Health and Sport Sciences - College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Health and Sport Sciences College of Education, Health and Human Sciences
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Clinical Nutrition (MS)



  • Dr. Randal Buddington
  • Beth Egan
  • Dr. Robin Roach
  • Dr. Terra Smith
  • Dr. Marie van der Merwe
  • Dr. Ruth Williams-Hooker
Clinical Nutrition Admission Requirements

There are two options for applying to our internship program – the preselect option and the traditional matching DICAS process. Details are outlined below. We do not offer conditional admission. To be eligible for acceptance into the program, students choosing either option must complete the following requirements:

  • an undergraduate degree;
  • completion of a Didactic Program in Dietetics meeting the academic requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • an acceptable grade point average (> 3.00 on a four point scale);
  • acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination at or above the 50th percentile.
  • applicants must also demonstrate interest in the field of clinical nutrition and the UM Program by a letter of application, documentation of work experience in the area, and 3 letters of reference from parties that know your academic or nutrition or foods-related work experience well.

Twelve interns are admitted to the program each year. Under the pre-select option, four of the slots may be filled early. For the pre-select option, preference will be given for students with outstanding qualifications who are (or will be by August of each year):

1) graduates of the University of Memphis undergraduate dietetics program

2) members of an demographic group under-represented in the dietetics profession

Students who did not receive an undergraduate degree in the US must have their transcripts analyzed before they can be considered. Find information regarding this here.

Application Procedures

Pre-select is a two-part process while the traditional match has an extra step to complete the process.

1. For both pre-select and traditional match:

Application to the Master’s Degree/Dietetic Internship (Clinical Nutrition) Program at the University of Memphis must be made: Formal application to the Clinical Nutrition program is achieved by either of the following:

  • For pre-select only: completed paper copy of AND application for internship
  • For traditional match only: completed DICAS AND application & use of D &D system of digital matching

Additionally, for both pre-select and traditional match, the following information is also required:

a. One official transcript from each undergraduate school attended (please send paper copies)

b. Three recommendation letters on AND recommendation form; the letters should be from parties that know your academic or nutrition and/or foods-related work experience well.

c. Personal statement of goals and professional interests; this should be used to provide information about you that will not be found in the rest of your application. Areas you might cover include: how you became interested in the field of nutrition; your personal goals; how skills you have developed through work, school, or hobbies will make you a successful intern and dietitian; special challenges you may have faced; if you have a deficiency in your application, why that has happened.  Finally, discuss how you heard about this program, why you feel this program is best for you and the UM program. Your personal statement should give us a feel for who you are and should not be more than 2 pages long, and display exceptional grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills.

d. GRE Test: Quantitative, verbal and analytical Writing Scores. Scores are reported on the AND application but official scores are not necessary for the initial review; a snapshot will suffice.

e. Declaration of intent to complete an AND approved Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or verification statement of completion of an AND approved DPD (obtained from the director of your undergraduate didactic program)

f. Non-refundable application fee of $35.00. Checks should be made payable to: The University of Memphis. Include an e-mail address to receive confirmation when check is received.  A mailing address is also required to mail an official receipt.  Due to the bureaucratic nature of a large institution, it can take several weeks after the check was mailed to receive it in the clinical nutrition department.  Please do not contact the director or clinical coordinator until ample time has passed.  Our receiving your check late does not make you ineligible for consideration of your application.  As long as your application was received by DICAS or early admission by the due date, we will consider your application.

FOR PRE-SELECT: Send paper application, accompanying materials (a-f) and application fee to: Ruth Williams-Hooker, Director, University of Memphis Master’s Degree/Dietetic Internship Program, 161A2 Fieldhouse, Health and Sport Sciences, Memphis, TN 38152. Applications for the pre-select option must be received by the 2nd Monday in January. Candidates that are pre-selected will be notified at the end of January.

FOR TRADITIONAL-MATCH: Application materials for the Clinical Nutrition program must be filed electronically through the DICAS System. Application for the April match must be submitted by the second week in February. Your undergraduate didactic director can provide more information about this process. The $35.00 program application fee should be mailed to: Ruth Williams-Hooker, Director, University of Memphis Master’s Degree/Dietetic Internship Program, 161 A2 Fieldhouse, Health and Sport Sciences, Memphis, TN 38152.

2. For Traditional Match Only:

In addition to the above steps, the prospective intern must make entry into the D & D Digital Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Internship Matching. Applications for the April match must be received by D & D no later than the second week in February. Check the D & D site for the exact deadline date. Applications received after the postmark deadline will not be considered. More information about D & D may be obtained from your undergraduate didactic director.

The following policies were developed to ensure that each dietetic intern receives frequent feedback throughout the course of the internship, and understands the requirements necessary for program completion and award of Dietetic Internship Verification Statement.

