UCSF Medical Center Dietetic Internship Overview

UCSF Medical Center offers a 52-week dietetic internship with a Nutrition Therapy emphasis in a dynamic teaching medical center environment. The internship includes experiences under the supervision of Registered Dietitians in clinical nutrition, management, and nutrition counseling and education. Admission to the internship requires completion of minimum of a bachelors degree and completion of a didactic program in dietetics. Upon satisfactory completion of the internship, graduates are eligible for active membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and to take the Registration Examination for Dietitian Nutritionists. More detailed information is available from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); please click here to access the CDR website.

Over 800 Registered Dietitians have completed our dietetic internship program since it began in 1934. Our graduates are employed as clinical and outpatient dietitians, managers in clinical nutrition and food service, and in non-traditional jobs.

The Dietetic Internship at UCSF Medical Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Program Mission and Philosophy

For the benefit of our patients and the larger community, the mission of UCSF Medical Center is: Caring, Healing, Teaching and Discovering.

Our mission is to prepare entry-level registered dietitians who will provide evidence-based practice and compassionate patient care, through learning experiences in a diverse, academic tertiary health care system.

We are committed to:

  • Providing individualized learning experiences in a supportive learning environment;
  • Developing dietitians with in-depth knowledge in nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, food service systems, and management;
  • Modeling and teaching skills for evidence based practice with the expectation that interns apply these skills in their daily work and in their future careers;
  • Fostering an environment that thrives on effective and honest communication and respect for others;
  • Providing guidance for interns to take responsibility for their own learning and professional development;
  • Maintaining high ethical standards;
  • Compliance with regulatory and accreditation standards.

Expectations of Dietetic Interns

The expectations of dietetic interns at the UCSF Medical Center Dietetic Internship are that each individual intern:

  1. Demonstrates personal and professional values that are consistent with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Code of Ethics and UCSF’s ethical standards, showing respect for cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.
  2. Promotes collaborative and cooperative working relationships with the health care team, preceptors, managers, staff and peers.
  3. Effectively expresses ideas, assessments and recommendations in oral, written and/or graphic form when working with patients, peers, preceptors, managers, the health care team and the public. Adjusts communication style and content based upon the audience.
  4. Demonstrates evidence based practice and critical thinking. Skills include collection and evaluation of relevant data, analysis of facts and information with attention to the source and strength of the evidence. Uses evidence to solve problems in all areas of practice.
  5. Performs medical nutrition therapy through systematic assessment, planning, intervention and evaluation according to established standards with individuals ranging in age from infants to elders, with a variety of medical and nutrition diagnoses.
  6. Plans and evaluates food and nutrition services to meet customer needs, applicable regulations, and in keeping with the institution’s priorities and resources.
  7. Describes and utilizes as appropriate community resources related to nutrition and food programs.
  8. Takes responsibility for own learning and professional development through self-assessment, planning and participation in professional activities.

Program Goals and Measurable Outcomes

The program goals of the UCSF Medical Center Dietetic Internship are:

  1. Graduates are competent for practice as registered dietitians and obtain employment in dietetics-related positions.
  2. Graduates demonstrate professional skills and a commitment to professional growth.

To learn more about our program goals and measurable outcomes, please click here.

Meeting with nutrition counseling.

Schedule of Learning Experiences

The Dietetic Internship at UCSF Medical Center is a 52-week program with a Nutrition Therapy concentration. After approximately one week of general orientation, all interns begin clinical nutrition learning experiences in the Adult Inpatient Clinical Nutrition Core. Following completion of the clinical nutrition core experiences, interns are scheduled for experiences in Advanced Clinical Nutrition, Management or Nutrition Counseling and Education. The sequence of each intern’s schedule is different, but all interns complete the required learning experiences. Learning experiences and schedules are individualized, but dietetic internship credit is not given for prior work experience.

Interns are scheduled to work an eight-hour day and a forty-hour week, usually Monday through Friday. Hours will vary depending on the work assignment. Classes and field trips are usually scheduled into the forty hours but may occur outside of the regular daily schedule. After demonstration of competence in the inpatient clinical nutrition core rotation, interns provide "on-call" coverage from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weeknights; this responsibility is rotated among interns. Interns are also scheduled to work some weekends and holidays and earn time off for days worked.

For a detailed Description of Intern Learning Experiences, please click here.

For a Schedule of Internship Learning Experiences, please click here.


Most internship experiences will take place at the Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses (see internship home page for more specific information about these campuses). Some experiences will occur at the Mount Zion Campus as well. There is a free shuttle bus service that provides transportation between all of the UCSF campuses.

During the Nutrition Counseling and Education experience, interns select a community nutrition program or agency in the San Francisco Bay Area that meets their interests. Elective experiences may be arranged at various locations within the San Francisco Bay Area.

Program Strengths

Deciding which Dietetic Internships to apply to is an important process. For a description of our internship program’s strengths, please click here.