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Dietetic intern working with a patient in the hospital.

Program overview

Program length: Length of internship: 11 months; Length of M.S./DI: 15 months
Class size: 8 students
Location: Rochester, Minnesota

This internship prepares graduates to enter the field as competent registered dietitians with expertise in medical nutrition therapy. The emphasis on medical nutrition therapy is due to the high acuity level and complexity of care required by our patients. This internship prepares students to work in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, and food service management.

Our dietetic internship program will accept students who either:

  1. Have a graduate degree
  2. Have their DPD and are interested in obtaining their graduate degree and completing the internship concurrently. We are affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a graduate degree in clinical nutrition. We are affiliated with UW-Madison because their program is complementary to ours. Once you match to our internship, you then apply to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s graduate school. Coursework will begin the summer prior to the start of the internship. The internship will start in September.

See UW-Madison’s M.S. in Clinical Nutrition course requirements and prerequisites.

Application process

Applicants are selected based on a culmination of grades (GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale), work and volunteer experiences, leadership qualities, and representation of personal qualities and skills in a personal statement and phone interview.

We are looking for well-rounded applicants who can work well with clients and staff, in addition to being able to learn quickly and maintain previously taught information.


To be eligible for the internship, you must have:

  • A bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited college or university with a major in nutrition and food science or dietetics that meets the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics approved coursework requirements.
  • A verification statement completed by a didactic program director.
  • Completed Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) course requirements within the last five years. Additional coursework may be required if your degree was completed more than five years ago.

Non-U.S. citizen applicants

Admission to Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is open to U.S. workers in the four categories below. Therefore, visa sponsorship is not available.

  1. U.S. citizens
  2. U.S. nationals
  3. Lawful permanent residents
  4. Asylees and refugees

Applicants whose primary language is not English must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT). Scores from the speaking portion of the exam are given particular consideration in admission decisions. Learn more about the exam and register online at the Educational Testing Service.

The Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences code for the TOEFL iBT is 5784.

Educational transcripts from schools outside the U.S. must be translated (if they are not already in English) and evaluated for U.S. equivalence by an accredited credential evaluation service company prior to submission. Please refer to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for a list of qualified companies. The applicant pays for the examination and credential-evaluation services.

Requirements and process to become an RDN

The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) establishes the requirements for eligibility to take the CDR credentialing examination for dietitian nutritionists. Current requirements consist of academic preparation (minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university of college or foreign equivalent) and completion of coursework and supervised practice in programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Effective Jan. 1, 2024, the 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). 

Verification of academic and didactic requirements is necessary for entry in Mayo Clinic's Dietetic Internship in Rochester. Completion of the internship enables the student to meet the CDR requirement of completing an ACEND-accredited supervised practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited dietetic internship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and who earn a graduate degree from UW-Madison, or already possess a graduate degree, are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become a RDN. Graduates should contact their state dietetic affiliate for information regarding licensure for that state or they can reference state licensure requirements found on the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Minnesota requires licensure.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' website.

How to apply

The Mayo Clinic Dietetic Internship participates in the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS). For more information, email

  1. Online application. The online application must be completed for our program by 11:59 p.m. Central time on the date assigned by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The fee to use the DICAS is $50 for the first designation submitted and $25 for each additional designation.
  2. Supporting documentation. Complete the following:
    • Transcripts. Official transcripts from every U.S. and Canadian institution attended should be sent directly from the university to the DICAS. Transcript request forms can be found on the DICAS website.
    • Personal statement. The DICAS application to the internship requires the completion of a personal statement in 1,000 words or fewer. Items to be addressed include:
      • Reasons for entering the dietetics profession
      • Experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career
      • Short-term and long-term goals
      • Strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement
      • Other information you consider important for the selection decision
    • Letters of recommendation. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation:
      • Two from instructors of courses in nutrition or dietetics
      • One from an employer who supervised paid or volunteer work

      The DICAS service allows you to request letters from your recommenders, who will then upload their letters directly to the service.

  3. Match registration and interviews. Appointments to the Dietetic Internship are made through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics computerized internship match. All candidates must register online through D&D Digital, pay the $65 computer match fee by credit card, and enter their contact information and dietetic internship preferences by the deadline to participate in the April match.

    Refer to the D&D Digital website for the exact dates and to register for a match:
    D&D Digital
    3100 S. Riverside Drive
    P.O. Box 887
    Ames, IA 50010
    Phone: 515-292-0490


Completed applications are evaluated by a Mayo Clinic internship selection committee, which determines whether Mayo's application criteria have been met. Candidates considered for acceptance are contacted to schedule a telephone interview with a member of Mayo Clinic's internship selection committee. Interviews last approximately 30 to 45 minutes.