Please contact your undergraduate DPD Director for any questions regarding DICAS or D&D Digital.

Dietetic Intern Evaluation Process

The evaluation of the dietetic intern is measured using a variety of formative and summative strategies. Formative strategies assess the student's progress, and summative strategies evaluate knowledge and performance at the end of rotations and courses and at the end of the Dietetic Internship.

1. Frequent verbal feedback from the preceptors, clinical coordinator, and internship director will be provided to the dietetic intern throughout all rotations and projects. The interns will receive formative oral feedback throughout the program thus the written summative evaluation at the end of the rotation or project should not contain any feedback that was not shared throughout the rotation.

2. The dietetic intern must complete 100% of the assigned learning activities. Standardized competency outcomes (SCOs) are provided for each rotation and intern. The preceptor will review all SCOs to confirm that all work has been completed and evaluate the interns on each SCO and overall performance in the rotation using the prescribed evaluation forms. At the conclusion of a rotation, an intern receiving an overall rating of less than 3 (Entry Level) on the Professional Performance Evaluation will meet with the internship director, clinical coordinator and preceptor to discuss a plan for performance improvement. The intern may be required to repeat the rotation experience or be assigned additional work to meet the educational objectives of the rotation. Students not receiving a score of 3 after remediation, and following the appropriate disciplinary action procedures will be dismissed from the dietetic internship.

3. The dietetic interns must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in the University of Memphis graduate courses required during the dietetic internship program.

4. The dietetic intern must complete 100% of all assigned projects and all projects must be completed with a grade of 80% or better. Any performance that is unsatisfactory (below 80%) must be performed again for re-evaluation.

5. The dietetic intern must demonstrate professionalism at all times during rotations and related professional development activities as assessed via verbal feedback from preceptors, clinical coordinator and internship director, and as rated on the Professional Performance Evaluation Form completed at the end of every rotation. If at any time a performance evaluation rating or verbal feedback suggests a lack of professionalism (e.g., disrespectful interactions, cheating, lying, plagiarism, forgery, violates confidentiality), the incidence(s) will be investigated and the dietetic intern may be dismissed from the program, or placed on probation and removed from a rotation and/or will be assigned additional work and/or counseling until an acceptable level of professionalism is achieved.

6. Self-assessments are completed by the intern throughout their rotations.

7. Dietetic interns unwilling or unable to meet all of the standards described above will not be allowed to continue in the Dietetic Internship program.

Dietetic Intern Program Completion Requirements

To earn the Dietetic Internship Verification Statement, the dietetic intern must:

      • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in graduate courses.
      • Complete supervised practice rotations with an overall rotation evaluation score of > 3 Entry Level”.
      • Complete staff relief and residency assignments with preceptor using the facilities performance evaluation forms used for staff dietitians and receive a score that would be considered “meets expectations” or above per facility standards.
      • Complete all paperwork associated with Competency Outcomes.

In the event that a student in the dietetic internship:

      • Exhibits habitual disregard of policies and procedures of the program, department, or institution
      • Is absent or late without cause and/or proper notification
      • Acts dishonestly
      • Uses/has possession of alcohol or illegal drugs immediately before or while on duty and/or the use of which affects classroom or supervised practice
      • Takes on responsibilities without authority
      • Violates confidentiality of a patient/client action may be taken to dismiss the student from the dietetic internship.

If upon review of the above criteria, it is determined that a dietetic intern is failing to meet performance criteria, the dietetic internship director confers with the dietetic intern regarding performance and/or conduct and implements a plan for improvement that includes the following:

1. Written guidelines for improved performance within designated time frames

2. Copies of the guidelines are given to the dietetic intern, preceptor to whom the intern is assigned, and the department director.

3. The dietetic intern’s performance is evaluated by the dietetic internship director, clinical coordinator, and preceptor based on the predetermined time schedule as outlined in written guidelines.

Based upon completed rotation evaluations, the dietetic internship director, in consultation with the clinical coordinator, department chair, and college dean makes the final decision on the disposition of the dietetic intern. The disposition will include one of the following:

1. The dietetic intern improved performance during the probationary period and is assumed to be able to graduate with the rest of the class unless other problems arise.

2. The dietetic intern is advised that additional time will be required before he/she can graduate. The time cannot exceed two semesters.

3. The intern is asked to leave the program because it is determined that competencies cannot be reached in any reasonable length of time

Successful Completion of Internship Requirements

After the program director verifies that each intern has completed all requirements for program completion, Verification Statements are awarded. Verification Statements must be signed and dated with month/date/year in two places: (1) when the individual completed program requirements and (2) the date the Verification Statement was signed by the dietetic internship director. The program director’s signature must be in an ink color other than black to distinguish an original from a photocopy.

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Last Updated: 3/3/15