Dietetic Internship Admission Requirements and Completion

Requirements for Admission to the Southern Miss Dietetic Program

  • You Must Be Admitted To The Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems Graduate Program at Southern Miss  (Either regular or conditional admission) to be considered as a candidate for the Southern Miss Dietetic Internship (DI). Admission to the graduate program may be granted pending receipt of final undergraduate transcript. Please apply for summer term admission. 
  • A Verification Statement signed by the DPD Program Director.  If you have not yet completed your DPD, you must be able to submit a Declaration of Intent to Complete Degree signed by the DPD Program Director, and submit the Verification Statement following completion of the program.
  • Minimum academic records for admission to the program are:
    • GPA of 2.75 on the last 65 undergraduate hours (graduate school requirement)
    • GPA of 3.00 on didactic coursework (dietetic internship requirement), and you must have a minimum GPA of 2.70 on required science prerequisites, with no grade lower than "C" in ANY of those courses.  The following courses are included:
      General Chemistry (at least 1 semester)      
      Anatomy & Physiology (at least 1 semester)
      Organic Chemistry (1 semester)
      Microbiology (1 semester)
      Biochemistry (1 semester)
    • Apply for preselect or computer matching. 
    • Have a personal interview on selected dates with Southern Miss Internship selection committee.

International Students

In order for an individual educated outside of the United States to become a Registered Dietitian, registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), they must first meet certain requirements different from US students.  International students who wish to apply for a position in the southern Miss Dietetic Internship must first meet all requirements for an international student at the university.  In addition, he/she must hold a valid verification statement from a didactic program in dietetics (DPD) accredited through the Accreditattion Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Steps and Deadlines for DI Application

Step 1: Apply to Graduate School for Summer Term Admission

  • Application to Graduate School Program and fee of $50
  • GRE Scores sent to graduate school
  • All college/university transcripts to graduateschool (including fall 2012 grades).
  • All items must be received by the graduate school by 5 p.m. on January 3, 2015 for preselect and by February 15, 2015 for computer matching.

Step 2: Centralized Application: DICAS

  • The Dietetic Internship Program at The University of Southern Mississippi uses the online centralized internship application, referred to as DICAS(The online application MUST be completed by 11:59 pm Central Time on January 3 for preselect or February 15, 2015 for computer matching..

  • The fee to DICAS is $40 for the 1st application submitted and $20 for each additional application.

  • On the DICAS application – applicants will be asked to complete a personal statement in 1,000 words or less.  Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include:
    • Why do you want to enter the profession of dietetics?
    • What are some experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career?
    • What are your short-term and long-term goals
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
  • Official Transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended (including fall 2010 grades) should be sent to:

    DICAS – Transcript Dept
    PO Box 9118
    Watertown, Ma  02472

  • When completing the application form, you must include the name and contact information (specifically an e-mail address) for each reference.  This will trigger an e-mail message requesting completion of a reference form. The form will be completed on-line.

  • When contacting your references , please indicate they need to comment on the following qualities in the letter:

    (a) Knowledge in chosen field, analytical ability, ability to plan and conduct research, creativity, imagination, and
    intellectual ability
    (b) Motivation, perseverance toward goals, ability to work independently and potential for success in career field
    (c) Ability to express thoughts clearly in spoken and written English, ability to work with others and potential for
    college teaching

  • Students submitting more than one application will need to use the same individuals as references for each application.

Step 3: Supplemental Internship Application

  • Download the Preferred Placement for Supervised Practice Form (1-page PDF).

  • Complete the form along with a $50 check made payable to the Dietetic Internship Program at Southern Miss. This fee is non-refundable.

  • The form and the application fee must be mailed to:

    Elaine Fontenot Molaison, PhD, RD
    Dietetic Internship Director
    Department of Nutrition & Food Systems
    118 College Drive #5172
    Hattiesburg, MS 39406

  • Postmarked date on the Supplemental Application Form must be on or before January 3, 2015 for preselect or February 15, 2015 for computer matching.

Pre-Select and Computer Matching

Preselect Option
Up to eight (8) of the sixteen (16) Southern Miss Dietetic Internship positions may be filled by the Preselect Option rather than Computer Matching.  There are two ways to qualify for preselect:

  • A student must have completed at least six (6) hours of graduate classes and be currently enrolled at The University of Southern Mississippi in a curriculum designed to lead to a Masters Degree in Nutrition and Food Systems,
  • Or a student planning to complete the Southern Miss DPD and will recieve a verification statement from Southern Miss.