Applicant matching results are posted on the D&D Digital website on the notification day. You must telephone or email the Dietetic Internship program director by 6 p.m. central time of the appointment day to accept or reject the computer match. Please refer to the D&D Digital website for the exact dates.

Tuition and financial aid

For 2024-2025, program tuition is $347 per credit. There are 28 credits in the program. Please visit UW Madison’s website at for tuition rates and financial aid information if you are pursuing a graduate degree concurrent with the internship.

Cost of attendance

Estimated first-year student expenses (11 months) for the 2024-2025 academic year of the Dietetic Internship program:

Direct expenses (paid to Mayo Clinic)
Items Cost
Tuition* (28 credits, $347/credit) $9,716
Estimated Mayo Clinic Scholarship -$9,716
Total estimated cost for direct expenses $0
Indirect expenses (not paid to Mayo Clinic)
Items Cost
Housing and food ($2,020/month) $23,230
Home internet ($55/month, plus $50 one-time install fee) $683
Personal and miscellaneous ($565/month) $6,498
Transportation ($350/month) $4,025
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics student membership dues $58
Total estimated cost for indirect expenses $34,494
Total net cost of attendance
Total estimated single student budget (direct + indirect expenses) $34,494

*Note: Tuition, the only budget item directly billed to you, is paid automatically by Mayo Clinic Scholarship. Adjust remaining budget items accordingly to align with your individual household budget needs. Exact tuition bill amounts are subject to change and are dependent on program curriculum.

Outside work

Although outside employment is discouraged, you may be employed on a supplemental basis as long as it doesn't interfere with the training program and your academic and clinical performance is satisfactory.

Budget information

Estimated budget information is provided to allow you to completely prepare for your education. The estimated budget is the estimated cost of education-related expenses.

  • Personal and miscellaneous expenses include clothing, laundry and cleaning, personal hygiene and grooming, recreation, renter's insurance, student health insurance, and disability insurance.
  • Transportation expenses include gas, oil, maintenance, and insurance. 
  • Federal student loan fee is the average amount based on prior year borrowers and are a percentage of the total loan amount.
  • Dependent care and other expenses may be added to the budget on a case-by-case basis with supporting documentation. Contact Mayo Clinic's Financial Aid Office for further information.

Financial aid

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences offers financial incentives for students to participate in many of its health sciences training programs. Scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans may be available for those who demonstrate financial need.

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences can provide more details about financial aid or incentives offered for the Dietetic Internship.

If you are enrolled in the M.S./DI, you can apply for financial aid through UW-Madison. Your credits from the internship will be incorporated into your loan eligibility amount.


Learning experiences and rotations

The Dietetic Internship prepares you for professional practice in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, and food service management.

Learning experiences

During this program, learning experiences allow you to:

  • Assess the nutritional status of patients with complex medical conditions; diagnose nutrition problems; plan and implement nutrition interventions; and monitor and evaluate problems, etiologies, signs and symptoms, and the impact of nutrition interventions
  • Establish collaborative relationships with patients, caregivers, and health professionals
  • Use effective education and counseling skills to facilitate behavior change
  • Develop time management and critical thinking skills
  • Function as the clinical staff dietitian in various areas to assess nutritional status and to develop and implement an appropriate care plan for each client
  • Provide nutritional care for individuals and groups in community-based settings
  • Develop and provide food and nutrition services in a healthcare setting
  • Perform management functions related to safety, security, and sanitation that affect employees, customers, patients, and food
  • Demonstrate and promote responsible use of resources, including employees, money, time, food, and disposable goods
  • Select and design a learning experience in a special interest area of dietetics
  • Complete a research project with Mayo Clinic staff


Each week, you'll spend 32 hours in supervised practice rotations (the exception is during orientation and staffing, when you will report for 40 hours per week).

Didactic classes are held the week prior to module one clinical rotations and the week prior to module 2 clinical rotations.

The rotation schedule includes:

Rotation Duration
General orientation 2 weeks
Classes prior to module 1 clinical rotations 1 week

Module 1: Medical nutrition therapy core experience

  • Consists of two to three week rotations in four of the following areas: medical, neurology, general surgery, cardiac, oncology, colorectal surgery, outpatient weight management, and medical gastroenterology
10 weeks
Classes prior to module 2 clinical rotations 1 week

Module 2: Medical nutrition therapy advanced experience

  • Consists of all of these areas: diabetes, ICU, nutrition support, renal, pediatrics, and research
14 weeks
Clinical staffing experience 5 weeks
Clinical management 1 week
Self-selected experience 1 week


  • Consists of a selection from these areas: WIC, school lunch, skilled nursing home, and community hospital
6 weeks
Food service management  5 weeks
Vacation  4 weeks
Total (learning experiences + vacation) 50 weeks

2023-2024 MS DI curriculum schedule

Rotations to other sites

Through the community service rotations, you have the opportunity to work with people of different ages and socioeconomic conditions. There are placements in public schools; skilled nursing facilities; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and area community hospitals and clinics.


