Dietetic Internship Masters Program Degree Guide 2020 - Houston

Dietetic Internship/Master’s Degree Program
Spring 2020 Matching Period

Texas Woman's University
Houston, Texas

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

The route to becoming a RDN is a three-step process:

  • First complete an undergraduate or graduate Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Upon completion of these prerequisite and core DPD courses, students receive a DPD verification statement.
  • The second step requires completion of a minimum of 1200 supervised practice hours in an ACEND accredited program.
  • After successful completion of the supervised practice portion, students must then take and Pass the national Registration Examination for the RDN credential, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR).

**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 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). After obtaining your RDN, it is encouraged to obtain state licensure as applicable. For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN please visit Eatright.

Introduction

The Dietetic Internship Program (DI) at Texas Woman’s University-Houston combines supervised practice experiences and graduate study, fulfilling the second requirement of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (completion of an ACEND accredited supervised practice program) and leading to a Master of Science degree in Nutrition. The DI has a Medical Nutrition Therapy Emphasis and requires successful completion of a minimum of 1200 supervised practice hours. The supervised practice experiences include medical nutrition therapy, food systems management, school nutrition, public health and other emerging practice areas. The program meets the 2017 Accreditation Standards established by ACEND.

The DI and graduate coursework consists of a minimum of 42 graduate credit hours (thesis option) and 48 graduate credit hours (coursework option) of which up to nine dietetic internship graduate credit hours can be applied to the M.S. degree. Upon successful completion of required coursework and internship experiences graduates receive a Verification of Completion Statement and are eligible to complete the CDR credentialing examination. Graduates of the program are competent to practice as entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists and are qualified to apply for licensure in the state of Texas. Upon completion of the Internship, the student is usually within 1 semester of completing the Master of Science Degree depending on the Master’s route chosen.

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Dietetic Internship program is to provide quality graduate study and challenging supervised practice experience that focuses on medical nutrition therapy and to prepare graduates to be competent, critically thinking entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.

General Program Information

  • Number of intern positions: 12
  • Number of applications received: 
    • 2018: 34
    • 2017: 60
  • DI Supervised practice hours per week: 32-40
  • Total supervised practice hours: 1216
  • Average GPA range 2018 class: 3.4 – 3.95
  • Pass Rate on the RDN Exam last 3 years: Within 1 year of first attempt-100%

Outcomes data are available on request (kstone@twu.edu).

Program Format

The internship program is approximately 12 months. Completion of the MS degree, thesis or electives for the coursework option, require an additional semester or two. Interns are scheduled for supervised practice experiences during fall, spring and summer semesters. Students in the DI begin in the fall semester and are enrolled in graduate courses and the internship concurrently. Graduate courses are scheduled on Monday or online, and supervised practice rotations are scheduled on Tuesday through Friday.

The Nutrition and Food Sciences Department (NFS) offers two degree options for the Master of Science in Nutrition: (1) Thesis option (minimum of 30 credit hours) requiring a thesis project; and (2) Coursework option (minimum 36 credit hours) requiring a capstone seminar.

Twenty-one (21) credit hours of internship are required for both routes. Refer to the NFS website for specific graduation requirements for each degree plan.

If a qualified applicant has earned a prior advanced degree in nutrition or an area related to the NFS Department degrees, i.e., Food Science, Food Systems Administration, Public Health, etc., then no additional degree is required. The DI Director determines if the prior degree can be approved. However all students are required to enroll in Graduate School and meet the course and supervised practice requirements of the dietetic internship. If a qualified student has earned an advanced degree in a non-related area, i.e., history, psychology, marketing, etc., then they must enroll in the MS in Nutrition degree program.

Supervised Practice Sites

The interns receive one on one instruction with experienced preceptors throughout the program. The affiliated facilities providing the major supervised practice experiences are located in the Houston metropolitan area and include the Memorial Hermann Health Care System, St. Joseph Medical Center, the Harris Health System, DaVita Dialysis Centers, Houston Independent School District, Fort Bend Independent School District, Houston Food Bank and elective emerging practice settings. The DI Director schedules the supervised practice rotations, however interns have an elective rotation where they are encouraged to select an experience that reflects their area of interest and career goals.

