Updated: August 2021
Is it true you offer two concentration areas of your internship?
It is true! The University of Minnesota Dietetic Internship (U of M DI) Program has two concentrations. We have an eating disorders concentration in affiliation with The Emily Program (referred to as our ED-TEP concentration). In addition, we have a medical nutrition therapy (MNT) concentration in affiliation with Fairview Health Services and University of Minnesota Health.
When does the next class of interns begin?
The DI program year for the Class of 2022 will begin on Monday, September 13, 2021, with graduation on May 26, 2022*.
*Exact dates subject to change
What is the first time RD exam pass rate for your program graduates?
From our most recent reports, we currently have a first time pass of 89%.
How will this internship prepare me for taking the RD exam?
- Unique and hands-on experiences in practice settings
- Class days covering various topics included on the exam in great depth.
- RD exam prep resources and practice exams
What is a “typical day” like during the internship?
- No two days are alike. Interns will be at a variety of sites with different preceptors throughout the program, offering each intern the opportunity to have a multitude of experiences. The internship program is full-time, 37 weeks in duration, with interns working approximately 40 hours each week. Scheduling for each day will vary depending on the site and rotation assigned.
- On any given day, you could be writing patient chart notes, planning a theme meal with hospital nutrition services, or making educational materials for the players of a professional athletic team.
How do you measure intern progress?
Progress is measured by preceptor and intern feedback, intern performance evaluations, self-evaluations and internship leadership feedback. Frequent opportunities to meet with program leadership exist. Interns will also provide peer evaluations/feedback for each other. Additionally, the program leadership is always available for concerns, questions, and guidance.
How do interns get to and from rotations?
Interns are responsible for providing their own transportation. It is recommended that you have a car as some rotations are farther away than others. For some rotations you may be able to use public transportation.
Is there a class day for interns?
Yes, and it is a favorite among interns! Special speakers, intern case studies and RD examination preparation are examples of class subjects. Class day also allows interns to connect with one another to provide support and share experiences, stories, and insights.
What does a typical day of class look like?
Classes vary, but usually a guest speaker will come and talk about a specific subject in nutrition that is foundational to the field, such as physical assessments, or more specific areas of nutrition, such as solid organ transplants. Other possible class topics include case study presentations by interns, RD exam preparation, and career preparation workshops. The classes are designed to give interns new insights and perspectives on the field of nutrition as well as prepare them for their future careers as dietitians.
How much do interns work with each other during the internship?
Interns will work independently during the majority of rotations; several allow for collaboration with other interns.
Can I obtain financial aid for this internship?
- Interns who are current U of M Graduate Students are considered “enrolled students” as long as they do not graduate. Other interns, unless enrolled elsewhere for other reasons, cannot qualify for federal financial aid assistance because this program is not certified by the U.S. Department of Education for eligibility for Title IV student financial aid. However, interns may be able to defer existing student loans.
- If necessary, a letter stating your placement in the dietetic internship program can be provided; please contact the program leadership if needed.
Can you take out a loan for the internship?
- You can take out a personal loan from the bank or a private lender (one example is Navient). However, you may not always get the loans you expect so it is best to plan ahead. Also, if you have current loans you have the option of forbearance or deferment of loans to ease up on monthly payments.
- Loan for program fee: In most cases, credit unions are unable to provide academic loans. Wells Fargo is one example of a bank which, after clarifying the purpose of the loan, has been approved for interns in the current class.
- Loan deferment: Speak with your individual loan servicer who should provide the paperwork. This year, interns were successful in obtaining forbearance by using the "Medical or Dental Internship/Residency Forbearance Request" (Form # 1845-0018). This allows loan payments to be deferred until program completion (no interest is collected during this time for such deferment). Although federal forms may change, so be sure to clarify if this form is still the one to use in successive years. It takes about 21 days to go through once submitted.
Do you survey current interns and graduates of your program on their approval rating of this internship?
Our program continually evolves. We are committed to program reviews, modifications, enrichment, and growth! Included in this process, program evaluations are completed by interns throughout the program year and upon graduation, and one-year later. Additionally, we survey employers of graduates to seek any additional areas for program changes. Furthermore, feedback regarding the DI is also elicited from preceptors and both internal and external constituents.
How many people applied to both concentrations last year and the previous year in comparison to how many got accepted?
- Last year, we had 41 applicants via the computer-match process to fill the remaining 8 ED-TEP intern slots (the other 2 of the final 10 slots were filled during the preselect process) and we received 29 applications for MNT's remaining 5 positions (as 5 of the 10 were accepted from the preselect process from 8 eligible U of MN students or graduates that applied)
- The year prior, we had 46 computer-match applicants for ED-TEP concentration and 25 for the MNT concentration. We filled 10 intern positions for each concentration.
I graduated more than a year ago and don't have recent interactions with professors for an up-to-date letter of rec. Should I ask my career mentors/supervisors for the 2 letters?
Yes, you may opt to ask those who know your professional characteristics best. Be sure to indicate your sound reasons for choosing an alternate reference on our required Supplemental Application Form
Admission requirements state minimum DPD and cumulative GPA is 3.1. Does this mean that anyone under a 3.1 will not be considered?
We encourage all those interested in our program to apply. We do not automatically disqualify applicants based on GPA alone. While we do consider GPA an important aspect, we pay attention to its various facets (i.e. trends, improvement of grades through academic career, and courses taken beyond didactic requirements). We also like to see balance outside of academics, too. This is why we review each category represented within the application, and look closely at your personal statement as well. We aim to seek well-rounded individuals, with excellent communication skills, flexibility, adaptability, and a positive-can-do attitude.
How can I be a more competitive applicant?
