Dietetic Internship 2019

College of Science and Health
MS in Nutrition and Dietetics

Foster Improved Health Outcomes

In our dynamic health care environment and complex public health arena, it is essential for nutrition professionals and dietetics practitioners to develop knowledge and skills for fostering improved health outcomes. Designed for those who want to help others and make a positive difference in their communities, the M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program at Benedictine University has 2 tracks and prepares students for medical therapeutic and health promotion avenues. This evidenced-based program does not require a thesis but develops knowledge and application of research knowledge to properly identify and evaluate research outcomes. Learning at Benedictine University combines instructional expertise with student competence and field experience for a stepping-stone to professional success or to further study at the doctorate level.

The M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program Track A provides the practice-based knowledge and experience for those seeking to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). This track combines an accredited Dietetic Internship (DI) of on-ground experience with classes taught online and in a blended format. Dietetic interns normally complete this combined M.S./DI program in 16 months. Students in Track A normally begin coursework in August.

Classes in the M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics program Track B are fully online and incorporate interaction with flexibility. The online format enables students to earn a master’s degree from an established, reputable university while continuing personal and professional pursuits. Our program also gives credit for accredited dietetics practice experiences (dietetic internship, ISPP, RDN credential) completed at Benedictine University and elsewhere (refer to the Curriculum tab for information on Track B). Students typically enroll in one 8-week course at a time, with two per semester, completing the degree in about two years. Those who are not working may prefer to complete the degree at a faster pace, taking two courses per session (4 per semester) to complete the degree in less time. Students in Track B begin their courses in the program in August or January to be part of a cohort.


The graduate program creates and maintains a learning environment that encourages critical thinking, acquisition of evidence-based comprehensive knowledge of the interrelationships of food, nutrition, and health,


Upon successful completion of the Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics foundation courses, the student will:

  1. Demonstrate applications of nutritional sciences.
  2. Present evidence-based professional communications.
  3. Demonstrate application of research for evidence-informed practice.


Applicants to either Track A or B should have a minimum 3.00/4.00 cumulative GPA. GRE results are optional but welcomed with a recommended minimum score of 30th percentile in each of the three areas of the GRE: verbal, quantitative and analytical. Applications without GRE scores will have more weight applied to grades and references.

Foundation courses (15 credit hours), listed below, are required for both tracks, in addition to course requirements specific to a particular track.

PBHL 5502 Introduction to Biostatistics (3)
PBHL 6500 Research Methods in Public Health (3)
NUTR 5581 Obesity Prevention and Management (3)
NUTR 5585 Complementary Nutrition Therapies (3)
PBHL 6898 Community Health Analysis or
PBHL 6203 Public Health Program Planning and Evaluation (3)

Track A provides the practice-based knowledge and experience for practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) combined with a life-science based health promotion graduate degree and prepares students to take the RDN exam. This track includes an accredited Dietetic Internship (DI) on ground experience with classes taught online in a blended format. Dietetic interns normally complete this combined M.S./DI program in 16 months. For those applying to Track A, additional coursework in medical nutrition therapy is required when a degree has been completed five or more years prior to Dietetic Internship application; courses may be taken at Benedictine University.

Track A Course Requirements (18 credit hours):

NUTR 5445 Life Span in Community Settings (2)
NUTR 5455 DI Foodservice (2)
NUTR 5460 Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy (3)
NUTR 5465 DI Clinical (3)
NUTR 5466 DI Clinical LTC/Sub Acute (1)
NUTR 5475 Nutrition Clinical Management (2)
NUTR 5480 DI Skill & Practice Competence & Professional Issues (2)
NUTR 5491 Nutrition Assessment Lab (3)

Track B is designed for:

  1. graduates of Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) who are accepted into and pursuing a Dietetic Internship (DI) program not affiliated with Benedictine University;
  2. CDR credentialed RDNs who seek a graduate degree; and,
  3. those within or outside of the dietetics profession who seek a Nutrition graduate degree. Applications for Track B must submit either a DPD Verification Statement OR a college/university transcript showing satisfactory completion of a Physiology course (or Anatomy & Physiology I and II) and a 2000-level general Nutrition course.

Track B Course Requirements (18 credit hours):
NUTR 5583 Science of Sports Nutrition (3)
PBHL 5506 Leadership and Management in Health Organizations (3)
PBHL 6201 Health Communications and Marketing (3)
3 Electives – choose from the list below (9)

Students in Track B who complete an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship (or ISPP) external to BenU can be awarded work/life credit for NUTR 5687 Professional Practice in Dietetics for a maximum of 6 semester credit hours, thereby reducing elective requirements. Applicants must submit the Practice Verification Statement as supporting evidence to Benedictine University’s DI Director and will receive instructions on the steps for eligibility.

