M.S. in Clinical Nutrition with Dietetic Internship
Graduate Studies

With an emphasis in cultural competence and diversity in dietetics practice, the M.S. in Clinical Nutrition with Dietetic Internship will prepare you to become a professional dietitian by providing graduate coursework and quality supervised practice.

Immaculata’s Master of Science in Nutrition will give you an in-depth understanding of nutrient metabolism, medical nutrition therapy, and changing nutritional needs throughout the life cycle, along with specialized topics in applied nutrition. You will be able to effectively communicate nutrition information, develop and implement current research, utilize nutrition literature and resources, and integrate nutrition knowledge from a variety of sources.

Two tracks are available for obtaining a master’s degree in nutrition, depending upon your background and career goals. Continue reading to learn more about the Clinical Nutrition track with an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship (DI), or learn more about the Nutrition Education and Counseling track.

M.S. in Clinical Nutrition with Dietetic Internship Program Highlights

  • Faculty have real-world experience as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
  • You will have a faculty advisor to guide you through your degree program from start to finish.
  • You may participate in faculty-mentored research projects with some funding available.
  • The program is flexible, with evening, hybrid, and online courses offered.
  • A variety of courses are offered as electives to suit your interests and professional needs.

This track is for those who want to earn a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential and obtain a graduate degree. In this combined M.S. and Dietetic Internship (M.S.+DI) program, you will earn a master’s degree upon completion of the internship. By January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a graduate degree to meet the entry-level registration eligibility education requirements for dietitians.

During your first year in the M.S. in Clinical Nutrition, you will take 24 graduate credits. All courses are offered online; some are also available in a hybrid format. In your second year of the program, you will complete the internship on a full-time basis.

Career Opportunities

Upon completion of this combined M.S.+DI program, you will earn the degree of Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition and be eligible to take the registration exam and become an R.D.N. With this credential, you may work in areas such as:

  • Clinical facilities—hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • Community and public health settings—public health departments, programs for seniors or WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), or Head Start programs
  • Business and industry—foodservice management or operations in schools, supermarkets, and other institutions
  • Higher education
  • Sports nutrition
  • Private practice

Dietetic Internship

Immaculata’s Dietetic Internship will give you supervised experience in dietetics practice as part of your master’s degree in clinical nutrition. The internship integrates our graduate nutrition faculty’s academic expertise with the medical and dietetic expertise of leading health care facilities in the surrounding area. The internship requires an intensive commitment of working full-time for approximately 10 months. As part of the M.S.+DI combined program, the internship will provide 12 graduate credits toward the M.S. in Clinical Nutrition.

Admission Requirements

You must hold a bachelor’s degree with prerequisite coursework that constitutes an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), or an equivalent program with verification, as specified by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). You may be required to take undergraduate courses to meet these prerequisites prior to acceptance into the MS+DI combined program. You can complete an ACEND-approved DPD at Immaculata University.

If you are an international student, you must contact us for a list of agencies acceptable to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Immaculata University for your course-by-course transcript evaluation.

To apply, please submit these materials through Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS):

  • Official transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate school attended
  • Two recommendations
  • A one-page essay discussing your professional goals

 

Curriculum

REQUIRED COURSES (39 Credits)

Pre-Summer:

  • GEN 502 Methods of Research (3)
  • GEN 501 Human Development (3)

Fall Year 1:

  • NED 645 Medical Nutrition Therapy I (3)
  • NED 647 Applied Nutrition and Metabolism (3)
  • NED 513 Culture & Diversity in Health Care Practice (1)

Spring Year 1:

  • NED 655 Medical Nutrition Therapy II (3)
  • Nutrition Elective (2)

Summer Year 1:

  • GEN 503 Interpersonal Relations (3)
  • NED 659 Preparation for Internship (3)

Fall Year 2:

  • NED 662 Internship Experience in Nutrition I (3)
  • NED 663 Internship Experience in Nutrition II (3)
  • NED 680 Principles of Nutrition Education (3)

Spring Year 2:

  • NED 664 Internship Experience in Nutrition III (3)
  • NED 691 Nutrition Capstone (3)

 

Internship Preparation and Verification for Non-Nutrition Baccalaureate Students

This option allows the student to achieve eligibility for the MS+DI combined program when the student has completed a baccalaureate degree in a non-nutrition major. The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) has established educational requirements for eligibility to apply for a Dietetic Internship. The minimum requirements include a baccalaureate degree in any subject and completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) required courses. Since Immaculata University has an ACEND accredited undergraduate DPD, prospective applicants to the Immaculata Dietetic Internship can complete the required courses at the undergraduate level without having to earn an additional degree. The course requirement varies for each student based on prior coursework, which will be determined by the DPD director.

International students seeking a Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition combined with Dietetic Internship must contact the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences for a list of agencies acceptable to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Immaculata University for their course by course transcript evaluation.

Pre-select for the MS+DI combined program

IU’s undergraduate students will be able to apply for the two-year of M.S. in Clinical Nutrition with Dietetic Internship program in the last year of their study in the B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program.

Up to 8 students can be pre-selected each year.

