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Dietetic Internship

Translate science into solutions for health.

Loyola University Chicago offers two tracks of an accredited Dietetic Internship (DI) to prepare students to become professional registered dietitian nutritionists. Students benefit from the constructive and supportive environment of Loyola University Chicago. With Jesuit values as a foundation, students learn leadership, communication, and management skills which are applied to dietetic practice in health care and other settings. This prepares our students to enter dietetic practice as competent, highly qualified professionals after passing the registration exam for dietitians. Graduates of Loyola's Dietetic Internship program are highly sought for positions in health care and nutrition programs. Students enter a wide range of dietetic careers, including:

  • Clinical dietitians with health care organizations including hospitals, medical centers, dialysis centers, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation facilities.
  • Community nutritionists with public health departments, federally qualified health centers, community clinics, and federal nutrition programs such as the Women, Infant, and Children’s program.
  • Director or manager of food service operations.
  • Private practice or consulting.

The Loyola Dietetic Internship follows the Loyola academic calendar. Find detailed information about the Loyola Dietetic Internship online.

Accreditation

The Loyola University Chicago Dietetic Internship (LDI) is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) an agency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Upon successful completion of all LDI program requirements (supervised practice, didactic, seminars and others based on program track), students receive an ACEND verification statement and are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Information about accreditation status can be obtained from:

Accreditation for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
1-800-877-1600 ext 5400 or education@eatright.org

Professional Dietetic Practice

Upon successful completion of all LDI program requirements (supervised practice, didactic, seminars, and others based on track), students receive a verification statement of completion of the ACEND - accredited dietetic internship and are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. In the State of Illinois, one must be licensed by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation to practice dietetics. Information about licensure for dietitians in Illinois can be obtained at: http://www.idfpr.com/Renewals/apply/Forms/diet-ex.pdf.

Additional information about licensure for dietetic practice in other states can be found online.

To Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

To become a registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) The following criteria must be completed:

  1. Completion of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,
  2. Completion of an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program, such as the Loyola Dietetic Internship,
  3. Pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians, national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
  4. More information regarding the examination can be found online through CDR.
  5. Licensure is required to practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in the State of Illinois (https://www.idfpr.com/profs/dietNutrition.asp)

To maintain the RDN credential, one must complete continuing professional education requirements.

Our commitment to you

Upon completion of the Dietetic Internship at Loyola, you will possess the following knowledge, skills, and professional values to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians and become licensed as a dietitian.

Knowledge

The LDI is committed to the development of emerging professional Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who firmly believe that nutrition has a profound importance in promoting human health and quality of life. The focus of learning activities is to strengthen the intern's knowledge requirements, and support the development of competence and skills guided by accreditation standards to meet program goals and learning outcomes through constructive and supportive supervised practice.

Skills

Interns should become competent in the application of theoretical education, adjusting to the reality of existing practice environments, and develop interaction skills with other professionals, workers, and clients. Competent practice is defined not only as the application of knowledge in nutrition, foods, and related areas, but also as the development and use of skill in leadership, communication, and management.

Professional Values

Throughout the internship, emphasis is placed on the conviction that the competent and ethical practice of dietetics is infused with service to God and fellow humans.

Curriculum

Download the Loyola Dietetic Internship (LDI) program plan. For additional questions, please contact: Joanne Kouba, PhD, RD, LDN, Director, Dietetics Education Programs.

Internship

Two Options for Completing the Loyola Dietetic Internship

The Loyola Dietetic Internship offers two options or tracks:Dietetic Internship Certificate track (DI/C) and Master of Science in Dietetics/Dietetic Internship (MS/DI). Each track meets ACEND standards for dietetic internships. Ten students are admitted annually to each track of the LDI as coordinated by nationwide, computerized matching by D&D Digital.

Anticipation time for completion

  • DI/C: 13 months
  • MS/DI: 22 months

Credits

  • DI/C: 13
  • MS/DI: 47

Hours of Supervised Practice

  • DI only: 1200
  • MS/DI: 1200

Supervised Practice Starts

  • DI/C: The first semester after admission
  • MS/DI: After completing majority of graduate work

Upon completion student receives:

  • DI/C: ACEND verification state of DI completion
  • MS/DI: ACEND verification statement of DI completion and Loyola Master of Science (MS) in Dietetics degree

D&D Digital Matching Number

  • DI/C: 494
  • MS/DI: 156

Both tracks are eligible to take the registration examination for dietitians.