Elective courses:
NUTR 5501 Dimensions of Wellness
NUTR 5561 Maternal and Child Nutrition
NUTR 5687 Professional Practice in Dietetics 1
NUTR 6688 Research Internship 2
PBHL 5501 Introduction to Public Health
PBHL 5504 Introduction to Epidemiology
PBHL 5505 Health Systems Law and Policy
PBHL 6009 Social Determinants of Health
PBHL 6501 Environmental Health
PBHL 6502 Public Health Grant Writing

1 External dietetic interns and those holding the RDN credential can enroll in NUTR 5687 and be awarded up to 6 credits, reducing the number of required electives. Contact the department for more information.

2 On campus only, with consent of faculty researcher.

To received Work/Life Experience credit, students must submit a Petition for External Credit Form available on the Office of the Registrar website. A $150 Work/Life Experience Fee is assessed per credit hour awarded for equivalent dietetic practice experience as transfer credit. Students who received graduate academic credit from a university for the practice experience, and/or who have completed additional graduate courses, should contact the Program director ([email protected]).

Here is an example of some courses you may take in the Nutrition and Dietetics graduate program:

  • NUTR 5581 Obesity Prevention and Management
  • NUTR 5583 Science of Sports Nutrition
  • NUTR 5585 Complementary Nutrition Therapies

Nutrition and Dietetics Graduate Program Courses

Public Health Graduate course descriptions

Nutrition Graduate course descriptions

Careers with an Allied Health-Nutrition Degree

Careers in Nutrition

The 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase by 7% from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than average compared to other occupations. The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin area is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. for employment of these professionals. The 2022 Occupational Outlook Handbook reported the median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists as $66,450. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, the median wage for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) (not including nutritionists) was higher, at $72,000 in 2021. As with other professions, income will vary by region of the country, type of employment setting, and scope of responsibility; wages tend to be highest in the practice areas of food and nutrition management, consultation and business, and education and research. According to this 2021 Survey, income also increases with years of experience and additional certifications, with the top 25 percent of dietitians earning more than $87,700

Career Opportunities

The field of nutrition is one of the most dynamic, diverse professions. Thus, career opportunities are quite varied. For example, a solid background in the science of nutrition helps prepare you to:

  • Become a Registered Dietitian (RD) after the completion of a DPD (i.e., Nutrition Major and Dietetics concentration) and an accredited Dietetic Internship practice experience. The RD is the nutrition expert in food and nutrition, challenged to translate the interdisciplinary knowledge into practical applications. Some RDs work as clinical dietitians or community dietitians, providing consultation and therapeutic counseling for optimum nutrition to individuals and groups in clinics, health care facilities, medical offices, school systems, corporations, fitness centers, and in private practice. Other RDs work with professional athletes, in spas, on cruise ships, and in other entrepreneurial careers. Read more about this in the Nutrition Major Handbook.
  • Work in policy planning in public health agencies and health associations.
  • Develop and implement educational programs and events to improve the nutritional and health status of the community.
  • Work as a nutritionist health educator, health coach, fitness coach, or health promotion consultant in schools, health care facilities, corporations, wellness facilities or fitness setting.
  • Explore a career in food service as a manager of food services, food broker, or sales representative in restaurants, health care facilities, schools, or industry. Other related choices include quality control supervision and culinary education.
  • Supervise those delivering health promotion or education.
  • Develop a career as an author or editor of food and nutrition-related print media.
  • Use the bachelor degree in Nutrition as the knowledge foundation to a enter Medical, Chiropractic, or Nursing school.
  • With further study in chemistry, work in food science research for ingredient and product development.
  • Further study nutrition or other health-related fields, such as biochemistry, physiology, exercise physiology, and public health. Or, elect to pursue an education, marketing, or management advanced degree to complement your career interests. Approximately 50% of Registered Dietitians hold master degrees while 3% hold doctoral degrees.
  • Serve to educate nutrition and allied health professionals in an academic setting, after earning an appropriate graduate-level degree.

Some of the food and nutrition career positions held by our Benedictine University graduates include: clinical dietitian, neonatal and pediatric clinical nutrition specialist, public health case management dietitian, dietitians working in gerontology, nurse, dietetic technician, social worker, exercise physiologist, clinical services manager, internal nutrition support sales representative, quality assurance manager, food and nutrition services director, consumer affairs specialist for a major grocery store chain, product buyer, director of client services, manager of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Teams, community and university educator, corporate health promotion and wellness specialist, public relations specialist for a food association, owner of a bakery, nutritionist in public health programs and on reservations, weight loss counselor, author, researcher, and consultant in private practice.

Financial Assistance

Benedictine University offers graduate scholarships. See the following link for more information, visit: Many opportunities exist for nutrition students in need of financial assistance. Low interest bank loans and scholarships may be available from the government, corporations, civic groups, philanthropic and religious organizations.

To start the financial aid process, please complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at

  • Students must register for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) with the U.S. Department of Education. Your PIN will serve as your electronic signature. You can apply for a PIN online at:
  • Benedictine University’s school code is: 001767.

You can contact a representative in the University Financial Aid Office at (630) 829-6100 for a consultation. For more information on how to begin the financial aid application process for the online program, please request more information or call 630-829-6311 to speak with the Graduate Admissions Counselor.

