About the D.I.
About the D.I.
The mission is to prepare graduates ready for evidence-based practice as registered dietitian nutritionists in community, clinical and management settings, for leadership in that practice, and for translational research to inform that practice.
- Graduates are prepared to practice evidence-based dietetics competently at the entry level through the integration of knowledge and theory in nutritional sciences.
- Graduates are prepared to engage in professional leadership and research in their practice.
- 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 requirements within 13.5 months (150% of the program length).
- Of graduates who seek employment, ≥ 85% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
- On average, 90% of competencies as rated by intern’s achievement of competence will be ≥ 3.0.
- 90% of employers of graduates who seek employment will rate preparedness of graduate for entry-level practice as “well-prepared.”
- 100% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
- ≥ 85% of graduates will rate leadership preparedness as “competent.”
- ≥ 85% of graduates will rate preparation to apply and conduct research as “competent.”
Internship outcome data are available upon request. Contact us at DIAdmin@cornell.edu.
Cornell University’s tradition of educating entry-level dietitians dates from our first "student dietitian" in 1915. In 1976, a post-baccalaureate option that included a six-month supervised practice experience combined with the Masters in Nutritional Sciences program began. When this route to registration was eliminated in 1987, the program ceased, but was resumed in 1996 with the developmental accreditation of the present internship. Since 2000, the program has partnered exclusively with URMC Strong Memorial Hospital for all of the clinical and food service rotations.
The Cornell Dietetic Internship is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The program last underwent review for continued accreditation in 2015. ACEND continued full accreditation of the program through 2025.
Completing this internship and receipt of the Verification Statement requires satisfactory performance of the community, clinical and management rotations including 1200 hours of supervised practice, attainment of competency in all ACEND required competencies for RDNs, three graduate DI courses and other didactic sessions; presentation of the pilot research project at the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting and Exhibition; student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; participation in the exit interview; payment of all internship fees/tuition; and, proof of completion of a graduate degree by the beginning of the DI or, for students completing a graduate degree in DNS at Cornell, within 13.5 months of beginning the DI. Students completing a graduate degree at Cornell can find graduation requirements on the Graduate School website.
Admitted DI students who have prior learning relevant to specific competencies and program-planned learning experiences, and required in any major rotation may request a review of their prior learning and its documentation by the DI Director. If prior learning is acceptable, alternative learning experiences will be required to develop further these competencies and extend the prior learning. In general, the number of supervised practice hours is not changed, but the nature of the alternative experiences may be more advanced as appropriate if the prior learning is judged relevant and appropriate. For doctoral students admitted to the program, alternative coursework may be accepted in lieu of completing NS 6350 Introduction to Community Nutrition Research at the discretion of the Director.
Across the program, interns complete 6 weeks of supervised research in which they develop the critical thinking and research skills needed to conduct research and to apply evidence-based decision-making in practice. Interns each complete a pilot research project. Students entering the DI with a graduate degree complete a project to enhance their community placement program. Students completing a graduate degree at Cornell during the DI (DNS MS+Dietetics or PhD program) complete a project related to their thesis or dissertation. All students present their research as a poster session at the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting and Exhibition. Interns also complete a rotation in clinical nutrition research, and plan and conduct a 'problem-solving' management research project.
The internship begins in August with an orientation on the Cornell Campus, during which interns visit their community sites and URMC and continues through mid-May when they complete their clinical and management supervised practice. See rotation content areas for details. A detailed internship schedule is provided to accepted interns in April/May in the year they are to begin the DI. The internship orientation schedule is provided to interns in July of their DI year along with reading assignments to prepare for orientation and classes. It is important to note that the DI program does not follow the Cornell University academic calendar, therefore holidays and breaks are different. Students in the DNS MS+Dietetics or PhD program who are admitted to the DI will follow the academic calendar for their respective degree program except for the 9 months in the DI.
