Dec 03, 2021  
2018-2019 University Catalog 
2018-2019 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Nutrition/Dietetic Internship (MS)

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Combined Master’s Degree and Dietetic Internship

The combined MS/Dietetic Internship program is a 20-month program that integrates didactic and supervised experience. Students have the option of selecting a thesis or non-thesis track. Upon completion of the program, the student earns an MS degree with a major in clinical nutrition, completes an accredited dietetic internship and is eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

The dietetic internship is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the credentialing agency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606
(800) 877-1600,  ext. 5400

Clinical Nutrition: Admission Requirements

All who apply to the combined MS/Dietetic Internship program must have a baccalaureate degree and a verification statement that represents completion of  requirements of an accredited didactic program in dietetics listed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics at

Application requirements, fees and the application process are specified on the Department of Clinical Nutrition webpage at

Send questions to Acting Dietetic Internship Director, Sally Lipson, MS, RDN at or 312-942-2060.

Students verbally accept the appointment and the Rush Dietetic Internship director will email an acceptance letter form that students are required to complete and return.

Once students are accepted into the Dietetic Internship, they are then required to complete the application for Rush University A program acceptance confirmation fee of $250 is required at this time. The fee is nonrefundable and will be applied to tuition for the first term.

There are two tracks in the combined MS/Dietetic Internship program. There is a thesis and non-thesis track. The students will decide during the first term which track they will pursue. Schedules will vary based on the track selected.

Drug Testing

Rush University Medical Center requires that all prospective employees, including dietetic interns, undergo drug testing as a contingency for employment or enrollment.

Criminal Background Check

All dietetic interns will undergo a criminal background check  to comply with legislation regarding employment in the health care field to assure patient safety.

Required Testing for all Applicants

Those applying to the MS/Dietetic Internship program need to submit results of the following:

  • GRE graduate school entry exam.
  • International applicants: Graduates who obtained their education outside the United States and its territories must have their academic degree(s) validated as equivalent to the baccalaureate or master’s degree conferred by a regionally accredited college or university in the United States. These applicants also must submit results of TOEFL examination (see College of Health Sciences TOEFL requirements).

Clinical Nutrition: Graduation Requirements

Once admitted to the MS/Dietetic Internship program, students embark on a journey that entails the accumulation of 67 credit hours for graduation. This includes a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised experience. Students must meet the following in order to graduate and have the degree conferred

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater
  • Successfully complete all didactic coursework
  • Successfully complete all 1,200 hours of supervised experience
  • Successfully complete all requirements of the thesis/non-thesis research experience
  • Pass the Rush University Interprofessional course
  • Complete a minimum of 16 contact hours of approved professional or community service

Dietetic Internship: In order to be eligible to take the registration exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, students must fulfill all requirements of the Dietetic Internship to receive a verification statement. Students must complete all Dietetic Internship program requirements within 30 months from the time they began the Dietetic Internship.

MS degree: Students must complete all program requirements within 5 years from matriculation. Any student who expects to go beyond that timeframe, must request an exception to the policy in writing to the Clinical Nutrition Academic Progress and Promotions Committee.

Clinical Nutrition: Research Activities

Students have the option of selecting the thesis or non-thesis track.  Faculty members of the Department of Clinical Nutrition are involved in basic and applied clinical nutrition and management research. Faculty and students present at professional meetings and publish in peer reviewed journals. A list of faculty and student research presentations and publications can be found at the Clinical Nutrition and Dietetic Internship webpage.

Clinical Nutrition: Service Activities

Students are required to complete 16 hours of community or professional service during the program. Students meet this requirement in a variety of ways, including assisting at health fairs, volunteering at the local food pantry, and assisting at local, state and national professional association meetings.

Clinical Nutrition: Academic Policies

The combined Master of Science (MS)/Dietetic Internship program is offered on a full-time basis only. The program spans five terms, including the summer term. The supervised practice experiences must be completed within 30 months. The didactic and research components of the master’s degree should be completed in five semesters. All students must complete coursework within five years of matriculation.

Rush University requires continuous enrollment through the completion of the degree (see Rush University Policies for further information). Students may be allowed to transfer up to 12 term hours of applicable graduate credit from another accredited university for the MS degree portion. Graduate courses must be completed with a B or better and approved by the student’s supervisory committee to be awarded transfer credit.

If a student is not finished in five years, a request for extension must be made to the Clinical Nutrition Academic Progress and Promotions Committee. If an extension is granted, conditions of the extension may include additional coursework to assure relevancy and currency of knowledge and competence at the master’s level.

Academic Progression

Students in the combined MS/Dietetic Internship program are required to earn grades of B or better in NTR 655 and a pass grade of P  (equivalent to a grade of B or better) in NTR 650, NTR 651, NTR 652, NTR 653 and NTR 654. Grades of C or better are required in all other courses. Failure to earn minimum required grades may result in dismissal from the combined MS/Dietetic Internship program and will result in a performance review by the Clinical Nutrition Academic Progress and Promotions Committee. The faculty reserves the right to request the withdrawal of any student whose conduct or performance demonstrates lack of fitness for continuance in the graduate program.

Automatic probation for any student results when a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 or when a student receives a grade of D or F in any course. The Clinical Nutrition Academic Progress and Promotions Committee notifies any student placed on probation, states the reason(s) for probation and indicates the conditions that must be satisfied for removal of probation.

A student who earns a grade of D or F in a course other than those listed above must repeat the course and earn at least a C. A student who earns a grade of D or F in more than one required course will be dismissed. Full-time students on probation must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater by the end of the next two consecutive terms. Part-time students on probation must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater after completing the next three courses (approximately 9 term hours). Improvement in the GPA must be shown each term of probation.

Clinical Nutrition: Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values - ICARE (innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence) - translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. Rush actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful, accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. Rush is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the Clinical Nutrition program:

Acquire Information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses, such as lecture, group and physical demonstrations
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches and data retrieval)
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description and transparencies
  •  Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity, cognition, verbal and non-verbal communication

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers
  • Use and interpret information related to physiologic phenomena generated from diagnostic tools


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide or assist in holistic clinical nutrition care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments
  • Practice in a safe manner and appropriately provide clinical nutrition care and assessment in emergencies and life support procedures, and perform universal precautions against contamination


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors and all members of the health care team during practicum and other learning experiences
  • Accurately elicit information, including a medical history and other information to adequately and effectively evaluate a population’s, client’s or patient’s condition

Intellectual Ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize data related to the diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the clinical nutrition role
  • Synthesize information, problem-solve and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment or treatment strategy


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings


  • Demonstrate concern for others
  • Integrity, accountability, interest and motivation are necessary personal qualities
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the Rush University and Clinical Nutrition code of ethics

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Disability Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs.

Given the clinical nature of our programs, time may be needed to implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged. Contact the Office of Student Disability Services to learn more about accommodations at Rush University:

Marie Ferro-Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Manager, Office of Student Disability Services
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St., Suite 440
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-5237

Clinical Nutrition/Dietetic Internship (MS) Non-Thesis Track: Curriculum

First Year

Second Year

Program Total: 67 Credit Hours

Clinical Nutrition/Dietetic Internship (MS) Thesis Track: Curriculum

First Year

Second Year

Program Total: 67 Credit Hours

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