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Dietetics Internship Program

Dietetics Internship Program

Dietetics Internship Program Overview

The University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, in conjunction with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, offers a post-baccalaureate dietetic internship designed to meet the competencies for entry-level dietetics practice and to prepare students for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. The internship has a clinical nutrition concentration and is housed within the Nutrition Services department of UK HealthCare.

  • About the Program

    The program has been continuously accredited since it began in 1969. Our graduates have compiled a 93 percent first-time pass rate in the last five years and a 97 percent first-time pass rate since the beginning of the program.

    The internship is a full-time, 10-month program that starts in August. It provides approximately 1,250 hours of supervised practice. Supervised practice experiences are planned to provide a progression from the first week general orientation and direct supervision to working independently with little supervision based on a program of timely and routine feedback on performance. The program is fast-paced and rigorous requiring additional time outside of scheduled work hours to complete projects, homework, etc. Additionally, this internship requires strong time management and organizational skills, excellent study skills, and a high level of commitment to the education process.

    The program accepts six interns each year during the spring match.

    Effective for the April 2023 Computer Matching (DICAS) date, the University of Kentucky Hospital Dietetic Internship will require a minimum of a master’s degree (granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college/university or foreign equivalent) to be admitted to our program.

  • Program Mission

    The University of Kentucky Hospital Dietetic Internship strives to produce entry-level dietitians through the use of research, education and clinical care. In an academic health care setting, the program educates dietetic interns to apply the most recent research in order to provide evidence-based care for the most advanced patient populations in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and surrounding regions.

    Program Goals and Objectives

    Goal 1: This program will prepare competent entry-level practitioners with a concentration in clinical nutrition who meet the performance standards in areas of clinical nutrition, management and community nutrition.


    1. At least 85 percent of the program graduates from the previous five years who took the exam will achieve a first time pass rate on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists.
    2. The graduates from this program who took the exam will exceed the national average of scores in the specific areas on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists (Nutrition and Food Service).
    3. At least 95 percent of all dietetic interns will successfully complete the program within 15 months (150 percent of the program length) of starting the program.
    4. At least 80 percent of program graduates will take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.

    Goal 2: This program will prepare the graduates for their professional goals of having employment in the dietetics profession, being enrolled in continuing education in graduate programs, and/or earning advanced certification.


    1. Over a five-year period, at least 70 percent of graduates who sought employment in dietetics will be employed within 12 months of program completion.
    2. Within seven years of completion of the internship, at least 40 percent of graduates will have enrolled/completed a master’s degree or earned advanced certification.
    3. At least 80 percent of first time employer responses of graduates will rate his or her performance as a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5.

    * Bold = ACEND Required Objectives

    Program outcomes are available upon request.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: How many applications does your program typically receive each year? How many interns are accepted?

    A: For the 2021-2022 internship class, we received 40 applications for the six intern positions.

    Q: What do you look for in an application (applicant)?

    A: We look for a very good GPA (minimum total GPA of 3.20 or greater) and great work/volunteer experience in the nutrition/dietetics field. We don't care if the applicant got paid for the experience (work) or not (volunteer), as we emphasize the learning from the experience. Involvement in extracurricular activities is also considered. Letters of recommendation are very helpful and should best illustrate your capabilities as a future dietetic intern. The personal statement is very important as it tells us more than what is already contained in the application. The interview is the final component that we take into consideration.

    Q: What makes a good personal statement?

    A: Your personal statement is very important and should be well-written, including correct spelling and grammar. It should tell us about you as a person, and not just list courses or accomplishments that we can find elsewhere in the application. It is the time to tell us why you think our program is a good match for your goals and a time to address any “hiccups” or gaps in the application. These might include taking a semester off or having a poor GPA in one semester.

    Q: What is the GPA requirement?

    A: Applicants must have a minimum total GPA of 3.20 to be considered for our program. Traditionally, our interns have very competitive GPAs. The 2020-2021 internship class had an average DPD GPA of 3.86. 

