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Dietetic Internship with Master of Science starting fall 2023 (pending approval)

*Attention prospective students: The DI/MS program will change in 2023 to meet the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) requirement of a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). The information provided in the 2023-2024 Dietetic Internship Handbook has been approved by ACEND and aligns with the mandatory MS degree requirement. The MS degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health curriculum in this handbook is pending approval by the SFA Graduate Council, Board of Regents, SACS (if applicable) and The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Please refer to this handbook for the most current information. Contact the program coordinator for additional information.

Dietetic Internship with Optional Master of Science (last admitted cohort in summer 2022)

SFA offers a minimum 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 a minimum of 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.

The Dietetic Internship at Stephen F. Austin State University is currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition & Dietetics of the Academy for Nutrition & Dietetics.

The next review of the program is scheduled for 2023.

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 eating disorder, 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 twofold. You will receive supervised practice experience in multiple areas of dietetics with an emphasis on integrative and functional nutrition in the graduate program. 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. In addition, interns will interact with certified nutrition specialist residents training with a world renown functional medicine practitioner, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, ND, and her clinic staff. This experience will occur via Zoom livestream in the last 4 weeks of supervised practice for approximately 8 hours per week.

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.

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.

Mission, Goals and Objectives

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: Program graduates will be prepared to be competent, entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists in the various areas of clinical, community, foodservice management, and integrative and functional nutrition.

  • Objective 1: At least 80% of program interns complete program requirements within 18 months (150% of the program length).
  • Objective 2: Of graduates who seek employment, at least 90% percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective 3: At least 90% percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • Objective 4: At least 90% of interns within 12 months of graduation will take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists.
  • Objective 5: At least 90% of employers will rate program graduates as satisfactory or above as having skills equivalent to those of an entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (5-point scale: outstanding to unsatisfactory).

Goal 2: Program graduates will be prepared to work in diverse areas in dietetics to serve the rural populations of the East Texas region.

  • Objective 1: At least 30% of our graduates will be employed in the dietetics field in the East Texas region.
  • Objective 2: 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).

Program outcome data is available upon request. Contact Dr. Darla O'Dwyer, DI director, by email at dodwyer@sfasu.edu 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 Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

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.

Texas law does not require a license to practice nutrition in Texas. However, the State of Texas does have a license for RDNs and many employers in Texas may require licensure to perform their job duties. Texas has title protection, which prohibits unlicensed individuals from using the terms “Registered Dietitians” or “RD” unless they are registered by CDR. Information on licensure for the State of Texas can be found on the Texas Department of Licensure and Regulation website. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides information on licensure status by state for more information. 

Per HB1508, Texas Occupation Code, Chapter 53, if you have been convicted of an offense, then you may be ineligible to be licensed through the State of Texas. Please see the Dietetic Internship Handbook for more information

Application Process

The Dietetic Internship uses Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) and D&D Digital for the application process.

The fee to use DICAS is $50 for the application and $25 for each additional application. There is a $65 charge for computer matching through D&D Digital. 

There is no separate application fee for the SFA DI program. 

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.

Applicants who apply to internships using DICAS will be asked to complete a personal statement in 1,000 words or less. Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include:

  • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
  • What are some experiences that have helped you prepare for your career?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement? Note: if your GPA does not meet the minimum requirements, it is important that you discuss why it doesn’t and any circumstances that prevented you from meeting the minimum GPA requirements of the program
  • What are your reasons for applying to the SFASU Dietetic Internship program?

Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to DICAS according to their instructions. 

References will be submitted electronically through the DICAS system. We require 3 letters of reference, preferably from faculty and/or employers that know you well and who can attest to your professional skills. References from friends or family will not be counted. 

