least 70% of graduates surveyed will report that they have demonstrated proficiency in translating current research findings to others with positive rating.
  • Objective measure 8: At least 50% of graduates surveyed will have engaged in scholarly activity at the local, regional, state or national level, such as presenting research findings at a conference or submitting a manuscript for publication or submitting a grant proposal.

Fast Facts

  • Program partners with a wide variety of supervised practice sites in the Athens and Atlanta areas
  • Program emphasizes Medical Nutrition Therapy while offering a well-rounded experience spanning from research to application and outreach
  • Many opportunities for professional development, networking, and enhancing communication skills
  • We accept 6 new interns each year, to start in August
  • Graduates are eligible to sit for the Registration Exam for Registered Dietitians
  • 100% pass rate on the registered dietitian exam
  • 100% completion rate for the program


The Dietetic Internship Program is currently granted accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 3800/877-1600 ext 5400.

ACEND Accreditation Standards

Faculty and preceptors can view ACEND Accreditation Standards, below, as a supplement to the orientation and ongoing training that the DI director provides.

View Standards

Educational Philosophy of the Dietetic Internship

The teaching philosophy of the Dietetic Internship reflects the belief that the best learning occurs when students are challenged to apply content and concepts to the real world. Both students and instructors are responsible for focusing on active learning and holistic understanding of nutrition/dietetics concepts. Mentors should foster this sense by placing emphasis on improvement and active participation as rather than rigid repetition of facts and theories. Overall, mentors should support students inside and outside the classroom, pushing them to achieve their professional and personal goals.


Including the master degree, the MS/DI takes 2 years (24 months) to complete. The Supervised Practice rotations are scheduled over 2 consecutive summers, starting on the Monday after finals week in May, and ending on the Friday before classes start in August. Summers typically cover 8-10 weeks of rotations, for a total of 18-20 weeks (40 hr/wk) during the 2 summers. Some additional supervised practice hours are completed during the two academic years.

See Dietetic Internship Handbook for sample rotation schedule.

The Dietetic Internship Program follows the UGA Academic Calendar.

Internship Expenses

Dietetic Interns are provided access to program and university resources to complete coursework and supervised practice experiences, and the program covers student fees for using data management systems. Students are responsible for living expenses and transportation during the Dietetic Internship during the Dietetic Internship including the items below. Some internship sites are outside of the Athens area, so it is necessary for students to have a vehicle to get to internship sites or to arrange alternative transportation. 

  • Housing averages $500 per month for a single room
  • Meals at the Internship facilities average $6 to $10 per day (some are free)
  • Public transportation costs about $4 per day
  • Liability insurance is about $42 per year
  • Required Immunizations are ~$150 total for three Hepatitis B vaccinations and ~$25-$45 for 2 TB tests, each spring
  • Acemapp account required for submitting paperwork for most clinical rotation sites; account setup costs $50 per student per year that they attend sites using Acemapp. Sites that use different systems will establish their own fees for students, which are usually similar to the Acemapp fee. If a student attends a site using Acemapp and a site using a different system that has a fee, the student would pay both fees that year.
  • Required CPR certification cost is about $85
  • Many internship sites require criminal background checks and drug tests (~$100), flu shots (~$25-$45) or fingerprinting (~$50) or a test of varicella titer (~$35)
  • Estimated transportation costs to supervised practice sites outside of Athens is $300-750 in year 1 and $300-600 in year 2, but since many of our partnering sites are located locally in Athens, most students pay less than these estimates. Please note that actual travel costs vary based on many factors outside of the program’s control including current gas prices, location of supervised practice sites, and type of vehicle used. Student needs and preferences are taken into account when assigning interns to supervised practice sites. Carpooling and other cost-saving strategies are encouraged to reduce transportation time and cost and to promote sustainability (e.g., public transportation cost estimates are shown above).
  • Tuition and student fees (see Financial Aid section below)

In order to work and communicate regularly and effectively with the program director, faculty, or preceptors when off-campus or remotely, students must ensure regular access to an electronic device capable of communication via Zoom (video and audio). Laptop and equipment rentals (e.g., webcams) and computer labs are available on campus, but restrictions may apply that warrant students to provide a suitable personal electronic device for communication and work purposes. For more information on equipment rentals and computer access on campus, visit:  

UGA also provides free software that support collaboration and remote work. For more information on what is provided by UGA, please visit:

Assistantships, Financial Aid & Support

In select cases, graduate-dietetic students may receive financial aid in the form of teaching and research assistantships. When receiving an assistantship, students earn a stipend of $14,000 to $30,000 annually, depending on the required hours, by serving as a research or teaching assistant and tuition is waived, but students must pay UGA student fees (about $2,200 annually). Please note that while students may receive assistantships with stipends during the program (see Financial Aid section), students may not be eligible for assistantships/stipends in summers while they are doing their internships. Additional scholarships, several types of low interest loans, and other types of financial assistance for students are available at UGA, for example, through the Student Financial Aid Department and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Additionally, UGA offers free software and equipment loans (e.g., laptop loans) for students. Applicants are encouraged to contact these and other offices at UGA to learn more, and the Dietetic Internship Director can direct applicants to additional opportunities offered through UGA or external groups if needed. 

Visit Financial Aid

Completion Requirements

In order to complete both the graduate degree and dietetic internship and to receive a Verification Statement the following are required:

  • Successful completion of all rotations, totaling 1200 hours of supervised practice 
  • Submission of Evaluation Forms, Competency Checklists, Work Samples as required from each rotation
  • Complete an Exit Interview with the Program Director, and complete requisite CDR forms
  • Completion of 31 semester credit hours, plus 26 semester credit hours for the internship supervised practice experiences (including summers)
  • Maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA with no incompletes in any graduate course
  • Successful completion and defense of thesis; completion of the Master's degree
  • Submission of all requisite forms to the Graduate School
  • Please note: When students are working at supervised practice sites, our program uses the policies of that site regarding immunizations (including for COVID-19). Thus, students may be required to show evidence of a COVID-19 vaccination to supervised practice officials to participate and complete our program. 

Becoming an RD

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 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree. 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 MS/DI program at The University of Georgia are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

In most states, including Georgia, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. While state interpretations of statutes may vary, it is ACEND's considered opinion that the program meets the educational requirements for dietetics licensure and certification in all states. However, completing an ACEND-accredited academic program alone does not qualify an individual for licensure or certification as a dietitian in any state. Individuals should review their state's licensing statutes and regulations to understand the specific requirements, including supervised practice and examinations, needed to obtain a dietetics license. More information about state licensure and certification can be found at this link: State Licensure Information.

Upon completion of our program, and passing the CDR credentialing exam for RDNs, graduates are eligible for licensure in Georgia. Information about licensure in Georgia can be found at this link: Georgia Licensure for RDNs. Additional information and disclosures regarding state licensure for professional practice in nutrition and dietetics can be found at the UGA Licensure Disclosure Portal.

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