    Q: Does your program require the GRE?

    A: No, our program does not require applicants to take the GRE. If you have taken the GRE, however, please include your scores in the DICAS application.  

    Q: Do you conduct interviews?

    A: We interview top applicants that meet our criteria for admission via Zoom. The number of applicants interviewed each year varies based on the applicant pool we receive that year. The interview is an opportunity to answer any of your questions about the program, as well as allow the selection committee to get to know the applicant.

    Q: What is your concentration emphasis?

    A: Our internship concentration is Clinical Nutrition. 

    Q: What are some of the unique features of the program?

    A: The interns have one-on-one time with their preceptors for all rotations. We encourage interns to observe procedures (bedside feeding tube placement, modified barium swallow procedure, or heart cath for instance). The VA partnership allows for many unique rotations at both facilities. The VA has an excellent follow-up system with clinics and telemedicine, while UK has a three week Pediatrics rotation.

    Q: Your website talked about going out of town for the Community rotation. Can you tell me about that?

    A: The Community rotation is usually the final four weeks of the internship. Since UK and VA are high-level acuity trauma centers, we lack the ability to show the interns what small hospitals, county health departments, WIC clinics, etc., do on a daily basis. During Community rotation, interns live in a more rural environment within the community. Housing is provided for the interns during this month long rotation. Experiences may include diabetes cooking classes, school lunch programs, retirement facilities, WIC experiences and other teaching opportunities. This is a unique opportunity for the interns and is often their favorite month of the internship.  

    Q: What is a typical day during the internship?

    A: Interns work the same schedules as their preceptors. Typically, a day with the preceptor is 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Some preceptors work earlier shifts, but the day with the preceptor is generally eight hours. During the work day, interns provide patient care with the preceptor and complete nutrition assessments, follow-up notes and education sessions. After a day at the hospital, interns will have between three and four hours of homework and projects each evening. This is definitely not an 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. internship. 

    Q: Do interns meet for class?

    A: Interns have class once a week for approximately one-and-half hours. The director uses class time to cover topics that will prepare the interns for upcoming rotations and/or future career opportunities. It is also a time for the group to touch base, talk about how things are going, and address any questions or concerns. 

    Q: How much autonomy will I have with my preceptor?

    A: The preceptors are by your side during the first month or two, depending on your needs. As the internship progresses and your confidence, knowledge and abilities increase, so does your autonomy. The final three weeks of the internship before the Community rotation is Staff Relief, where you will actually take over patient assignments for the preceptors. 

    Q: Do interns get to attend professional meetings?

    A: Yes! The interns have the opportunity to attend local and state academy meetings. 

    Q: Do interns work on weekends?

    A: Not typically; the general work schedule is Monday through Friday. 

    Q: Can interns have a job during the internship?

    A: Outside employment is discouraged due to the rigor of the program. To help offset this, we do not charge tuition and we offer a stipend of about $5,300 to help with expenses.

    Q: Is there any scheduled time off during the internship?

    A: There is one week scheduled for vacation during the Christmas season. Interns also get official holidays off when they occur during the week. 

    Q: Are interns responsible for their own living arrangements?

    A: Yes, interns make their own arrangements for living facilities. They will be on a listserv with other members of their intern class and can arrange to live with another student if they wish.

    Q: Do you offer a review course for the Credentialing Exam for Dietitians?

    A: We do not offer or require a review course for the RD Exam. We leave the decision on whether to take a review course up to the individual intern, however we highly recommend our interns take one. Review courses teach for the exam, while our internship prepares graduates for an entry-level position. 

    Q: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply to your program?

    A: Yes. Due to our relationship with the VA Medical Center, only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply and be accepted to our program. 

  • Accreditation Status

    The University of Kentucky Hospital’s Dietetic Internship Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

    Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 
    120 S. Riverside Plaza
    Suite 2190 
    Chicago IL 60606-6995 
    800-877-1600 Ext 5400 
    Visit their website.