KU offers a dietetic internship program with a medical nutrition therapy emphasis that prepares graduates for a career as a registered dietitian. The mission of the program is to produce registered dietitians with enhanced skills in medical nutrition therapy for health and education positions that will provide services for the citizens of Kansas, the region, the nation, and the world.

The program prepares graduates to be competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.

  • 80% of students will complete the program within 15 months of entering the program.
  • 80% of program graduates will take the CDR credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • Over a 5-year period, at least 90% of program graduates will pass the registration examination within one year following the first attempt.
  • Over a 5-year period, 80% of employers will indicate that graduates demonstrated adequate knowledge and practice ability for entry-level practice as a dietitian (rating of at least 4 on a 5-point scale).
  • Three years post program completion, 80% of respondents to graduate surveys will rate their preparation for entry level practice as adequately prepared or better over a 5-year period.

The program prepares graduates for practice in the field of dietetics and nutrition and participation in professional organizations.

  • Over a 5-year period, 75% of respondents to graduate surveys will obtain employment within the field of dietetics and nutrition within 12 months of graduation.
  • Over a 5-year period, 75% of respondents to graduate surveys will be members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or related professional organizations.

The majority of graduates from KU's dietetic internship program proceed to complete the department's master's degree in dietetics and nutrition. Degree-seeking students in the graduate certificate program may count 14 hours of the certificate program course work (all courses other than the 10 credit hours of DN 827 Practicum) toward the master's degree. Two additional semesters are required to complete the master's degree after finishing the dietetic internship program.

Students completing the dietetic internship program are eligible to complete the national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration for the purpose of receiving the registered dietitian credential. KU dietetic interns have an excellent first-time pass rate on the national exam.

The University of Kansas dietetic internship graduate certificate program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) which is the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Documents relating to accreditation may be obtained from the department office.

Applicants to this program follow the national computer-matching procedure mandated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for application to internships. The application process is conducted online through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS) and also requires a supplemental online application to KU.

The program begins in the fall semester. The application window is December 1 through February 15 each year. Information on how to apply and related links for the DICAS application and the supplemental application are posted on the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition website. Applicants must also complete the computer match process and indicate KU as one of the desired institutions for enrollment by February 15.   For information on the process and computer match forms, contact your didactic program director or D & D Digital Online Dietetics Internship Matching Service.

Admission requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a didactic program in dietetics (DPD) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics is required and must be documented by submission of official transcript indicating the degree has been conferred before entering the program. Official transcripts from all institutions attended are also required.
    Please note: the University of Kansas does not offer an accredited DPD program that meets this requirement.
    Degrees earned outside the United States must be evaluated for equivalency. For guidelines, see the international fact sheet provided by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Students with degrees from outside the U.S. may be subject to transcript evaluation indicating the degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree and meets the minimum cumulative grade-point average requirement.
  • A cumulative grade-point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the bachelor's degree is required.
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate they meet the minimum English proficiency requirement.
  • An official copy of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score must be sent from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to KU Medical Center using ETS institutional code 6895. A valid score on the GRE General Test is required for the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing portions of the exam. Applicants are awarded points based on percentile rank; there is no recommended minimum score.
  • Applicants will submit a resume or curriculum vitae indicating prior employment, participation in professional and/or voluntary organizations (e.g., hospital, alumni or nonprofit) and evidence of leadership.
  • A verification statement or declaration of intent form must be completed by the applicant's didactic program director and must have an original signature. 
  • Three references are required and must be from faculty, advisors, employers, or others who are familiar with the applicant's work and character. The recommendations may not be obtained from family members, friends, etc.
  • Personal statement of no more than 1000 words is required. Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include the following:

    • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?

    • Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for a career as an RDN.

    • What are your short-term and long-term goals?

    • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?

  • The Joint Commission requires all incoming students to pay for a background check. This one-time fee must be paid directly to the company performing the background investigation. For more information, please see the School of Health Professions background check instructions.

Applicants will be assessed on academic performance, GRE score, work and volunteer experience, leadership, references, and personal statement.  After an applicant has been admitted, a program may defer an applicant's admission for one year after which time the applicant must submit a new application. Admission requirements are subject to change. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».

Certificate Program information:
No student may work toward a graduate certificate without being accepted as a graduate certificate student in a specific graduate certificate program. Graduate certificates are not granted retroactively. An individual who is not currently a degree-seeking graduate student at KU must apply and may be admitted directly to a graduate certificate program.

Graduate credit from another institution may not be transferred to a graduate certificate program.

The Dietetic Internship Graduate Certificate program consists of 24 credit hours.  The program prepares graduates for entry into careers as registered dietitians. Successful completion of the internship allows the student to take the registration examination to acquire the registered dietitian (RD) credential and enter the profession as a registered dietitian.