Applications must be submitted by October 1st and include the following materials:

  • Transcripts
  • 2 recommendation letters
  • Essay to state the personal goals and the qualifications for the M.S. in Clinical Nutrition with Dietetic Internship

To be pre-selected for the MS+DI combined program, you must:

  • Anticipate completion of an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.2 in DPD (on a 4.0 scale)

Suggested Achievements for Application

  • 150-plus hours of experience (paid or volunteer) in clinical, foodservice and/or community nutrition setting or shadowing a clinical or out-patient registered dietitian nutritionist
  • Anticipated 300-plus hours of experience (paid or volunteer) upon earning the DPD verification
  • Fluency in a foreign language or American sign language

An interview will be conducted by November 15th and decision will be announced by Dec 1st.

Course Preview

Applied Nutrition & Metabolism

Overview of biochemistry, metabolism, physiological actions, and interrelationships of macronutrients and micronutrients. Discusses the regulation of the biochemical pathways of nutrients digestion, absorption, excretion, transport, and cellular metabolism. Study of nutritional and toxicological standards for humans and bioavailability of micronutrients. Explores the scientific methods to build foundation of nutrition knowledge and recommendations.

Principles of Nutrition Education

Overview of the fundamental theories and processes of nutrition education for individuals and groups. Includes approaches to needs assessment; program planning and design, population-appropriate interventions, evaluation and assessment.

Medical Nutrition Therapy I

The role of nutrition in various disease states. Physiology of organ systems and an examination of the application of therapeutic intervention in selected pathological states. Prerequisite: undergraduate Medical Nutrition Therapy course.

Nutrition Capstone

Action research in the field of nutrition/nutrition education is presented. Students develop and present an action research project utilizing skills and knowledge gained from all graduate courses. Prerequisite: student’s final semester with a maximum of four other credits needed for completion of the degree.

Dietetic Internship

Internship Mission and Goals

Mission Statement

The mission of the Immaculata Dietetic Internship, as part of the MS+DI program, is to prepare interns to meet the standards of performance for entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists; to promote a spirit of leadership and participation in service to the profession of dietetics and to the community; to encourage them to engage in lifelong learning; and with an emphasis on Cultural Competence and Diversity in Dietetics Practice, to empower them to assume useful and meaningful roles in a diverse world.

The mission of the DI is compatible with the mission of the university in encouraging lifelong learning and service. It is compatible with that of the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science in promoting a spirit of professional leadership.

Program outcomes data are available upon request.

Goals and Objectives

Goal #1: The program graduate will be competent for entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist practice.

  • Objective 1a: The program’s first attempt pass rate on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80 percent.
  • Objective 1b: The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration examination within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80 percent.
  • Objective 1c: 93 percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • Objective 1d: 93 percent of program graduates will obtain a position in the dietetics profession within one year after completion of the internship.
  • Objective 1e: 80 percent of program student’s complete internship program and graduate degree requirements within 36 months (150% of the program’s projected length of 24 months).
  • Objective 1f: 80 percent of all program graduates’ employers will rank the level of preparation for entry-level practice as satisfactory or above.

Goal #2: The program graduate will promote the spirit of service and continued learning.

  • Objective 2a: 20 percent of program graduates will actively participate in a professional organization within one year from program completion.
  • Objective 2b: 50 percent of program graduates who do not already possess an advanced degree, will complete Immaculata’s Master’s Degree program within five years after the dietetic internship program completion.
  • Objective 2c: 80 percent of program graduates will response “yes” or “yes, but” to feeling better prepared to lived and work in a culturally diverse environment on the annual Post-Dietetic Internship Alumni Survey.

The practice component of the internship is designed to respond to changes in the evolving profession of dietetics, to lead students to become translators of the theories and content of nutrition science to the public and other professionals, and to provide students with the opportunity to develop strong, appropriate entry-level dietetic performance skills through 1,008 hours of supervised practice in clinical dietetics, foodservice management, and community nutrition. The Internship begins in late August and can only be completed full-time.

Following the successful completion of the supervised practice portion of the internship and all graduate courses for the master’s degree, interns will receive verification statements, and their names will be submitted to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for eligibility for the RDN registration examination.

The Dietetic Internship is currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 800-877-1600, ext. 5400, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Selection Criteria

Application Requirements

  • Completion or anticipated completion of an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics
  • Application and acceptance or pending acceptance to the College of Graduate Studies
  • Completion of the Dietetic Internship application via DICAS and submission of required information to D&D Digital Systems for computer matching.
  • Experience (paid or volunteer) in a foodservice or clinical setting
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.2 in DPD (on a 4.0 scale)

Suggested Achievements for Application

  • 500-plus hours of experience (paid or volunteer) in clinical, foodservice and/or community nutrition setting
  • 50+ hours shadowing a clinical or out-patient registered dietitian nutritionist
  • Graduate coursework with excellent grades (A or A-)
  • Fluency in a foreign language or American sign language

Selection is based on:

  • Scholastic achievement
  • Work experience
  • Recommendations
  • Leadership ability
  • Written communication skills
  • Interview

A selection committee reviews applications and interviews candidates to make the final selections.

