SJSU DI: Frequently Asked Questions


Starting January 1, 2024, anyone taking the RD Exam must have at least a Master's Degree (in any field) in addition to completing all Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) coursework, have a Bachelor's Degree, and completed a Dietetic Internship (DI).

For SJSU Undergraduate Dietetic students who plan to apply/complete the SJSU DI and want to become an RD before the Master's Degree Requirement becomes effective:

  • You must complete your DPD coursework (BS Nutritional Science, Dietetics concentration) by Spring 2022 at the latest.
  • You must apply for our DI during the Fall 2022 semester (at the latest), so that you can get an internship site placement and start the internship by Spring 2023.
  • You must complete the internship, complete all paperwork, and pass the RD Exam by December 31, 2023.


Who is eligible to apply for the SJSU DI?

The SJSU DI is only available to SJSU students from the programs: BS in Nutritional Science, Concentration in Dietetics or MS in Nutritional Science.

SJSU students are not guaranteed a spot in the SJSU DI; all eligible students must apply and be accepted into the DI program. The SJSU DI is not a combined MS/DI program. 

Note: Students apply to the SJSU DI during an application semester. More info about the SJSU DI can be found on our SJSU DI Brochure


What are the SJSU DI application requirements?

All information regarding the SJSU DI application requirements and application and selection process can be found on our SJSU DI Brochure.   



What are the DI Content Exams? 

There are three multiple choice DI Content Exams one must pass in order to be eligible for our DI.

The Content Exams cover these 3 topics (one exam for each topic that cover material from both classes listed below):

  • Nutrition (NUFS 8 & NUFS 106A)
  • Food Science (NUFS 101A & NUFS 103)
  • Food Management (NUFS 111 & NUFS 113)

When are the DI Content Exams? 

DI Content Exams are administered once every semester a day or two before classes start

How do students sign up to take the DI Content Exams? 

At the end of each semester, the Department will email all DPD students and provide a link to an online Google Form for DI Content Exam sign ups. After students sign up for their first DI Content Exam, they will be added to a DI Content Exam Canvas course, where additional info about the exams can be found. 

  • You can take a maximum of two DI Content Exams per semester, so plan ahead.
  • You have two attempts to pass each exam. A score of 80% or higher is considered passing.
  • If you sign up to take a DI Content Exam, and you fail to show up to take the exam, then this counts as one of your two allowed attempts .

Are study guides and materials available to help students prepare for these Content Exams? 

The first time you sign up to take one of these DI Content Exams, you will be added to the DI Content Exams Canvas site. All available study materials are posted on this Canvas site. Some faculty shared only their syllabus; some faculty shared lecture slides; everything that is available are posted on the Canvas site. Please do not ask individual faculty members to provide tutoring or for additional exam prep materials.

If I fail one of the DI Content Exams twice, what are my options in terms of the Dietetic Internship? 

Passing the three DI Content Exams is only a part of the SJSU DI eligibility criteria. There are other eligibility criteria such as having a 3.2 minimum GPA in select DPD classes. Refer to the SJSU DI Brochure for more details.

If you fail any of the DI Content Exams twice, then you are no longer eligible for the SJSU DI. You have the option to apply to external Dietetic Internships; students would work with the DPD Director, Dr. Ashwini Wagle, for external DI applications. 



When should students complete these hours?

You must complete these hours prior to the start of your application semester. We recommend you start early. You can count past work/volunteer experiences within the last 5 years.

Where are some places where students can complete these hours?

To find places to work/volunteer, we recommend you:

  • Join the department LinkedIn group for networking opportunities and job postings
  • Pay attention in NUFS 31 when students from NUFS 192 share their project experiences and contact info from places they worked/volunteered
  • Join the NUFS Student Club and attend their events to network with invited speakers and learn from senior/graduating students about their work/volunteer experiences/potential opportunities
  • Search job databases such as: SJSU Handshake,,, etc.
  • Network with DPD faculty and other DPD students
  • Have your resume and cover letter ready (recommend work with SJSU Career Center)

How should students document their hours?

Students can use any of the following as evidence of completion of required hours: time cards, pay stubs, emails from supervisors, personal records (with supervisor verification), or a letter signed by supervisor.

What counts towards the 225 non-clinical hours?

  • Food service-related experiences (restaurant, server, host/hostess, barista, etc.)
  • Community nutrition experiences (WIC, Second Harvest, food pantry, Head Start, Meals on Wheels, senior nutrition programs, Timpany Center, etc.)
  • Nutrition education experiences (Peer Health Educators, wellness fairs, etc.)

What counts towards the 225 clinical/hospital-like setting hours?

  • Types of facilities that count as hospital-like settings: hospitals, dialysis centers, diabetes clinics, skilled nursing facilities, sub-acute care facilities
  • Types of facilities that are not considered hospital-like settings (these can count for non-clinical hours): student health center, wellness centers, gyms, lifestyle coaching, private practice, retirement homes, biometric screening events 
  • To qualify for clinical hours, the work performed must allow you to (1) experience a hospital-like setting, where there are patients with various disease states, (2) observe the role of the RD as a part of a multidisciplinary health care team, and (3) gain familiarity with electronic medical records. 

What type of work/volunteer experiences would qualify?

  • Examples of work at hospital-like facilities that count: diet tech/diet aide, menu planning, creation of education materials, in-service for staff, chart screening/review, working with hospital food service team, almost anything dietetic-/nutrition-related in a hospital-like setting
  • Examples of work at hospital-like facilities that do not count: greeting patients, helping patients with way-finding, passing out magazines, office work, anything not related to nutrition
  • For non-clinical hours: most food, nutrition, and/or dietetics-related experiences count.

Do students need to work under or with a dietitian in completing these hours?

  • For the non-clinical hours: The supervisor does not have to be a dietitian.
  • For clinical hours: The hospital-like facility will have a dietitian on staff, so your nutrition-related work/volunteer experience should involve the RD at the facility.
  • When you apply for the SJSU DI, you will need 3 letters of recommendation, typically a combination of letters from faculty member(s) and supervising dietitian(s).