About the Dietetic Internship

Our Dietetic Internship accepts students from an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Our program combines the required supervised practice experiences, with the Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Nutrition and Dietetics. Upon completion, you will be eligible to sit for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist exam through the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

In two and a half years, you can obtain your registration status and graduate degree. The first two semesters are graduate course work only. Two subsequent semesters are both on-site supervised practice experiences and graduate course work. In addition, one summer semester is full-time supervised practice experience in a community hospital. The final fall semester is both on-site supervised practice experiences and remaining graduate course work.

Licensure and Registration Requirements

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). 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 master's in Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietetic Internship program at Northern Illinois University meet these requirements and are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. ACEND provides more information about educational pathways to become a RDN.

Program Concentration

The program concentration for the NIU dietetic internship is Community Nutrition and Health Promotion, which includes 1,224 hours of dietetic internship experiences: 520 hours in community nutrition, life-cycle and health promotion; 504 hours in medical nutrition therapy (at one hospital); and 200 hours in food service (NIU Dining Services).

Our mission is to prepare entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who demonstrate knowledge, skills and values that enhance individual and community health through dietetics practice.

Program Goals and Objectives

  • Prepare individuals who are competent to practice in the profession of nutrition and dietetics.
    • At least 80 percent of program interns complete program/degree requirements within 42 months (150 percent of the program length).
    • Of graduates who seek employment, 90 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
    • Ninety percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
    • 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.
    • Eighty percent of employer surveys will report that interns have the necessary skills to practice as competent practitioners.
    • Eighty percent of program alumni will report being adequately prepared for professional practice.
  • Prepare capable entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) for productive employment in a community nutrition and/or health promotion setting.
    • Over a three-year period, fifty percent of program alumni will report employment in a community nutrition/health promotion within one year of program completion.
    • Eighty percent of employer surveys will report that interns have the necessary skills to practice as competent practitioners in the community setting.
    • Eighty percent of program alumni working in the community will report being adequately prepared for practice.

Specific Concentration Competencies

  • Disseminate health promotion education to community groups using technology.
  • Demonstrate proficiency of skills during a professional practice rotation at a community-based program or community hospital.

Program outcomes are available upon request.


  • Dietetic Internship program application.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale
    • 2.75 Cumulative
    • 3.0 Major
    • 2.75 Science (preferred)
  • Completion of (or intent to complete) Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) program
  • Personal statement - 1000 words or less
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
    • preferably two from academic instructors, one from work supervisor
  • Completion of a minimum of 150 hours of dietetics-related work experience
  • Official Transcripts of undergraduate coursework
  • GRE: due to limited appointments at testing centers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE requirement is temporarily waived. If you have already taken the exam, please still include scores within your application
  • Interview in person or via Skype
  • Graduate School Application
    • Note: Graduate School deadline dates are different than from the Dietetic Internship.
  • D&D Digital computer matching application
  • Application Notification Form.
  • $25 application fee for Dietetic Internship to NIU.

Learn more about our application process.


Dietetic Interns pay tuition for both MS and DI courses. Check the Office of the Bursar website for most current costs.

Additional Costs

These are other estimated expenses associated with the program.



Student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Student membership in local dietetic district


Uniforms for foodservice/MNT practicum


Health Documentation: titters, immunizations, TB
(depending on whether immunizations are necessary or not)

$100- $430

Criminal background check/drug screen through Castle Branch


CPR certification




Professional liability insurance – NIU Group Policy

included in fees

Housing and transportation

Costs are quite variable depending on where you live and which sites you will be assigned to during the community and MNT practicum. You will need a car and will need to come to campus at least twice a week and to your practicum site(s) at least three times weekly during the spring and fall and five days per week in summer.




plus housing and transportation

Graduate Assistantships

Interns are encouraged to apply for a graduate assistantship which pays for partial tuition and provides a modest stipend. Applications are available from the Graduate School and should be submitted to the SHS office in Wirtz Hall Room 209. Graduate assistant positions are not guaranteed.