TWU Dietetic Interns may also apply to the Baylor College of Medicine Neonatal Nutrition Fellowship Program. It is a 3 month program to train interns/dietitians in the unique nutritional management of high-risk infants both in the hospital (Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women and Ben Taub Hospital) and in post discharge community settings (Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates).

Admission Requirements

Students must meet the following criteria to be considered for the DI/MS program. All programs at TWU are open to qualified men and women.

  • Verification Statement showing completion of an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) curriculum or declaration of Intent to Complete DPD (uploaded by your DPD Director). The Verification Statement completion date must show recency of education within five years*.
  • Grade Point Average of 3.25 or above on a 4.0 scale on the last 60 undergraduate hours (unconditional admission).
  • Grade Point Average of 3.00 or above on a 4.0 scale on the last 60 undergraduate hours (provisional admission).
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) verbal, quantitative and writing scores with a preferred minimum of 143 on the verbal portion, 141 on the quantitative portion and 4.0 on the writing score.
  • one page resume providing evidence of work and volunteer experience in a related field of study.
  • Admission to TWU Graduate School. Note: DI selections are made prior to and separately from The Graduate School Admission process. If a student is appointed to the DI program but are denied admission to The Graduate School, the DI appointment would be forfeited at that time. Please refer to the online TWU Graduate Catalog for admission requirements.

*Students with Verification Statements 5-10 years old must update their education with the completion of Medical Nutrition Therapy I and II or equivalent courses. If the Verification Statement is more than 10 years old current DPD requirements must be met.

Application Process

Applications to the Dietetic Internship and to the Graduate School are two separate processes.

  1. Application to TWU-Houston Internship Program: The program participates in DICAS (Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System). DICAS will be available early December for spring 2020 Match at https://portal.dicas.org (email DICASinfo@DICAS.org). The online application must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on February 15, 2020. The fee to use DICAS is $45 for the first application submitted and $20 for each additional application.
    • When completing the application form, applicants must include the name and contact information (specifically an email address) for each reference. This will trigger an email message requesting completion of a reference form. The form will be completed on-line. Students submitting more than one application will need to use the same individuals as references for each application.
    • Applicants who apply to internships using DICAS will be asked to complete a personal statement (1000 word limit). Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include:
      • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
      • Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career.
      • What are you long and short term goals and how will our program help you meet them?
      • What are your strengths and weakness or areas needing improvement?
    • Official transcripts for all colleges and universities attended should be sent to:
      DICAS – Transcript Dept.
      PO Box 9118
      Watertown, MA 02472
    • Applicants must also register online for computer matching at http://www.dnddigital.com and select dietetic internship priority choices by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on February 15, 2020. There is a $55.00 computer matching fee. Click here to go to the section on the ACEND website for details on Computer Matching Policy and Procedure:
    • Required Supplemental Information for the TWU Internship Program in Houston, Texas that should be submitted on DICAS: Upload a copy of your GRE score
  2. Application to TWU Graduate Program – Houston: Applicants may apply to TWU Graduate School after your acceptance to TWU DI – Houston in April or at any time if early acceptance is preferred. Application to the TWU Graduate School must include:
    • Online Graduate School Application from ApplyTexas
    • A $50 non-refundable application fee, payable to TWU Graduate Admission.
    • Official college transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
    • GRE scores (official)
    • Send Transcript(s) and GRE Scores to:
      Texas Woman’s University
      Office of Admissions Processing
      P.O. Box 425649
      Denton Texas 76204-5649

Internship Selection Process

A Selection Committee, comprised of NFS faculty, preceptors and 1 current intern, review all qualified applications. Application materials are evaluated by objective criteria in the areas of GPA, GRE, professional interests and goals, work experience (paid and/or volunteer), and recommendations.

Note: Texas Woman's University will not discriminate against any person because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status, or handicap.

