The mission of the Master of Science in Nutrition program is to advocate for healthy lifestyles by increasing awareness of how food and nutrients impact human health and disease, and to respect diverse nutritional needs, dietary patterns, and food preferences.
It’s becoming widely understood that nutrition plays a significant role in health and disease. The old adage “you are what you eat” has never been truer. The Master of Science in Nutrition (MScN) degree program focuses on diets that are based on whole, unprocessed foods and integrates nutritional biochemistry and pathophysiology with advanced clinical nutrition knowledge. An active-learning curriculum provides a solid foundation in holistic nutrition and food systems, complemented by skill-training in cooking, teaching and nutritional counseling.
Nutrition is a dynamic science with new research findings constantly being published. As we continue to learn about the complex relationship between food and human metabolism, there is no argument that whole and minimally processed foods are better for reducing disease risk. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds provide us with many beneficial nutrients beyond vitamins and minerals. However, each individual also has their own unique nutritional needs. No one diet is right for everyone. Focusing on each person as an individual allows for variation of dietary needs that provide the best nutritional support possible.
Nutrition books are top-sellers, demonstrating that the public wants more information about nutrition. Simultaneously, obesity is at an all-time high and chronic disease continues to rise. This paradox demonstrates that nutrition knowledge is not translating to individuals’ ability to make dietary changes. People need help and support to make significant behavioral changes. In order to make nutrition accessible to every individual in every community, we need a nutritional philosophy that embraces cultural preferences. We need to treat food as medicine.
The Master of Science in Nutrition program at NUNM prepares its graduates for a variety of settings, including health coaching and nutritional counseling, nutrition research, serving on integrative healthcare teams, being a personal chef and professional food service consultant, and involvement in community nutrition educational programs.
Program Outcomes and Competencies
The Master of Science in Nutrition program is a practice-based curriculum that facilitates advanced skills in scholarly learning and professional training in the field of nutrition. Students learn fundamental knowledge and application of integrative nutrition in the following focus areas:
- Clinical Nutrition: Students learn the complex interactions that nutrients and phytochemicals play within the human body and how deficiencies can result in subclinical and clinical conditions. Through careful analysis, nutritional interventions are designed and optimized to reduce disease and support quality of life at the individual level.
- Community Nutrition: Students are trained in population-based nutrition and determinants of health, such as food access, education and policy. Exploration of various components include economic, cultural and social influences.
- Culinary Nutrition: Students become proficient in the principles and application of food preparation as it pertains to healthy recipe and menu development. Emphasis is placed on the use of food as medicine to support health and minimize risk of chronic disease.
- Environmental Nutrition: Students examine the local and global food systems, paying specific attention to organic and sustainable practices. Following seed-to-table, students explore the relationship between food production and utilization, considering environmental, social and economic facilitators and barriers of designing healthy communities.
Students in the MScN program will be prepared to meet the following program outcomes and competencies:
Outcome 1: Biomedical Science – Discuss nutritional science and how it impacts human health and metabolism.
- Describe the digestion, absorption, distribution and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients
- Identify nutrients in foods and explain specific functions in maintaining health.
- Discuss basic human physiological mechanisms and pathophysiology.
- Detail biochemical pathways influenced by macro- and micronutrients.
- Correlate nutrition’s influence on disease prevention and risk.
Outcome 2: Skills Expertise – Develop necessary tools to effectively apply nutrition knowledge in clinical, educational and culinary settings.
- Perform nutritional assessment including anthropometric, biochemical, clinical, and dietary evaluation.
- Perform effective nutrition counseling resulting in a client’s successful implementation of lifestyle behavioral changes.
- Apply skills in cooking, recipe development and meal planning.
- Match nutritional therapies to medical diagnoses.
- Effectively communicate with healthcare practitioners, the scientific community, and the general public in written documents and oral presentations.
- Demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate and use literature to make ethical evidence-informed practice decisions.
Outcome 3: Ethics – Apply professional, ethical and legal standards within the scope of one’s professional practice.
- Discuss the role social disparities play in nutrition.
- Describe disparities in food access and discuss ways to reduce injustice in the politics of food.
- Behave professionally in a manner that is empathic, ethical and culturally aware.
- Provide culturally competent nutrition services for individuals and communities.
Outcome 4: Personal and Professional Growth – Cultivate an ongoing practice of scholarly activity that promotes a career in a continually evolving profession.
- Understand one’s professional role within the context of the broader nutrition and healthcare community.
- Recognize professional interests and communicate career goals.
Nutrition students are required to complete 14 elective credits for the purpose of enhancing the breadth of their education. In addition to nutrition electives, students may also take elective courses through the College of Naturopathic Medicine, College of Classical Chinese Medicine, and other School of Graduate Studies programs (as long as course prerequisites are met).
Students enrolled in concurrent programs are required to complete the number of elective credit hours of the program that has the greater number of electives between the two programs. In addition, students can elect to take up to the total number of elective credits of both programs.
One Year (on campus)
This accelerated track, begins in the fall term and ends in the summer. Students participate in commencement at the end of spring term and complete degree requirements in the summer term.
Two Year (on campus or online)
This is the standard program track, beginning in fall of the first year and ending in spring of the second.