Timeframe & Deadlines

This is a full-time, fast-paced, 6-month distance program; it's accelerated and intense. You should plan on 45 to 50 hours per week at your facility and an additional 5 to 10 hours per week working on assignments outside of your rotations. The schedules does not include any breaks, vacations or holidays other than those observed by your facilities.

There is no part-time option, and working or volunteering during the internship is strongly discouraged; you will need all of your energy and focus for the internship!


We accept applications during the same time period as DICAS. The most concise list is on the D&D Digital page, but you can also find these dates on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website as well as the DICAS Portal.


The Iowa State University DI accepts applications for both the spring and fall DICAS match. Two sessions offered each year:

  • January class runs from early January to the end of June
  • June class runs from early June to the end of November

Following are internship schedules with specific dates and a guideline for how to plan your rotations.  They show how the program is divided across the weeks and recommend topic areas for each.  The first week of each session is a required Professional Skills Workshop located in Ames, Iowa where interns will develop the foundation to successfully complete supervised practice experiences.  The other weeks will include

  • 250 hours of community with at least one week in a WIC facility
  • 250 hours of FSM with at least one week in a school
  • 650 hours in medical nutrition therapy
  • 50 hours of intern’s choice
  • NOTE: International rotations will replace some COM or FSM rotation hours and timing will vary

June 2018 class

NEW June 2018 recommended class schedule (PDF)

January 2019 class

January 2019 recommended class schedule (PDF)

June 2019 class

June 2019 recommended class schedule (PDF)

Calendar and breaks

  • Iowa State University (ISU) breaks are not observed, including spring break, Thanksgiving, semester, and inclement weather breaks.

  • Holidays are observed according to your precepting site policies.

  • No vacation is built into this internship.

  • Time lost due to illness or emergencies must be made up in order to complete the required hours of practice.

  • All absences must be reported by phone to the ISU faculty and facility preceptor in any supervised practice facility to which you are assigned.  Exceptions will be made only for just cause and with the approval of the program director and the precepting facility.

  • For pertinent academic dates refer to the Iowa State University academic calendar.

How the 6 months are spent

Begin with Professional Skills Workshop

All interns begin together attending the required one-week Professional Skills Workshop in Ames, Iowa.  In the workshop, interns will develop the foundation to successfully complete supervised practice experiences. For example, during Workshop Week we:

  • Host a communication workshop
  • Practice enteral and parenteral calculation skills
  • Practice critical thinking skills
  • Discuss professionalism and time management in order to prepare for rotations

It is very important that interns know how to calculate, interpret, and utilize key components of medical nutrition therapy. Interns will use this information extensively throughout the internship, especially during the first week of the program.

The most time is spent in MNT

Typically interns begin with 13 weeks in a clinical (MNT) facility, starting with an orientation then covering topics such as cardiac, diabetes, GI, geriatrics/pulmonary, neurology/rehabilitation, oncology, pediatrics, renal and nutrition support.  The last two weeks of MNT should be spent in staff relief in the clinical facility where you've spent the most time and can work more independently.

Time in foodservice management is included

Foodservice management (MGMT) will total 5 weeks with at least one of those weeks in a school that participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program and one week in a hospital-like setting with therapeutic diets – this could be the same facility as where you do your MNT rotations.  The remaining weeks can be divided as you choose.

There are rotations in community

One week of community (COM) is required to be in a WIC facility and four required additional weeks can continue in the WIC facility or can be in other facilities, although we encourage that at least three weeks are in the same facility.  These weeks will include community projects and education and topics might include breastfeeding, policy review, food labeling, wellness and exploration of community resources.

Spend one week exploring your passion

The final week of the internship is open for you to choose how to spend your time.  Often interns will go back to a facility that they really enjoyed, hope to get a job or want to extend their experience.  We have had interns spend this with a professional sports team, a food bank, a consultant, in an eating disorder facility, a weight loss clinic or a fitness club.  Sometimes this is spent in job preparation and interviews.  We recommend leaving this open and selecting what to do when you're partway through the internship.

Sample assignments

The following documents provide information about assignments completed during the internship:

Clinical (doc)

Technology in Health Promotion (doc)


Evaluations throughout internship

Preceptors will evaluate interns throughout their rotations using an online form that measures the intern’s professionalism, ethics, and teamwork ability, as well as ACEND® competencies.