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Nutrition Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway


The Department of Nutrition Sciences, as an academic leader in nutrition education, has implemented the Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) to provide a complete curriculum to train future registered dietitians. The ISPP was developed to address the extreme shortage of internship positions, and to address the needs of the many qualified students who are unable to complete the path to registration. The main purpose of the ISPP is to train students to become qualified dietetics practitioners.

The ISPP provides students with the supervised practice experience needed to fulfill the competencies to sit for the Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN) examination established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Supervised practice requires that students meet the competencies outlined by ACEND in no less than 1,200 hours. Credit may be given for competencies achieved through prior work/life experience, thereby reducing the number of hours required if the competency has already been met. Students interested in applying for prior experience approval are required to submit a portfolio demonstrating knowledge, skills and competencies in the rotation for which they are applying for credit. See the section titled Assessment of Prior Learning & Competence for more information.

A feature of the ISPP includes the flexibility for students to complete the competencies either part-time or full-time. Students who would like to complete the ISPP on a part-time basis will register for two credits per term (the equivalent of 20 hours per week). Those completing the ISPP full-time will register for three credits per term (the equivalent of 40 hours per week). Students electing to complete the ISPP part-time must complete the program within two years, which is required by ACEND.

The ISPP program, designed to accommodate a minimum of 1,200 supervised practice rotations, is divided into three major areas of nutrition: Medical Nutrition Therapy, Food Service Management and Community Nutrition, with a concentration in Medical Nutrition Therapy.  Rotation placement is determined by the Program Coordinator and selected Preceptors.

To qualify for the ISPP, students must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) verification statement from an ACEND-accredited DPD program, and must not have received a match through the formal internship matching process.

What you'll learn

The ISPP gives students more options for educational experiences that make them eligible to sit for the registration exam to become a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RD/RDN).

The supervised practice portion of the dietetics training requires a minimum of 1,200 hours divided among clinical nutrition, community nutrition and food service management. Resource materials and competencies for each rotation are provided to the student and preceptors. Competency and learning activity reporting is streamlined to reduce the obligation of the preceptors and increase the responsibility of the student. Students register for one to three graduate credits for each term they are in the ISPP.

To learn more about the Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway, visit:

What makes the ISPP program unique?

  • A complete curriculum to train students to become qualified registered dietitians/nutritionists.
  • Graduates are prepared to work in a wide variety of dietetic positions.  
  • You will be part of the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions with access to various practice environments and educational facilities.

Mission, Goals, and Outcome Measures

Drexel's Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway provides a complete supervised practice curriculum for Drexel University graduates. The mission of the program is to prepare competent, entry-level Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists (RD/RDN) for professions in Medical Nutrition Therapy, food service or community nutrition. The learning environment is structured to reflect the cornerstone of Drexel's education model, the Co-op.

Our Mission: Drexel University’s Department of Nutrition Sciences, Nutrition and Dietetics Program integrates a foundation in the nutrition sciences with courses in the social sciences to provide the knowledge, skills and professional values needed to prepare students to become entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists. The learning environment is structured to allow students and interns to use current technology, to participate in conducting research, and to engage in experiential learning, including co-operative education for undergraduates.

To see our program's Program Goals, please visit on the "Outcomes" tab.


The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Information about insurance requirements, liability for safety in travel, injury and illness, drug testing and criminal background checks are available on the compliance website.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility

Drexel University’s Individual Supervised Practice Pathway allows the following individuals to apply:

  1. Graduates of Drexel University who possess a DPD verification statement, and applied, but did not match to a dietetic internship, or
  2. Individuals holding a doctoral degree.

Application deadline: All applications must be submitted on a Friday, 3 weeks after DICAS notification day, which is the first Sunday in April.

Students must apply to the program by sending the following information to the ISPP Coordinator, by the application deadline. Applications received after the deadline will not be reviewed for consideration. Application packets must include:

  1. Printed copy of your complete Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS) application
    • Application must be complete and include grade point average (GPA), work experience and personal statement
  2. Current resume
  3. Short essay, 250 to 300 words, double-spaced, in response to the following question:

Why are you an outstanding candidate for the Drexel University ISPP?

