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School of Kinesiology and Nutrition

Overview of the Master's Required Dietetic Internship

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The Master’s Required Dietetic Internship at The University of Southern Mississippi integrates graduate-level education and research with supervised practice activities to prepare entry-level registered dietitians that work to improve the health of individuals, families and communities. The Dietetics Practice emphasis is specifically designed to coordinate graduate coursework with the rotations in this accredited Dietetic Internship, and the research projects in this emphasis focus on activities and projects that are completed during the internship.

The graduate students in the Dietetic Practice Emphasis take courses in the three main areas of practice, including medical nutrition therapy, food systems management, and community nutrition.  Other courses in areas such as leadership, nutrition counseling and education, and health promotion, complement the traditional areas of dietetics, creating a well-rounded food and nutrition professional.  All of the degree requirements are available fully online, requiring no visits to campus.  Participation in online coursework requires that interns have access to a computer/laptop and high-speed internet to participate in synchronous online learning. Although all classes are offered online, the dietetic internship is not a distance program because of the supervised practice requirement. In addition, interns are not required to locate their own supervised practice sites or preceptors.

This program fully follows the university's academic calendar including start and end dates of the program, holidays and breaks with the exception of fall break and Mardi Gras. The master's required dietetic internship plan of study is as follows:


The Master’s Required Dietetic Internship is a 21-month and 30-credit graduate internship program. Throughout the course of the internship, interns will participate in a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised practice.  Rotations during the internship include: general and advanced clinical, renal, nutrition support, long-term care, WIC, child nutrition programs, food service management, food bank, and a 2-week special interest rotation at the end of the internship.  In addition, interns gain other experiences 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.  Each intern is assigned to a primary supervised practice facility or group of facilities in Jackson, Meridian, the Hattiesburg area, or along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Typically, there are 6-8 supervised practice slots in Jackson, 2-4 in Meridian, 2-4 in the Hattiesburg area, and 4-6 on the Gulf Coast. 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.

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. Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for the entire internship to receive a verification statement. Upon successful completion of all program and academic requirements, dietetic interns will be awarded both a dietetic internship verification statement and have their Master of Science degree conferred.

Goal 1

To develop and maintain a high quality Dietetic Internship that prepares graduates for careers in dietetics and provides the knowledge and skills for employment in dietetics.

Outcome Measures

1.1 90% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
1.2 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%.
1.3 85% of program graduates indicate they are adequately prepared to begin practice as an entry-level dietitian in the following areas: foodservice management, school foodservice, clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and long-term care, as measured by a minimum score of 3 out of 4.
1.4 100% of employers rank satisfaction with program graduates to work as an entry-level registered dietitian as satisfactory, as measured by a minimum score of 3 out of 4.

Program Goal 2

To prepare graduates to enter the profession with the skills to analyze and synthesize information at the graduate level.

Outcome Measures

2.1 At least 80% of program interns complete program/degree requirements within 32 months (150% of the program length).
2.2 80% of employers rank the graduate’s ability to analyze and synthesize complex information as satisfactory, as indicated by a minimum score of 3 out of 4.


Program Goal 3

To prepare and supply graduates that meet the needs of the Southeastern region of the United States (GA, AL, FL, MS, AR, LA, TX, & TN)

Outcome Measures

3.1 Of graduates who seek employment, 90% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
3.2 80% of Dietetic Internship graduates who are actively seeking employment are employed in the SE region of the United States within 12 months of completing the program.


A summary of outcome data is available upon request.

Program Concentration: Health Promotion and Education

This concentration area was chosen to meet the mission of the dietetic internship at The University of Southern Mississippi, through the provision of “integrates graduate level education and research with supervised practice activities to prepare entry-level dietitians that work to improve the health of individuals, families and communities.”  In addition to helping the program to achieve its mission statement, the concentration area draws on the strengths of the department, whose research focus is on community based nutrition interventions.

These competencies have a strong focus on health promotion and education of diverse populations across the lifespan.  In addition, these rotations compliment the competencies outlined for accredited dietetic internships and will enhance the intern’s knowledge and skills working in a variety of settings and improve research skills.

Health Promotion and Education Concentration Competencies:

HPE 1. Investigate and gather research and relevant data to make decisions regarding nutrition-related issues in a community or population

HPE 2. Develop an intervention that includes assessment of resources and development of education materials that integrate the needs of the community identified in the needs assessment

HPE 3. Utilize leadership and oral communication skills to organize and disseminate a nutrition education program to the community or population

HPE 4. Assess results of the nutrition education program, using sound research methodologies and data analysis to draw conclusions and make decisions about the success of the intervention

To become a Registered Dietitian (RD), you must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or complete requirements for an accredited dietetics program (resulting in a DPD verification statement); complete an accredited post-baccalaureate dietetic internship (including a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised practice); and pass the national registration examination for dietitians. Licensure for the RD may also be required depending on the state of practice. The state of Mississippi requires additional state licensure for dietitians practicing within the state. Those seeking to become employed as a registered dietitian should check state regulations prior to beginning practice.

