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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.

Requirements include a minimum of 30 semester credit hours as follows: at least 24 hours of course work and 6 hours of Thesis and related research. Of the 24 hours of course work, a minimum of 12 credit hours must be open only to graduate students.  Students are encouraged to take at least 3 credits of 8000 level FDNS courses.  In consultation with their Advisory Committee, students with credit in FDNS 4100, Micronutrient Nutrition, or another course in vitamin and mineral nutrition may substitute another graduate level course in FDNS. 

To find what courses are offered each semester:

  1. Go to Athena.uga.edu 
  2. Click on Class Schedule (NOT Course Catalog*) 
  3. Under Search by Term, select the semester and year; Submit 
  4. Under Subject, select the Department, e.g. for Nutritional Sciences, select FDNS 
  5. For Course Number, enter the course you are interest in, e.g. 8900 for FDNS Seminar class.  Select Class Search at bottom. 
  6. If you leave the Course Number box blank, and select Class Search at bottom, you will see all of the courses taught in FDNS for the semester that you selected. 

*Course Catalog is a listing of all of the courses approved to be taught in a given Department.  But some of these courses are not taught each semester, or even each year.

Nutritional Sciences courses (15 credit hours)

Required FDNS courses (11 credits)

^6100

3 cr

Micronutrient Nutrition (may be substituted with FDNS course if taken as undergraduate- see graduate manual for procedure)

*6400

3 cr

Advanced Macronutrients

*8560

3 cr

Proposal Writing

*8900

2 cr

Seminar Foods and Nutrition

Elective FDNS courses (choose 4 credits)

^6050

3 cr

Optimal Nutrition for the Life Span

^6070

1 cr

Research Methodology in Human Foods and Nutrition

^6200

3 cr

We Are What We Eat

^6220

3 cr

Nutrition in Physical Activity, Exercise, and Sport

*6240E

3 cr

Nutrition and Obesity Across the Life Span

^6500

3 cr

Medical Nutrition Therapy I

^6510

3 cr

Nutrition Related to the Human Life Cycle

^6520

2 cr

Clinical Nutrition Interventions

^6530

4 cr

Medical Nutrition Therapy II

^6540

3 cr

Public Health Dietetics

^6570

3 cr

Nutritional Genetics

^6590

3 cr

Metabolism and Physiology of Energy Balance and Obesity

^6600

3 cr

Food and Nutrition Policy

^6610

1 cr

Foodservice Procurement and Financial Management

^6620

2 cr

Management of Foodservice Organizations

^6630

3 cr

Cultural Aspects of Foods  and Nutrition

^6640

3 cr

Food Sanitation and Safety

^6645

2 cr

Nature of Food

^6646

1 cr

Food Choices and the Consumer

^6650

3 cr

Experimental Study of Food

^6660S

3 cr

Food and Nutrition Education Methods

^6800

3 cr

Nutrition and Pharmacology for Disease Management

^7040

3 cr

Nutritional Epidemiology

*7600

4 cr

Public Health, Physical Activity and Nutrition Interventions

*7940

VR

Nutrition, Physical Activity, Exercise, and Sport Internship

*8150

3 cr

Food & Nutritional Biochemistry

*8230

3 cr

Advanced Nutrition in Physical Activity, Exercise, and Sport

*8530

3 cr

Nutrition and Disease Processes I

*8595

1 cr

Survey of Obesity and Weight Management

*These apply towards the required 12 credit hours of graduate only courses

^Cannot be repeated if taken as an undergraduate. Does not apply towards the required 12 credit hours of graduate only courses.

Statistics choose 3 credits from potential courses

View Potential Courses

Thesis: 6 required credits

FDNS 7000 (maximum of 6 credit hours may be applied towards the 30 credits required for degree)

FDNS 7300 (minimum of 3 credit hours required)

Electives (6 required credits)

FDNS courses (see above) and/or related courses outside the department at the 6000, 7000, or 8000 level 

Minimum Total Credit Hours: 30

Notes

  • These courses are not considered in the 15 required credits of FDNS course requirements: FDNS 7000, FDNS 7010, FDNS 7210, FDNS 7300, and other research or independent study.
  • Dietetic Interns must register for an additional 18 credits of FDNS 7910 (9 credits 1st summer and 9 credits 2nd summer) in the summers.
  • Dietetic Interns must register for additional 8 credits of FDNS 7911 (2 credits FDNS7911, fall and spring semesters, for two years). Also, some Dietetic Internship experiences may require registering for certain courses, e.g., in Human Development and Family Science when working with children and families or in Agriculture when working with community gardens; consult Dr. Grossman about this, bgrossma@uga.edu.

Goals and Objectives

Program Goal 1: The program will prepare graduates 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 program interns complete program/degree requirements within 36 months (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: Eighty 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 alumni will be rated as “more than satisfactory” or “outstanding” by their job supervisors in 50% of the 19 selected knowledge and skill areas.
  • Objective measure 6: At least 50% of graduates will pursue further education, additional degrees or certifications, 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.
  • 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

  • We have a wide variety of supervised practice sites in the Athens and Atlanta areas
  • We have 2 concentrations: Medical Nutrition Therapy and Community Intervention and Research
  • We accept 6 new interns each year, to start in August
  • Graduates are eligible to sit for the Registration Exam for Registered Dietitians
  • 94% pass rate on the registered dietitian exam
  • 100% completion rate for the program

Accreditation

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.

Calendar

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 10 weeks of rotations, for a total of 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

Students will be responsible for living expenses and transportation during the Dietetic Internship. Students are not usually eligible for assistantships in summers while they are doing their internships. Some internship sites are outside of the Athens area, so it is necessary for students to have a vehicle to get to internship sites. 

  • Housing averages $500 per month for a single room
  • Meals at the Internship facilities average $6 to $10 per day
  • Public transportation costs about $4 per day
  • Liability insurance is about $38 per year
  • Required Immunizations are ~$150 total for three Hepatitis B vaccinations and ~$25-$45 for 2 TB tests, each spring
  • 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)

Financial Aid

In select cases, graduate-dietetic students may receive financial aid in the form of teaching and research assistantships.  When receiving an assistantship, tuition (but not fees) are waived.  Additional scholarships and several types of low interest loans are available through the Student Financial Aid Department.

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 1260 hours of supervised practice.
  • Submission of Evaluation Forms, Competency Checklists, Work Samples as required from each rotation
  • Complete and Exit Interview with the Program Director and complete requisite CDR forms
  • Completion of 30 semester credit hours, plus 14 semester credit hours for the the internship for a total of 44 semester credit hours
  • 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

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, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.

In Georgia, graduates also must obtain licensure to practice. Upon completion of our program, and passing the CDR credentialing exam for RDNs, graduates are eligible for licensure in Georgia.

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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