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Ph.D./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.

GRE Requirement Suspended

Due to the current pandemic, the GRE will be waived for complete application packets submitted by July 1st, 2021.

Reported GRE Scores are still prefered for admission.

Program Requirements

To be eligible for the UGA PhD-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 Ph.D. as well as the additional requirements for Dietetic Interns listed below. 
  • Dietetic Interns must register for an additional 18 credits of FDNS 7910 (9 credits for each of 2 summers). 
  • Dietetic Interns must register for additional 8 credits of FDNS 7911 (2 credits FDNS7911, fall and spring semesters, for two years). Consult Dr. Barbara Grossman: 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.

How long does it take?

This full-time program is completed as part of a PhD. The PhD program is typically completed in 4-5 years. The internship is completed during the first 24 months of the program with some additional coursework during the academic year for a total of 1220 hours. Your Dietetics Internship Program Director must receive your official transcript confirming completion of your Ph.D. in order to issue a Verification Statement, which is neccessary in order to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians. 

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

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, 800-877-1600 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

The DI takes 2 years (24 months) to complete and is completed in the first 24 months of the program. The verification statement will not be issued until the doctoral degree is completed, hence the RD exam will be taken 2-3 years after meeting the DI requirements.  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.

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 ADA forms
  • Completion of 45 semester credit hours, plus 14 semester credit hours for the the internship for a total of 59 semester credit hours
  • Maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA with no incompletes in any graduate course
  • Successful completion and defense of dissertation
  • 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 PhD/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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