This program participates in the spring match. Below are important dates for the application process. These dates will change slightly from year to year. The most current dates can be found at D&D Digital, see the following dates below for a general estimate: 

  • Mid-February  – completion of DICAS application, completion of D&D registration and internship preference ranking.
  • March  – Applicants who have registered with D&D may change their preference rankings
  • April 1  – Notification Day beginning at 6:00 CDT at www.dnddigital.com.
  • Approximately 2 to 3 days after notification  – Appointment  Day.  Matched applicants must contact the Dietetic Internship Director before 5:00 p.m. (time zone of the program) to confirm acceptance of their appointment.
Apply to the Graduate School After Acceptance

After acceptance into the SFA DI program, the intern must apply for admission to the SFA Graduate School. The fee for applying to the SFA Graduate School is currently $50.  Both the graduate school and the dietetic internship director will need an official copy of your final transcript indicating that you received your BS degree. The internship director will also need an original copy of your DPD verification statement. Please consult the Dietetic Internship Handbook for more information. Shortly after admittance, the DI director will email all accepted interns a detailed checklist that will help you put the required information together. You will also receive further help in NUTR 5311 Introductory Dietetics Practice prior to the start of supervised practice.

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.

Admission Requirements

The student must meet the undergraduate requirements from an ACEND accredited DPD program with a BS degree and have a verification statement indicating completion (or intent to complete) of the requirements for the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD).

A screening committee reviews applications from a holistic standpoint. For example, inadequate performance as an undergraduate may be compensated by high-quality, post-baccalaureate work in a dietetics-related field and/or evidence of above-average performance in graduate-level nutrition course work.

Academic Requirements

Minimum overall GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, and at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale in all DPD courses. 

GRE scores are not required.

Additional requirements after admission

Dietetic interns are required to provide proof of the following immunizations:

  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) immunization or serological confirmation of immunity
  • DTaP (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis), Tdap booster immunization or serological confirmation of immunity
  • Varicella immunization or serological confirmation of immunity
  • Hepatitis B series or serological confirmation of immunity
  • Evidence of 2 negative TB skin test or a negative blood test 
  • Flu vaccination during flu season (typically October through April)
  • COVID-19 vaccine

Exemptions may be accepted; it is up to the site to honor the exemption. Unvaccinated students at sites that do not accept your exemption will not be able to intern at those sites, which may impact ACEND required hours.

For more information about vaccination requirements or other requirements, please see the Dietetic Internship Handbook.

Dietetic interns will be required to have the following to be allowed to participate in supervised practice:

  • Drug Screen/Drug Abuse Panel
  • Background Check 
  • Health Insurance card (copy of card)
  • Copy of Liability Car Insurance card and copy of Driver’s License 
  • Copy of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Membership card

Please see the Dietetic Internship Handbook for more information. The DI director will also provide further information after admittance to the program.

Internship and Graduate Course Schedule

Internship Schedule

Students will be in supervised practice from mid-August to late May/early June in the first year. The schedule is Tuesday-Friday, 32 hours per week, for 33 weeks and 8 hours/week for the last 4 weeks (late May/early June). Please consult the Dietetic Internship Handbook (please link) for more information on the schedule, available sites, and time at specific sites.

Graduate Course Schedule

The graduate courses are designed to expand the knowledge base used by a competent, entry-level Registered Dietitian. During the long semesters (fall and spring) the classes meet on Mondays only unless online. Class attendance is required of all interns with Zoom capabilities when appropriate. Students can start taking electives starting in early summer (June) before the start of the program. The DI program officially starts in July with NUTR 5311. There are 3 elective courses in the degree plan to total 9 credit hours.

Summer (July)

  • NUTR 5311 - Introductory Dietetics Practice (3 credit hours, Face-to-Face format (F2F), livestream)  

Fall 

  • NUTR 5431 - Supervised Practice for Dietetic Interns (4 credit hours, F2F) (this course includes a minimum of 500 hours of supervised practice, approximately 32 hours per week at facilities, typically Tuesday-Friday)
  • NUTR 5231 - Seminar (2 credit hours, F2F)
  • NUTR 5335 - Integrative and Functional Nutrition I (3 credit hours, F2F, livestream) 