Application Information

Immaculata participates in the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System. Applicants must submit their application via the DICAS portal. Information on GRE scores is not required and is not considered in Immaculata’s intern selection process. Completing the section on Awards, Experience, and Volunteer Activities is not required, but information entered will be used in evaluating applicants.

 

DICAS and Computer Matching

All applicants to Immaculata University’s M.S.+DI combined program must submit their application via DICAS. The fee is $50 for the first application + $25 for each additional application. The application must be completed by February 15. The resume and personal statement of candidates who are accepted will be provided to their clinical and foodservice preceptors.

All applicants to Immaculata University’s M.S.+DI combined program must also participate in computer matching. A $55 fee is charged by D&D Digital Systems for this service. Applicants can register online with D&D Digital to prioritize their dietetic internship preferences. The deadline is 11:59 PM CST on February 15.

 

College of Graduate Studies Admission

Graduate school admission will be determined through DICAS application materials for M.S.+DI program candidates except pre-selected students. Candidates applying through DICAS do NOT need to submit an Immaculata College of Graduate Studies application separately.

Courses

NED 659 Preparation for Internship (3 credits, pass/fail grading)
Requires acceptance into the Dietetic Internship Program. Provides an orientation to the internship process and requirements, and overview of topics and skills that will be applied to the internship experience. (Fall semester)

NED 662-664 Internship Experience in Nutrition I, II, III (3 credits each, pass/fail grading)
Includes a seminar class and placement as a full-time dietetic intern in a hospital/community setting (total of 1,008 hours, fall and spring semesters.)

Practicum Experiences

ROTATION DESCRIPTIONS Clinical (65 days)

During the clinical rotation, interns progress from screening and assessing patients to providing medical nutrition therapy to patients with complex medical conditions. Interns function as members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team. The rotation culminates in staff relief when the intern performs as an entry-level dietitian. Major projects include completion of two case studies. The clinical rotation is completed in acute care hospitals or medical centers and includes at least two days of outpatient and four days of clinical pediatrics.

Foodservice (35 days)

The foodservice rotation provides experience in all aspects of foodservice operations and management. The interns participate in all foodservice sub-systems including procurement, production, distribution, service, and sanitation. Interns function as members of the management team through their involvement in employee training programs, human resource functions, quality control and customer satisfaction. Major projects include the development and implementation of a product, program or service plan and the completion of a QI project.

Community (26 days)

The community rotation provides exposure to the role of the dietitian in providing nutrition education, medical nutrition therapy, and management in non-acute care settings. The community rotation includes three six-day rotations based on the intern’s area of community nutrition interest and based on location and placement availability. Common placements include long-term care, retail, community medicine, food insecurity, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics and school districts. The final eight days are at a setting (with the approval of the internship director) of the intern’s choice.

Rotation Sites

Interns are usually assigned to one facility for both the clinical and food service rotations. However, occasionally an intern may complete these rotations at different facilities. The following hospitals have been used as supervised practice facilities within the past few years. The sites may change yearly.

Clinical and Foodservice Facilities

  • Chester County Hospital
  • Cooper Hospital University Medical Center
  • Crozer-Chester Medical Center
  • Lancaster General Hospital
  • Lower Bucks Hospital
  • Mercy Philadelphia Hospital
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center
  • Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Phoenixville Hospital
  • The Reading Hospital and Medical Center
  • Riddle Memorial Hospital
  • Temple University Health System
  • Veterans Administration Medical Center

Community Rotations

  • School districts
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Retail stores
  • Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Clinics
  • Intern’s choice

 

Scheduling Internships

The dietetic interns are divided into six tracks, depending on previous clinical work experience and scheduling constraints practice accepting facilities have.

  • Tracks A and B: Track A begins in the foodservice rotation and B begins in the clinical rotation. Both tracks complete the community rotation in the spring.
  • Tracks C and D: Both tracks start in the community rotation in the fall and then transition to foodservice (Track C) and clinical (Track D), finishing in clinical (Track C) and foodservice (Track D).
  • Tracks G and H: These interns will start the internship in either foodservice (G) or clinical (H), complete the community and then finish the internship in either foodservice (H) or clinical (G).

All tracks complete eight days of a rotation of their choosing after completing the community, foodservice, and clinical rotations.

Sample Calendar Example

Estimated Costs

Internship Fee

The internship fee for the fall, spring and full summer semesters is $260 per semester.

Tuition

Tuition is $710 per credit. Check with the College of Graduate Studies for tuition and fee updates.

Other Costs

  • Background checks are required for all interns. Cost is approximately $50 to $80.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics student membership is $58.
  • The cost for personal medical insurance will vary.
  • Costs for housing may vary from $400 to $1000 per month.
  • Costs for transportation, parking, meals, physical examinations, lab coats, etc. will vary according to facility.

 

Financial Aid and Scholarship

Students in the program are eligible for federal student aid. Please refer to Graduate Financial Aid for detailed information. You may also apply in the spring semester for the Judith Debnam Breen Scholarship of $1200 per year. The selected student must maintain a 3.5 or higher GPA.

Please contact the program director for scholarship criteria and how to apply.

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). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited M.S.+DI program at Immaculata University are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

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