Using the DICAS application system

Iowa State University graduates can choose to apply to the ISU Dietetic Internship program or any accredited dietetic internship program across the country. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides an online list of accredited dietetic internships.

The Applicant Guide to Supervised Practice is an additional resource to learn about accredited dietetic internships. Copies of the guide are available in 220 MacKay Hall and include information such as locations for supervised practice rotations, estimated program costs, admissions requirements, and criteria for evaluation of applicants.

To achieve success in obtaining a dietetic internship, focus on academic excellence to earn a GPA above the minimum required by dietetic internships. Most dietetic internships require a GPA of 3.0 or above to apply and give preference to applicants who have earned a GPA of 3.5 or above.

Additionally, gain work and volunteer experiences to illustrate professional skills and make a positive impression with professors and work supervisors who will serve as reference individuals.

Planning ahead

Each dietetic internship program specifies their application requirements, and most deadlines are mid-February and mid-September each year. It is important to review internship programs' websites for application details.

Most dietetic internships use the DICAS application system. Applicants enter their educational information, awards, work and volunteer experiences, personal statements, resume, and contact information for reference individuals into the online application.

  • Start preparing application materials as directed by each specific internship program at least several months in advance.
  • Follow application procedures carefully, and ask the DPD director and/or your faculty adviser for feedback on your personal statements and application materials.
  • Attend dietetic internship open house events.
  • Present yourself professionally in all written and verbal communications.

Computer matching

Most dietetic internship programs select applicants through a computer matching process; therefore, applicants must register with D&D Digital for computer matching to be considered for placement.

  • Timing. This process occurs twice each year, with registration deadlines in February and September and placements made in April and November.
  • Matching process. Computer matching occurs using the applicant’s prioritized list and the programs’ prioritized lists.
  • Results. Applicants find out personal results for matching from the D&D Digital website.
  • Accept/decline. Individuals who have been matched with a program must follow the procedures outlined by that program to accept or decline the appointment by the appointment date.

To review frequently asked questions about the computer matching process, refer to the following:

D&D Digital website
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website

Components of the DICAS application


To efficiently complete the educational information section, view or print an unofficial transcript from Access Plus and enter the Iowa State University DPD courses. If the equivalent of any of these courses was completed at another college or university, the course title and number should be entered as it appears on the transcript from that college/university.

DPD information

Applicants who have or will be completing the DPD through Iowa State University will provide the DPD director's name and primary email address in the application: Anne Oldham,

Applicants also indicate the document required from the DPD director: 1. Declaration of Intent if coursework is still in progress, or 2. Verification Statement if all DPD coursework is completed and applicant has already earned a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree.

Personal statements

You will upload a personal statement (a cover letter or application letter) for each dietetic internship program that you are applying to through the DICAS system. When submitting the online application, you will select the appropriate personal statement to be sent to each dietetic internship program.

If the dietetic internship program provides specific details for how the personal statement should be written, follow those guidelines. Or, address the items indicated in the DICAS system for the personal statement:

  • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
  • Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career.
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
  • What other information do you consider important for the selection decision?

Many programs expect business letter format with an address header, introduction paragraph specific to the internship program, paragraphs within the body of the letter which focus on items to be addressed in the letter, and a summary conclusion paragraph.


A resume is required as part of the application process. Applicants are encouraged to obtain feedback from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (15 Curtiss) or College of Human Sciences (131 MacKay) career services director, the ISU DPD Director, and/or faculty adviser and discuss ways to enhance the resume.


Three references must be provided in electronic format, and must include reference individuals' names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Many dietetic internship programs request references from two professors and one work supervisor.

Contact reference individuals one to two months in advance to confirm that they are willing and have time to write positive recommendations for you. Indicate that they will receive an email message from DICAS Messenger with a link into the online system.


As part of the application process, you also need to request that an official transcript be sent from each college and university attended to DICAS. Complete the College Attended section of the application and then print and send the Transcript Request Form to each college and university you have attended.