Dietetic Internship

Frequently Asked Questions

Combined Master of Nutrition + Dietetic Internship program (MS/DI)

  • The MS/DI program requires a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate study.
  • We have thesis and non-thesis program options available, both of which require a research project.
  • The graduate course work is completed entirely online; a range of 4 to 10 semesters is typical.
  • Continuous enrollment (each fall and spring term) is required.
  • Following successful completion of this program, you will be eligible to sit for the RD exam AND have completed your Master of Science (MS) degree in Nutrition.

What are the entrance requirements for the MS/DI program?

  • Bachelor's degree in Nutrition from program accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education (ACEND)
  • Verification statement from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics [Undergraduates who are within one semester of graduating may apply]
  • Minimum GRE score: Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning at the 30th percentile.
  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 scale

Internship only: Do I have to apply to the graduate program if I already hold a graduate degree?

Yes, if a prospective intern already holds an advanced degree, admission will be as a non-degree-seeking student. The web address is

Is the Dietetic Internship at East Carolina University accredited?

Yes, the East Carolina University Dietetic Internship is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Drive, Chicago, IL 60606. ACEND accredits the Internship for an enrollment of 16 full-time and 4 part-time interns. Part-time slots are determined by the local sites each year. Most sites prefer full-time interns only.

Who should provide the references for my application?

Professors and supervisors from work or volunteer experiences are best choices. Try to select someone who writes well and can describe your work ethic and relationships with others.

Why is nutrition-related volunteer or work experience so strongly encouraged?

The program preceptors are interested in selecting students who might be hired in the future. They prefer interns who have proven themselves as dependable employees. Interns who have had some nutrition-related experience tend to adjust better to the hectic pace of the internship placement. Student associations provide leadership experiences before completion of an undergraduate degree.

Who serves on the selection committee?

The 4-person selection committee consists of ECU faculty and registered dietitians (RDs) who are preceptors throughout North Carolina.

What selection criteria are used?

Overall grade point average, GRE scores, references, honors, involvement in dietetic association or other professional activities, food or nutrition-related volunteer and/or work experience.

What does the DICAS application process require?

Check out DICAS at and complete the appropriate forms. Both MS-DI and DI-only applicants are to use this process. The web is open from December 8th onward.

What is the computer matching process for the Internship-Only option?

Applicants who are interested in the ECU Internship-Only option must participate in computer matching. East Carolina University participates in the February match. To become part of the matching process, internship applicants select their top choices for internship programs on the designated DICAS website.

Contact D & D Digital by e-mail: Applicants pay a fee for the matching service which will inform both the interns and the internship programs of the resulting “match” (selection).

Does the East Carolina University Dietetic Internship accept applicants who are not citizens of North Carolina or not graduates of East Carolina University?

Certainly! We enjoy the diversity and richness that comes from the whole nation. International students must work through a credentialing review agency and take courses in the United States to get a Verification Statement before applying.

Do all the ECU dietetic interns complete their internships in the Greenville NC area?

No! Interns are assigned to a variety of different geographical areas throughout eastern North Carolina. The local track assignment for each intern is individualized based site preferences, the availability of rotation sites within the region, the intern’s interests and rank order of matching.

Each intern is “based” in a specific city but may complete rotations at two or more sites within that geographical area. Typically, an intern will complete the entire clinical rotation in one facility; food systems, management, and community rotations may be completed at two or more different sites. In some situations, an intern may need to travel up to an hour to reach a facility to obtain experience in a business, community or specialized practice.

How are the Track placements and sequences determined?

Each intern’s sequence of assigned rotations is individualized. The Site Supervisors consider both the intern and preceptors’ preferences. Requests by interns for experiences in areas of special interest are arranged whenever possible. Interns are asked to rank their Track preferences; every effort is made to honor one of their top 5 choices.

When do I interview for Track Placement?

Interns who are matched can interview by phone, speaking with the preceptors from various Tracks, or they can visit the area. Each interview requires about 30 minutes. You may wish to use SKYPE if you are not from this area.

When will I know to which Track I have been assigned?

The formal matching interviews occur in April/May. When Track assignments are confirmed, interns are sent an official communication.

What is the length of time for each rotation in the program?

Interns spend 10 weeks in medical nutrition therapy (hospitals, long-term care facilities), 8 weeks in food systems and 2 weeks in management (hospitals, schools, assisted living centers), 6 weeks in community settings (public health departments, wellness, WIC programs, Extension offices). Finally, 4 weeks of Staff Relief are assigned in either clinical or community sites.

What is the Concentration at East Carolina’s Internship Program?

The ECU internship provides a RURAL HEALTH CONCENTRATION.

Who is responsible for finding me a place to live?

Interns make their own housing arrangements. Local Track Coordinators may offer suggestions.

When does the Internship start? How does that differ from the combined MS-DI program?

The ECU Internship orientation courses are administered handled in late June and July ON LINE. A 5-day Orientation occurs the last week of August.

MS-DI students complete COURSEWORK in year one, followed by the INTERNSHIP in year two (on-site supervised practice.) The internship certificate is provided when all graduate coursework is completed, in May for full-time students or a later date for part-time students.

Can I get financial assistance or scholarships during my internship at East Carolina University?