Estimated Expenses

The expenses listed are approximations. Actual costs may be more or less than these estimates. The estimates for the internship program and graduate coursework are based on 45 graduate credit hours for the thesis option and 57 credit hours for the coursework option.

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ItemResidentNon-ResidentType
Tuition and Fees $16,390 $33,840 Thesis option (42 hours)
Tuition and Fees $18,532 $38,432 Coursework option (48 hours)
Off-Campus Room & Board Varies Varies N/A
Textbooks and supplies $500 $500 Per semester
Liability Insurance $30 $30 Estimated expense
Criminal Background $48 $48 One-time expense
Drug Screening $55 $55 One-time expense
CPR Training Basic Healthcare Provider Varies Varies One-time expense
A.N.D. Membership $50 $50 Annual fee
Lab coat $30 $30 One-time expense
ID Badges  $25 $25 One-time expense
T.A.N.D. State Meeting $250 $250 Estimated expense
Review for RD Exam $385 $385 Recommended
Immunization Fees Varies Varies N/A
Physical Exam Fee Varies Varies N/A
Transportation costs Varies Varies Travel to and from facilities for rotations
Parking fees Varies Varies N/A

*Note: Fees do not include property deposit or assigned course fees, and are subject to change without prior notice. Refer to Bursar’s office website for current tuition and fees.

See section on Departmental Scholarships/Financial Aid.

Transportation

Transportation to the facilities is the responsibility of the intern. It is necessary that the student have access to an automobile in good working condition and be able to drive a one hour or 60 mile radius in a busy metropolitan area for certain rotations.

Graduate Housing

It is the intern's responsibility to select and provide his/her own housing. Accommodations are not available on campus. For information contact Student Life at 713/794-2157 or by email.

Program Coursework for DI/Master’s Program

Fall I

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CourseCredit Hours
NFS 5314 Nutrition and Human Metabolism*  4
NFS 5363 Human Nutrition in Disease* 3
NFS 5903 Research Methods or Statistics 3
NFS 5813 Internship in Nutrition Care 6

Supervised Practice Hours384

Spring I

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CourseCredit Hours
NFS 5773 Organization & Management in FSS  3
NFS 5813 Internship in Nutrition Care 6

Supervised Practice Hours: 448

Summer

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CourseCredit Hours
NFS 5813 Internship in Nutrition Care 9

Supervised Practice Hours: 384
Total Supervised Practice Hours: 1216

Fall II

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CourseCredit Hours
MS Program Requirements* Varies

Take Registration Exam and become RDN credentialed! 

Master of Science in Nutrition Program Requirements

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(for Thesis and Coursework options)

Fall Semester

CourseThesis Degree Plan* (credit hours)Coursework Degree Plan** (credit hours)
NFS 5314 Nutrition & Human Metabolism
NFS 5363 Human Nutrition in Disease 
NFS Research Methods or Statistics 
NFS 5813 Internship Experience*** 

Spring Semester

CourseThesis Degree Plan* (credit hours)Coursework Degree Plan** (credit hours)
NFS 5331 Seminar N/A 
NFS Electives 
NFS 5773 Mgt & Org for Foodservice Systems
NFS 5983 Thesis  N/A 
NFS 5813 Internship Experience*** 

Summer 1 Semester

CourseThesis Degree Plan* (credit hours)Coursework Degree Plan** (credit hours)
NFS 5813 Internship Experience*** 3

Summer Semester

CourseThesis Degree Plan* (credit hours)Coursework Degree Plan** (credit hours)
NFS Elective N/A 
NFS 5813 Internship Experience***
NFS 5993 Thesis (or 5983 as appropriate) N/A 

Fall Semester

CourseThesis Degree Plan* (credit hours)Coursework Degree Plan** (credit hours)
NFS Elective N/A 
NFS 5332 Capstone Seminar N/A 

Total Hours: 

