Who can apply?

The University of Illinois DI Program is accredited to accept a maximum of 24 interns per year and is restricted to students who have earned at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and are already enrolled in the M.S. or Ph.D. degree program in Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition or Division of Nutritional Sciences. 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 with you 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-person Program

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.

Distance Program

If you have not met the DPD requirements or do not have a verification statement, you are not eligible to apply for the online program.

What is the timing of completion of the DI and Graduate Degree?

Typically, students complete the internship after completing all their graduate degree coursework and research. However, doctoral students may complete the internship earlier in their graduate degree program, depending upon availability of slots in the internship and approval by their graduate advisor. Including the internship component, most MS students will be able to complete their graduate program in 3 years. Most PhD students will be able to complete their program in 5-6 years. The DI Director will inform students when they can apply to the DI.

Students may not enroll in DI until all other coursework for their graduate degree program is complete and they have completed most (or all) of the experimental requirements for their thesis. The student may choose to defend a thesis before or after the DI, but it is expected that very little experimental work will be performed after the internship is completed. You will enroll in FSHN 590 and 591 during the internship.

When a student deposits their thesis or dissertation, he or she is no longer eligible to register for courses. It is imperative, therefore, that interns complete DI courses before depositing a thesis. Contact the Dietetic Internship Director if you have questions about this requirement.

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 24 students per year who have met the admission requirements for the DI. The DI Director then informs D&D Digital Systems which applicants have 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 week day closest to that date) of the fall prior to the year you intend to complete the internship:

  1. Cover letter summarizing your motivation for completing the RD and your career goals
  2. Dietetic Internship Application Form (doc)
  3. 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.
  4. Verification Statement (completion or intent to complete) from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
  5. Copy of Current Immunization Record
  6. 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.
  7. 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 selection criteria?

Applications will be evaluated by the DI Internal Advisory Committee and acceptance for competitive admission to the DI be based on the following criteria

  • Cumulative GPA, undergraduate, graduate and DPD coursework
  • Volunteer or paid experience in nutrition and dietetics (preferably with registered dietitians in a variety of work settings)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Degree objective (MS vs. PhD) - Doctoral students will be given priority
  • Thesis or Non-thesis MS -MS students completing thesis research will be given priority

What if I am NOT matched in the Preselect Process?

Applicants may apply to another DI through the computer-matching process. Applicants participating in computer matching should request instructions and a mark/sense card to prioritize their DI preferences. Applicants should request this material from any ACEND-accredited/approved Didactic Program in Dietetics program director or from D&D Digital Systems, Inc. or dnd@netins.net. This request should be made to allow turnaround time for submitting by the February postmark deadline for computer matching. There is no charge for this material. However, there is a $50.00 charge for computer matching that is due with the applicant's prioritized ranking.

What are the costs of the DI program?


There is no guarantee that you will receive support from your graduate advisor during the DI. However, the DI Director will work with the prospective intern and his or her graduate advisor to determine whether an assistantship can be provided during the internship. If not, interns will be responsible for their own living expenses and tuition.

Interns can also apply for scholarship support for DI through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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)