Interns accepted to the graduate program as "non-degree" are not eligible for student loans, even though they may be full-time graduate students. Interns admitted as "degree seeking" must be full-time graduate students to be eligible for financial aid. To discuss eligibility, contact the Financial Aid Office at 252-328-6610. The website is

Scholarships are available from the ACADEMY or from the North Carolina Dietetic Association Foundation; applications are due in February each year.

Is there an Orientation to the ECU Internship before the rotations begin?

Yes, modules are completed in the on-line NUTR 4800 Orientation Course at East Carolina University before interns begin supervised practice. The management course (NUTR 6600) is also required the summer before supervised practice.

During the August on-site Orientation, interns receive policies, the curriculum, and guidelines for evaluation that will be used throughout the year. Some sites require interns to participate in an additional facility-specific orientation.

All sites require health insurance, criminal background checks, health exams and liability insurance. Drug testing is required by most facilities. You are expected to maintain copies of these documents throughout the program year; many individual sites will ask for copies.

How do I get a physical exam and immunizations prior to starting the Internship?

In addition to the immunizations required by the East Carolina University Graduate School, interns must get the Hepatitis B immunization series, flu shot, and a TB test before the start date of the supervised practice rotations. Most hospitals require copies of immunizations, health reports and drug testing before being permitted to work on site. Interns should keep copies of these health records.

What will I need to wear and what should I purchase for books and supplies?

Many facilities will require interns to wear lab coats. Business casual or professional office clothes are appropriate. Interns purchase textbooks from the campus bookstore on line. In addition, an up-to-date medical dictionary is recommended. Interns will be afforded professional liability insurance through the University. A pocketsize notebook is handy for recording important “need to know” and useful information, especially for clinical rotations.

Will I need a car during my internship?

ABSOLUTELY!! Interns will need a car to complete rotations. During each rotation interns may be asked travel to satellite facilities.  Interns will meet for a seminar at least once a month at ECU or at various facilities in North Carolina; some seminars may be a several hours drive from your track placement. Class days are held on the ECU campus; optional workshops are held in other locations such as Raleigh, Wilmington or Charlotte.

How many hours will I be working during my internship?

Interns are expected to “be on the job” at least eight hours a day, five days a week during the months of supervised practice. There may be occasions when the workday will extend longer due to a special event, seminar, or clinic. An intern may arrange to participate in the Internship on a part-time basis over a longer period by pre-planning with local track coordinator and the program director.

Is there any sick leave or vacation time scheduled during the East Carolina Internship?

Supervised practice is intensive. There is a great deal to learn in a short amount of time. Interns are expected to make up any time lost due to sick days or personal emergencies. Occasionally, at the discretion of the preceptor, an intern may work evenings, 10-hour days, or weekends to make-up an absence.

Will I have specific objectives that I need to accomplish during the Internship?

Yes, interns are provided with the accredited ECU curriculum (specific competencies/objectives) that will guide their experiences during the various rotations. The competencies were developed to prepare interns as entry-level dietitians. Preceptors provide suggestions as to how the competencies can be met locally and will evaluate if the interns have satisfactorily completed each competency. Assignments will be sent to the Program Director for grading throughout each semester.

What if I need extra time to complete my internship competencies/objectives?

Each situation is handled individually, but something can usually be worked out. An intern may need to extend the internship for several weeks or months until she/he is evaluated as competent to function as an entry-level dietitian. Our goal is for each of our interns to succeed while in the internship and as a registered dietitian. An Incomplete grade is given until all assignments have been finished.

Are interns required to attend classes on campus to earn graduate credits?

Graduate courses are offered online. Supervised practice hours require field placement in eastern North Carolina. After the intern hours are complete, the intern may take a job and finish the MS degree from anywhere.

MS-DI students MUST plan with their ECU graduate advisor to complete the MS degree within the 6-year limit required by the Graduate School.

What are Class Days?

Interns are expected to attend mandatory class days each month. Topics range from media training and cancer to emotional intelligence. Most days require pre-planned activities by the interns.

Will I get grades for the graduate hours I earn for supervised practice?

Yes. You must achieve a B average to get the Verification Statement, making you eligible to sit for the RD exam.

What is the East Carolina University Dietetic Internship exit examination?

This examination is the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) practice test, on-line. Submit scores when 80% or higher is achieved.

Will I be a registered dietitian when I complete the Internship?

No, once interns have successfully completed the supervised practice and courses, they need to schedule and sit for the National Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians (RD exam). Graduates of the Internship will receive authorization by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to take the computerized RD exam at one of the approved testing sites about six weeks following completion of the Internship. The RD exam costs $125.00. Typically, intern graduates can schedule the RD exam about 10-12 weeks after completing all internship expectations. Graduates are not to use the term “RDE” as there is no such credential.

How much can I expect to pay for the East Carolina University Dietetic Internship?

There is a fee to apply to the graduate program and a cost for computer matching. Costs include professional liability insurance, program manual, living and transportation expenses, tuition and fees (less for residents of North Carolina.) In addition, books and materials cost ~$300.00 and there is an RD exam review fee of $400.00. The estimates are based on recent fees and may vary by academic year.

Where can I get answers to other questions?

Always check with your internship program director when in doubt. Peers may not have the right answers.

The Didactic Program in Dietetics is currently granted full accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606, 312/899-5400,