The Dietetic Internship program is a post-baccalaureate program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition & Dietetics (ACEND). It is open to individuals who have completed a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and who need to complete the 1200+ hours of supervised practice required for licensure. Upon successful completion of the program, students will have earned six graduate-level credits and receive the Verification Statement that allows them to sit for the National Registration Examination. Your supervised practice hours will include rotations covering medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, food service management, and dietetics research.
Our 9 1/2-month program begins in mid-August and has a primary concentration in urban issues. As a Dietetic Intern, the majority of your clinical experience will take place at Hartford Hospital, an 867-bed acute care facility in downtown Hartford that includes a level-1 trauma center. Hartford Hospital offers a diverse array of clinical experience opportunities including:
- Medical Nutrition Therapy rotations
- In-patient and out-patient counseling
- Hospital food service
- SNAP-Ed community nutrition education
- Working with hospital staff and employees
- Staff relief opportunities
In addition to your clinical experiences at Hartford Hospital, you will also gain experience in:
- Community nutrition/public health with SNAP-Ed projects including WIC, Headstart/school readiness programs, Title I schools, elderly nutrition programs
- Long-term care
- School food service
- Wellness organizations
- Specialty Rotation - 2-week rotation in a specialty area of your choice (subject to Program Director approval)
- Dietetics research - 3-week rotation working on a research project
Dietetic Interns must also take and successfully pass two graduate-level courses in the fall semester:
- AH 5350 - Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy (3 credits): Provides student with advanced nutrition therapy information for the effective treatment of complex medical problems. Emphasizes all aspects of the nutrition care process as it relates to medical conditions. The research regarding the physiological, pathological and metabolic basis for nutrient modifications will be emphasized.
- AH 5351 - Contemporary Nutrition Issues and Research (3 credits): Critical thinking and application of research to contemporary issues in food and nutrition applied to clinical nutrition and community/public health nutrition. Learning occurs through classroom discussions, self-exploration through reading and applying scientific studies to issues, and participation in a research project.
At the conclusion of your supervised practice hours and completion of all program requirements, you will receive your Verification Statement and be eligible to sit for the National Registration Examination.
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). UConn’s dietetic internship will transition to a Master’s program to meet the CDR credentialing requirement in 2024.
In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.
Is the Dietetic Internship program accredited?
Yes! The Dietetic Internship Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
How does the Dietetic Internship program enable me to become a Registered Dietitian?
Before you can become a Registered Dietitian, you must sit for and pass the National Registration Examination. To be eligible for the exam, you must complete the following:
- Baccalaureate degree from an accredited university
- ACEND-accredited didactic dietetics program (DPD)
- Minimum 1200 hours of supervised practice experience
Students in the Dietetic Internship program have already earned a baccalaureate degree and have completed a DPD program. The Dietetic Internship provides the necessary hours of supervised practice. Upon successful program completion, you will be eligible to sit for the National Registration Exam and then proceed to certification in your desired state(s). In Connecticut, after you pass the National Registration Examination, you may apply for certification through the State Department of Public Health. You are then certified to practice in the state. Other states may have different processes or requirements to obtain state certification.
If I complete the Dietetic Internship program, what degree will I earn?
By completing the Dietetic Internship program, you will not earn an additional degree. However, upon successful completion of the program, you will have earned six graduate-level credits. You will also have completed the required supervised practice hours to receive your Verification Statement and sit for the National Registration Examination.
What is the general program calendar?
The Dietetic Internship program typically begins in mid-August (1-2 weeks before UConn's fall semester) and finishes before Memorial Day (1-2 weeks after UConn's spring semester). Interns will follow UConn's spring break schedule but will have reduced Thanksgiving and winter break periods due to supervised practice requirements. See UConn's academic calendar for reference.
During the internship, you will complete 1232 hours of supervised practice over a 34-week period. Following is a general breakdown of supervised practice experiences by area of practice:
- 3 weeks hospital food service
- 2 weeks school food service
- 3 weeks research
- 2 weeks long-term care facility
- 3 weeks community nutrition
- 6-10 weeks outpatient counseling (combination of: cardiac, bariatric, dialysis, diabetes, women's health)
- 11 weeks inpatient clinical counseling
- 2 weeks staff relief
- 2 weeks specialty rotation
What is a Verification Statement?
A Verification Statement is an official document confirming that you have completed a dietetics program accredited by ACEND. It is signed by your program director to stipulate that the academic and supervised practice requirements necessary to sit for the National Registration Examination have been met. The Verification Statement will be issued after you have successfully completed all supervised practice requirements.
What is Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)?
A Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is an undergraduate plan of study in dietetics that does not provide supervised practice experience. A DPD program is available at UConn in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. After completing a didactic program and earning a Bachelor's degree, you must then apply for a separate Dietetic Internship program in which you will earn the supervised practice hours necessary to take the National Registration Examination. Our Dietetic Internship program fulfills this requirement.
Is financial aid available?
Because the Dietetic Internship program is a full-time accredited program, you may be able to defer your existing student loans while enrolled in the program. Additional financial aid may be available. Contact UConn's Office of Student Financial Aid Services for information.