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.

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).

Program Overview

The program prepares students to be competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists and lifelong learners in the community by providing a variety of opportunities to increase their capacity for inquiry, logical thinking, critical analysis, synthesis, and leadership as they apply theory to practice. Individuals will develop skills in the areas of clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and food service management. It is intended for the distance dietetic internship to be completed during or after the online MS in clinical or community nutrition.

As a student in the distance dietetic internship, you will have the flexibility to create your experience anywhere in the United States with the approval of the program. The distance dietetic internship program has developed relationships with preceptors across the nation to help support you as you build your supervised practice schedule.

This distance dietetic internship is approved to match 60 interns. The program may preselect applicants who are already taking graduate courses in the department.

The program uses the pre-select application process to accept students already enrolled in the online MS in clinical and community nutrition. If additional openings are available, the program will use the online centralized internship application, Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS). Acceptance into the distance dietetic internship is contingent on acceptance into the online MS in clinical and community nutrition.

Students working with food in a kitchen
Instructors teaching a student

Mission and Goals

To prepare entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists with a strong research base to become leaders in the fields of food, nutrition, and health.

Program Goal 1

Prepare graduates who are highly qualified registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN)

Program Objectives

At least 80% of program interns complete program/degree requirements within 28.5 months (150% of the program length).

Eighty percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.

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%. Of graduates who seek employment, 80 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation. 75% of employers will rate the performance of alumni as above average or outstanding at one-year post-graduation.

At least 90% of graduates who complete the alumni survey at 12 months after graduation, will respond either strongly agree or agree for their preparation to enter the workforce as an entry-level practitioner.

Program Goal 2

Prepare graduates to become leaders in their chosen fields and aid in their development and professional growth.

Program Objectives

80% of graduates will have an approved PDP learning plan from CDR by the one year post graduation survey.

25% of graduates will seek a leadership role in a local, state, or national professional organization as measured by the one year post graduation survey.

Program Accreditation Status

The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Dietetic Internship is accredited 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, 312-899-0040

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics logo


Current Students

Current Interns

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 of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Completion of the University of Illinois distance DI Program fulfills all CDR requirements for supervised practice hours in order to take the Registration Exam.

The DI Handbook (pdf) contains information on the program structure, expectations, policies, and procedures.

Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics

All interns are required to follow the Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2009; 109:1461-1467

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its credentialing agency, the Commission on Dietetic Registration, believe it is in the best interest of the profession and the public it serves to have a Code of Ethics in place that provides guidance to dietetics practitioners in their professional practice and conduct. Dietetics practitioners have voluntarily adopted a Code of Ethics to reflect the values and ethical principles guiding the dietetics profession and to outline commitments and obligations of the dietetics practitioner to client, society, self, and the profession.

The Ethics Code applies in its entirety to members of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who are Registered Dietitians (RDs) or Dietetic Technicians, Registered (DTRs). Except for sections solely dealing with the credential, the Code applies to all members of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who are not RDs or DTRs. Except for aspects solely dealing with membership, the Code applies to all RDs and DTRs who are not members of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. All of the aforementioned are referred to in the Code as "dietetics practitioners." By accepting membership in The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and/or accepting and maintaining Commission on Dietetic Registration credentials, members of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Commission on Dietetic Registration credentialed dietetics practitioners agree to abide by the Code.


During the DI, interns enroll in FSHN 590 Dietetic Internship I in the fall semester and FSHN 591 Dietetic Internship II during the spring semester. Course information can be found on Illinois Compass.

The objective of the FSHN 590 and 591 lectures and supervised practice is to equip interns with the following knowledge and skills:

  • Integration of fundamentals of biological and physical sciences, theories of culture and behavior, learning, management, and social interaction as they relate to human health.
  • Application of the concepts of human biological, social, and psychological development to health and disease.
  • Application of administrative and clinical expertise in hospital-based and community settings.
  • Active enlistment of current research techniques and findings in administrative, clinical, and community areas of practice.
  • Eligibility to sit for the Registration Examination of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Preparation to function as entry-level registered dietitians and ultimately become leaders in the profession of dietetics.

Supervised Practice

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.

