Dietetic Internship Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Dietetic Internship must have met the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) requirements as specified by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and either:

  1. have completed a master's degree from a regionally accredited school prior to the start of supervised practice rotations, OR
  2. be enrolled in or accepted into a Cal Poly graduate degree program, such as the Master of Science in Nutrition program.

Additional requirements include:

  1. a Verification Statement of completion of an ACEND-accredited DPD dated no more than 5 years prior to application (through submission of a Verification Statement), OR
  2. a Declaration of intent to complete degree and DPD prior to admission into the internship.

The best-qualified applicants will be chosen and this program does not discriminate based on color, race, creed, religion, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability.

After acceptance into the program, interns must provide to the Dietetic Internship Director an original copy of their Verification Statement and an official copy of their transcripts documenting their highest degree earned (must be a bachelor’s degree for students entering a Cal Poly graduate degree program or a master's degree for students completing only the supervised practice/dietetic internship).

A criminal background check is required of applicants before they are officially admitted into the program, as well as an additional criminal background check and drug screen by some hospitals and school districts. Acceptance into and completion of the program are contingent on passing the background checks and drug screens. Please research and consider your own circumstances before applying to the program.

Selection Criteria

Selection of interns will be based on the following criteria:

  • Overall GPA of 2.8 and DPD GPA of 3.0; GRE is NOT required.
  • Evidence of acceptance into a graduate program at Cal Poly (to be verified by Program Director) or completion of graduate degree (posted on transcripts).
  • Paid and volunteer experience in the field of dietetics outside classroom field assignments. Other professional and leadership experience will also be considered.
  • Three letters of recommendation - one must be from an employer or supervisor in a paid or volunteer position (preferably an RD), two from professors from the DPD program.
  • Quality of personal statement will be evaluated for effective written communication, thoughtful answers to all required questions, and indications that Cal Poly aligns with the applicant’s personal and professional goals. Please refer to "Application Procedure" for more details.
  • Leadership and participation in professional, school, and social, organizations are highly desired.
  • A nutrition therapy or clinical nutrition course completed within the last five years (or recent clinical experience may be substituted).
  • A biochemistry course completed within the last five years.
  • Zoom interviews for top-rated applicants.

We are looking for interns who are dedicated to the field of dietetics, are self-motivated, take initiative, display critical thinking and leadership, and are team players who can also work independently.

Application Procedure

There are 3 components to the application process to our program, which can be completed in any order - all are DUE BY 11:59 PM PACIFIC TIME ON FEBRUARY 1:

  1. Submit application through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS): 

  • Please refer to the DICAS website to review their fee structure. 
  • Applicants who apply to internships using DICAS are required to complete a personal statement. Questions to be addressed in the personal statement for Cal Poly include:
    • The program you are applying to: Stand-alone DI, MS in Nutrition + DI, other graduate degree + DI. 
    • Why you've chosen this profession; describe an event/circumstance/person that/who has influenced who you are today.
    • Your short- & long-term goals.
    • Experiences that have helped prepare you for a career in dietetics.
    • Your strengths and areas for continued growth.
    • Reason(s) you applying to the Cal Poly SLO program.
    • How YOU contribute to your success at Cal Poly & how you will support the success of your peers.
  • Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to DICAS - Transcript Dept., PO Box 9118, Watertown, MA 02472.
  • Verification Statement Substantiating Completion of (or Declaration of Intent to Complete) Degree and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics-Approved Minimum Academic Requirements from your Didactic Program Director.
  • When completing the application form, applicants must include the name and contact information (specifically an e-mail address) for each reference. This will trigger an e-mail message requesting completion of a reference form. The form will be completed online. 
    • You must secure three letters of reference: 
      1. One (1) from an employer or supervisor from a paid or volunteer position, preferably an RD/RDN.
      2. Two (2) from professors in your DPD program. 
    • Please note that at least one of the faculty references must come from a faculty member who has taught you in class so that he/she is able to address your strengths as a student.
    • At least one letter of recommendation must come from an RD/RDN.

    2. D&D Digital Computer Matching Process:

  • Applicants must also register online for computer matching with D&D Digital at and select dietetic internship priority choices.  D&D Digitial charges a per program fee for the matching process.  
  • Follow timeline provided by D&D Digital for the computer matching process.

    3. Graduate Degree Applicants: 

  • Submit graduate school application to CalStateApply by 11:59pm PST on February 1.
  • Inform Dr. Kari Pilolla ( of your graduate degree choice IF NOT NUTRITION by February 2. 

Program Cost 

Program fees are still pending approval by Cal Poly and the California State University System.  (Last updated 04-25-24)

2024-25 STAND-ALONE DIETETIC INTERNSHIP: ~$12,330-13,330

  • Tuition = ~$7330 (Interns will enroll in 21 units of graduate coursework through Open University at $349/unit) 
  • Program fee = ~$6,000 - 8,000 
  • The stand-alone dietetic internship is not eligible for traditional student financial aid. 
  • Expenses related to distance/remote supervised practice experiences chosen by the intern will be the responsibility of the intern, including any expenses related to temporary relocation or transportation to and from rotation facilities and access to a webcam for audio-visual conferencing.

Cal Poly dietetic interns have the opportunity to apply for loan deferments and private scholarships for which non-matriculated students earning ≥4 graduate-level credits per quarter would be eligible.


  • Graduate Tuition, 2 years = please see Graduate Costs of Attendance, CA Resident and Non-Resident
  • Program fee = ~$6,000-8,000
  • The graduate degree program options are eligible for financial aid.
  • Cal Poly offers scholarships for resident and non-resident students.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Affiliate membership - $58
  • Books, supplies, local meetings, lab coat (select rotations only) - $300-400
  • Medical clearances, background checks, & drug screens - $200-275
  • Rent - interns make own living arrangements - $600-$1200/month
  • Transportation - must have own automobile - cost varies; Local bus is FREE to students and interns!
  • Campus parking ($10 x 27 weeks) - $270
  • Personal health insurance - cost varies
  • Expenses related to distance/remote supervised practice experiences chosen by the intern will be the responsibility of the intern, including any expenses related to temporary relocation or transportation to and from rotation facilities and access to a webcam for audio-visual conferencing.

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