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School of Kinesiology and Nutrition

Overview of the Master's Required Dietetic Internship

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.

The Master’s Required Dietetic Internship is a 21-month and 33-credit graduate internship program. Throughout the course of the internship, interns will participate in a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice.  Rotations during the internship include: facility operations, general clinical, renal, nutrition support, long-term care, WIC, child nutrition programs, general food service management, staff experience, 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, the Hattiesburg area, or along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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, GRE scores, and immunization records.  Please see DI handbook for further information on admission requirements and completion.

Dietetic Internship Mission Goals & Outcomes

Mission Statement

The 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.

Program 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 3.2 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 1200 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. Those seeking to become employed as a registered dietitian should check state regulations prior to beginning practice.

Interns successfully completing the Southern Miss Dietetic Internship will be eligible to take the registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Successful completion of the internship and the registration examination meet the requirements to be a RD. 

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. https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend

Dietetic Internship Admission Requirements and Completion

Dietetic Internship Admission Requirements and Completion

  • 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.

Application Steps and Deadlines for DI Application

Step 1: Apply to Graduate School for Fall Term Admission

  • Application to Graduate School Program 
  • Pay $60 Application Fee 
  • GRE Scores sent to graduate school
  • All college/university transcripts to graduate school (including fall grades)
  • All items must be received by the graduate school by 5 p.m. on October 30, 2019 for preselect and by February 15, 2020 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).
  • The fee to DICAS is $45 for the 1st application submitted and $20 for each additional application.
  • 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

  • Download the Preferred location for supervised practice placement  (1-page PDF). 
  • Complete the form and mail 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:

Roxanne Kingston, MS, RD, LD
Dietetic Internship Director
School of Kinesiology and Nutrition
118 College Drive #5142 
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

  • Postmarked date on the Supplemental Application Form must be on or before October 30, 2019 for preselect or February 15, 2020 for computer matching.

Pre-Select and Computer Matching

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,
  • Or a student planning to complete the Southern Miss DPD and will receive 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 $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.

Estimated Expenses*  

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) $1,000
Textbook/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 $20
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.

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 and graduate bulletin.

Program Completion 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.

Interns will start their graduate course work in fall of year one. Courses will include NFS 662 (Community Health and Nutrition), NFS 664 (Seminar), NFS 703 (Research Techniques for Nutrition and Food Systems), NFS 713 (Nutrition Education: Theory, Research, and Practice), NFS 810 (Food and Nutrition Public Policy) and Statistics.

In the second year, interns will be enrolled in NFS 630 (Food Systems Management) and NFS 640 (Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy) to help prepare for supervised practice. Once the interns begin their supervised practice they must enroll in NFS 567L (Practicum in Dietetics). Interns will also continue their graduate coursework in NFS 774 (Management of Nutritional Services: A Behavioral Approach) and NFS 780 (Advanced Practice in Nutrition and Food Systems).  In addition, students will be enrolled in NFS 692 (Special Problems in Nutrition) where they will complete their research requirement for the degree. This is a total of 33 hours of graduate credit.  All courses required as part of the MS program in Nutrition & Food Systems are available online. Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for the entire internship to receive a verification statement.

All interns are required to participate in a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice while enrolled in the dietetic internship. Interns must meet all program requirements to receive a verification statement. Should an intern not meet all requirements within a 21-month timeframe, a plan will be made by the Director for the intern to finish within 150% timeframe (32 months). 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.

While 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.

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.

Southern Miss Faculty Handbook  (152-page PDF)

Southern Miss Intern Handbook  (24-page PDF)

Contact Us

School of Kinesiology and Nutrition

Joseph Greene Hall (JGH) 304

Campus Map

Email
sknFREEMississippi

Phone
601.266.5358

Dietetic Internship Virtual Open House

Our upcoming virtual open house will be held on the following date:

Thursday, December 12, 2019, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CST

You can attend the virtual open house by clicking on the following link:

Virtual Open House (if your computer has a camera and microphone, this is the only link you will need)

If your computer does not have a microphone, dial in for audio: +1 929 436 2866, Meeting ID: 145 867 401