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The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences (MSNS) program is designed to educate and form servant leaders in the field of health and wellness. The Dietetic Internship (DI) option is for students seeking to become Registered Dietitians Nutritionists (RDN).

MSNS-DI Quick Facts:

  • No out-of-state tuition fees
  • Full-time option: complete your degree in as little as 17-months.
  • Most of your Master’s degree coursework is online.
  • A new cohort begins each fall semester and follows the University’s academic calendar.
  • We can accept up to 30 qualified students each year as part of an unpaid internship.
  • Major rotation sites are located in Baton Rouge, LA and Lafayette, LA as part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System.
  • The Simulation Environmental Teaching Hospital (FranU | SETH) is utilized for skills lab training in the first fall semester in preparation for supervised practice rotations beginning in the spring semester.
    • Highly skilled faculty and local preceptors train students on conducting Nutrition Focused Physical Exams, utilizing telehealth via telemedicine cart, conducting swallow screens, inserting nasogastric feeding tubes, conducting point-of-care laboratory tests, completing routine health screening assessments, making ethical decisions regarding end-of-life care, and delivering enteral and parenteral nutrition support, to name a few.
  • Interprofessional collaboration exists among other graduate clinical education programs here at FranU, and include simulated Grand Rounds experiences and analyzing risk of patient harm through a room of errors simulation. We work collaboratively with the Physician Assistant Studies program, Family Nurse Practitioner program, and the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
  • Over 100 preceptors across 50+ clinical sites offer exceptional internship experiences, including specialty rotations in critical care, pediatrics, geriatrics, barratries, oncology, diabetes, renal, woman's health, community nutrition, wellness, sports nutrition, and school foodservice management

About Our Program

The combined Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetic Internship (MSNS-DI) program at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (FranU) is designed to prepare students with the skills and tools needed to excel as entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists. Specialty preceptors and simulated experiences in the Nutrition Skills Lab and Simulation Environment Teaching Hospital (SETH) offer premier learning experiences in many specialty areas of nutrition and dietetics. The combined Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences degree offers advanced studies with opportunities for research through the completion of a Capstone Research Project.

Program Description

  • Successful completion of the online master's degree as well as the dietetic internship is required to receive a verification statement in order to sit for the RDN exam
  • Approximately 1,200 hours of combined supervised practice and alternate learning experiences are assigned to each intern throughout Southern Louisiana
  • Applicants rank clinical sites based on geographical location during the application process; main sites include Baton Rouge and Lafayette regions
  • Classes begin each fall, with supervised practice rotations beginning in the spring and continuing throughout the summer and second fall semester. Online coursework towards a master’s degree in nutritional sciences is taken each semester.
  • Rotations consist of 32 hours/week, Monday through Thursday, with a 2-hour face-to-face class on Friday, held on FranU's campus in Baton Rouge
  • Concentration emphasis is community nutrition, which includes a service-learning project with an established community partner

Steps to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  1. Complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the organization that administers the exam, will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the exam.
  2. Complete an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to 12 months in length. The MSNS-DI program at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University meets this requirement in the process to becoming an RDN.
  3. Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at
  4. Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. Acquire a state license to be a Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN) in the state(s) where you practice, if applicable. Louisiana requires a state license to practice as a RDN.

Some RDNs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice. These are awarded through CDR, the credentialing agency for the Academy, and/or other medical and nutrition organizations and are recognized within the profession, but are not required. Some of the certifications include pediatric or renal nutrition, sports dietetics, nutrition support and diabetes education.

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The mission of the MSNS-DI program is to educate and form entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists or dietetic practitioners to meet the core competencies for becoming servant leaders in health and wellness. With a concentration in community nutrition, graduates will be educated in the most rigorous, individualized, professional and comprehensive manner.

Goals and Objectives

The program outcomes data are available upon request.

Goal #1 - The program will prepare graduates to be competent for entry-level practice as registered dietitian nutritionists.

  • Objective #1 - 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%.
  • Objective #2 - At least 80% of program students complete program/degree requirements within 25.5 months (150% of the program length).
  • Program specific objective – 100% of students will pass the program’s comprehensive entry-level nutrition and dietetics skills simulation exam with a score of no less than 80%.

Goal #2 – Graduates of the program will be compassionate, well-qualified professionals and servant leaders in health and wellness prepared to provide entry-level nutrition and dietetics services.

  • Objective #1 - Of graduates who seek employment, 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective #2 - 80% of employers rank graduates as ‘satisfied’ or above in preparation for entry-level practice.
  • Objective #3 – 80% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • Program specific objective – 60% of graduates are involved as a leader in a community service and/or a professional organization in health and wellness.

DI Rotations

All supervised practice rotations will be from local and regional preceptors in Louisiana and/or surrounding states; none will be conducted internationally. No more than 10% of rotation hours will be located at a remote site (defined as >/= 100 miles from FranU). Furthermore, students are not required to find their own supervised practice for >/=10% of supervised practice hours.