For the majority of the internship, your learning schedule includes eight-hour days, four days a week. While the regular schedule is usually 32 hours per week, additional projects and homework are assigned. The program is a full-time commitment for class and supervised experience. You report primarily weekdays. However, you may be required to report for three to four weekends and one to two holidays throughout the year as established for learning experiences. Hours vary depending on the work experience. No credit is given for previous work experience.

Didactic coursework

Classes cover current nutrition and dietetics-related knowledge and principles to supplement the supervised practice learning experiences. Lectures, workshops, in-service training, case studies, field trips, and informal discussions will help you pass the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics registration examination.

As an intern, you also present nutrition programs to community audiences, which increases your skills in public speaking and working with community groups.

Vacation and holidays

During your internship, you are granted two weeks of vacation around the Christmas and New Year holidays as well as two weeks of vacation in the spring. You may report for up to two holidays a year.


Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, includes an extensive outpatient complex, Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, and substantial research and education facilities. This Mayo Clinic site is among the largest, most advanced medical centers in the world.

Primarily, education for this internship is conducted at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus, a 1,265-bed facility that was founded in 1889. Within the Saint Marys Campus is the 148-bed Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital. Interns also have rotations at Mayo Clinic outpatient facilities and Mayo Clinic Hospital, Methodist Campus.


The Dietetic Internship is coordinated and taught by the medical and dietetic staff of Mayo Clinic with assistance from community-based dietitians. Faculty members are chosen for their commitment to teaching, as well as their clinical practice and research. Many have published and lectured extensively and are highly regarded in their fields. You have direct access to these individuals throughout your training, giving you the opportunity to learn from some of today's best dietetics practitioners.

Brenda Sanderson, M.S., RDN, LD
Program Director

Brenda graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and completed her dietetic internship at Virginia Tech, Roanoke campus. She received her master's degree in Human Nutrition in 2006 from the University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Connecticut. She has been the program director for the Dietetic Internship in Rochester since December 2020.

In addition to overseeing the Dietetic Internship, Brenda provides medical nutrition therapy to adult patients at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus. She also enjoys precepting and holds the academic rank of assistant professor of nutrition.

Visiting professors and lecturers

A hallmark of higher education excellence is the breadth and depth of information and experience provided to you by faculty and visiting experts. Each year, many prominent professors visit Mayo Clinic to lecture in their areas of medical and scientific expertise.

As a student at Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, you are encouraged to learn from these valuable resources by attending all relevant conferences, lectures, and seminars prepared for students, interns, residents, fellows, and consulting staff.

Technical standards

The Dietetic Internship Program is committed to diversity and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals a true representation of our diverse community.

The following technical standards are not intended to deter any candidate for whom reasonable accommodation will allow the fulfillment of the curriculum. Program applicants and admitted students with disabilities are confidentially reviewed to determine whether there are any reasonable accommodations that would permit the individual to satisfy the program standards. The following technical standards are required of all students enrolled in the Dietetic Internship Program.