Step 4: Computer Matching
Applicants who do not participate in or qualify for preselect MUST participate in computer matching.  There is a $50.00 charge for computer matching that is due on February 15 with the applicant's prioritized ranking. 

D&D Digital Systems
304 Main Street, Suite 301
Ames, Iowa 50010-6148

Applicants will be advised of computer match/no match from D & D Digital.  After the computer match applicant must notified the Southern Miss Dietetic Internship Director of his/her acceptance of the computer match. He/she will receive a letter of appointment from the Internship Director.

Costs and Financial Aid

Tuition

Please refer to Business Services for current tuition rates and other possible student expenses.

Course Supplements/Fees

~$650

Textbook/supplies

~$800

Professional needs

~$500

Housing and TransportationInterns are responsible for all living expenses and travel associated with the dietetic internship
RD Review Course$450 cost will be included as part of course fees

Professional Meetings** 

AND Food and Nutrition Conference & Exhibition / MS Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting Registration, Hotel, & Travel

Malpractice Insurance

 $20

AND Pin for graduation

 $55

 * Fees subject to Change without notice
** Registration, hotel, meals, & travel cost will vary

Southern Miss Tuition Rates

Financial Aid

Full-time graduate students are eligible for federally guaranteed student loans and other forms of financial assistance.  Those interested in such assistance should contact the Southern Miss Office of Financial Aid at 601-266-4774.

In addition, scholarships are offered through the Department of Nutrition and Food Systems.  Applications are available on the USM Foundation website.  Additional professional scholarships may be available through the Academy of Nutriton and Dietetics Foundation.  Information these ANDF scholarships can be found online. Students must be a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics be eligible to apply for Foundation scholarships.

Calendars and Schedules

Since interns must be admitted to graduate school as part of the admission process, they must follow the university’s academic calendar. As part of the internship, these students will be enrolled in three semesters of course work.  A typical schedule for an intern may include the following courses: 

Semester Course TitleCredit hours
 SUMMER  
NFS 630Food Systems Management                          4
NFS 640Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy  4
 FALL  
NFS 567LPracticum in Dietetics                               3
NFS 664 Seminar 2
NFS 694Current Topics in Food Systems Management  3
Spring  
NFS 567LPracticum in Dietetics                  3
NFS 664 Seminar 2
NFS 715Recent Developments in Applied Nutrition 3

Program Requirements

Graduate School Admission/Retention – Interns are responsible for assuring that they are admitted to graduate school.   All interns must have either regular or conditional admission to be ranked by this program. In addition, interns must meet all requirements during the internship to maintain graduate school admission throughout the internship.  Failure to maintain graduate school admission requirements will result in dismissal from the dietetic internship.

Course Requirements - Each intern will be required to take two graduate courses - NFS 630 (Food Systems Management) and NFS 640 (Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy) during the summer semester for a total of 8 hours.  During the fall and spring semesters, interns will register for a seminar class which meets on 5 selected Fridays each semester and also must register for NFS 567L (Practicum in Dietetics - 3 hours).  Based on the supervised practice rotations for which an intern is scheduled, he/she will also register for NFS 694 (Current Topics in Food Systems Management - 3 hours) during one semester, and NFS 715 (Recent Developments in Applied Nutrition - 3 hours) during the other supervised practice semester.  This is a total of 24 hours of graduate credit during the internship (18 of which can be applied to the MS degree).  All other courses required as part of the MS program in Nutrition & Food Systems are available either on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg Campus or are available on line.  Interns cannot expect to take graduate classes in Jackson or on the coast.  Students must maintain a grade of B or better in NFS 630 and 640 and at least a 3.0 GPA for the entire internship to receive a verification statement.

Supervised Practice Requirements-All interns are required to participate in a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice while enrolled in the dietetic internship.  Interns are placed in supervised practice facilities for 32 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters.  Rotations during the internship include: orientation general clinical, renal, nutrition support, long-term care, WIC, child nutrition programs, general foodservice management, staff experience, food bank, and a 2-week special interest rotation at the end of the internship.  In addition, interns gain other supervised practice hours through a variety of experiences and activities, including: Health Promotion & Education intervention, Diabetes Camp, Recruiting, Community Health Activities, Journal Club, Menu Planning, Professional Development, and Leadership Activities.

Grade Requirements – grade requirements are in place in order to maintain graduate student status.  Additional grade requirements are outlined in the DI Handbook.

Registration Exam Review Course-All interns will be assessed a fee for each semester to pay for a review course for the registration examination for dietitians.  All interns are required to attend the review which is typically held in the latter part of the spring semester.

