students in a study group

Gaining Practical Experience

Faculty in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences recognize the great value to all undergraduate students to participate in some kind of field or community placement. 


Students majoring in Dietetics (DNFS) are required to successfully complete at least one credit in NFS 274.  Students majoring in Nutrition and Food Sciences (NFS) are welcome to participate in an internship, but have no requirement.

Some students do their placement in accordance with the semester schedule, working a certain number of hours per week throughout the semester.  Other students prefer to gain experience when classes are not in session, either during the summer or between semesters in January.  It is also possible to begin your work during the school year, but not complete it until after the semester has ended.  Of course, in all cases, a grade will not be assigned until the work is completed.

Students occasionally decide they would like to obtain credit for more than one placement over the time period of their undergraduate experience.  It is fine to do so.  However, the department may not be able to provide support to get you set up in more than one placement due to time constraints.

Time Commitment:

  • You are required to invest a minimum of 45 hours per credit.
  • See Schedule of Courses listing for the maximum number of credits you can take per semester
  • You will keep a PDF icon Practicum Timesheet Log.pdf during the semester, review it with your supervisor and turn it in with your evaluation. Your supervisor must sign both the evaluation and the time sheet.

If you are interested in participating in a placement, you can initiate the process in one of two ways:

  • You can identify a site and supervisor on your own:

 Looking at the examples under the course options listed below might give you an idea of where to start. A site could be in Burlington, elsewhere in Vermont or out-of-state. You may generate an idea by speaking with your advisor or another faculty member who knows you. If you have an idea about where you would like to do a placement, but are not sure how to approach somebody, you may prefer to set up an appointment with the NFS Practicum/Internship Coordinator first.

  • You can set up an appointment with Sylvia Geiger, MS, RD, NFS Practicum/Internship Coordinator

You do not need to come with a pre-determined idea of where you would like to be placed. Together with the NFS Praticum/Internship Coordinator you will consider your interests and inclinations. The goal will be to identify some options for follow-up. In some cases, following your appointment, the NFS Practicum/Internship Coordinator will make initial contact with a potential supervisor. In other cases, you will initiate the process.

Course Options:

  • NFS 096/NFS 196/NFS 296 Internship:

For NFS students (DNFS students register for NFS 274), an on-site supervised work experience combined with a structured academic learning plan directed by an NFS faculty member for which academic credit is given.

PDF icon NFS Internship Contract.pdf is filled out by the NFS student, with details negotiated with the student and the internship supervisor, and reviewed by the NFS Internship Coordinator.

  • NFS 198/NFS 298 Undergraduate Research:

Undergraduate student work on individual or small team research projects under the supervision of an NFS faculty member fo which academic credit is given.

PDF icon DNFS NFS Research Contract NFS 198.pdf outlining the research is filled out and signed by the student and the NFS faculty supervisor and given to the NFS Practicum Coordinator.

  • NFS 274 Community Practicum:

For DNFS students, a required component of the dietetics curriculum that is an on-site supervised work experience combined with a structured academic learning plan directed by an NFS faculty member for which academic credit is given.

A PDF icon DNFS Practicum Contract.pdf is filled out by the DNFS student, with details negotiated with the student and the practicum supervisor, and reviewed by the NFS Practicum Coordinator.

Course Registration Information:

  • Prior to registering for any course listed above a faculty override by the NFS Practicum/Internship Coordinator is required. Please send an email the coordinator including your 95 student ID number to receive the override.
  • You will choose the number of credits when you register for the course. Please be sure you have discussed this with your supervisor before selecting credits.
  • Registration must occur by the end of the add/drop period as with any other course.
  • If you are hoping to do a placement outside of the regular semester schedule please first receive approval of your plan and discuss when the credits will be applied.


  • A time sheet (PDF icon Practicum Timesheet Log.pdf) documenting hours and activities completed during the practicum experience. Keep in mind 45 hours/credit hour must be documented in order to earn the associated credit; for two credits, 90 hours would need to be documented, etc.
  • DNFS students: A final 5-10 minute online presentation process will be completed at the end of your experience.  Due dates will be announced by the NFS Practicum Coordinator at the end of the summer, fall and spring semesters.  Details about the online process can be found here: PDF icon Practicum Final Presentation Information.pdf. Note: This final presentation assignment is not required of NFS students who are involved in a research experience.


The supervisor at your practicum/internship placement will recommend a grade as part of the written evaluation completed at the end of the semester. It is up to the NFS Practicum/Internship Coordinator to submit your final grade. Your oral presentation will not be assigned a grade. However, the quality of your presentation, as well as your participation in the mandatory presentation class, will influence the grade recommended by your supervisor.


In summary, the following 3 documents and 1 assignment MUST be received electronically by the NFS Practicum/Internship Coordinator in order to receive credit:

  • 1. The DNFS/NFS Research Contract (NFS 198/NFS 298), NFS Internship Contract (NFS 096/NFS 196/NFS 296) OR the DNFS Practicum Contract (NFS 274): due one month after the start of the semester
  • 2. The timesheet: due 3 days before the end of exams
  • 3. The evaluation: due 3 days before the end of exams
  • 4. The presentation: due date will be announced


For more information contact:

Sylvia Geiger, MS, RD

NFS Practicum/Internship Coordinator
255 MLS Carrigan Wing