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.

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 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). Direct questions to DI Director, Dr. Lauren Housley, 

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 percent 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 percent.
  • 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 percent 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 percent of program 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 percent of graduates surveyed will report that they have demonstrated proficiency in translating current research findings to others with positive ratings.
  • Objective measure 8: At least 50 percent 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 supervised practice hours are completed during the first 24 months of the program with some additional coursework during the academic year for a total of 1140 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
  • Our program emphasizes Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • 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, 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.


The PhD-DI (including the graduate degree) takes 4 years (48 months) to complete, and the supervised practice experiences are 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 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 first 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
  • Acemapp account required for submitting paperwork for clinical rotation sites; account setup costs $50 per student per year; each student only needs 1 account
  • 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 1140 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 30 semester credit hours, plus 14 semester credit hours for 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 doctoral 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: 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.

To learn about licensure eligibility requirements in states other than Georgia, please visit:

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