Theme Essential functions Example of required activities (Not all-inclusive)
Observation Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in hands-on learning in the classroom and clinical settings. Candidates must be able to acquire information from written documents and computer systems.
  • Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity, cognition, verbal, and non-verbal communication
  • Be able to review EMR
Communication Candidates must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and efficiently with patients, families, healthcare professionals, and faculty. Candidates must be able to acquire the patient's medical history in a timely manner, interpret non-verbal information, and establish rapport with patients. Candidates are also required to record information accurately and clearly and communicate efficiently in English with other healthcare professionals. 
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently with patients, students, staff, faculty, and all members of the healthcare team during all learning experiences
  • Interact with health care faculty, patients, and families in person and via the telephone
Motor skill and mobility Candidates must have sufficient motor functions that they are able to execute movements required to provide general care and treatment to patients in all healthcare settings within a specified amount of time.
  • Full range motion allowing for gross movements such as bending and lifting up to 10 pounds
  • Fine motor skills, steady hand function, and hand-eye coordination
Interpersonal behavior and social skills Candidates must exhibit the emotional stability required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, which includes, but is not limited to, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of responsibilities associated with the care of patients. Candidates are expected to exhibit integrity, honesty, professionalism, compassion, and display a spirit of cooperation and teamwork.
  • Tolerate physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients
  • Express compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation when working with patients, staff, and faculty
  • Manage apprehensive patients with a range of moods and behaviors in a tactful, culturally sensitive, congenial, personal matter so as not to alienate or antagonize them
  • Accept feedback and respond by appropriate modification of behavior
  • Show genuine empathy, interest, and professionalism while interacting with patients
Cognitive and intellectual Candidates must be able to assimilate detailed and complex information presented in both didactic and clinical coursework. Candidates are expected to possess the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, and transmit information. Candidate must also command the ability to think critically and possess problem-solving and organizational skills.
  • Ability to learn through a variety of methods including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small group, problem-based learning groups, team and collaborative activities, individual study, preparation, and presentation of reports simulations, and through the use of technology
  • Ability to organize time and manage multi-faceted demands and schedules
Computer and technological skills Candidate must be able to utilize electronic technology in didactic and clinical environments.
  • Demonstrate basic computer functions such as data entry, printing, and ability to function in multiple screens simultaneously
  • Ability to learn how to use the EMR
Problem-solving Candidates must think critically and demonstrate problem-solving and organizational skills necessary in providing quality patient care
  • Effectively troubleshoot/adapt when necessary
  • Understand additional resources available, where to locate them, and how to use them
Ethics Candidates must adhere to Mayo Clinic's mission, vision, and value statement regarding patient care
  • Recognize the importance of performing duties in accordance with policies and standard operating procedures
  • Accept the expectation of maintaining patient confidentiality, both from a legal standpoint and a humanitarian perspective
  • Understand the Patient Bill of Rights and perform care in a manner that exhibits respect, dignity, and empathy for the patient and family members

Graduation and certification

Grading and evaluation

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences uses these evaluative tools:

  • Written examination
  • Demonstration of skills
  • Self-assessment exercises
  • Faculty reviews

Mayo Clinic's system of evaluation provides students and faculty with a comprehensive look at individual performance. This allows faculty and administrative staff to direct students who are experiencing academic difficulty to the appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities.

Program completion

After successfully completing 1,360 supervised practice hours, you are awarded a certificate of completion from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. Once you have completed both the graduate degree and the internship, you will receive a verification statement from the dietetic internship director, which allows you to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Eligible candidates are submitted through REPS (Registration Eligibility Processing System) to CDR within one week of completion of both requirements (internship and posting of graduate degree). Interns are responsible for submitting their demographic data online during the last week of the program. Thereafter, candidates will receive authorization to take the exam.

Internship program graduation requirements

  • Complete 46 weeks of practicum experience and classes
  • Satisfactorily complete all assignments, projects, and requirements of each rotation
  • Reach or surpass the minimum passing grade of 80 percent on post-tests and case studies
  • Achieve at least a “competent” rating on rotation performance evaluations based on established criteria
  • Attend all required classes and conferences scheduled throughout the year

It is the student’s personal responsibility to be aware of and to understand all assignments and requirements of the program and to achieve those requirements before graduation. Students who have not satisfactorily completed the graduation requirements may be required to stay for a longer period of time or to complete additional assignments.

Accreditation information

The Dietetic Internship at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota 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)

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Phone: 800-877-1600, ext. 5400 (toll-free) or 312-899-0040, ext. 5400

See accreditation information for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Mission and program goals

Mission of the Dietetic Internship program

Provide a high-quality training program which prepares graduates to enter the field as competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists who participate in professional activities and have expertise in medical nutrition therapy.

Program goals

Goal 1: Prepare graduates to be competent entry-level dietitian nutritionists who can practice in a variety of settings.

  • At least 80% of program students complete the program requirements within 16.5 months if completing the internship; 22.5 months if completing the M.S./DI
  • 85% of program graduates take the CDR 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%
  • Of graduates who seek employment, 70% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related field within 12 months of graduation
  • 80% of graduates rate themselves as prepared for entry-level practice on one-year post-graduate surveys

Goal 2: Prepare dietitian nutritionists with knowledge and skills in medical nutrition therapy.

  • 80% of graduates in entry-level clinical dietitian nutrition positions rate themselves as competent on one-year post-graduate surveys

Goal 3: Prepare graduates who recognize the need to continue their education and participate in professional and community organizations.

  • 80% of graduates will continue their education and/or be involved in nutrition-related professional/community organizations within 3 years of graduation

Annual program evaluation and outcome data are available on request by contacting the internship director.

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