Seattle Pacific University Nutrition and Dietetics Internship Certificate Program

The SPU DI is an 8-1/2-month, post-baccalaureate program that provides dietetic interns with a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised professional experiences and learning activities in the areas of clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and food service management.

Intern Spotlight

“The SPU Dietetic Internship program has provided a wealth of opportunity and interest for my future career as a RDN. I am eternally grateful that I have had the chance to confirm this is the field I truly want to work in. From community rotations to private practice, and unique rotations with eating disorder clients-it is hard to choose just one path. The good news is-I don’t have to! I have not only grown as a nutrition professional, but as a compassionate individual ready to make a positive impact in the various facets of the nutrition and dietetics practice. Thanks to the support of my director, preceptors and cohort I am confident that there is a bright future ahead as a SPU alum.” - Ashley Napoleon, SPU Nutrition and Dietetics Intern, 2020-21

Pictured is Ashley recording a virtual cooking demonstration about instant brown rice recipes for clients served through Homage Senior Services.Pictured is Ashley recording a virtual cooking demonstration about instant brown rice recipes for clients served through Homage Senior Services.

Information to Prospective Students

Program Description 

The program’s community nutrition concentration will provide interns with in-depth learning experiences in food security, cultural competence, and nutrition education of diverse audiences. Dietetic interns will have opportunities to complete learning activities at food banks/pantries, community centers, WIC, home care, senior services, and more. Upon program completion, graduates will be eligible to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitian Nutritionists.

Optional International Rotation

Dietetic interns may choose to complete an optional supervised practice experience in Shimla, India. Interns will spend time in clinical and community nutrition rotations in a rural area of the country. Students completing this 2-week rotation will obtain 60 hours of supervised experience. Additional tuition will be charged for this optional rotation.

Mission Statement, Program Goals, and Objectives

The mission of the SPU DI program is to prepare graduates for entry-level work as registered dietitian nutritionists to support the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities, and to be leaders in the dietetics profession and in the community at large. Our graduates will use their food and nutrition expertise to engage the culture and enhance the lives of others through effective leadership, policy impact, management of programs and services, culturally sensitive education and counseling practices, and compassionate care throughout the lifespan.

Program Goal #1: Graduates are prepared for entry-level practice as registered dietitian nutritionists in the areas of medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, and food service management.

Program Goal #1 will be assessed based on the following objectives:

  • At least ninety percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion. (Graduate performance on Registration Exam objective)
  • The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one-year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%. (Graduate performance on Registration Exam objective)
  • At least 80% of students complete program/degree requirements within 12 months (150% of the program length).  (Program completion objective)
  • Of graduates who seek employment, 75% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation. (Graduate employment objective)
  • At least 80% of program graduates who complete the survey will rate their preparation for entry-level practice as satisfactory or higher. (Program specific objective)
  • At least 75% of employers who complete the survey will agree that graduates demonstrate satisfactory preparation for entry-level practice. (Employer satisfaction objective)

Program Goal #2: Graduates demonstrate knowledge and skills in cultural competence.

Program Goal #2 will be assessed based on the following objectives:

  • At least 75% of employers who complete the survey will agree that graduates demonstrate satisfactory communication skills when interacting with culturally diverse populations across the lifespan. (Employer satisfaction objective)
  • At least 80% of program finishers who complete the survey will agree that the program prepared them to provide effective culturally-sensitive nutrition education and counseling across the lifespan.
  • At least 80% of program finishers who complete the survey and who participated in the optional international rotation in India will agree that the experience enhanced their knowledge in working with culturally diverse populations.

Program Goal #3: Graduates actively participate in leadership and service roles within the nutrition and dietetic profession or the community at large.

Program Goal #3 will be assessed based on the following objectives:

  • At least 75% of employers who complete the survey will state that graduates are actively involved in leadership roles within their organization.
  • At least 50% of graduates who complete the survey will report participation in at least one leadership position within the dietetics profession within five years of program completion.
  • At least 75% of graduates who complete the survey will report involvement in a nutrition-related community service project within two years of program completion.
  • At least 50% of graduates who complete the survey will report participation in one or more of the following services to the profession: precepting dietetic interns, overseeing undergraduate field experiences or internships, providing job shadows, or mentoring students.