The Dietetic Internship Program at The University of Southern Mississippi is currently granted full accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312/899-4876.

  • You Must Be Admitted To The Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems: Dietetics Practice Emphasis Graduate Program at Southern Miss (Either regular or conditional admission) to be considered as a candidate for the Southern Miss Master’s Required Dietetic Internship (MS/DI). Admission to the graduate program may be granted pending receipt of final undergraduate transcript. Please apply for FALL TERM admission into the Dietetic Practice emphasis. 
  • 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.
  • 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 but not limited to:

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.
  • Participate in a virtual interview with Southern Miss Internship selection committee.

Preselect Option
Up to eight (8) of the twenty (20) 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 Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Food Systems
  • A student planning to complete the Southern Miss DPD and will receive a verification statement from Southern Miss.

To be considered for admission into the Master’s Required Dietetic Internship, applicants must apply concurrently to the dietetic internship program through pre-select or the DICAS system and Southern Miss Graduate School.  Only those admitted into the dietetic internship can pursue the dietetic practice emphasis. Admission to the Dietetic Practice emphasis is for fall term only, and begins with completion of the Southern Miss Graduate School Application.  Applications will not be accepted without all unofficial transcripts, letters of recommendation, and immunization records.  Please see DI handbook for further information on admission requirements and completion.

Application Steps and Deadlines for DI Application

Step 1: Apply to Graduate School for Fall Term Admission

  • Application to Graduate School Program  
  • All college/university transcripts to graduate school (including fall grades for computer matching)
  • All items must be received by the graduate school by 5 p.m. on October 30 for preselect and by February 15 for computer matching.

Step 2: Centralized Application or Pre-Select Application

  • The Dietetic Internship Program at The University of Southern Mississippi uses an internal application for Pre-Select applicants and the online centralized internship application, referred to as DICAS for computer matching applicants. (The internal application MUST be completed by 11:59 pm Central Time on October 30 for pre-select or the DICAS application by February 15 for computer matching).
  • On the pre-select and 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 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

  • The Preferred location for supervised practice placement  (1-page PDF) must be completed along with the application. This form may be emailed directly to the DI director for pre-select, or uploaded in DICAS for Spring match.

Step 4: Computer Matching

Applicants who do not participate in or qualify for preselect MUST participate in computer matching. There is a $55.00 charge for computer matching that is due on February 15 with the applicant's prioritized ranking. 

Computer Match Code:

The University of Southern Mississippi- MS/DI (789)

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 notify 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.


Tuition Please refer to Business Services for current tuition rates and other possible student expenses.
Course Fees (RD exam review session, course resources, rotations guides) $600
Textbooks/supplies $800
Immunizations/tests $100
Housing and transportation Interns are responsible for all housing, transportation, insurance (health and automobile) and professional dress expenses.
Background Check/Drug Screening $100 (for Dietetic Internship) Separate check/screening needed for some facilities (Cost will vary)
Professional Meetings**

$1,000 - $1,500

The Food and Nutrition Conference & Exhibition (FNCE) of the academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MS-AND) Annual Conference are required professional meetings with the intern covering all expenses including registration, hotel, & travel

Malpractice Insurance Covered in course fees
AND Pin for graduation $55

 * Fees subject to change without notice

** Registration, hotel, meals, & travel cost will vary

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 School of Kinesiology and Nutrition. Applications are available on the USM Foundation website.  Additional professional scholarships may be available through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.  Information on the ANDF scholarships can be found online. Students must be a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to be eligible to apply for Foundation scholarships.

Interns are also responsible for all housing, transportation, insurance (health and automobile) and professional dress expenses.

Please join us on Zoom for one of our upcoming virtual open houses to meet with the internship director and a current intern, and learn more about the program. Make sure to register beforehand using one of the links below. 

Wednesday October 25th 2023 at 5:00pm Central Time:     

Thursday December 14th at 12:00pm Central Time:

You may view the recording from last year's virtual open house below:

The Dietetic Internship at The University of Southern Mississippi is currently granted full accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312/899-4876.

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). Following completion of the program and successfully passing the registration examination, program graduates will be eligible to apply for a dietetic licensure if required in the state that the graduate will assume professional practice. Mississippi is one such state that requires an additional state licensure to practice as a dietitian for the protection of the profession and the public. 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 Dietetic Internship program at The University of Southern Mississippi are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.



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