Supervised practice hours are divided into four semesters:

Fall 1 (Simulation) – 45 hours

Spring (14 weeks) – 440 hours

Summer (8 weeks) – 256 hours

Fall 2 (14 weeks) – 440 hours

Beginning in the spring students rotate in supervised practice areas 32 hours/week, Monday through Thursday. Students are also responsible for attending a two-hour face-to-face class each Friday, located on FranU’s campus in Baton Rouge.

A more detailed breakdown of the supervised practice experiences by rotation area include:


(43%) 504 hours

16 weeks


(18%) 216 hours

7 weeks

Foodservice Management

(17%) 192 hours

6 weeks

Sports Nutrition

(5%) 64 hours

2 weeks

Specialty of Choice

(5%) 64 hours

2 weeks

Professional Staff Experience

(5%) 64 hours

2 weeks


(3%) 36 hours

1 week


(4%) 64 hours

2 weeks

Total: 50 total weeks over a 17-month curriculum of study (1,181 hours)

Admissions Criteria

A new cohort begins each fall semester. The MSNS-DI program follows the University’s academic calendar. The following criteria must be met for a student to be eligible to apply:

  • A maximum of ten (10) LSU DPD students may be chosen for early admission during each cycle period. The following criteria must be met for a student to be eligible to apply for pre-selection:
    • Student is in good standing with LSU and not on academic probation
    • Student possesses a Verification Statement from the DPD Director OR the following spring or summer prior to the fall semester when the internship starts
    • Minimum DPD GPA of 3.2
    • Documented evidence of service and leadership through work and/or volunteer experiences

How to Apply

The dietetic internship program participates each spring in a computer matching process. Deadline to register and apply is December 31st at 11:50pm CST. Each student matched through D&D Digital automatically is enrolled in the Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences program. The steps to apply to the program are as follows:

  1. Register with D&D Digital Computer Online Dietetic Internship matching services for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics by December 31st, 11:59 pm CST. Instructions to register with D&D Digital can be found at
  2. Complete the Digital Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) application by December 31st, 11:59 pm CST. Instructions to apply to DICAS can be found at The following information must be included in your DICAS application:
    1. Declaration of Intent or Verification Statement from an ACEND accredited undergraduate Didactic Program in Dietetics
    2. Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended
    3. Three letters of recommendation, one from a professor, from an employer and from any other professional
    4. Resume to include work and volunteer experiences
    5. Personal statement addressing the following:
      • Why did you choose dietetics? What sets you apart from other applicants?
      • What are your short-and long-term goals and strategies for achieving them?
      • What strengths will you bring to the program and what areas will challenge you?
      • How have your past experiences made you prepared for an internship?
      • Who has impacted your life the most? How or in what way?
      • What characteristics of the University have drawn you to this internship?
  3. Complete a supplemental application through the Office of Admissions. Once the DICAS application is received, the FranU Office of Admissions will send a link to the email on file with DICAS to complete the application process. The following supplemental admissions requirements include:
    1. $40.00 non-refundable application fee
    2. Video link addressing interview questions (optional)
    3. Designation of preferred geographical location for clinical placement
    4. Other demographic information not included in DICAS application

Graduation and Program Completion Requirements

Graduation and program completion requirements include:

  • Successful completion of a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences degree
    • No less than a 3.0 GPA
    • No more than two "C"'s in any graduate courses
  • Submission and presentation of a capstone research project
  • Completion of at least 1,000 hours of supervised practice experiences approved by the Program Director, Director of Clinical Education, and preceptors
  • Successful mastery of the ACEND Core Competencies for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists
  • Practicing, honoring and portraying the Code of Ethics for Dietetics and the Standards of Practice

Meeting all requirement is necessary for students to receive a Verification Statement.


SemesterCredit HoursTuition/FeesCourse FeesTotal



*Tuition costs do not include textbooks or any additional costs associated with this program. Additional costs can be found in the Student Handbook provided below.
**Information about financing your education can be found by visiting the Office of Financial Aid


Document TitleTypeFile Size
Document Title: LSU Pre Select 2022 23 MSNS DI BrochureType: pdfFile Size: 663.4 KBDownload


Document TitleTypeFile Size
Document Title: Dietetic Internship Handbook 22-23Type: pdfFile Size: 767.577 KBDownload
Document Title: DI BrochureType: pdfFile Size: 660.424 KBDownload
Document Title: MSNS DI Interview QuestionsType: pdfFile Size: 162.286 KBDownload


Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Questions about accreditation of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

The Nutritional Sciences Dietetic Internship Program is granted candidacy for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312-899-0040 ext. 5400.

Note: Prospective students should visit the State Authorization page to verify that Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is authorized to offer online courses and programs in your respective state. Prior to enrollment, students are also encouraged to visit their state educational agency or licensing board to ascertain whether or not they can utilize their degree program for additional compensation, initial licensing or renewal, as well as any other benefits.