Program outcomes data are available upon request.

Requirements and Process for Credentialing as a Registered Dietitian (RDN)

To become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), students must meet the following requirements:

  • Earn a master's degree and receive a verification statement from an accredited didactic program in dietetics, or equivalent.
  • Meet the admission requirements for an ACEND-regulated post-baccalaureate supervised practice program, which includes completion of required academic courses and minimum GPA requirements.
  • Gain acceptance into a supervised practice program.
  • Successfully complete a supervised practice program, which requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised practice experience.
  • Pass the Registration Examination for Dietitian Nutritionists.

Changes to RDN Credentialing Requirements

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website: 

In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at Seattle Pacific University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

Washington State Licensure Requirements

The practice of dietetics in Washington State in regulated by the Washington State Department of Health and requires a state license separate from national registration. Application for licensure requires attestation of education and/or continuing education, proof of credential verification, submission of all required forms including any supplemental documents as requested, and pay all associated fees. More information on licensing requirements and application can be found through the Washington State Department of Health.

Estimated Program Fees

2023-24 Academic Year

 Fees    $150
 Program deposit (non-refundable)*    $500
 Liability insurance
 Background check
 Drug testing
 Third-party immunization documentation verification fee
 Books and supplies
 Student membership fee, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Laptop computer**    $275
Computer headset    $50
Technology fee    $90

*Program deposit is due within two weeks of acceptance to the program.

**An affordable laptop program is available through the University’s CIS Department.

Please note: Housing, meals and travel expenses, including ferry boat fees, are additional costs not covered by program tuition and fees.

Optional International Rotation in Shimla, India:

Dietetic internship program fee
 Administrative fee    $300
 Additional costs:
 India travel visa
 Spending money and personal weekend travel

For more information, visit SPU Study Abroad 

Application and Admission Requirements

Information on Applying to the Program

The SPU DI program accepts applications in two ways: the pre-select option and the standard submission process, both through Dietetic Internship Central Application Services (DICAS).

Pre-select Application Submission Process

The SPU DI program offers up to 11 out of 11 intern positions to qualified SPU-affiliated applicants. The remaining positions will be filled through computer matching.

Pre-select applicants must submit an application through DICAS no later than January 06, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PST. All candidates who apply during the pre-selection phase must upload an official transcript as part of their DICAS application showing completion of a graduate degree.

A non-refundable program application fee of $50 must be received by January 6th. All payments must be made through the Dietetic Internship Payment Portal

Interviews will be held in mid-January.  Applicants will be notified of their status (acceptance or non-acceptance) by January 26, 2023 (Notification Day). Applicants offered a position in the program through the pre-select option must confirm acceptance via email by January 26th (Appointment Day). Once pre-select applicants are confirmed, names and email addresses of interns will be submitted to D&D Digital Online Dietetics Internship Matching Service for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics by January 30st. If an applicant fails to notify the program director, via email, to confirm acceptance of his/her appointment by 11:59 p.m. PST on January 26th, the position will be filled by another candidate.

Standard Application Submission Process

To apply to the SPU DI program, applicants must submit an application through DICAS. Three letters of recommendations are required, two letters should be from Food and Nutrition Professors and one letter from a supervisor. Applications are due February 15th by 11:59 p.m. CST.  

A non-refundable program application fee of $50 must be received by February 15th. All payments must be made through the Dietetic Internship Payment Portal.

Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted via email to schedule a Zoom interview to occur during March. Results of computer matching will be available on Sunday, April 2nd beginning at 11:00 a.m. CST (Notification Day). Candidates matched to the SPU DI program must contact the program director by 6:00 p.m. on Monday, April 3rd (Appointment Day) to confirm acceptance of the match. If a candidate fails to contact the program by 6:00 pm PST. on Appointment Day, the program is under no obligation to retain the position for the applicant.