Summary of Supervised Practice Experiences

Interns complete eight rotations during the course of the program, which are nested within FONU 423, 425, and 427. Interns are typically scheduled to complete supervised practice eight hours per day, typically Monday through Friday. Interns should expect to be in supervised practice two-three weekend days per semester. Time for travel is not part of supervised practice.

FONU 423 (2 credits): Supervised Dietetic Practice in Medical Nutrition Therapy and Dialysis

Medical Nutrition Therapy (55 days): Interns develop skills to meet the responsibilities of a clinical dietitian and follow the host facility's standards of care and practice guidelines. Interns are initially assigned a low number of assessment, screening, educational, and follow-up activities per week on less-complex patients. As the weeks proceed, interns are assigned more complex cases and the volume of patients increases. In addition, interns participate in the quality management program for clinical nutrition care, in-service presentations, patient care conferences, and departmental meetings.

Dialysis Medical Therapy (5 days): Interns develop medical nutrition therapy skills with a focus on renal patients.

FONU 425 (2 credits): Supervised Dietetic Practice in Public Health Nutrition, Research, Marketing, and Professional Development

Public Health Nutrition (35 days): This experience allows interns to work with diverse age groups, as well as socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Interns are involved in planning and delivering nutrition programs including those provided by the Women, Infant, Children (WIC) special supplemental nutrition program, schools and school-based health clinics, Catholic Charities, and outpatient departments.

Professional Development (10 days): Students identify an area of professional dietetic practice that they would like to explore with additional experiences. The DI Director and student collaborate to develop this individualized experience using available resources.

Research (10 days): Students develop and engage in scholarly inquiry under the direction of faculty and preceptors, including perspectives of ethical considerations, research methods, statistical analysis, and dissemination of findings. Projects may be individual, group, and/or at other supervised practice sites.

Marketing Rotation (5 days): Interns have the opportunity to work on marketing a food product or nutrition service, employing market strategies, evaluating consumer needs and trends, testing products, and interacting with the media. Possible sites include food and pharmaceutical companies, public relations firms, and wellness programs.

FONU 427 (1 credit): Supervised Dietetic Practice in Management of Food Systems and Long-Term Care

Management Rotation (25 days): Interns actively participate in all aspects of food-service management, including production, purchasing, service, inventory systems, human resources, safety, and sanitation. Through this experience, interns gain experience in problem solving, quality management, and fiscal management.

Long-Term Care Rotation (5 days): Interns work collaboratively with preceptors to provide nutrition care to the elderly, developmentally disabled, psychiatric, and rehabilitation residents in long-term care facilities. This rotation includes experiences in both clinical nutrition care of residents and management of food-service operations within long-term care facilities.

Summary of Graduate Coursework

Students completing either track of the LDI are required to complete 13 graduate credits as follows: a) 8 credits in didactic course work (FONU 420, 422, 424, 426), and b) 5 credits in supervised practice (FONU 423, 425, 427 as described above) for a total of 13 credits. Once a week, students are required to participate in class at the Loyola University Health Sciences Division (HSD) campus in Maywood, IL. Class time is not calculated in the supervised-practice hours and typically are scheduled from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Classes include lecture, discussion, group problem-solving, critical-thinking activities, exams, and additional assignments. In addition to the courses below, dietetic interns are required to attend seminars, both internal and external to the University, that enhance knowledge and skill development.

  • FONU 420 - Dietetic Internship: Orientation: 1 credit
  • FONU 422 - Medical Nutrition Therapy Theory: 3 credits
  • FONU 423 - Supervised Practice in MNT and D-MNT: 2 credits
  • FONU 424 - Public Health Nutrition and Research Theory: 3 credits
  • FONU 425 - Supervised Practice in Public Health Nutrition, Research, Professional Development, and Marketing 2 credits
  • FONU 426 - Food Management Theory: 1 credit
  • FONU 427 - Supervised Practice in Food Management and Long-Term Care: 1 credit

Besides those listed above, students enrolled in the MS/DI program are required to take additional courses which are part of the Master of Science in Dietetics degree program. Please note that completion of the MS in Dietetics degree also requires successful comprehensive exam completion according to policies of the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health.

Details about the Loyola academic calendar, including the start dates of each semester, can be found online.

Monthly Seminars and Activities

Interns broaden their perspective on various areas of dietetics through seminars, group tours, and other activities. Participation in all seminars and related activities is mandatory for all interns. Examples include: participation in the Distinguished Speaker Seminar Series and the Palmer Research Symposium sponsored by the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing; Illinois Dietetic Association (IDA) Annual Assembly; IDA Lobby Day in Springfield, IL; seminars on sports nutrition, reimbursement and ethical issues in dietetic practice; media training; and an ethnic food tour. Participation in these activities is required. This time is not calculated as part of supervised-practice or didactic hours. An additional fee is added to tuition to cover the costs of seminar participation.

