Nutrition Department

Dietetic Internship Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long is your program?

The NIH Dietetic Internship is a 45 week long program which starts in August/September and runs through June/July annually. The program provides a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice.

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What is the concentration of your program?

The program concentration is Clinical Nutrition Research. As the program has just one concentration, all interns follow this track. At the NIH Clinical Center (CC), Dietetic Interns have the opportunity to see firsthand the design, implementation, analysis, and publication of clinical research trials.

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How is the Dietetic Intern's time scheduled?

Shifts will vary with rotations. Interns will be scheduled on duty 5 days per week and rarely work weekends. One day per week is usually dedicated to classes, presentations, and field trips. The other 4 days are typically devoted to rotations. Interns should expect to spend additional time outside of class and rotations completing assigned readings and working on projects. Interns usually receive 1 week of winter vacation and 1 week of spring vacation. Federal government holidays or alternate days off will be scheduled depending upon the rotation.

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Do you schedule classes during the internship?

Yes, NIH Dietetic Interns attend routine (usually weekly) classes that focus on strengthening clinical, research, food systems, and management skills. Interns also participate in joint classes with Dietetic Interns from other programs in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. Classes held outside of NIH provide Dietetic Interns with exposure to the varied opportunities available in the field of nutrition. Field trips are planned to take advantage of the resources in the DC area.

NIH Dietetic Interns also have the opportunity to attend The Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research (IPPCR), a study curriculum on how to effectively conduct clinical research. The program trains researchers in how to design a successful clinical trial by focusing on epidemiologic methods, study design, protocol preparation, patient monitoring, quality assurance (QA), and FDA issues. Other areas covered include data management and ethical issues, including protection of human subjects. The course is offered yearly at the NIH CC. A certificate is awarded upon successful completion of the course, which includes a final exam. This class is of particular interest to health professionals training for a career in clinical research. View additional information on this class.

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What are joint classes?

Seven metropolitan-area dietetic internships (NIH, Walter Reed, Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins Bayview, Sodexo, University of Maryland Medical Systems, and University of Maryland College Park) plan a series of joint classes for all area interns.

Past joint class topics include:

  • Nutrition and the Older Adult
  • Integrative Nutrition
  • Obesity and Disordered Eating
  • Nutrition Communication
  • Critical Care
  • Food Insecurity
  • Nutrition Research
  • Military Nutrition
  • Public Policy

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What projects are scheduled during the year?

There are approximately 7 major projects assigned during the year.

Interns will:

  • Prepare an in-depth clinical case study
  • Complete a nutrition-related research project 
  • Participate in a structured debate
  • Develop a patient education video
  • Create and present wellness activities
  • Develop and present a nutrition education program
  • Present on a nutrition support topic

In addition, Interns write a short paper (2 to 3 pages) during each clinical rotation on a topic assigned by their preceptor and complete other assignments relevant to each rotation.

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What are the graduation and program completion requirements?

NIH Dietetic Interns must meet graduation requirements as stated in the Graduate Policy Agreement to successfully complete the NIH Dietetic Internship program. The Graduation Policy Agreement states that NIH Dietetic Interns must successfully complete all rotation, project, didactic, attendance, and behavior requirements and must follow all policies and procedures of the NIH Dietetic Internship in order to graduate from the NIH Dietetic Internship. The Agreement states that, excluding instances of an approved leave of absence, all graduation requirements must be completed within 52 weeks of the start date which allows for seven weeks beyond the scheduled enrollment period. The Agreement details remedial action that will be taken if an intern does not complete requirements or follow policies and procedures. To see the full Agreement, please see the Polices & Procedures PDF Icon section of this website.

Upon successful completion of the program, the intern will receive a Verification Statement and be entered into the Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) as eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

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Are graduate credits available?

No, the NIH Dietetic Internship program does not provide graduate credits.

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What does it cost to attend the NIH Dietetic Internship?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Dietetic Internship has no application fee, except for the fees payable to DICAS (for the online application service) and D&D Digital (for the computer matching service).

The NIH Dietetic Internship has no tuition and does not offer a stipend. There is no registration fee to attend any rotation, class day, or conference that is required for program completion.

For more details, please see the Tuition & Financial Information section of this website.

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What financial assistance is available?

Financial assistance is available to Dietetic Interns through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation's scholarship program. For further information, scholarship opportunities, and applications, contact the Foundation.

For more details, please see the Tuition & Financial Information section of this website.

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How do NIH graduates perform on the registration examination?

100% of NIH Dietetic Interns have passed the registration exam on their first attempt.

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What do NIH Dietetic Interns do after they graduate from the internship?

Graduates of the NIH Dietetic Internship are employed in a variety of work settings:

  • Clinical Dietetics
  • Nutrition Research
  • Community Nutrition and Long-Term Care
  • Sports Nutrition/Fitness/Wellness
  • Business and Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Federal Government
  • and much more!

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Over the past several years, we have found that new RDs have highly marketable job skills. We encourage our graduates to market the skills developed during the internship as well as the knowledge obtained during their didactic career to obtain exciting and challenging jobs.

In the clinical field, some of our graduates work in general dietetics; others work with nutrition support teams; and still others specialize in pediatrics, renal nutrition, or clinical management. Several former interns have joined the NIH CC's staff of Clinical Research Dietitians.

Several former interns have joined the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, which offers opportunities to work with agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) including the Indian Health Service, the Food and Drug Administration, and the NIH.

This is truly an exciting time for new graduates of dietetic internships, and we encourage our graduates to aspire to exciting careers in dietetics.

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How many applicants do you have for your four openings?

  • We average 45-50 applicants per year for our four available openings.

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What characteristics do you look for in an applicant?

Please see the "Admission Requirements and Selection Considerations" section of the website. Experience working in clinical settings is very beneficial as the program immediately places interns in rotations in which they will interact with patients. As the program has a concentration in Clinical Nutrition Research, research interest is also very beneficial.

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What if I would like to visit the Clinical Center?

Please join us for one of the following virtual information sessions about the NIH Dietetic Internship. If none of the dates and times below work in your schedule, please contact Merel Kozlosky at to determine other options.

It is strongly recommended that you view the program's website and watch the virtual tour (9.5 minutes) of the NIH Clinical Center before attending one of the virtual information sessions.

  • December 27, 2021 (Monday) at 1:30pm - 2:30pm Eastern Time
    Phone access: 1-650-479-3208 with access code 2553 480 8089
    Please RSVP for this session to Merel Kozlosky, MS, RD at

  • January 4, 2022 (Tuesday) at 12noon - 1:30pm Eastern Time
    Phone access: 1-650-479-3208 with access code 2552 345 5999
    Please RSVP for this session to Kirsten Zambell, PhD, RD at

  • January 14, 2022 (Friday) at 12noon - 1:30pm Eastern Time
    Phone access: 1-650-479-3208 with access code 2556 329 9915
    Please RSVP for this session to Kirsten Zambell, PhD, RD at

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How do Dietetic Interns find housing?

Interns are responsible for making their own housing arrangements. Rent in the Washington, DC area is comparable to that of any large metropolitan area. Public transportation is available to the CC campus, but a car may be needed for outplacement rotations.

Public Transportation Websites (Metro subway) (Ride-on bus)

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This page last updated on 05/25/2022

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