Program Admission Requirements

  • Master's degree from an accredited college or university
  • An original signed Verification Statement dated within last five years
  • Minimum cumulative GPA: 3.0; Minimum DPD Professional Sciences GPA: 3.0. Proof of DTR credential may be taken into consideration if an applicant's GPA is below 3.0
  • ServSafe Manager Certification through the National Restaurant Association at the time of application and uploaded as a supplemental document in the DICAS application

Applicants may be admitted to the SPU Nutrition and Dietetics Internship program prior to completing a graduate degree if they upload documentation to DICAS showing current enrollment in a graduate degree program, are in the final quarter/semester of their graduate degree, and if they plan to finish the graduate degree program before June 30th.

Preferred Qualifications (in no ranked order)

  • Experience in clinical, community and/or food service management settings
  • Mission, study abroad or volunteer experience with diverse cultures
  • Involvement in a state or local dietetic association
  • Leadership experience

Evaluation of Prior Learning Experience

Dietetic interns may opt to apply for prior learning credit toward their internship hours. Granting of hours is up to the complete discretion of the Dietetic Internship Director and will be based upon the quality of experiences and competencies met, not on the length of time in prior jobs or volunteer positions.

Tuition and fees for the dietetic internship will remain the same, regardless of the amount of prior learning hours granted. Additionally, a fee of $50 for review of PLA will be assessed. Prior learning is assessed only after an intern has been accepted into the program.

The following components should be submitted by the date communicated by the program director. Review and determination of credit hours will be completed within 2 weeks of submission.

The application should include: a cover letter providing an overview of the information in your portfolio and a brief introduction to your areas of prior experience, completed PLA form comparing your prior learning and experiences to the DI competencies. and a portfolio containing supporting documentation of competencies met.

Portfolio examples include:

  • Resume (required).
  • Job descriptions for experiences you are hoping to apply toward competencies.
  • De-identified examples of chart notes showing Nutrition Care Process.
  • Educational handouts and lesson plans.
  • Professional presentations.
  • De-identified foodservice management reports.
  • References with contact information for supervisors or other professionals that can attest to your prior experiences (required).

Any experiences for which you do not have supporting documentation may be checked with your supervisor of those experiences. Upon receipt of your completed prior learning assessment application components, an interview will be scheduled with the Dietetic Internship Director to review and discuss any needed clarifications. Address application to Professor Joey Freeman, MS, RD, Dietetic Internship Director:

Academic and Program Calendar

Program Schedule

The SPU DI program follows the University calendar. SPU operates on the quarter system, and each quarter is 11 weeks in length, (10 weeks of instruction followed by finals week). Autumn quarter spans from mid-September through late-November followed by a multi-week break over the holidays. Winter quarter begins in early January and ends in mid-March followed by a weeklong spring break. Spring quarter begins in late March and concludes in early-June.

Dietetic interns accepted into the SPU DI program will begin on-boarding the summer prior to the start of the program. Verification statements indicating completion of a Bachelor’s degree and Didactic Program in Dietetics will need to be received by the program director. In addition, criminal background checks, immunization verification and other required procedures will need to be completed before interns may begin the program in September.

Program orientation will occur in September. During orientation, dietetic interns will learn in depth information about the program, including the mission, goals and objectives, supervised practice rotation sites, preceptors, assignments, seminar sessions, core competencies, intern expectations, evaluation criteria, and etiquette. Interns will also have ample time to get to know their peers and will participate in team-building activities. Orientation will prepare dietetic interns to begin supervised practice experience in the following weeks. Program completion will take place in May.

Dietetic Internship Rotation Descriptions

Clinical Nutrition/MNT: The Intern will spend 12 weeks working alongside a Registered Dietitian in clinical in-patient and/or outpatient settings. The intern will work as part of an inter-professional team, and develop skills in the Nutrition Care Process, nutrition education and counseling, and designing educational materials for clients. These experiences will enable the intern to progress in responsibility, culminating with staff relief. This supervised practice experience will prepare the intern for entry-level work as a clinical dietitian to provide compassionate care across the lifespan. 