Completion Requirements

Loyola Dietetic Internship Certificate (DI/C) Track Program Completion Requirements:

Completion of the LDI/C requires successful completion of:

  • FONU 420
  • FONU 422
  • FONU 423
  • FONU 424
  • FONU 425
  • FONU 426
  • FONU 427
  • All required seminars

This is 7 courses, 13 credits and includes 1200 hours of supervised practice as part of FONU 423, 425, and 427.

Upon completion of the DI/C requirements, the student receives the ACEND Verification Statement of Completion of a Dietetic Internship and is eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Loyola Dietetic Internship + Master of Science in Dietetics (MS/DI) Track Graduation and Program Completion Requirements:

Completion of the MS/DI requires successful completion of:

  • FONU 420
  • FONU 422
  • FONU 423
  • FONU 424
  • FONU 425
  • FONU 426
  • FONU 427
  • FONU 503
  • FONU 505
  • CMAN 410
  • CMAN 435
  • CMAN 439
  • CMAN 330
  • CMAN 468
  • CMAN 533
  • CMAN 568
  • GNUR 402
  • GNUR 408
  • GNUR 410
  • GNUR 436

This is 20 courses, 47 credits and includes 1200 hours of supervised practice as part of FONU 423, 425, and 427, and the comprehensive exam.

Upon completion of the MS/DI requirements, the student receives the ACEND Verification Statement of Completion of a Dietetic Internship and is eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians, and a Master of Science in Dietetics degree from the Loyola University Chicago Graduate School.

Admission

Application Requirements using Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS)

The LDI uses the online centralized internship application, DICAS, which may be accessed at https://portal.dicas.org, email DICASinfo@DICAS.org. DICAS will be available in December for the annual spring Match. Applications to the LDI will only be accepted through DICAS. The application materials must be submitted to DICAS for consideration in the LDI by the date and time posted on the DICAS website. The fee to use DICAS is $40 for the first application submitted and $20 for each additional application.

  • When completing the application form, applicants must include the name and contact information (specifically an email address) for each reference. This will trigger an email message requesting completion of a reference form. The form will be completed online. Students submitting more than one application will need to use the same individuals as references for each application.
  • Applicants who apply to internships using DICAS will be asked to complete a personal statement. Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include:
    • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
    • Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career.
    • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
    • 1,000 Word limit
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to DICAS- Transcript Dept, PO Box 9118, Watertown, MA 02472

Application Requirements for the D&D Digital nationwide matching

Applicants must also register online for computer matching at www.dnddigital.com and select dietetic internship priority choices by the date and time specified on the D&D Digital website. There is a $50.00 computer matching fee.

Additional Application Requirement

In addition to the DICAS and D&D application requirements outlined above, you are required to mail an application fee of $40.00 as a check or money order to Loyola University Chicago by February 15.

Please mail to:

Joanne Kouba, PhD, RD, LDN
Associate Professor and Director of Loyola Dietetic Internship
Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health
2160 South First Avenue, CTRE 346
Maywood, IL 60153

For those applying to the MS/DI (#156 with D&D), after you have been matched to the LDI MS/DI, then you will receive instructions on application to the Loyola Graduate School.

Admission Requirements

Minimum requirements for admission to the Dietetic Internship Program in the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing are:

  • Completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics from college or university with a ACEND - accredited program
  • Completion of baccalaureate degree with GPA greater than 3.0
  • Submission of application materials described above

The LDI participates in the nationwide, computerized matching process which is administered by D&D Digital Company, Ames, IA. Each track of the LDI is assigned a number by D&D Digital for computerized matching. Applicants must designate for which track(s) of the LDI they wish to apply through D&D Digital requirements and also on the supplemental form noted above. It is necessary for applicants to submit dietetic internship ranking preferences according to D&D Digital requirements. Additional information about this process and requirements is available at the following website: http://www.dnddigital.com/ada/index.php. The LDI receives over 100 applications for 10 positions in each track. Not all applicants will be accepted. These are the minimum requirements for consideration.

Additional information about dietetic internships and accreditation can be obtained from ACEND, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois 60606, and 1-800-877-1600.

The Loyola Dietetic Internship complies with the Loyola policy and federal and state laws related to equal opportunity, affirmative action and non-discrimination.

The Loyola Equal Opportunity Policy can be found here.

Tuition and Fees

The School of Health Sciences and Public Health and Loyola's Financial Aid Office are committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their education at Loyola affordable.