Internship Graduation Requirements

Students will be eligible for the registration exam after:

  • Completion of rotations with a minimum of a satisfactory rating.
  • Completion of graduate program requirements and deposition of a thesis.
  • Receipt of an AND Verification Statement from the Internship Director following completion of rotations and deposition of a thesis. Completion of the graduate program is required to receive a verification statement.
  • Completion of the Intern Exit Packet materials to prove exam eligibility. This packet will be distributed to interns ~1 month prior to the end of the internship. Students will receive confirmation from Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) when all forms have been received and the student is eligible to take the registration examination.

Internship Policies and Procedures

The University of Illinois DI has established a set of policies and procedures to direct the administration of the program and to delineate the rights of dietetic interns and the expectations of behavior within the internship. All policies and procedures are fully described in the Policies and Procedures (pdf).

Prospective Students

Who can apply?

The University of Illinois DI Program is accredited to accept a maximum of 60 interns per year and is restricted to students who have earned at least a bachelor's degree and DPD verification statement from an accredited school. If you are planning to complete the DI, please email Dr. Jessica Madson, so that she is aware of your interest and can set an appointment to meet with you. At that time, she will discuss your timing of application to the DI.

Applicants are required to provide a Verification Statement (complete or from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)). In addition, DI applicants are expected to have completed volunteer or work experience in clinical nutrition, community nutrition, or food service settings.

What if I have not met the DPD requirements or do not have a Verification Statement?

In order to enroll in the DPD program (courses, clinical experience, RD mentor), you will need to complete the Application for Concurrent Enrollment in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and University of Illinois Graduate School (doc). Once you have completed this form, it should be submitted to Dr. Justine Karduck, the Director of the DPD in the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition. Note that this application will require signature approval by your graduate advisor. Acceptance into the DPD program is not guaranteed and will be dependent upon performance in previous coursework and the availability of space in undergraduate courses. Once Ms. Karduck has approved this application, Dr. Madson can assist you in planning your program of study.

How do I apply to the DI?

Pre-select Option to Computer Matching

The University of Illinois DI participates in the pre-select option. In the pre-select process, the program can select up to 60 students per year who have met the admission requirements for the DI. The DI Director then informs D&D Digital Systems which applicants have been matched to the University of Illinois DI for the upcoming year. Applicants cannot match to the University of Illinois DI through computer matching the D&D Digital Systems. However, if an applicant is not matched to the University of Illinois DI, they can apply to other internships through the computer matching process.

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following materials to the DI Director (Dr. Jessica Madson, 363 Bevier Hall) by November 15th (or the next weekday closest to that date) of the fall prior to the year you intend to complete the internship:

  • Cover letter summarizing your motivation for completing the RD and your career goals
  • Dietetic Internship Application Form (doc)
  • Degree Progress Form (doc) signed by your graduate advisor to verify they will have completed all graduate course requirements and a major portion of the thesis research prior to starting the dietetic internship program.
  • Verification Statement (completion or intent to complete) from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
  • Copy of Current Immunization Record

Three Reference Letters on the AND reference form (doc):

  • At least 1 letter must come from an employer or academic advisor who has worked closely with the student.
  • At least 1 letter must come from a professor or instructor.

In order to ensure confidentiality, letters of recommendation must be sent directly to the DI Director from the employer/instructor's office. Alternatively, letters may be sealed in an envelope and signed across the envelope flap by the employer/instructor and then submitted with the student's other application materials.

Copies of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts from your graduate application file will be obtained from the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition or the Division of Nutritional Sciences office by the DI Director. You do NOT need to request copies of transcripts from previous degrees.

What are the costs of the DI program?

University of Illinois Tuition

If an intern is not being supported by an assistantship, scholarship or fellowship that provides that tuition and fee waiver, they will be responsible for tuition and fees. To view the current costs, please visit the Office of the Registrar's tuition and fee rates page. Tuition assessment is based on the total

number of credit hours being taken per semester. Both FSHN 590 and 591 are 5 credit hours, which qualifies as Range III.

Internship Participation Fee

In addition, interns are required to pay a fee for participation in the DI. The annual fee is $2,200. The fee will be directly billed to the student’s account. $1,100 will be charged before the beginning of the fall semester and spring semesters.

Other Costs

  • Student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) ($50.00)
  • Student membership in the Eastern Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (EIAND) ($5.00)
  • Practice Liability Insurance (~$25.00)
  • TB test between June and August (cost varies)

Other Required Insurance

  • Individual Health Insurance, if not covered by University of Illinois (cost varies)
  • Vehicle Liability Insurance (cost varies)