  1. Identify a Drexel University Faculty to use as a reference
  2. Indicate preferred rotation schedule:
    • Full-time (40 hours per week)
    • Part-time (20 hours per week)
  3. Application fee of $50.00. Checks can be made to Drexel University, Department of Nutrition Sciences

Please enclose the application to the address below:
College of Nursing and Health Professions
Department of Nutrition Sciences
c/o Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN
Bellet Building, Mail Stop 1038
1601 Cherry Street #395
Mail stop 31030

Admission is based on the following criteria:

  1. Printed copy of your complete Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS)
  2. Overall GPA, DPD GPA and Sciences GPA
  3. Current resume
  4. Identification of a faculty reference
  5. Short essay, 250 to 300 words in response to the following question
    1. Why are you an outstanding candidate for the Drexel University ISPP?
  6. Interview with program faculty and preceptors
  7. Completion of a case-based scenario during the interview process
  8. $50.00 Application fee payable to Drexel University Department of Nutrition Sciences

Applicants who are admitted to the program will receive notification of an offer of admission by email.

Selection Criteria

The criteria used in the Drexel University Department of Nutrition Sciences ISPP are listed below. The Selection Committee uses a composite numerical score based on each of the listed criteria. The Selection Committee includes the ISPP Coordinator, DPD Director, and ISPP Preceptors.

Scholastic Achievement
Overall GPA, science GPA and GPA in DPD required courses will be evaluated.

Drexel faculty identified in the application will be contacted.

Work Experience
Paid and work experiences in clinical nutrition, outpatient nutrition, child and adolescent nutrition education, food service management, and community nutrition will be considered. More weight will be given to positions demonstrating leadership, responsibility and self-direction.

Extracurricular Activities
All extracurricular activities will be considered. More weight will be given to activities that demonstrate leadership, responsibility and self-direction.

In this part of the application, we will evaluate your writing skills, as well your justification for considering you as an ISPP candidate.

After review of and evaluation of the application, applicants may be asked to participate in an interview. Candidates will be interviewed by a panel of interviewers including, but not limited to, current preceptors, Drexel University faculty and the ISPP Coordinator. The interview process determines site placement for each student.
The Interview Committee will use a composite score based on the following criteria:
  • Applicant’s greeting
  • Applicant’s appearance
  • Communication skills
  • Responses
  • Critical thinking
  • Enthusiasm
  • Skills
  • Close of interview
  • Overall rating
Interviews will be conducted on the following dates. Interviews will be approximately 1 hour in length and may include Drexel Preceptors, Drexel faculty, ISPP Alumni, and ISPP Directors.
  • Wednesday, May 20th
  • Thursday, May 21st
  • Friday, May 22nd
Admissions Decision: Notification of admissions decisions will be on June 15, 2015.

Assessment of Prior Learning & Competence

Credit for prior learning may be granted to interns who can provide documentation of significant and relevant compensated work experiences. These work experiences must reflect the same types of learning experiences as required by the ACEND competency statements.

Prior learning credits are granted when there is a minimum of 3 to 6 months of full-time paid work experience. No credit hours will be extended for Medical Nutrition Therapy or Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy work experience. No more than two rotations will be waived. Partial credit will be considered.

The request for prior learning credit consideration and portfolio must be submitted at least two weeks prior to program start date. The portfolio must include the following:
  • Candidate’s application for assessment of prior learning, including name and contact information of the person(s) for whom the candidate worked
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • Description of the work experiences, including dates of employment, responsibilities, and activities performed
  • Work related references with up-to-date contact information
  • A summary of past experiences demonstrating the ACEND competencies

When a candidate submits his/her portfolio for review, the ISPP Coordinator will evaluate and determine whether it meets specific ACEND competencies.

Final determination of assessment of prior learning is at the discretion of the ISPP Coordinator

Tuition and Fee Rates:
Please visit the Graduate Tuition and Fee Rates page on Drexel Central. For tuition and fee costs for this program, please look under the "Quarter Programs" dropdown link.

Additional Estimated Costs over Tuition

estimated costs are subject to change.

Application Fee - $50.00
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Membership - $50.00
Lab Coat - $45.00
Jean Inman Review Course - $275.00
Medical examination and Immunizations - Varies
Child Abuse History Clearance - $10.00

In addition, NFS students are required to take the national ServSafe® exam, which costs approximately $100 including the textbook. Senior year, students must become Student Members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which costs approximately $58.

Financial Aid
Private loans may be available through banks and credit unions.

Current student loans may be deferred. Please submit requests to complete required documents to the Program Coordinator. Complete the forms to the best of your knowledge with your signature before sending them to the Program Coordinator.

More information may be found on Drexel Central's Financial Aid page.