Community Nutrition: The Intern will spend 10 weeks working alongside a Registered Dietitian or other community nutrition professional in community nutrition organizations, such as WIC, Pregnancy Aid, community centers, food banks, and/or senior centers. The Intern will gain in-depth learning experiences in food security, cultural competence, and nutrition education of diverse audiences, and practice counseling and educating individuals, families, and community groups of diverse backgrounds and age levels These experiences will enable the intern to complete a culminating community needs assessment project. 

Food Service Management: The dietetic Intern will spend 5 weeks working alongside a Registered Dietitian or chef in a school district, hospital, or senior living facility. The intern will develop skills in menu planning, standardized recipe development, procurement, food safety/sanitation audits, financial management, human resources, and assessment of environmental impact. This rotation will enable the intern to practice managerial responsibilities over the term, preparing the intern for entry-level work as a foodservice dietitian.   

*Rotation schedules vary and are individualized for each intern based on survey feedback provided and availability of supervised practice sites.  

Program Completion Requirements

Dietetic interns will be assessed quarterly in the dietetic internship seminar and practicum. To pass with a satisfactory grade (P), interns must achieve the following: complete required number of hours in assigned rotations, meet ACEND requirements for entry-level knowledge and competencies in assigned rotations/practice areas, and receive minimum "meets expectations" ratings on preceptor evaluations. To pass the dietetic internship seminar, interns must complete all didactic coursework at a satisfactory level within pre-determined timeframes. Satisfactory performance will be required in both the dietetic seminar and practicum in order to complete the program and earn a Verification Statement. Interns will have a maximum of 12 months to complete the program.

Distance Education Technology Requirements

SPU Dietetic Interns will need access to a laptop computer with a camera, headset, and Wi-Fi. SPU offers an affordable laptop program for students. Interns are required to utilize Zoom video conferencing and the Canvas Learning Management System. The SPU Educational Technology and Media Department provides support to students using these systems. For more information, visit the ETM Student Resources Wiki.

Availability of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial aid is not available for post-baccalaureate students enrolled at SPU. Some scholarship funding may be available through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Computer Matching Information

Our program participates in computer matching through D&D Digital Online Dietetics Internship Matching Service for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Faculty Contact

Joey Freeman

Assistant Professor of Nutrition; Nutrition and Dietetics Internship Director; Chair of Food and Nutritional Sciences; Co-chair of Family and Consumer Sciences Department
MS, Central Washington University

Phone: 206-281-2006
Office: Peterson Hall 207

Program details

  • The SPU DI program begins in September and ends in June.
  • We offer a unique, optional international rotation to Shimla, India over the holiday break in November/December.

SPU Master of Education in Digital Education Leadership (DEL):

  • Students are encouraged to consider the SPU MEd Program in Digital Education Leadership.
  • The inquiry-based curriculum is designed to enable dietetic interns to connect their learning between the DI and DEL programs.
  • The SPU DEL program will enhance career readiness in the dietetics profession through development of knowledge and skills in digital ethics, digital teaching, curriculum development, program evaluation, and more.
  • The program can be completed in 9 months, is fully online, and offers a flexible format.
  • Please visit the DEL webpage for additional information.
Eligibility for the SPU DI program includes the following: 
  • Proof of an earned graduate degree or acceptance into an online graduate program that can be completed by October 2024. 
  • A DPD Verification statement. 
  • Minimum cumulative GPA: 3.0. 
  • A ServSafe Manager certificate valid through June 2024.

Second round instructions: 

Applications will be accepted through DICAS on a rolling basis until all spots are filled.  A $50.00 program application fee is required and can be submitted through our website payment portal.  Please send inquiries to: Ms. Joey K. Freeman, MEd, MS, RD, program director:  

ACEND Accreditation Logo

Dietetic Internship Accreditation

Seattle Pacific University is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics

120 South Riverside Plaza Suite 2190 Chicago, IL 60606-6995

Phone Number: (312)-899-0040 ext 5400


Dietetic Internship Student Handbook

View complete information about the SPU dietetic internship program in the Dietetic Internship Student Handbook (PDF)