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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the Dietetic Internship graduate program? Here are the answers to some of the questions we hear most often.

How do I become a Registered Dietitian (RD)?

If you are interested in learning more about the current educational routes to becoming an RDN, please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

I have a bachelor's degree in another field but now I want to become a nutritionist. What do I need to do?

First, you need to decide if you want to be a registered dietitian or if you want to add graduate coursework in nutrition to your educational background.

Visit the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for information about credential requirements, networking, job listings, and careers in this field.

What is the difference in the positions available to a registered dietitian versus a non-RD with a degree in nutrition?

Positions in health care organizations, physicians' clinics and some other organizations usually require an RD credential. Some other positions are available to both RDs and people with a nutrition degree such as positions in government agencies, food industry, research, community and public health settings, sports nutrition, wellness programs and public schools. Some individuals obtain an MS in Nutrition at KU to place them at an advantage to apply for medical school.

Which universities in the area offer an undergraduate degree in nutrition and the coursework necessary to apply for a dietetic internship at KU?

Two of the closest programs reside at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo., and Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. Both on-campus and online coursework is available at these institutions. Search for accredited programs near you at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

I have a nutrition degree from a country other than the U.S. How can I become a registered dietitian in the U.S.?

Visit the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for information about credential requirements, networking, job listings, and careers in this field.

Does KU Medical Center offer a distance internship option?

No, we do not currently have a distance option. Students must be able to attend classes on-campus and complete rotations within the greater Kansas City area. However, the culminating Practice Area of Interest rotation can be completed outside the Kansas City area.

Do you offer both a full-time and part-time internship option?

We currently only offer a full-time option. Students complete classes on Mondays and supervised practice rotations Tuesday – Friday. Some weekend events may also be required.

Does your program offer Prior Learning Credit?

No, our program does not assess for Prior Learning. No credit or reduction in supervised practice hours is awarded for previous work or volunteer experiences.

What if I already have an MS degree? Do I still have to take the graduate courses associated with the Dietetic Internship?

Yes, all interns must complete the required 24 credit hours for the dietetic internship. No hours may be transferred into a Graduate Certificate program.

Will I be able to work during the internship?

We recognize that students still have living expenses during the internship and that many students may need some employment during this period. Given the intensive workload and time commitment of the program, we highly encourage students to limit the number of hours they work outside of classes/rotations. If you do have outside employment, it must be flexible such that it does not interfere with supervised practice experiences or classes.

What do you consider when ranking applicants?

A selection committee will thoroughly evaluate your DICAS application to evaluate your potential for successfully completing our program and becoming a Registered Dietitian. No one will be denied entrance to the program based upon race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and/or genetic information.

Factors that are considered when selecting individuals for admission to the program include:

  1. Academic performance (Cumulative GPA*, DPD Professional GPA, and Science GPA are all considered)
  2. Work and volunteer experience related to dietetics and nutrition and/or healthcare
  3. Leadership, honors/awards, and scholarships
  4. Quality of personal statement
  5. Virtual interview
  6. Recommendation letters (may be from faculty, advisers, employers, or others familiar with work and character).

*Please note that a cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required for admission.

Complete applications received by the DICAS deadline will be evaluated by the selection committee. All applicants will be scored based upon the criteria listed above. Applicants meeting admissions requirements will be submitted for matching based upon their ranking amongst other applicants.

Can I attend an Open House or arrange a Campus Visit?

Yes, we would love to have you come learn more about our program! If you are interested in scheduling a campus visit, please contact Dr. Goetz at jgoetz@kumc.edu.

We will be holding several open houses (virtual and in-person opportunities) this year:

Virtual Open Houses:

  • Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 9 a.m.
  • Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 1 p.m.
  • Friday, December 17, 2021 at 10 a.m.
  • Friday, January 14, 2022 at 12 p.m.

On-Campus Open House:

  • Friday, December 10, 2021 at 1 p.m.

Sign up for an open house

If I don’t match to an internship, is there an opportunity to apply for the MS program?

If you do not match with an internship, please contact us to learn about starting our MS program with the goal of reapplying for our dietetic internship the following year. We have had many students successfully complete our program this way. Students with promising applications can apply for the MS degree and complete year two master's degree coursework first and then reapply for the dietetic internship the following spring. While we cannot guarantee a match with our program, we will work with you to strengthen your application. Additionally, if you complete 9 credit hours of graduate coursework, we will replace your undergraduate cumulative GPA with your graduate cumulative GPA. 

Students who complete the master's degree program before the dietetics internship are able to finish only a couple months later than they would have with the traditional sequence of internship then master's degree.

Is housing available on campus for students?

No, there are no university-sponsored dormitories in the area. Students are responsible for living and transportation expenses. A searchable database of housing near the KU Medical Center Kansas City campus is available. Additionally, the Program Director will share lists of recommendations from previous interns.

How much does the dietetic internship program cost?

See the estimated program costs page. Expenses listed on this website are not an official quote and are provided as a guide only. Program costs are established by the Kansas Board of Regents and are subject to change at any time without notice.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Financial aid is available for degree-seeking students, and information can be obtained from Student Financial Aid. Submit applications for financial aid by March 1 for priority status. Students will be notified in April if they have been matched with the dietetic internship program at KU.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes. The KU Department of Dietetics and Nutrition sponsors scholarships and awards for students annually including the Sevie Nelson Scholarship, Marian Boelte Scholarship, Ruth Gordon Award, and Rowena Sherrill Award, Pete Beyer Scholarship, and Marilyn Lucas Scholarship. Additional scholarship opportunities are available from the School of Health Professions. Students are also encouraged to apply for scholarships from the state dietetic association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Application information can be accessed at Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.

How successful are your graduates at passing the RD exam?

Our first-time pass rate for KU graduates of the past 5 years (2016-2020) is 96.2%. We also have a long-standing history of 100% of our graduates passing the exam within one year of their first attempt. You will be preparing for the RD exam throughout the entire internship process so that you are ready to take the exam shortly after completing the program.

Additional Questions?

Consider joining us for an upcoming open house or contact Jeannine Goetz, program director, at jgoetz@kumc.edu or 913-588-1449 (711 TTY).

School of Health Professions

Dietetics and Nutrition
KU Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 4013
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-5355 • 711 TTY