Spring

  • NUTR 5431 - Supervised Practice for Dietetic Interns (4 credit hours, F2F) (this course includes a minimum of 500 hours of supervised practice, approximately 32 hours per week at facilities, typically Tuesday-Friday)
  • NUTR 5231 - Seminar (2 credit hours, F2F)
  • NUTR 5339 - Integrative and Functional Nutrition II (3 credit hours, F2F, livestream)  

Summer

  • NUTR 5332 - Public Health Nutrition (3 credit hours, online) 

The verification statement will be issued after NUTR 5332 and after all competencies have been satisfied and a minimum of 1,000 hours have been documented. The rest of the graduate courses and graduate comprehensive project are optional.

  • Variable, electives to meet 36 hours 

Fall

  • KINE 5350 - Intro to Research in Health & Kinesiology (online)
  • Variable, electives to meet 36 hours (suggested, NUTR 5329 - Sports Nutrition, 3 credit hours, online)

Please see the Dietetic Internship Handbook or the bulletin for course descriptions.

Graduate Comprehensive Project 

Students will start an ePortfolio on WIX.com in the first course once admitted to the DI program and are required to add information to the ePortfolio throughout the program. It will contain the following, but is not limited to best 2 case studies (out of the 6 required), top PPT presentation (out of 4), blog assignment, grant proposal, IRB proposal, and 3 of your best work samples from your supervised practice. The ePortfolio will be presented to the DI director, faculty and students as your comprehensive project component to complete the MS degree requirements during your last semester. 

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.

Graduation and Program Completion Requirements

Verification Statement Requirements

A verification statement will be issued after successful completion of all competencies in supervised practice and the applicable graduate courses, 24 credit hours of graduate courses, and completion of the graduate comprehensive exam project.

The following items must be on file with the DI director:

  • DPD Verification Form
  • Final official transcript from the institution that conferred your BS and, if applicable your MS degree
  • Documentation of a minimum of 1,000 hours (this will be conducted in the Field Experience Module in Livetext)
  • Evaluations approved by the preceptor(s) indicating satisfactory completion of all competencies (this will be conducted in the Field Experience Module in Livetext). Competencies will be completed in supervised practice and within the following graduate courses: NUTR 5431, 5231, 5332
  • Completed site evaluations for all supervised practice sites (this will be conducted in the Field Experience Module in Livetext)
  • Copy of the CDR transcript release form

The verification statement of completion will be issued in July, following supervised practice and completion of all required competencies, including the competencies in NUTR 5332 - Public Health.

The DI director will submit information to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for eligibility to sit for the RDN examination during the month of July. Each intern will be provided an electronically signed verification statement. The department keeps intern records on file in a secured, password-protected computer.

The dietetic internship wants to see you succeed and that includes passing the registered dietitian exam. The DI director will help prepare you for the exam throughout the internship program by reviewing exam questions regularly in class. The second semester of the first year, differential tuition will be used to provide exam preparation software and questions from the software will also be reviewed in class regularly. 

Please see RD Exam pass/fail statistics maintained through CDR for national pass rates. 

Program outcome data on the SFA DI program pass rate is available upon request. Contact Dr. Darla O'Dwyer, DI director, by email at dodwyer@sfasu.edu or by phone at 936.468.2439.

Program Costs, Financial Assistance and Scholarships

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. The program requires 24 hours of graduate credit. Use the Tuition and Fee Plans and Rate Tables to determine the cost at the graduate level. 

This is an estimation of the tuition and fees for in-state residents:

Dietetic Internship with required 24 hours of graduate credit:

  • 3 credit hours in summer I ($1,477.50), 9 credit hours in fall ($3,716.50), 9 credit hours in spring ($3,716.50), then 3 credit hours in the last summer term ($1,477.50) to get the verification statement for a total of $10,388. 

Dietetic Internship with completed requirements for the MS degree (suggested): 

  • An additional 9 credit hours of electives plus 3 credit hours of a research methods course spread over the summer and fall of the second year for a total cost of $15,415.