  • Thesis Degree Plan: 42
  • Coursework Degree Plan: 48

*Thesis requires completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours (21 course work hours + 9 internship hours). Thesis may take additional time.
**Course work option requires completion of a minimum of 36 hours (27 didactic course hours + 9 internship hours). A capstone seminar is required for coursework option and may be taken at the end of the program. 
**Nine credit hours of NFS 5813 can be credited to a degree plan after the successful completion of the internship program. If an intern is unable to complete the dietetic internship program, no credit for NFS 5813 will be given towards the completion of a master’s degree.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

University and Departmental Scholarships 

The Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences awards academic scholarships each year. Awards of $1000 or more for a full academic year can waive out-of-state tuition for out-of-state students. Scholarship deadlines are set each spring (usually March 1) for the following academic year. View and apply for scholarships online.

Additional information regarding scholarships and deadlines is available from the Financial Aid Office.

Note: Scholarship application deadlines occur before internship appointments are made. Therefore, it is in the student's best interest to apply early in the spring semester. All scholarships are contingent upon the student enrolling at TWU.

Texas Academy Foundation and Academy Foundation Scholarships

Scholarships from these Foundations are available for qualified students who apply before the spring deadline. Students must be Academy members in order to be eligible. If a student has attended an ACEND program or plans to attend a program or graduate school in nutrition or a closely related area, they are eligible for these awards. Additional information can be obtained from the following websites:

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships are available to selected full-time students who have been accepted into the departmental programs. Financial support includes a monthly stipend and an out-of-state tuition waiver for half-time employment (20 hours/week). Research assistantships may be available from individual faculty members in the department. Inquiries should be made to the Chair of the department at 940/898-2636. Departmental assistantships are granted prior to each semester and are dependent on student enrollment and departmental needs. Interested graduate students should complete the Graduate Assistantship form located on the NFS or Graduate School websites and submit to the NFS Department Chair for consideration.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid can provide financial assistance to qualified students Aid may be awarded in the form of loans, assistantships, scholarships or some combination of these. Please refer to the current graduate catalog for more details and deadlines for application on the website.

Academic Common Market

Many southern states* participate in the Academic Common Market, an interstate agreement for sharing uncommon programs. Residents of these states who are accepted for admission into selected out-of-state programs can enroll on an in-state tuition basis. The two requirements are:

  1. Acceptance in a program to which your state has made arrangements to send its students.
  2. Proof that you are a legal resident of that state.

Students should write directly to the institution for admissions information. After you have been accepted, write your state coordinator for certification of residency.

*Information about participating states and available programs can be found at http://www.sreb.org.

Accreditation Status and the Credentialing Process

Students completing the academic requirements from an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) are eligible to apply to a DI. Upon successful completion of the program, students are eligible to write the registration examination to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. The TWU-Houston Internship Program is currently granted accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite # 2190, Chicago, IL 60606- 6995; Telephone: (312)899-0040 or (800)877-1600 ext. 5900. 

ACEND website: https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend

Program Goals and Outcome Measures

(Outcomes in bold reflect measures established by ACEND).

Goal 1. Prepare graduates with knowledge and skills needed to be competent entry level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists 

  • Of graduates who seek employment, at least 75% are employed in the nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • At least 75 % of employers will give program graduates in their employment a rating of average or above in professional knowledge and skills as compared to other entry level registered dietitian nutritionists.
  • 90% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • 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%.
  • At least 80% of the TWU Internship graduates will rate themselves as average or above in professional knowledge and skills as compared to other entry level registered dietitians.
  • At least 80% of program interns will complete program requirements within 18 months (150% of the program length).

Goal 2. Prepare graduates with extensive knowledge and skills to be competent in Medical Nutrition Therapy. 

  • At least 90% of interns will complete the MS degree within 6 years of beginning the program.
  • At least 75% of employers will give program graduates in their employment a rating of average or above in medical nutrition therapy (MNT) knowledge and skills as compared to other entry level registered dietitian nutritionists.

This information is valid until February 15, 2021. Last update September 2019. 

Texas Woman’s University
Department of Nutrition and Food and Sciences
6700 Fannin St.
Houston, Texas 77030-2343

Page last updated 9:56 AM, November 11, 2019