DI Year: August - December
- Internship Orientation
- Required Courses: NS 5550, NS 6250, NS 6350
- Community Nutrition Rotation
- Lunch Labs in the Discovery Kitchen
- Monthly lunch meeting with DI Director
- Research Project Oral Presentations
- Nutrition Counseling Skills Workshop
- Time Off: Labor Day (1 day), Fall Holiday (1 day), Thanksgiving (2 days), Winter Holiday (12 days)
DI Year: January - May
- URMC Strong Orientation (4 days in January)
- Clinical and Management Rotations (Tuesdays – Fridays)
- Research Poster Presentation at New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting and Exhibition (April)
- Leadership coaching and reflection
- Monthly lunch meeting with DI Director
- Exit Interview and Graduation Ceremony
- Time Off: January holiday (1 day)
Community Nutrition Rotation
The program is not offered online or via distance education. All classes and rotations take place in person. All preceptors are selected by the program; students do not find their own preceptors or supervised practice sites. During the fall semester, the interns complete three graduate courses:
- NS 5550 Leadership in Dietetics (2 cr)
- NS 6250 Community Nutrition in Action: Theory to Practice (3 cr)
- NS 6350 Introduction to Community Nutrition Research; and (3 cr)
- and attend research seminars on Cornell's campus. Interns participate in a counseling workshop to enhance their skills. To assure an in-depth experience, interns participate in the entire program development process 3 days for 12 weeks at one community site culminating in 3 days of advanced entry-level staff relief near the end of the rotations.
Potential community sites include those in or near Ithaca (less than a one-hour) drive in Binghamton, Elmira, Syracuse, Waterloo, and Rochester, NY (a two hour drive):
- Cornell Cooperative Extension county and state nutrition programs for limited resource families
- Cornell Dining
- Cornell Sports Nutrition
- Nutrition Assistance Programs serving limited resource individuals at Central NY Department of Health and food banks (Southern Tier and Central NY)
- Broome-Tioga BOCES, Ithaca City Schools and Victor Central School District school meal programs; and
- Foodnet and Onondaga County DALTCS Elderly Nutrition Programs, serving seniors.
Clinical Nutrition and Management Rotations
Following an orientation in January, the interns spend 4 days a week from January to mid-May at URMC Strong Memorial Hospital, ranked among "America's Best Hospitals" in a US and News World Report. Interns complete 15 weeks of supervised clinical practice. All interns complete beginning level supervised practice in General Medicine, Psychiatric Disorders, Wellness and Long Term Care.
Interns then move to intermediate level placements including renal, organ transplant, cardiac rehab, endocrine (adult and pediatric), and pediatrics.
They finally complete advanced level in Pediatric nutrition support, Outpatient pediatrics, Critical Care (ICU, PICU & NICU) and Oncology.
Interns complete a “select” rotation from one of the above for additional experience or from Administration, Management, Lactational Counseling, Sports Medicine, Eating Disorders, Clinical Research Center or Center for Community Health and complete 4 days of 'capstone' clinical dietitian staff relief.
Interns begin the 5-week management rotation in the Food and Nutrition Services by rotating through production, purchasing, Café 601, patient meal service and half a day of management staff relief. Intermediate level management includes experiences with more complex assignments such as staff training. Advanced level experiences conclude with the more autonomous and comprehensive 'capstone' Café 601 National Nutrition Month project.
During the 9-month internship program, interns pay tuition for the fall semester prorated for the number of enrolled credits. In the spring semester, interns are in absentia from Cornell while completing rotations at the University of Medical Center and are required to pay the in absentia and program fees. Students without a graduate degree concurrently enrolled in the MS+Dietetics track follow the same costs outlined below while in the internship. Students enrolled in the PhD program do not pay tuition however will be responsible for all other DI program fees outlined below. Estimated tuition and fees for graduate studies outside of time in the internship can be found on the Graduate School Financial Support website. Cost of attendance during the 9-month internship will be provided to admitted students in the Welcome Letter provided in April of the internship year. The current cost of attendance for the DI is estimated at $39,136/year.
Interns must provide their own transportation to campus and their rotation sites (some of which do not have ready access to public transportation) and have access to a computer and printer. Interns are required to obtain health insurance covering the 9 months of the internship. Interns are eligible to obtain health insurance through the Cornell Student Health Plan or provide proof of alternate coverage.
Interns are also required to attest that the following have been obtained prior to rotations at University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Strong Memorial Hospital: flu vaccination, COVID-19 vaccination, annual health assessment and immunizations (MMR 1 &2, Varicella 1 & 2, or Positive Titer or documentation of illness). Please note that medical and religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination are not allowed by URMC and therefore are required for participation in the program.