Gain relevant experience as an employee, intern, or volunteer. There are opportunities in clinical, community, research, and food service settings! These experiences will also help you find your interests and strengths in the field of nutrition. Also, write a strong personal statement to showcase your personality.
What makes a personal statement stand out?
Be genuine and highlight your passions and strengths. This is your opportunity to show who you are and describe what motivates you. Beyond what is on your resume and transcript, we want to get to know you. Work towards a personal statement that is a strong and accurate representation of who you are as an individual. Also, use the resources available to you! Many universities have career and internship services or writing centers that can help with your personal statement.
What does program orientation look like?
- Led by U of M DI Leadership, TEP and M Health Fairview Coordinators
- Onboarding (training modules, security clearance, fingerprinting, photos for ID badges) and Administration Details
- Program Materials and Activities
- Rotation and Class Schedules!
What kinds of projects or assignments will I complete during this internship?
Prior to clinical rotations, you will complete pre-homework designed to familiarize yourself with common conditions, procedures, and medications seen in that setting. Depending on the rotation you may also complete case studies, create educational materials, and present relevant topics. During the internship, you will create a portfolio to highlight some of these assignments that you can then utilize in your resume or show potential employers.
Where are past interns working now?
Just a few examples from recent years:
- The Emily Program (3 from last year’s graduating class alone, plus others from previous years)
- Eating Disorders facilities in Denver, Texas, and California
- Private practice startup in Hawaii, with a focus on ED awareness and treatment
- M Health Fairview throughout the various metro locations and practice areas (Med/Surg, Cardiac, Pediatrics, ICU, Relief or Casual, and Food Service Management)
- Medical centers in San Diego and Honolulu
- College and Professional Sports Programs
How does the University of Minnesota support interns during rotations?
In addition to classes every other week, interns will have the support of program leadership, fellow interns, and either their MNT or ED-TEP coordinator for their respective concentration rotation experiences. Program leadership is available by email or phone for any questions or concerns. You will meet your fellow interns during orientation and interns will often create a group chat or Facebook group. Concentration specific coordinators are also available by email for any concentration/site specific questions.
What do interns like most about the internship?
The opportunity to apply what we have learned in school and work with nutrition in a professional setting! Interns really like how many different rotations there are in this internship as it gives us new perspectives on the many career paths we can have as registered dietitians. Also, the guest speakers that come to class present very interesting topics that open doors of nutrition that interns have not previously considered.
What is the most challenging part about the internship?
The most difficult part for many interns is consistently changing rotations once you are getting comfortable in the current rotation. Learning to adapt quickly can be a challenge because you want to learn as much as you can in the short time you are there. However, it is very helpful to have other interns to talk to who understand and get ideas on how to adapt quickly and make the difficult part of this internship not so difficult.
What makes a successful intern?
One very important way to be successful is to always come prepared – complete the pre-homework and bring any required items. Also, the best advice I can give is not to be afraid to ask questions! Your preceptors want you to learn and succeed. I have found preceptors are very open to answering questions. Also, if there is something you would like to learn or observe, make sure to talk to your preceptor about it.
What was something unexpected that interns learn during their internship?
How cultural backgrounds play a huge role in food! This is something that isn’t necessarily new, however there are certain traditions and/or beliefs that may not be as familiar. For example, in Hmong culture when a woman has given birth, she will go on a diet that consists of only chicken, rice, and water. Learning about these cultural differences is a good reminder to keep an open mind.
Does having a variety of rotations help interns choose a career path as a dietitian?
Yes! You may find that you are quite interested (or disinterested!) in an area that you weren’t aware of previous to that rotation.
Would you recommend taking a gap year between graduation and applying to the DI?
It depends on your situation! Some interns find it helpful to take a gap year in order to save money and gain additional experience. Also, the application process may be less stressful because there is no schoolwork to work around. Others find it easier to go directly from college to the internship when all the information is fresh in our minds. There really is not a right or wrong answer, do whatever works best for you!
Is it possible to maintain a part-time job while completing the internship?
It is possible! Most interns who work during the internship have a casual position at a hospital such as Fairview or Abbott as diet techs, nutrition service associates, and/or nutrition aides. However, there are interns that have had serving jobs for a few years and are able to work out a flexible schedule with managers.
Do interns get together outside of the internship?
We try! It is always fun to get to know other people who are passionate about the same thing. In previous years, interns have planned potlucks and Christmas parties. This year has been a bit more difficult, but we try to stay connected with a group chat and will hopefully be able to safely meet up later in the year.
Find the answers to your COVID related questions here
Will rotations be in person or virtual?
Some rotations will be virtual whereas others will be in person. Many of the community rotations are currently virtual but the majority of clinical rotations are in person.
Will I receive training for (personal protective equipment) PPE and covid precautions?
Yes! We want everyone to be as safe as possible. You will receive PPE training from the University of Minnesota Health Sciences facilities on proper donning and doffing of PPE. Additionally, you will learn more about hospital specific covid precautions at your in person clinical rotations.
What does a virtual rotation look like?
You will be in communication with your assigned preceptor and given opportunities to complete relevant projects and/or presentations remotely. You may also be invited to participate in team meetings and telehealth sessions.
Will I learn to use telehealth to meet with patients?
Currently, outpatient clinics are utilizing telehealth to meet with their patients. You will be invited to join these telehealth sessions and learn from your preceptors about how to best adapt to telehealth.
What happens if I have to quarantine, will I still be able to complete the internship?
If you are unable to attend rotations in-person due to a potential exposure, we will work with you to determine your options. Alternate practice experiences, such as case studies, may be offered. We have systems in place to monitor progress and competencies achieved to ensure program requirements are met.