Dietetic Internship and Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP)

DI Home — Program Description & Overview

Program Description & Overview

The UMaine internship program (IP) is a two-year program that leads to a graduate degree. Graduates are prepared to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) and are eligible to sit for the National Registration Examination.  Our graduates have a high passage rate for the National Registration Exam and are employed readily within the field of dietetics. Both master’s and doctoral programs are available. Beginning in 2024, the minimum degree requirement for entry-level RDNs will be a graduate degree (master’s or doctoral degree), so the UMaine DI Programs fulfills these future requirements.

The graduate dietetic internship program is designed to be completed in 2 years. Both thesis research projects and non-thesis options are available. Supervised practice is a full-time 7-month internship (1232 total hours).  Over the two years, interns may spend two semesters on campus completing coursework, two semesters in supervised practice, and then finish the final semester of coursework, graduating in May of the second year.  For interns completing thesis research projects, they are more likely to spend the first academic year, summer and second fall in course work and thesis research, followed by two semesters in supervised practice, graduating in August of the second year. Individual program length can vary due to requirements related to thesis research projects. An intern may take courses in human nutrition and/or food science. Currently the program is approved to accept up to ten dietetic interns and two Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) interns per year.

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

The UMaine DI program is an ACEND-accredited* supervised practice program that provides the necessary education (graduate degree) and supervised practice experience that is needed to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Prior to applying to this program, all applicants must have completed an ACEND-accredited undergraduate Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), which is the first step toward becoming an RDN. The third and final step in becoming an RDN (after completing the supervised practice program) is to take the registration examination for dietitians. Exam requirements are set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Information on the exam can be found at Current registration by CDR entitles dietitians to apply for licensure in the State of Maine.

*Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (800) 877-1600, ext. 5400.

For more information about the Dietetic Internship or ISPP, please contact

Our Mission and Philosophy for the Dietetic Internship and Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP)

The mission of the Internship Program at UMaine is to prepare graduates for entry-level positions as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists by providing opportunities to apply knowledge, develop skills, attain the competencies and demonstrate professionalism. To this end, the Program provides the didactic and supervised practice components for graduates to earn a Master of Science (or PhD) degree and to be able to pass the CDR National Registration Exam. The Program serves the state’s need as the only instate program preparing graduates for CDR credentialing.

We believe
  • learning is a positive experience in a” hands on” health care environment, which is different than in a classroom, and that students need to be prepared for the transition and supported throughout the supervised practice.
  • networking and using peers as a support group serves the nutrition and dietetic professional well, and we strive to develop this concept in interns and to foster its realization throughout the program.
  • being a good team member is a critical skill for future professional success. The curriculum is designed to foster team-building skills.
  • interns are our most important evaluators; we actively seek their input on how to make the program better, and try hard to be responsive to their needs.
  • a wide variety of practice opportunities fosters a broad perspective of the profession in clinical, food service management, and community sites.

Dietitians believe in the value of educating interns as future professionals. They take their roles seriously and enjoy interacting with interns.

Program Goals & Objectives

Goal #1: To produce graduates who have developed the skills to pass the National Registration Exam and become entry-level Registered Dietitians.

• 80% 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 program interns complete program/degree requirements within 32 to 36 months (150% of the program length). (Traditional internship is 21 months; 150% would be 32 months; alternative schedule is 24 months; 150% would be 36 months).
• Of graduates who seek employment, 70% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
• Mean scores on Food & Nutrition and Food Service System & Management sections of the Registration Exam are above the national mean when averaged over three years.

Goal #2: To develop self-reliant dietitians capable of providing clinical nutrition, community nutrition & food service management services in a variety of settings.

• Students achieve at least an 80% average on evaluation criteria when completing each rotation
• The mean rating on “adequately prepared for entry level dietetics” that employers give program graduates in their employ meets or exceeds the rating of 5.0 on 6.0 scale, indicating they “agree” the graduate is prepared for practice.
• The mean rating on “adequately prepared for entry level dietetics” that alumni of the program give themselves meets or exceeds the rating of 5.0 on a 6.0 scale, indicating they “agree” they are prepared to practice.

Goal #3: To prepare students to understand and evaluate research as it relates to the practice of dietetics.

• 50% of students complete a thesis during their graduate program
• 100% of students complete a research-oriented FSN course
• The mean rating on “integrating scientific information and research into practice
that alumni of the program give themselves meets or exceeds the rating of 5.0 on a 6.0 scale, indicating they “agree” they can integrate scientific information/research into practice.

Goal #4: To prepare students with skills to be advocates for themselves, their patients/clients, and the profession. (Concentration Area)

• 95% of students achieve at least 85% on the public policy project.
• 95% of students achieve at least 85% on the Nutrition Services and Professional Advocacy Evaluation.
• The mean rating on “being competent in professional advocacy” that alumni of the program give themselves meets or exceeds the rating of 5.0 on a 6.0 scale, indicating they “agree” they use advocacy skills.

Data on program outcomes are available upon request.


Learn about the role of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist!

This video includes our role on the healthcare team, our licensure background,
and our role in preventative health!

Check us out. Contact:
Mona Therrien, DCN, RD, LD
University of Maine
120 Hitchner Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5735
(207) 581-3130
FAX (207) 581-1636