Estimated Dietetic Internship Costs (approximate as these vary from year to year, does not include graduate degree expenses)*
- Cornell tuition and related fees ($7,742*)
- Program and other fees ($5,288**)
- Professional liability insurance ($26 online)
- Academy dues ($58)
- Miscellaneous costs, background-check fees, labcoat & required texts ($620 - $1,055)
- Total $13,278- $14,169
Not Included & Variable
- Cornell Student Health Insurance (SHIP) ($3,912)
- Food and housing costs, which vary depending on specific location and interns' choices (estimated at $17,200)
- Travel to rotation sites (variable depending on housing arrangements and placement site)
- Parking (Cornell campus, community site, URMC)
- Registration and travel/lodging/meals for NYSAND AME (estimated at $800)
*Subject to change **Includes mandatory health fee if SHIP not selected
Interns are not eligible for Federal student loan funding. However, student loans may be available from private lenders to help cover educational costs. Cornell cannot recommend any particular lender, but encourages you to compare lenders and loan terms to select the lender that best fits your needs. Students are responsible for researching and applying for their alternative loan. You may borrow up to the total cost of attendance less any other financial aid.
Interns may be eligible for and are responsible for applying for private loans up to the total cost of attendance. Cornell encourages comparison of lenders/loan terms for selection of the one that best fits your needs.
For deferment of existing loans, contact your loan provider for forms and Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics at firstname.lastname@example.org for necessary information.
Information on Housing
Thanks to the generosity of the Linda and Lenny Bell Family, the Cornell Dietetic Internship program (DI) will award a need-based tuition and fee scholarship annually to a student who is accepted to and matriculates in Cornell’s DI program. A scholarship winner will be selected each year and will help cover the costs of tuition, the Dietetic Internship program fee, and other Cornell required fees (student health fee and in absentia fee) for one student during the 9-month DI program.
The Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship will be awarded with preference to a graduate of Cornell’s Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) who applies for, is accepted to, and commits to enrolling in the Cornell DI program as a pre-select applicant. The scholarship is awarded on a need basis. In the event that a scholarship is not awarded to such a student during the pre-select process, the opportunity to apply and receive the Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship will be open to regular-match applicants to the Cornell DI program.
Scholarship Application Process:
1. Pre-select applicants will submit an application to the Cornell Dietetic Internship program through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) by January 2. Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship application materials must be included if applicants wish to be considered for the scholarship.
a. The Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship will be offered to an eligible Cornell pre-select applicant selected for admission for the upcoming year’s DI program. The student selected for the scholarship will be notified at the time an offer of acceptance into the DI is made, in mid-January. The scholarship recipient will be required to accept their Cornell DI program offer of admission and their award of the Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship within 1 week of the offer.
2. In the event that a scholarship recipient is not selected during the pre-select process, the scholarship may be offered to an applicant to Cornell’s DI program during the following regular-match application process. The opportunity for regular-match applicants to apply will be announced on the Cornell DI program website. Regular-match applicants must submit an application to the Cornell Dietetic Internship program through DICAS with Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship application materials by February 1.
a. If available, the Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship will be offered to a regular-match applicant selected for match for the upcoming year by March 30. The scholarship recipient will list Cornell Dietetic Internship as their first choice on the match priority list.
Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship Application Materials:
Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship applicants are required to submit responses to the following questions using the “supplemental materials” options in the DICAS application to Cornell University. Student(s) who are awarded the Linda and Lenny Bell Family Scholarship are required to write a thank you letter to the donors within the first month of starting the Dietetic Internship Program and are expected to complete the program. The letter will include a brief summary on the awardee’s background, their interests in the Dietetics Internship program, and what they hope to accomplish.
a. Financial Need
Students enrolled in the dietetic internship are not eligible for student loans or financial aid. For the internship year, indicate the percent of estimated expenses for tuition, program and university fees ($13,000) to be paid through the following sources.
Private Loans: ____%
Employment during the internship program: _______%
b. Additional Information: If there is additional information you would like considered regarding your financial need, please explain in 250 words or less.