Certificate requirements:

  • Certificate requirements are normally completed within one (1) year of admission to the program although a maximum of 15 months is allowed.
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate certificate coursework.
  • Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the program is completed.  Graduate certificates may not be granted retroactively.
  • Successful completion of a minimum of 24 credit hours.
  • Successful completion of 1,200 hours of supervised practice in a variety of practice settings. Satisfied through enrollment in a minimum of 10 credit hours of DN 827 Practicum in Dietetics and Nutrition.
    The practice experiences include clinical and community nutrition, food and nutrition management and a culminating practice area of interest experience designed by the intern to meet personal professional and educational goals. Interns are able to choose from a variety of practice sites for each experience and are encouraged to submit ideas for new practice sites to the program director.
  • Successful completion of the following courses:
    DN 817Seminar in Dietetics & Nutrition I1
    DN 818Seminar in Dietetics & Nutrition II1
    DN 822Management Dietetics & Nutrition I2
    DN 823Management Dietetics & Nutrition II2
    DN 825Medical Nutrition Therapy I3
    DN 826Medical Nutrition Therapy II3
    DN 827Practicum in Dietetics and Nutrition10
    DN 841International Nutrition1
    DN 842United States Public Health Nutrition1
    Total Hours24
  • Successfully pass the program final exam with a score of 80% or greater.

Graduate credit from another institution may not be transferred to a graduate certificate program.

Certificate requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. Any courses taken as an equivalent must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Office of Graduate Studies. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program.  Other years’ catalogs».

Classes in this program are held one day each week on campus for the fall and spring semesters. Supervised practice experiences are 32 hours per week in the fall and spring semesters at assigned sites. During the summer semester interns work 32 to 40 hours per week completing the final practice area of interest experience. Students continuing on to the master's degree can enroll in additional graduate classes. Summer experiences take place on campus or at other locations within the U.S. or abroad.

The practice experiences include clinical and community nutrition, food and nutrition management and a culminating practice area of interest experience designed by the intern to meet personal professional and educational goals. Interns are able to choose from a variety of practice sites for each experience and are encouraged to submit ideas for new practice sites to the program director.

The student enrolls in DN 827 Practicum in Dietetics and Nutrition each semester and must complete a total of 10 credit hours of this course. The total number of credits required for the certificate program is 24 credit hours.

Typical Plan of Study

Year 1
DN 8171DN 8181DN 8272
DN 8222DN 8232 
DN 8253DN 8263 
DN 8274DN 8274 
DN 8411DN 8421 
 11 11 2
Total Hours: 24

Reasonable accommodation will be considered and may be made to qualified students who disclose a disability, so long as such accommodation does not significantly alter the essential requirements of the curriculum and the training program, or significantly affect the safety of patient care. Students who disclose that they have a disability are considered for the program if they are otherwise qualified. Qualified students with a disability who wish to request accommodation should provide appropriate documentation of disability and submit a request for accommodation to the Office for Academic Accommodations, Cyn Ukoko. Senior Coordinator of Academic Accommodations, 1006 Dykes Library, cukoko@kumc.edu or 913-545-7035 or 711 TTY.

The University of Kansas Medical Center has a commitment to nondiscrimination, access and reasonable accommodation of students with disabilities. Therefore, all students admitted to the Graduate Certificate Dietetics Internship Program must be able to meet the following requirement and expectations with or without an accommodation. The program prepares students to practice dietetics and nutrition within organizations and businesses. Graduates need knowledge and skills to function in diverse practice settings. Students admitted to the Graduate Certificate Dietetics Internship Program are able to do the following:

Communicate: Students must have the ability to use multiple communication techniques (oral, written, nonverbal, group process information technology and esthetic endeavors) that enable them to communicate with clients, teachers, and all members of the health care team. Students must be able to report to members of the team, express accurate information to clients, and teach, explain, direct and counsel people.
Observe: Students must be able to observe lectures, demonstrations, research, and practice situations in the practice of health sciences. Observation is necessary to perform competent health assessments and interventions.

Ethical Standards: Students must demonstrate professional attitudes and behaviors and must perform in an ethical manner in dealing with others. Personal integrity is required and the adherence to standards that reflect the values and functions of the profession of Dietetics. Students are required to abide by the professional code of ethics for Dietetics and student honor codes.

Psychomotor: Students must have sufficient motor capacities and motilities to execute various tasks and physical maneuvers such as: collecting specimens and perform basic tests and physical assessments on individuals, e.g., finger sticks for blood glucose testing, using glucometers, skin fold thickness, blood pressure, and placing feeding tubes; working in institutional and food demonstration kitchens to prepare foods and direct employees involved in food services; and conducting patient visits individually and with health care team members to provide nutrition care.

Intellectual and Cognitive Abilities: Students must be able to measure, calculate reason, analyze, synthesize, integrate, and remember to apply information. Creative problem solving and clinical reasoning required all of these intellectual abilities.

Professional and Social Attributes: Students must exercise good judgment and promptly complete all responsibilities required of the program. They must develop mature, sensitive, and effective professional relationships with others. They must able to tolerate taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and function in the face of uncertainties and ambiguities. Concern for others, interpersonal competence, and motivation are requisites for the program.