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SFA offers a 1,000-hour, ACEND-accredited dietetic internship (DI) program. The program at SFA accepts 10 students per year. The post-baccalaureate dietetic internship was initially established and accredited in 1992 and was most recently granted re-accreditation in 2012. Students in the internship program complete 1,000 hours of supervised practice while taking graduate coursework. The program is well supported and respected within the SFA and the East Texas communities.

Why choose the SFA Dietetic Internship?

This unique program offers a variety of internship rotations based on a student's preferences and areas of focus. Whereas all dietetic internships are required to participate in rotations at clinical, food service and community sites, SFA's dietetic internship offers elective rotations in private practices dealing with functional and integrative nutrition, eating disorder clinics/facilities, retail/grocers, community-supported agriculture, teaching/research, food banks, bariatrics, cystic fibrosis and Head Start. Your schedule will be unique to your areas of interest.

The focus of our program is integrative and functional nutrition. To learn more about this unique philosophy, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics page on Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. The dietetic internship director is trained in integrative and functional medicine and has years of experience in applying these concepts to patients in her own private practice. Students will be empowered to go beyond conventional therapies to provide a more holistic, individualized and evidence-based approach to nutritional care. 

We have multiple contracts with over 30 facilities throughout East Texas that will allow you to work within a reasonable distance from your home base but also provide you with the experiences necessary to succeed as a registered dietitian.

Optional Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

We offer a 36-hour Master of Science in 1.5 years. Our program combines the MS degree coursework with the supervised practice required for a verification statement of completion by ACEND, unlike other programs for which the supervised practice is obtained upon completion of the MS degree.

Students complete 24 hours of graduate credit while finishing 1,000 hours of supervised practice. Students begin their coursework and supervised practice in the Summer II semester. Once the supervised practice component and all ACEND required competencies (plus 24 hours of graduate coursework) are satisfactorily completed, a verification statement of completion is issued.

This DI program allows students to receive a verification statement, sit for the registration exam and potentially land a job all in the same summer! To receive the MS degree, students need to complete additional hours of graduate credit to achieve 36 hours during the second year of summer and the next fall semester. This can all be done online once the supervised practice component is finished.

Note: The graduate program follows the university academic calendar. Supervised practice does not follow the university academic calendar. Students will be in rotations during the break between the summer II session and fall semester, one to two weeks of Christmas break, the week of spring break, and one to two weeks of the break between the spring semester and summer I session.

Program Costs

For an estimation of tuition costs by academic semester, state of residence and delivery method of the course, view the SFA tuition and fees webpage. This includes any fees associated with attending the university. Other program-specific estimated expenses include:

Item Cost
Graduate application/Graduation $100
Uniforms/Lab coats/professional clothing $300
Educational materials $500 to $1,000
Background check $40
HIPAA Training $15
Drug screening (repeat drug screens may be required) $20 to $30
Vaccinations/TB test/titers $10 to $100
Academy membership $58
Miscellaneous (transcripts, student ID, parking permits, etc) $130
Health and car insurance Variable expenses


DI Program Application Information

Our handy guide, Dietetic Internship Information for DPD Students, provides more information on what you need to apply to our dietetic internship and how to apply when you're ready to take the next step.

The Dietetic Internship uses DICAS and D&D Digital for the application process. Our program offers two sites in D&D Digital: the Nacogdoches/Lufkin area (code 212) and the Tyler/Longview area (code 932). Students will typically choose the site based on the location most convenient to their housing needs. There may be additional driving based on rotation availability and need (within a 90-mile radius). You are welcome to rank both sites.

Please visit the Academy website for more information. This website provides up-to-date information about application timelines. Your DPD director is also a great source of information about this process.

The availability of dietetic internships varies yearly. Data on the national match rate is provided by ACEND, starting in 1993. The demand for internships is higher than the available internships. On this same webpage, ACEND provides suggestions to improve your chances of securing an internship position.

Dietetic Internship Pre-Select Admission Criteria

SFA is approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) to participate in the pre-select program under the following premise:

The program admits graduates with degrees from programs at the same institution and wishes to grant early admission to those applicants. Applicants not selected may apply to this program or other programs through computer matching.

The program can pre-select up to 5 of the 10 internship spots that meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Current SFA DPD undergraduate students in good standing who are graduating by May to meet the internship start date in the summer of the same year.
  • SFA alumni who graduated from the SFA DPD program within the last five years.
  • Current SFA DPD graduate students in good standing in the master of science in human sciences program.

Applicants to the pre-select option must meet the same admission criteria as all applicants to the program. This includes:

  • Overall GPA of 3.2 or greater and a DPD GPA of 3.4 or greater on a 4.0 scale.
  • DICAS application completed by January 10th by 11:59 p.m. (the application will include an original verification statement of completion of academic requirements or declaration of intent to complete academic requirements by May, official transcript(s), three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a resume, and a description of work/volunteer experience).