International Students - Students/sponsors must anticipate additional miscellaneous expenses. Miscellaneous expenses include, but are not limited to, health insurance, books, and personal expenses. Students can subtract their academic scholarships from the total amount that must be shown on their bank statements. See the following website for more information:

Housing and Transportation
Housing and meal costs are the responsibility of the student. The ISPP does not provide or arrange for student housing.
The Drexel ISPP requires access to a vehicle. Students are required to provide their own transportation to all rotation sites. Students are required to have vehicle insurance.



The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitians (RD). ACEND exists to serve the public by establishing and enforcing Eligibility Requirements and Accreditation Standards that ensure the quality and continued improvement of nutrition/dietetics education programs. Programs meeting those standards are accredited by ACNED. ACEND is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This affirms that ACEND meets national standards and is a reliable authority on the quality of nutrition/dietetics education programs.

The Drexel University Didactic Program in Nutrition and Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.  For further information, please contact:

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics 
of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190 
Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312.899.0040 ext. 5400


Graduation Requirements

The ISPP prepares interns to have a successful career in dietetics. Interns will be given the opportunity to satisfactorily complete all supervised practice rotations, ACEND competencies and assignments as outlined by the rotation workbooks and ACEND competency evaluations. Successful completion of the assigned rotations with satisfactory evaluations and grades are required for graduation. Upon successful completion of the ISPP, interns will complete the Registration Eligibility Application Form to be eligible to take the Dietitian Registration Examination.

Additional program outcomes are available upon request by contacting the interim program director, Stella Volpe, PhD.

Program Goals

Program Goal #1: To provide quality didactic instruction and learning experiences to prepare graduates to be accepted into dietetic internships and graduate schools, or to work in the field of dietetics.
  • Objective #1: Ninety percent of graduating BS students and 90% of graduating MS students will apply to an accredited dietetic internship within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective #2: Eighty percent of students who apply to dietetic internships or ISPP are accepted.
  • Objective #3: Seventy-five percent of students who apply to graduate schools are accepted.
  • Objective #4: Eighty percent of graduates of the Drexel University ISPP who seek employment will be employed in a dietetics-related position within six months of program completion.
  • Objective #5: Graduates of the DPD will rate ten aspects of their didactic and learning experiences an average of “4” or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5 =excellent.
  • Objective #6: At least 90% of students will complete the program within 100% of the expected time frame for the program (BS DPD full-time = 4 years; BS DPD part-time = 5 to 7 years; MS DPD full-time = 2 years; MS DPD part-time = 4 years; ISPP full-time = 3 quarters or 1 year; ISPP part-time = 6 quarters or 2 years).

Program Goal #2: To prepare graduates to become competent entry-level dietitians.

  • Objective #1: The program’s first time pass rate on the entry exam for all tracks (BS DPD, MS DPD and ISPP) will be 80% or higher.
  • Objective #2: Internship directors of graduates of the DPD will rate ten aspects of the students preparation for internship an average of “4” or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5 =excellent.
  • Objective #3: Employers of alumni of the ISPP will rate ten aspects of the employees preparation for entry-level practice an average of “4” or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5=excellent.

Program Goal #3: To increase diversity in the profession by facilitating the success of students from underrepresented groups.

  • Objective #1: At least 20% of students in all tracks (BS DPD, MS DPD and ISPP cumulatively) will be from underrepresented groups.

Program outcomes are available upon request by contacting the program director, Beth Leonberg.

Graduation Requirements and Verification Statement

This statement certifies that the student has completed the requirements of our ACEND developmentally accredited ISPP program. This document must be submitted with applications to dietetic internships, ADA membership applications, and for state licensure or certification where applicable. Students must demonstrate competence as an entry-level practitioner through earning a 4 or greater on all supervised practice rotation projects and requirements. Additional time may be granted to students for remediated supervised practice experiences, pending approval from the ISPP coordinator and preceptors within 150% of the time designated to the ISPP.

Verification Statements are issued to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Meet all ACEND core competencies prior to completion of the ISPP Pathway
  • Meet all Clinical Concentration competencies
  • Comply with all policies and procedures of the ISPP Program
  • Complete the required hours of supervised practice
  • Attendance and active participation during orientation week
  • Completion of all assignments and workbook requirements for all rotations within 24 months of start.


Interns are required to complete and return the Conditions & Populations Weekly Log, Rotation Hours Verification Forms, Activity Tracking Sheets and Rotation Evaluation Forms at the end of each rotation. The ACEND Competency Evaluation and Activity Tracking Sheet are to be performed mid-rotation and/or at the end of the rotation by the preceptor.