Prerequisites and Application
To be eligible for the internship, all applicants must have completed or be completing (by the start of the internship) an ACEND-accredited DPD program, and meet one of the following conditions:
- Have received or be receiving (by the start of the internship) a graduate degree from a U.S. institutional accredited college or university (or equivalent).
- Are applying concurrently to the DI and the MS+Dietetics track offered by the Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS).
- Are applying to the DI as a Cornell DNS PhD student to complete the DI in the final year of the PhD program.
Application to the DI is submitted either as a regular match application or a pre-select application depending on the applicant’s eligibility and program option. Content required in the DI application is the same for regular match and pre-select, however pre-select applicants apply by January 2 and do not participate in the DI match. Regular match applicants apply by February 1 and do participate in the DI match.
- Applicants to only the DI with a graduate degree and DPD completed outside of Cornell apply as regular match applicant.
- Cornell DPD graduates with a graduate degree may apply as a pre-select applicant.
- Cornell graduate students with or without a graduate degree who have completed a DPD may apply as a pre-select applicant. Such students will have discussed their interest in the DI with and obtained support from their committee chair and the DNS Director. The DI should be completed in the final year of the PhD program.
- Any DPD applicant also applying to Cornell’s MS+Dietetics track may apply as a pre-select applicant. Applicants apply separately to the MS program by December 1 and the DI by January 2. Applicants offered admission are admitted separately to both the Graduate Field of Nutrition for the upcoming year and the DI for the following year. The MS and DI are completed in 2 years.
- Any eligible applicant for the combined PhD-RD program may apply as a pre-select applicant. Applicants to the PhD/RD track must have a graduate degree. The DI is completed in year 2 of the PhD program.
For applicants from foreign institutions, documentation must be provided that their academic degree has been validated as equivalent to the master's degree conferred by a U.S. institutional accredited college or university (or equivalent). Applicants from foreign institutions should visit the ACEND site for more information including links to independent foreign degree evaluation agencies. All students admitted to the program with a graduate degree are full-time, non-degree graduate students of Cornell University during the DI. International students admitted to the program do not use OPT work authorization while in the program.
Pre-select Application Process
Applicants applying to either the PhD/RD program or MS+Dietetics track must submit separate applications to the Graduate School Online Application Menu (applyweb.com) by December 1, and to the DI through DICAS by January 2. Other applicants eligible for pre-select apply only to the DI by January 2. All PhD/RD, MS+Dietetics and pre-select DI applications decisions will be made before February 1. If an applicant accepts an offer of pre-select to the DI, they will not participate in the DI match process.
- January 2 (midnight): Pre-select Applicants (Cornell DPD graduates with a graduate degree, Cornell PhD students with a DPD Verification Statement, applicants to the MS+Dietetics graduate program track or Combined PhD/RD applicants).
- February 1 (midnight): Regular Match applicants (All applicants except pre-select),
Apply to DI online at DICAS
Begin your application well in advance of the deadline to ensure that the three references you list submit their recommendations electronically prior to the deadline. Completed applications must include:
- Three references with email contact.
- Personal statement of your goals and how our internship facilitates you achieving your goals.
- DPD verification or declaration of intent statement.
- Official transcripts from all schools sent to DICAS - Transcript Dept., PO Box 9118, Watertown, MA 02472.
- $35 non-refundable application fee payable to Cornell University and mailed to our contact address. Please note that DICAS will also collect a fee to use the DICAS service. DICAS fees can be found on the DICAS website.
Regular match applicants must also participate in the computer-matching process through D&D Digital and must rank internships online by February 15. D&D digital will collect fee for the match service. Fees can be found on the D&D Digital website. Serious candidates should list Cornell as their priority to increase their placement chances. Note that the application due date for the Cornell Dietetic Internship is earlier than the D&D matching due date. Applicants applying through pre-select and offered acceptance do not go through computer matching. If not offered acceptance through pre-select, applicants may be considered for openings through the computer match process. Applicants that match to the Cornell DI are expected to accept the match.
Selection is based on the following, in order of importance:
- Audio interview
- Quality of references
- Relevance of paid or volunteer work experience in at least one dietetics practice setting
- Quality of personal statement and 'fit' of goals with Cornell Dietetic Internship
- Learning ability as evidenced by academic record (average GPA of 3.65 of 4.0 with range 3.0 (minimum acceptable) to 4.0)