The program will notify pre-select candidates and D&D Digital by February 1 to give applicants who were not selected time to apply to this program or other programs through computer matching.

Selected applicants must confirm their acceptance to the dietetic internship director by email within 24 hours of notification. After this time, the program is under no obligation to hold the opening for the selected applicant.

Second-Round Match Information

If you did not match to an internship during the first round, then check the D&D Digital website for open internships. If the SFA DI has program openings, these are our second-round match rules:

  • The application acceptance status will be reopened according to the D&D Digital Timeline for second-round matching.
  • If you are interested in applying to SFA for a second-round match, you need to share your original DICAS application through the DICAS system. The DICAS portal will be closed to new applications seven days after the portal is reopened for the second-round match period.
  • Make sure that you are familiar with our program before you consider applying. You will need to relocate to East Texas (Nacogdoches/Tyler area). Our program is a combined supervised practice/graduate program.
  • Our minimum qualifications are a DPD GPA of 3.4 and an overall GPA of 3.2. The GRE is not required.
  • There is no fee to submit an application, although DICAS will require a fee. Only accepted applicants should apply to the graduate school.
  • Please do not call or email the DI director. Due to the large volume of applications, there is no guarantee that the call or email will be returned.
  • Also due to the large volume of applications, the DI director will not be able to confirm receipt of your application or notify you if you are not accepted.
  • There is no interview process.
  • If we are able to offer you a position, you will receive a phone call within two weeks of the reopen date. Applicants must be available to take a phone call during this period. Application spots are filled on a rolling basis starting on the reopen date.
  • Written email confirmation will be required after verbal acceptance.

Mission, goals, objectives and concentration

Dietetic Internship Mission

The mission of the dietetic internship (DI) at SFA is to prepare competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists to serve in traditional and emerging dietetics professions in the communities of East Texas and beyond.

Goals and objectives

Goal 1: The SFA DI will produce competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists in the various areas of clinical, community and food-service management to serve the rural populations of the East Texas region.

  • Objective 1: At least 80% of interns enrolled in the DI program will complete all program requirements within 18 months (150%) of the time planned for completion.
  • Objective 2: Within 12 months of graduation, 90% or more of DI graduates who sought employment in dietetics will be employed.
  • Objective 3: At least 30% of our graduates will be employed in the dietetics field in the East Texas region.
  • Objective 4: At least 90% of interns within 12 months of graduation will take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists.
  • Objective 5: At least 80% of graduates will pass the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within one year following the first attempt.
  • Objective 6: At least 80% of graduates will agree "the SFA dietetic internship prepared me for my first dietetics-related job" (5-point scale: strongly agree to strongly disagree).
  • Objective 7: At least 90% of employers will rate DI graduates as satisfactory or above at having skills equivalent to those of an entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist (5-point scale: outstanding, more than satisfactory, satisfactory, needs improvement, unsatisfactory).

Goal 2: The SFA DI will prepare registered dietitian nutritionists to be engaged in their communities, either professionally or through community service activities.

  • Objective 1: At least 80% of graduates responding to the Graduate Survey will report they participate in one or more community service activities yearly, either through their current employment, scholarship or volunteer activities.
Program Concentration: Community

Our program concentration is community focused, mainly because our location is in a rural setting. These are the competencies that are measured to support this focus:

  1. Using the Nutrition Care Process (NCP), perform a community needs assessment on a target group or area of need.
  2. Develop a grant proposal for an assigned community need, program or service.

Even though our focus is community, we provide 18 to 19 weeks in clinical settings, six to seven weeks in a community setting and six weeks in a food-service management setting. Many of the electives are community focused, and can be chosen depending on your preferences.

Program outcome data is available upon request. Contact Dr. Darla O'Dwyer, DI director, by email at or by phone at 936.468.2439.

How to become a registered dietitian

The registered dietitian is the nutrition and food expert. To become a part of the growing and vital profession of dietetics, take the following steps:

  1. Complete a baccalaureate didactic degree program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) such as the program in the School of Human Sciences at SFA. The Registered Dietitian focus and Pre-Professional focus are ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) degree tracks.
  2. Acquire supervised practice experience by competing for and successfully completing an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship.
  3. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam for Registration Dietitian Nutritionist.

Students who wish to become a registered dietitian must complete the DPD program, obtain a verification statement, and sit for the Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) exam.

Note: Effective January 1, 2024, the 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 addition, the CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by ACEND. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD at SFA are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program such as the Dietetic Internship (DI) program at SFA. Once they have completed the 1,200-hour supervised practice experience, candidates are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN, visit the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics' information for students webpage.

The DPD and DI programs at SFA are granted accreditation by ACEND of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association, 120 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL, 60606-6955, (312) 899-0040, ext. 5400.

Program Coordinator:

Dr. Darla O'Dwyer
Phone: 936.468.4502


School of Human Sciences
Faculty Directory

Human Sciences Building North
Room 101

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 13014, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962