Winthrop University: Department of Human Nutrition - Dietetic Internship

Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetic Internship Program

*Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, the Dietetic Internship will be moving to a combined Master of Science/Dietetic Internship (MS/DI)

The Winthrop University (WU) Department of Human Nutrition offers a highly competitive Master of Science (MS) Human Nutrition and Dietetic Internship (DI) program.  The program is designed to offer the MS degree coursework virtually over 3 consecutive semesters during year one of the program.  This is immediately followed by 2 consecutive supervised practice semesters (DI).  Graduates who meet all program requirements are eligible at the end of this 2-year, 5 semester program to take the Commission of Dietetic Registration Examination.  Upon passing, the graduate qualifies to use the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist credential (RDN).

Program Accreditation

The Winthrop University Master of Science Human Nutrition - Dietetic Internship Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).  ACEND is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitians or dietetic technicians. ACEND is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. ACEND exists to serve the public by establishing and enforcing eligibility requirements and accreditation standards that ensure the quality and continued improvement of nutrition and dietetics education programs. Programs meeting those standards are accredited by ACEND. ACEND meets national standards and is a reliable authority on the quality of nutrition and dietetics education programs.

The address and phone number of ACEND are:

* 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 requirements 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 didactic program at Winthrop University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Must Have or Complete:

  1. Bachelor's Degree from an accredited university. PLEASE SEE NOTIFICATION BELOW.*
  2. Receive a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD).
  3. Match and complete an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship program or other ACEND-approved supervised practice.  
  4. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam.
  5. If applicable, apply for state licensure to practice as a licensed dietitian/nutritionist. 
  6. Maintain ongoing continuing education.

For Information on the Available Pathways to Becoming a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, visit Path to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) via Dietetic Internship (DI) (PDF - 333KB).

Winthrop University Master of Science Human Nutrition - Dietetic Internship Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Winthrop University Dietetic Internship Program is to prepare competent entry-level dietitians for entry into the profession by providing combined academic and applied professional experiences which satisfy the requirements for eligibility to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians administered through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Program Goals and Objectives:

Program Goal #1:  Program graduates will be prepared for entry-level practice positions in the field of nutrition and dietetics or related fields.

Objectives to meet the goal:

  1. At least 80% of students complete program requirements within 3 years (150% of planned program length).
  2. Of graduates who seek employment, at least 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  3. At least 90% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  4. 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%.
  5. Over a 5-year period, 80% of employers of program graduates responding to the Employer Survey will rate the overall job performance of alumni at or above a 3.0 overall on a scale of 1-5 (high = 5) 2 years post-graduation.

Program Goal #2: Program graduates will be prepared to provide leadership or service professionally and/or in the community within the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Objectives to meet the goal:

  1. At least 25% of program graduates who respond to the 2-year post-graduate survey will indicate that they are involved in service to the profession through activities such as precepting dietetic interns or DPD students, dietetics or nutrition-related community service, or involvement in district/state/national nutrition-related organizations.
  2. At least 25% of program graduates who respond to the 2-year post-graduate survey will rate their overall professional leadership skills at or above a 3.0 on a scale of 1-5 (high=5).

Program Goal #3: At least 25% of program graduates who respond to the 2-year post-graduate survey, will rate their overall professional leadership skills at or above a 3.0 on a scale of 1-5 (high=5).

Objectives to meet the goal:

  1. At least 25% of program graduates who respond to the 2-year post-graduate survey will rate their overall ability to apply  critical thinking skills to appropriately analyze and disseminate scientific literature in the field of nutrition at or above a 3.0 on a scale of 1-5 (high = 5).

Program outcomes data are available upon request. Contact the Dietetic Internship Director, Stephanie Nielsen, at nielsens@winthrop.edu or 803/323-4521.

Overview of the WU Dietetic Internship Component of the MS-DI

The internship provides a minimum of 1000-1100 hours of supervised practice with an emphasis in nutrition therapy for both inpatient and outpatient care. Supervised practice rotations are completed over two consecutive semesters following the university calendar starting fall semester through spring semester, typically ending the first week of May. The internship builds on the theoretical knowledge of an undergraduate or graduate degree program that provides the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) required coursework in an accredited didactic program in dietetics (DPD), nutrition, dietetics, food systems management or closely related field. Applicants to the internship must have successfully completed all the requirements of an accredited didactic program in dietetics (DPD) and hold a current DPD Verification Statement from the DPD program director. Completion of the internship establishes eligibility to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) examination for dietitians. Passing this exam is required in order to use the credential of a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) as well as to meet licensure requirements for practice in South Carolina and North Carolina as well as other states.