If you are pursuing Track A, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy) offers students the opportunity to apply for Academy scholarships. To qualify, students must be at least junior standing and enrolled in an accredited undergraduate nutrition program (Didactic Program in Dietetics), Dietetic Internship program, or master’s degree program, depending upon the scholarship. Due to the limited number of available scholarships, these are quite competitive. Refer to the Academy website for more information. Generally, you must be a member of the Academy to receive an Academy or local dietetic association scholarship. Membership information is available on the Academy website or through the department.

All applicants should have a minimum 3.00/4.00 cumulative GPA. GRE results are optional but welcomed with a recommended minimum score of 30th percentile in each of the three areas of the GRE: verbal, quantitative and analytical. Applications without GRE scores will have more weight on grades and references.

Procedures for applying to the graduate program starts with the online Graduate Application, available at: In addition, all applicants must submit official transcript/s from any colleges/universities attended to the graduate school admissions. Resumes or curriculum vitas are optional but can be submitted as part of the application.

Each track has special procedures for applying:

Track A:  All applicants must have completed an ACEND (Accreditation Council of Education for Nutrition and Dietetics) accredited DPD (Didactic Program in Dietetics) prior to starting this program. Applicants must submit a DPD Verification Statement or DPD Declaration of Intent at the time of application, and a DPD Verification Statement is required prior to the start of the program, or a CDR card showing registration as a RDN in the USA. Additional coursework in medical nutrition therapy is typically required when a degree has been completed 5 or more years prior to Dietetic Internship application.

The admissions process for Track A is through either (a) computer matching using DICAS and D&D Digital Systems or through (b) pre-match of Benedictine University students and alumni with a DPD. Students applying to Track A, but not participating in pre-match, should refer to the Dietetic Internship Information Packet online for more information. Those applying through pre-match should confer with the university DI or DPD Director to obtain access to the proper forms.

Track B:  If applicants are interested in obtaining credit for NUTR 5687 to reduce the program elective requirements, they must provide evidence of the RDN credential or acceptance into an external dietetic internship to BenU’s DI Director. If a DI or ISPP is in progress and the applicant provides permission, the DI Director can obtain a copy of the DICAS application. Students in external internships must also provide progress reports to the DI Director demonstrating continuing evidence of success in the external DI program; upon verification of 95% completion by their DI director, eligibility for NUTR 5687 credit will be approved. Dietitians with foreign credentials should contact the DI Director.

Applicants not related to dietetics must have earned a grade of “C” or better in specific prerequisite coursework. Prerequisite courses for this program include undergraduate or graduate courses in the following: Physiology or combined Anatomy and Physiology (if part of a two-course sequence, Anatomy & Physiology I and II) and a 2000-level Nutritional Science course. Prerequisite courses may be taken at Benedictine University. Acceptance into or completion of Track B does not constitute, imply, or guarantee acceptance into or completion of the accredited BenU Dietetic Internship program, nor does it imply completion of an accredited Dietetic Internship experience or ISPP.

Brief Summary of Application Requirements per Track

Track A

  • Completion of Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
  • Verification Statement from USA ACEND accredited program, and as a separate application process, acceptance into the BenU Dietetic Internship Program.
  • 3.00/4.00 cumulative GPA 3.20/4.0 DPD GPA
  • GRE optional
  • 2 references (for DICAS/Dietetic Internship; not required for graduate school)
  • Personal statement (for DICAS/Dietetic Internship; not required for graduate school)
  • BenU Graduate School application
  • Transcripts sent to DICAS and BenU Graduate School

Track B

  • Completion of DPD and Verification Statement from USA ACEND accredited program and verified acceptance into an external (not BenU) DI program; OR RDN credit from USA Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR); OR dietitians from specified foreign countries (contact department); OR transcript indicating earned “C” or better in (1) Physiology or Anatomy and Physiology (if part of two-course sequence, Anatomy & Physiology I and II) and (2) 2000-level Nutritional Science course.
  • 3.00/4.00 cumulative GPA
  • GRE optional
  • 2 references (will accept from DICAS, otherwise provide to BenU Graduate School)
  • Personal statement (will accept from DICAS, otherwise provide to BenU Graduate School)
  • BenU Graduate School application
  • Transcripts sent to DICAS and/or BenU Graduate School

For more information on Benedictine University’s Dietetic Internship/Master of Science (M.S.) in Nutrition and Dietetics program contact the Dietetic Internship Director: Dr. Janet Millikan at [email protected] and click here.

Nutrition and Dietetics, MS – Lisle

Nutrition and Dietetics, BS – Lisle

4+1 with M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics – Lisle

Dietetic Internship Program- Lisle

State-by-State Licensure Requirements

Student Testimonial

Toby Mussman Smithson, Nutrition

Toby Mussman Smithson

Online M.S./Class of 2014

“I love the flexibility of the online program. Every course I have taken thus far has been relevant to my day to day job in public health, media interviews, and my business. It is exciting to bring what I am learning in the ‘classroom’ to the many conversations I have with clients, fellow RDs, media, and my employer.”

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