Financial Aid and Fellowships

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial aid can be applied for through the Student Financial Aid Office on campus.

The Dietetic Internship follows the NIU academic calendar. All interns begin the program in August.

Step 1 - Graduate Coursework

  • During the first two semesters, you are enrolled in graduate coursework (pre-practicum
  • In the second pre-practicum semester, you will enroll in a one-semester-hour workshop (NUTR 652).
  • NUTR 652 orients you to both the internship and profession. Interns may be
    encouraged to take coursework in summer in order to complete all requirements of the graduate degree
    simultaneously with DI completion.

Step 2 - Supervised Practice Experiences and Graduate Coursework

  • After completion of the pre-practicum semesters, you will begin on-site supervised practice experiences while continuing to complete graduate coursework.
  • You are engaged in supervised practice experiences during all four semesters
  • By taking coursework each semester, you can expect to finish the internship and M.S. degree
  • After completing both the requirements of the internship and graduate program, program
    graduates' names will be submitted to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Commission for Dietetic
    Registration (CDR) for eligibility to take the registration examination

Course Information

Course Type of Experience Location Hours on Site Lenght of Practicum Semester
NUTR 617 Food Service NIU Campus Dining Services 20 hours per week 10 weeks Fall or Spring
NUTR 610 Lifecycle WIC, School Nutrition, Recreation and Wellness, LTC 20 hours per week 8 weeks Fall or Spring
NUTR624 MNT 1 hosptial 40 hours per week 13 weeks Summer
NUTR619 Community 4-5 different sites 24 hours per week 10 weeks Fall
NUTR 630 Professional Practice 1 site 24 hours per week 5 weeks Fall


We offer experiences across the spectrum of dietetics. Since this program is located in northern Illinois, 70 miles west of Chicago, we are fortunate to be located within driving distance of the western suburbs, and the city of Rockford. Although some sites are located in the DeKalb area and on campus, interns must have a reliable car and be willing to drive to sites that are located off campus.

  • Food Service Management practicum: assigned to the NIU residential dining.
  • Lifecycle Nutrition practicum: assigned to four different locations (WIC, school nutrition program, NIU Recreation and Wellness, and long-term care facility).
  • MNT practicum: assigned to one community hospital located within driving distance of DeKalb.
  • Community Nutrition practicum: assigned to four sites:
    • Out-Patient Counseling Clinics
    • Diabetes Education Clinics
    • Corporate Sites
    • Wellness and Health Promotion sites
    • County Health Departments
    • Northern Illinois Food Bank
    • Grocery Stores
    • Sports Nutrition sites
    • Academy Headquarters in Chicago
    • Eating Disorder Clinics (Eating Disorders and Obesity students only)
  • Professional Practice practicum: you'll return to a site that is an 'area of interest' for semi-staff relief.

Competency Assessment to Credit Prior Experience

  • If you have significant experience in the field you may request to have your experiences evaluated for
    credit toward supervised practice hours.
  • You will be asked to review the program competencies and provide a written statement and documented evidence regarding how your prior experiences achieved those
  • The program director, a site preceptor working in that professional area, and a member of the
    admissions committee will review the submitted documentation to determine what credit, if
    any, would be given.

You will have satisfactorily completed the dietetic internship when you have successfully completed all the internship courses and all Graduate School requirements.

Interns are strongly advised to work closely with their academic advisor regarding their graduate course schedule to be sure that sufficient course work is being taken each semester for simultaneous completion of both the M.S. degree program and the dietetic internship program. You will receive the official "Verification Statement of Dietetic Internship Completion" only when all requirements of the M.S. degree program in Nutrition and Dietetics have been satisfied.

Upon completion of both the M.S. and DI programs, the official verification statement will be given to you, and your name will be submitted to the Commission of Dietetic Registration. At this time you will be eligible to sit for the RDN exam and apply for state licensure, if applicable.