The Master of Science/Dietetic Internship at Winthrop University provides program graduates with the requisite skills and experiential background necessary to function as competent entry-level dietitians.

Interns work with outstanding role models in the state and region. Practitioners at the rotation sites have diverse academic and professional backgrounds. While program graduates are sensitive to the unique needs of the Carolinas, they are also competent to assume positions in health care facilities throughout the nation.

Licensure

The State of South Carolina requires registered dietitian nutritionists to be licensed. For detailed information on becoming licensed to practice in the State of South Carolina as a registered dietitian nutritionist, please access the South Carolina Labor Licensing Regulation website.

Information on licensure or certification in states other than South Carolina can be accessed through the Commission on Dietetic Registration: https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure

Admissions

Prospective applicants apply to the WU MS/DI through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS) portal for the spring match. Information on the application process and important deadlines are found at http://portal.dicas.org. Application materials received from DICAS are retained in the department office for six months from the date of application and then shredded. Successful applicants must meet the following minimum admission standards:

  1. Completion of an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics accredited didactic program in dietetics (DPD) and submit their official Verification Statement from the program DPD
  2. Completion of a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from an accredited
  3. Undergraduate grade point average of ≥ 3.0 on a 4.0-point scale (or completion of 12 semester hours of graduate credit with a minimum GPA of 3.0). DPD GPA must be equal to or greater than a 2 on a 4.0 scale.
  4. A combined score of ≥ 295 on the verbal and quantitative sections and a score of at least a 3 on the analytic writing component of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE score must be reported accurately on the DICAS application. Admission requirements to the MS in Human Nutrition can be found at: https://
  5. Submission to DICAS of the required dietetic internship application materials and fee by the February deadline (http://portal.dicas.org). Incomplete applications will not be evaluated. Supplemental material is not A personal statement should be no more than one page, single-spaced, and specifically include the reason for choosing the WU MS/DI program and the student’s preparedness to perform as an outstanding intern in the WU MS/DI.
  6. Submission of three references through DICAS from professionals knowledgeable of the applicant's It is strongly recommended that at least one of these be from a registered dietitian who has directly supervised the applicant’s work.
  7. Successful completion of an on-campus interview (upon invitation to be sent by early March) with the selection committee of the Department of Human Nutrition Advisory Board Selection
  8. Meet WU requirements for Recency of Education.
  9. International students must demonstrate English language proficiency by earning a satisfactory TOFEL score and meet additional requirements. See Admission Requirements for International Students on next page and in the Winthrop University Graduate Catalog, or winthrop.edu/graduate-studies.
  10. Submission of the D & D Digital computer matching preferences and fee by the deadline for the spring match at dnddigital.com/
  11. After matching with Winthrop University’s MS/DI Program, the prospective intern will be contacted by the Graduate Director to complete the application process for full and binding admission to the Online MS in Human Nutrition program. The application to the program is located on the Online MS in Human Nutrition website (https://online.winthrop.edu/programs/master-human-nutrition). Upon admission to the graduate program, the prospective intern will be directed to register as a WU graduate student during the fall, spring, and summer semesters of their first year.
  12. Upon successful completion of the graduate coursework (GPA of 3.7 or above), interns will be contacted by the Internship director to complete the application process for full and binding admission to the Winthrop University Dietetic Internship Certificate Program. Upon admission to the internship program, the intern will be directed to register as a WU Certificate Dietetic Internship graduate student during the fall and spring semesters of their second year.

Due to the competitive nature of the internship, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to obtain prior health care dietetic-related work experience (volunteer or paid) in order to demonstrate their ability to be self-confident communicators, team players, self-directed learners, and leaders for successful completion of the rigors of the WU dietetic internship program. A maximum of 21 interns are selected for the MS-DI each year.

A Winthrop University Dietetic Internship application checklist is available here.

 

Recency of education course requirements:

Internship applicants must be able to demonstrate completion of coursework in dietetics or advanced nutrition and/or sufficient evidence of clinical practice within the three years prior to the starting date of the internship. Students who need to improve their knowledge and/or skills will be advised to successfully complete DPD-required courses. The Internship faculty will inform applicants which courses or alternate study need to be completed and in what timeframe.

MS-DI Course Curriculum

The WU MS/DI is a two-part program that will prepare students to sit for the CDR Credentialing Examination for Dietitians/Nutritionists. Program completion requires completion of the Master's degree. The WU MS is completed in year one (fall, spring, and summer semesters), followed by supervised practice in year two (fall and spring semesters). Interns will apply for the Certificate-Dietetic Internship through the WU Graduate School in order to complete the supervised practice component of the program during the spring semester of year one. Interns are provided with an initial intense week of orientation to the program followed by 15 weeks of supervised practice including alternate practice activities to ensure professional development and growth. Interns are provided with a holiday break and are typically back on rotation at the start of spring semester. Interns spend 15 weeks in rotations during the spring semester and conclude with one week on campus that includes an intense RD exam review course.

