The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition offers a dietetic internship for master's and doctoral students specializing in human nutrition. Completion of the degree and the internship qualifies the student to take the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. We offer in-person and distance options for this program.

In-person program  Distance program

In-person Program

The DI is designed to meet or exceed each of the Competencies/Learning Outcomes for a Dietetic Internship Program, as established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The program is 19 months with 32 weeks of supervised practice which is full time (40h/week), beginning in August and ending in April of each year. The program provides 1064 supervised practice hours in clinical, community, and food service administration. The remaining of the 12-13 months is time for the student to complete graduate program requirements. Completion of the University of Illinois DI Program fulfills all CDR requirements for supervised practice hours in order to take the Registration Exam.*

The in-person DI accepts up to 24 interns each year. The program is restricted to students who are already enrolled in the M.S. or Ph.D. degree program in Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition or Division of Nutritional Sciences and have a Verification Statement from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). In 2010, the DI was approved to participate in the preselect option for matching dietetic interns. Prospective Applicants should view information on the DI application requirements and process.

The emphasis area for the University of Illinois DI program is research. Students are required to perform independent research for their graduate degree. In addition, interns complete a research project linked to one of the rotation sites during the internship program. Graduates from this program are well prepared to assess the needs of their target populations, develop appropriate research questions, identify funding sources, carry out new programs/research, and objectively assess these programs' effectiveness.

Distance Dietetic Internship

The Distance Dietetic Internship is a nine-month program that provides 10 hours of graduate credit through the internship and supervised practice experiences during rotations in Clinical, Community, and Food Service. The distance DI is available to students that are currently enrolled in the online MS in Community and Clinical Dietetics program through the UIUC Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

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).

Distance interns will complete supervised practice sites on M-Th or M-F, depending on the location of the site. The DI program is full-time, beginning in August and ending in May each year. The program:

Rotation Sites
As a student enrolled in the distance dietetic internship program, it is the responsibility to secure their own supervised practice sites and have these approved by the program director no later than March of the year you are planning to start supervised practice.

Please review the minimum site requirements accessed here.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Credentialing Requirements

The following information is intended to provide prospective interns with information on the multi-step process to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

  1. Bachelor's Degree - Complete a Bachelor's Degree from a U.S. regionally-accredited college or university.
  2. Required Dietetics Courses - Complete the courses that meet the ACEND accreditation standards. ACEND-accredited dietetics programs, known as DPD Programs, combine the coursework necessary to meet the ACEND Standards of Education along with the bachelor's degree program (Step 1). The undergraduate dietetic program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is an ACEND-accredited DPD Program. Students with a bachelor's degree in another area of study must complete the course requirements of a DPD Program to be eligible to begin an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship.
  3. Dietetic Internship - Apply to a dietetic internship (also known as an ACEND-accredited supervised pre-professional practice program). This is a highly competitive process. The University of Illinois Graduate dietetic internship accepts students who are currently enrolled in a graduate program in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Upon successful completion of a dietetic internship, students will receive a Verification Statement - which is required to take the national exam (step 4).
  4. National Registration Exam - Study, register for, take, and pass the national Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). The verification statement from the Illinois State Dietetic Internship allows the student to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.
  5. State Licensure (when applicable) - Those RDNs who practice in states where licensure is required, such as Illinois, are required to obtain a practice license.
  6. Continued Professional Education - Once you are a RDN, you maintain your registration status by completing the required continuing education activities each five year time period.

General Information

Helpful Links

Please note that 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.

*Program outcome data is available on request.

Director, Graduate Dietetic Internship

Jessica Aren Madson


Jessica Madson