Immunizations & Serv Safe® Certification-All interns are required to show verification of a negative TB test and Hepatitis B vaccine.  Additional immunizations may be required by supervised practice locations.  Interns WILL NOT be allowed to start in the facilities without verification of these.  In addition, all interns are REQUIRED to be ServSafe® certified PRIOR TO starting supervised practice in the fall semester.

Name Badges, Lab Coats, Scrubs, and/or Professional apparel - interns are required to provide their own name badge, lab coats and/or scrubs to wear in the facilities.  Some facilities require “professional dress.”  Interns are required to follow the dress code of the facility/rotation for which they are scheduled.  Uniforms or other required dress will be the responsibility of the intern.

Assignments to Jackson, Hattiesburg area, MS Gulf Coast, or other areas – Typically, there are 6-8 supervised practice slots in Jackson, 2-4 in Hattiesburg area, and 4-6 on the gulf coast.  However, with recent decreases in facility sites and preceptors, interns may also be placed in other areas such as Meridian, Slidell, Mobile, etc.  Interns admitted through the pre-select option will be placed first.  All other interns will know by the end of April.  However, interns will not know facility placement until the end of the summer semester.

Requirements of Clinical Facilities - interns are required to abide by all of the requirements of the facilities in which they practice.  For example, some facilities require drug testing; most hospital facilities and some other affiliations require a criminal background check including fingerprinting prior to reporting for work in the facility.  Each intern will have to bear the expense of this testing.

Criminal Background Check – A criminal background check will be completed in all hospitals as well as for Diabetes Camp.  If a background check reveals a felony, the intern will be dismissed from the program immediately, and no effort will be made to place the intern in a different facility.

Textbooks - interns are required to have appropriate references.  Textbooks are adopted and available in the Textbook Service for the Food Service Management and Medical Nutrition Therapy classes. 

Additional Course Fees - interns will be charged a class fees for certain classes.  The additional course fees are used to provide a module containing clinical class outlines & support materials and a supervised practice module containing objectives and evaluation forms.  Other fees are assessed for on-line course supplements for courses that are required as part of the internship.

MS-AND - interns are required to attend the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MS-AND) Food & Nutrition Conference & Exhibits during the spring semester.  The meeting may be held in various sites around the state.  Each intern must provide for his/her own travel, overnight accommodations, and any other expenses.  Interns generally share rooms, and often car pool to the meetings.  They are expected to pay a reduced registration fee for the meeting, and may have to purchase meals during the meeting.

AND FNCE - interns are required to attend the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference and Exhibits (FNCE) in the fall.  Interns are encouraged to share rooms.  It will be to the intern’s advantage to monitor air fares and take advantage of booking a flight early.  As with MS-AND, interns are responsible for registration and all travel expenses.

Housing - interns must pay for their own housing during the internship.  The cost of apartments vary.  Interns may opt to share an apartment with another intern, Southern Miss student, or facility employee.

Transportation - All interns are required to have a reliable vehicle, a valid driver’s license, and insurance in order to travel.  Southern Miss in no way assumes any responsibility for the cost of the travel or for liability related to travel as part of the Dietetic Internship.  Travel will be required for the following practice-related & course-related experiences (at a minimum). Some examples of locations where intersn will travel include but not limited too, eeminar classes rotating through Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Biloxi (NFS 664), Rural field experiences (e.g. Child Nutrition Programs, WIC, and Long-Term Care),Field trips, Diabetes Camp, Pediatric Rotations at a separate hospital for those interns place at one of the VA medical centers.

Health Insurance – The dietetic internship does not assume any liability for any health issues or accidents (work or non-work related) during the entire program.  Health insurance may be required by some of the supervised practice sites.  Interns are responsible for obtaining health insurance.

Breaks from Supervised Practice - Interns are scheduled in supervised practice facilities during Southern Miss fall and spring semesters and may expect to have breaks from supervised practice during regular Southern Miss semester breaks, but not necessarily all university or student holidays.  Interns are not scheduled in facilities during the semester break.  However, any days that are typically considered as holidays MUST be made up by the dietetic intern, with the exception of Thanksgiving.

AND Pin - At the end of the internship year, interns will be eligible to become Active members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and will be eligible to wear the AND pin.  A pinning ceremony will be held in honor of interns at the end of the internship year.  Interns will be asked to have someone significant to them “pin” them during the ceremony.  Interns will be required to purchase an AND pin (approximately $55.00) through the internship.  All interns are required to attend the pinning ceremony in order to receive their verification statement.