Students will be charged an additional $33 per credit hour for web-based courses in addition to the standard tuition rate. 

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 screen (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
Apartments in East Texas (1 to 2 bedrooms) $600 to $1300

If living off site with limited access to SFA computer labs, a personal computer will be required to complete all course requirements.

There is no separate application fee for the SFA DI program.

Students in the dietetic internship combined MS program may qualify for financial aid. Learn more about financial aid at SFA. The deadline to apply for university scholarships is February 1 of every year. SFA students are encouraged to apply even if they are not matched to the internship program at the time. All students are also encouraged to seek outside scholarships in the profession. Check out Scholarships and Financial Aid on the Academy website.

Distance Learning

Graduate course modalities are offered in a hybrid (face-to-face/Zoom Livestream) format or are delivered fully online (supervised practice is face to face in the area that you were matched to). The courses with Zoom Livestream options are taught in classrooms with Zoom capabilities, equipped with microphones and cameras that track the movement of the instructor and students in the classroom, and the instructor and students can see those attending via Livestream. 

All faculty at SFA must be certified through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at SFA before being approved to develop or teach fully online distance courses.

Students will be charged an additional $33 per credit hour for web-based courses in addition to the standard tuition rate. 

Students who do not live in the Nacogdoches area and do not have convenient access to the Steen library or campus computer labs will need a computer with internet excess (preferably high speed) to complete work associated with the dietetic internship combined MS program. Students will also need word processing and presentation design software.

Assessment of Prior Learning

SFA grants credit for assessment of prior learning (APL) allowed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). APL grants credit to interns who can demonstrate documentation of work experiences that are equivalent to the required ACEND competencies that are provided in supervised practice. Coursework or experience required by the DPD program will not be counted towards APL credit.

Graduate course assignments will not be waived unless hours are granted for a specific rotation as part of the APL credit.

The tuition and fees for the Internship will remain the same, regardless of the amount of APL granted.
APL hours awarded will in no instance exceed the number of hours assigned to interns for a rotation. For example, the hospital foodservice management rotation is 96 hours/3 weeks, WIC clinic is 64 hours/2 weeks (See supervised experience schedule in Dietetic Internship Handbook). The experiences must be equivalent to the required rotations in the internship.

Prior learning may be granted for one of the following paid work experiences:

Hospital Foodservice Management (FSM)/Independent School District

  • 6 months full-time or 1-year part-time work experience is equal to up to 32 hours/1 week APL credit
  • 1 to 5 years (full-time or equivalent) work experience is equal to up to 96 hours/3 weeks APL credit

WIC/Extension

  • 6 months to 1 year (full-time or equivalent) work experience is equal to up to 32 hours/1 week APL credit
  • 1 to 2 years (full-time or equivalent) work experience is equal to up to 64 hours/ 2 weeks APL credit
  • 2+ years (full-time or equivalent) work experience is equal to up to 96 hours/3 weeks APL credit

Clinical

  • 1+ years (full-time or equivalent) work experience is equal to up to 2 weeks APL credit

If you are interested in prior learning credit assessment, please contact the DI director for the prior assessment worksheet for foodservice management, community, or clinical experience.

Provide documentation as evidence for meeting the CRDN competencies as per the instructions on the worksheet.

Paperwork must be submitted by June 1 after receipt of internship acceptance.

The DI director will inform the intern as to which competencies have been assessed as “met” and the hours of internship time that will be adjusted.

Submission of an APL does not guarantee credit will be awarded, in full or in part as requested.

There are no exceptions for “late” or “delayed” APL

Additional documentation or clarification of activities must be provided to the DI director upon request. Failure to do so in a timely manner may preclude obtaining APL credit.
 

Dietetic Internship Director and Program Coordinator:

Dr. Darla O'Dwyer
Email: dodwyer@sfasu.edu
Phone: 936.468.4502

Contact

School of Human Sciences
936.468.4502
hms@sfasu.edu
Faculty Directory

Human Sciences Building North
Room 101

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