Rotations and Minimum Hours Required

  • Inpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy 1 --- 160 Hours
  • Inpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy 2 with Clinical Concentration --- 320 Hours + 80 Hours
  • Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy --- 80 Hours
  • Inpatient Food Service, Production and Management --- 160 Hours
  • Retail/Institutional Food Service, Production and Management Rotation -- 200 Hours
  • Community Nutrition --- 160 Hours
  • Child/Adolescent Nutrition --- 40 Hours
  • Professionalization Seminar --- 40 Hours
  • Minimum Total Supervised Practice Hours --- 1,240 Hours

Inpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy One
Approximately 160 hours
In this rotation, interns will practice the Nutrition Care Process for Medical Nutrition Therapy as a first level of practice. Populations with common medical conditions impacted by diet will include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

In this rotation, interns will also prepare and present mini case studies to become skillful in exploring a variety of disease states and conditions.

Inpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy Two
Approximately 320 hours
In this rotation, interns will practice the Nutrition Care Process for Medical Nutriton Therapy with populations with more complicated conditions such as:

  • Renal disease
  • Multisystem organ failure
  • Cancer
  • Hepatic disease

Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy
Approximately 80 hours
In this rotation, interns will utilize the Nutrition Care Process for Medical Nutrition Therapy with populations with medical conditions impacted by diet who do not require hospitalization.

Concentration: Clinical
Approximately 80 hours
This rotation requires the interns to establish a rotation to practice Medical Nutrition Therapy with patients with complex medical conditions.

Community Nutrition
Approximately 160 hours
This rotation is designed to help interns develop the skills necessary to provide nutrition services to the community, at large, through a variety of activities, programs, and services, including nutrition counseling, nutrition education, nutrition assessment and wellness programs.

Child-Adolescent Education
Approximately 40 hours
This rotation is designed to promote health and wellness through marketing, education, classes and events for school-aged children and adolescents.

Institutional Food Service, Production and Management
Approximately 200 hours
In this rotation, interns will practice the care and operation of equipment, sanitation audits, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Guidelines, menu planning, customer service and management activities. Rotation activities include practical hands-on experience, as well as investigative research to prepare for in-depth management responsibilities.

Patient Food Service and Production
Approximately 160 hours

In this rotation, interns will conduct menu planning, meal orders, tray preparation and tray delivery. Marketing of menus and patient promotions will also be included. This rotation focuses on food service within the inpatient setting for patients with medical needs related to their diets.

International Experience

900 supervised practice hours must be conducted in the United States or its territories, possessions (including District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands) or military bases to meet the competencies for entry level practice as a registered dietitians. The remaining 300 hours may be completed internationally with approval by the Office of Global Engagement and Education Abroad and Internship Coordinator

Rotation Sites

The facilities offering supervised practice experiences in Medical Nutrition Therapy, Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy, Foodservice Management, Community Nutrition and Child/Adolescent Nutrition are located primarily in the Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey area. Site preferences will be take into account, but the ISPP Coordinator will make the final decision determining facility assignments. Interns will receive their rotation schedules at least one month before the beginning of the quarter. All rotation schedules are subject to change at any time. A reliable vehicle is mandatory to complete the internship.

The Drexel University Department of Nutrition Sciences maintains affiliation agreements with over 40 rotation sites. The most frequently assigned sites are below:

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Temple University Hospital
Temple University Hospital, Episcopal Campus
Lourdes Specialty Hospital
ACTS Retirement Community
Temple University Diabetes Center
Wesley Enhanced Living
The School District of Philadelphia
Parkway Health and Wellness
Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University
Eat.Right.Now Nutrition Education Program
Taylor Hospital
Crozer Chester Medical Center
Delaware County Memorial Hospital
Springfield Hospital
ABC Diabetes
Corporal Michal J. Crecenz Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Drexel College of Medicine
B. Komplete
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Esperanza Health Center
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Bariatric Program
Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Sodexo Campus Dining, Drexel Univeristy

Academic Calendar

The full academic calendar can be found on the Provost’s web site here.
*Calendars are subject to change due to regulatory or administrative reasons

The academic year at Drexel is based on four three- month terms, which run approximately as follows.

  • Fall terms runs from late September to mid-December.
  • Winter term runs from early January to the end of March.
  • Spring term runs from early April to mid-June.
  • Summer term runs from late June to mid-September.