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NUTR 420 - Practicum in Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

For students interested in taking the NUTR 420 course, please submit a completed application and student profile to Lauren Cusic, Food and Nutrition Senior Administrative Assistant, in HP 3042 or email to .

NUTR 420 Application and Student Profile

NUTR 420 Handbook

Application Deadlines:

Applications and student forms must be completed, with an appointment scheduled with the F&N Program Director no later than

  • March 1 for the Summer Semester Practicum
  • May 1 for the Fall Semester Practicum
  • October 1 for the Spring Semester Practicum

It is the policy of the Food and Nutrition Program in the College of Nursing and Health Professions that students intending to complete NUTR 420 internships must meet minimum training and profile requirements prior to beginning an approved internship. Student documents and background checks will be managed by Some expenses will apply.

Note: Some sites will require students to complete additional requirements as determined by that facility.

USI Food and Nutrition NUTR 420 Minimum Training and Profile Requirements: The following information provides a review of the mandatory minimum training and profile requirements for students wishing to complete an internship in NUTR 420.

  • Maintained a minimum GPA of 2.85 - at time of application
  • Nutrition 285, 376, and 381 - must be completed and passed at the time of application
  • ServSafe food safety training - must be completed and passed at the time of application
  • Background check completed - must be completed using CastleBranch within the last 12 months
  • HIPAA training, Confidentiality Statement, and Workforce Member Review of HIPAA policies - must be completed within the last 12 months
  • OSHA training - must be completed within the last 12 months and must be renewed annually
  • Flu Vaccine - must be completed during flu season
  • CPR training - must be completed prior to internship or on the first day of class
  • Medical History and Physical Exam - must use USI forms and be completed within the last 12 months

The following tests/vaccinations must follow USI Infection control policy and procedures:

  • Tdap
  • Tuberculosis
  • Varicella
  • Hepatitis B

"Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced."- John Keats

USI's Practicum in Food and Nutrition is an exceptional way to kick-start a career in the fields of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness as it provides students the opportunity to work side by side with professionals in this field. A practicum is a course of study that is specifically designed for health professions students to actively apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom in a real-world setting. The objective of this course is to allow students the opportunity to apply their skills in a professional setting, providing them the opportunity to interact with clients and thereby enhancing their learning experience through practical knowledge.

NUTR 420 has given numerous students the opportunity to work in their field of interest. Some areas in which students have worked include, but are not limited to, hospitals, food service operations, community settings, and fitness facilities. USI's practicum program allows each student to customize his or her experience beginning with:

1. Working one-on-one with faculty to select the site of the practicum.
2. Tailoring the length of the practicum from a floor of 50 hours to a ceiling of 300 hours.
3. Establishing goals to achieve during the practicum.

Participating in a practicum program provides USI students an opportunity to get the edge in their field. Some specific benefits from completing this program include:

• Gaining relevant knowledge, skills, and expertise
• Establishing connections in their future field of work
• Receiving invaluable professional work experience
• Building confidence and motivation
• Providing a professional reference for work habits and ethics
• Learning new skills
• Procuring more responsibility and application of knowledge

USI is dedicated to enhancing its students' practicum experiences. Throughout this journey, students will be working side by side with the Food and Nutrition Practicum Director, USI's Coordinator of Internships, and the designated Preceptor.


"My NUTR 420 practicum was invaluable in that it allowed me to embrace an understanding of the complexities of nutrition care after weight loss surgery. I was able to witness firsthand the emotional and physical hurdles patients face while developing a deeper understanding of the nutrition care process by providing nutritional education and assisting with nutrition assessments and counseling. I was able to gain life experience while networking with professionals in my field." 

-Sylvia, USI Dietetics Graduate

Countless students, such as Sylvia, have benefited from setting practicum goals that have helped them to better understand the complex world of food and nutrition. Some goals previous students have established and achieved include, but are not limited to, identifying the most prevalent nutrition problems in the community and learning how to address these problems as an educator and counselor. Students have been given the opportunity to discern which methods of communication are most effective in a consultation, allowing them to respond accordingly via email, writing or phone. Other practicum goals have included gaining a deeper understanding of how to work with different learning levels, in addition to how socioeconomic status affects nutritional behavior in families as well as individuals.

For those working in fitness facilities promoting positive nutritional choices for traveling athletes was an unique learning opportunity offered by the practicum program. Students have also worked with clients on weight loss. These students were given the chance to apply their knowledge from the classroom in a real-world setting, thereby giving them the tools to individualize each weight loss goal and the client's motivations to help them better achieve these goals. Gaining an understanding of both the physical and emotional hurtles of weight loss was another practicum goal. Similarly, students have gained the opportunity to work in a professional setting, enabling them to become more familiar with distributing and administering assessment forms with clients and analyzing nutritional data. Overall, the practical knowledge and work experience students gain in the practicum program is bounded primarily by the time and effort they put forth to achieve their goals.