During the first year, interns are scheduled for the following courses:

Fall Semester
Applied Statistics for the Sciences (MATH 546)
Macronutrient Metabolism (NUTR 619)
Public Health and Global Nutrition (NUTR 611)

Spring Semester
Research Methods (NUTR 607)
Vitamin and Mineral Metabolism (NUTR 624)
Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy (NUTR 617)

Summer Semester
Seminar in Food and Nutrition (NUTR 600)
Nutrition Communication (NUTR 608)
Professional Practice in Dietetics (NUTR 632)

Interns will apply for enrollment in the Certificate-Dietetic Internship prior to the start of DI courses and will be enrolled in the following supervised practice courses:

  • Dietetic Internship Supervised Practice Experience I (NUTR 528)
  • Dietetic Internship Supervised Practice Experience II (NUTR 529)
  • Dietetic Internship Supervised Practice Experience III (NUTR 530)
  • Dietetic Internship Supervised Practice Experience IV (NUTR 531)

Interns may use 6 credit hours during the fall semester of the internship towards completion of the MS degree. The MS is awarded at the end of the fall semester during the internship.

A typical DI supervised practice schedule may look like (note that it will vary on actual placements):

Date Supervised Practice
Aug 21 - 25 Orientation
Aug 31 - Oct 15 Food and Nutrition Management Rotation
Oct 18 - Dec 15 Outpatient / Education / Wellness / Community Rotation
Dec 18 - Jan 5 Break
Jan 8 - Apr 19 Clinical Rotation
Apr 22 - Apr 26 Final week of DI/Exam review course
   
Sep 29, Oct 13, Nov 10, Jan 26, Feb 16  Tentative On-campus seminar days and a campus based health screening program will be added into the schedule
TBD SC Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting | SC AND Policy Day

The Professional Development (PD) rotation provides additional training to ensure the success of achieving the required competencies for entry-level practice. This rotation occurs throughout the entire DI component. ACEND’s 2022 revised standards allow for flexibility with no more than 300 hours allowed for simulation, case studies, role-playing, and other alternate practice experiences.

Program Completion Requirements

Upon successful completion of the DI program requirements, the RDN Exam review course, and ACEND competencies, interns receive a Verification Statement.

Interns must also apply to complete (PDF - 81KB) the Graduate School requirements for the Certificate Dietetic Internship. This is done during the spring semester of the DI. Note that successful completion of the internship meets the requirements for the Dietetic Internship Certificate Program.

Upon validation by CDR, they are eligible to take the national registration examination for dietitians (RDN exam).

Additional Expectations

Although COVID-19 vaccination is not a condition for enrollment at Winthrop University many of our dietetic internship supervised practice sites and facilities now require the vaccine in order to complete a supervised practice rotation with them. We are abiding by the facility requirements for not only the COVID-19 vaccine, but also all immunizations required. We do have sites that will not accept medical waivers. Rotation scheduling is not adjusted based on vaccine status.

Interns are responsible for arranging their own housing accommodations. Rotation assignments are not all based near campus; each individual student is assigned to a specific geographical location in South Carolina or in the southern region of North Carolina. Interns may or may not be paired with another intern. Since interns rotate at various facilities within their specific geographical area in the Carolinas, they are required to attend seminars on campus and participate in selected program activities. Access to reliable transportation is necessary. Interns must commit to a 36-week time frame including orientation, supervised practice (rotations), written assignments, scheduled seminars, professional activities, and Jean Inman's RDN exam review course. Interns must be aware that rotations are tightly scheduled and time does not permit week-long vacations other than what is scheduled. Interns should not hold jobs during the program as they are assigned for a minimum of 40 hours per week including weekends and shifts in various rotations. The internship requires full attention and dedication in order to meet program expectations. Any absence from the program must be made up. Interns who do not meet competency requirements at any point throughout the program will follow procedure for meeting with the preceptor and DI faculty to develop a plan of action, which may include the following options: alternate site placement, additional coursework, extended rotation experience to evaluate competency progression, additional services as deemed appropriate to the individual case, counseling for alternate career paths, and possible dismissal from the program. Program completion is expected to occur within 24 months from start of program (program length =  months; 150% = 36 months).

Graduate Admissions

Application Checklist for DICAS applicants

Disclosures

Early Acceptance/Preselect Option

Early Acceptance Option Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Financial Aid

Locations

Testimonials

University Calendar

Program Expenses (adjusted annually)

 

Last Updated: 1/20/23