The 52-credit hour Master of Science program in Clinical Nutrition (with an emphasis on Integrative and Functional Nutrition) is open to any student who meets the admission requirements. Students not retaining a background in the sciences or allied health may take a longer period of time to complete the prerequisite requirements prior to entrance into the graduate program. In the majority of cases, prerequisite requirements can be fulfilled through the College of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies at Life University.
Application Requirements Specific to the MS in Clinical Nutrition
Instructions for the graduate school application are found in the Academic Policies section of the Graduate Catalog. Each student is advised to contact the Nutrition department to discuss program admission questions.
Life University offers a 52-credit hour Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition with two available tracks. The Research track includes 44 course credits plus 8 credits of thesis, and the Practitioner track requires 52 course credits plus passing the Comprehensive Examination.
- Applicants who have completed a dietetic internship program and passed the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam within the past 3 years or who are RDNs maintaining certification as an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Care Practitioner with the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy (IFNA) are eligible for 8 transferable credits toward the Practitioner Track. These students will be required to complete 44 credits of course work and pass a Comprehensive Examination.
Applicants who have earned a Doctor of Chiropractic or are a candidate in the chiropractic program and have a desire to integrate nutrition into their practice may apply to the Practitioner Track provided they have earned 188 credits at the undergraduate level. These students will receive 8 credits of transfer credits toward the Practitioner Track as elective credit for any 8 credits at the 5000 level of ANLS, DIAG, PUBH or RSCH. Per the Graduate Student Handbook, the degree of MS will not be awarded until the DC has been earned. These students will be required to complete 44 credits of course work and pass a Comprehensive Examination.
All applicants who elect the Research track must complete 52 hours total: 44 hours of course work plus 8 credit hours of thesis. Thesis credits are not transferrable to course work credits.
All candidates who choose the Practitioner track without any transferable credit must complete 52 hours of coursework and successfully pass the Comprehensive Exam.
Applicants with a degree in the Allied Health field must take the following graduate prerequisites if they do not have a BS Degree in Nutrition: MNTR 501 and MNTR 502
This group must complete 52 credit hours in either track in addition to the above prerequisites.
All students enrolled in any variation of either track must take all required coursework. Transfer credit is granted only for recommended courses.
Transfer credit from all sources will not exceed 9 credits in total.
In addition to the University requirements for admission to a graduate program, applicants to the Masters in Clinical Nutrition must also meet the following:
- Completion of undergraduate Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology and Biochemistry I and II with a C or better.
Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition Curriculum
The Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition at Life University is a strictly regimented curriculum of required courses, and requires either a Master’s Thesis or Special Project.
Core Courses: 13 Credit Hours
Required Courses: 21 Credits
Required Courses: Research Track: 8 Credits
10 credits (Research Track AND Practitioner with transfer credit)
20 credits Practitioner Track (no transfer credit)
Students in the M.S. graduate program in Clinical Nutrition are required to pursue a thesis or research project as part of their culminating graduate study experience. This scholarly learning experience provides the student with an opportunity to explore a specific area of clinical and/or research interest using statistical analysis and research design.
Students are encouraged to pursue projects that are evidence-based practice in design. Each study will be supervised by a faculty member and all research projects will require the proposal be submit to the Institutional Review Board prior to the start of the investigation. All research projects requiring use of Human Subjects must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Life University before the student starts working on the project.
Students must establish a thesis committee which consists of major advisor and 2 other departmental faculty (one outside the department is allowed). The thesis committee will supervise the graduate student research project until the student has officially completed and submitted the thesis as part of the M.S. requirement.
Following the completion of the research/project, the student will be required to complete a full written thesis or project submission. Submission of a peer-reviewed research article will satisfactorily substitute for a written thesis or project submission.
All students must also present their findings in a formal research presentation with a group of their peers and attended by department and Life University faculty. These formal presentations will be scheduled on a quarterly basis and open to the academic community.
Guidelines for thesis and project submissions can be obtained within the Department or the College of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies.
Written Comprehensive Examination
In exceptional situations, an M.S. graduate student may be granted status as a non-thesis candidate and permitted to take a written, comprehensive examination. Given that the field of Nutrition and Dietetics is an evidence-based field, the thesis or project route to degree is the preferred route of a culminating experience in this program.
Comprehensive examinations will be drawn from all the required courses (60 percent core and 40 percent research, critical thinking, research and analysis) and designed to measure the student’s ability to critically analyze clinical data, evaluate research protocol as well as apply the knowledge acquired through the program to practice.
- Completion of the Comprehensive Exam Application
- Completed all core and required courses
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
- Student must be current with their financial obligations to the University
- All required application materials are on file
To be eligible to take the Written Comprehensive Examination, the student must complete an application with the Nutrition Department, which has been approved by the student’s advisor, and the Program Coordinator. This application must be filed with the department the quarter before the comprehensive exam will be completed.
Once approval has been granted, the student will be registered for MNTR 699. The deadline for registration is Week 1 of the quarter. Students will be notified in writing as to the date and the time that the examination will be given.
The exam will be graded by faculty members who teach in the M.S. graduate nutrition program. The faculty members are given at least two weeks for reading and grading. The student will be notified by mail the outcome of the exam.
Written Comprehensive Exams will be offered in two sections, the core content and the research and critical analysis section. Students will be provided a period of proctored time in which to complete each section.
The following evaluative standards for comprehensive exams are given:
- Pass with specific remedial work (may include coursework, other)
- Failure – Students may retake the written comprehensive one additional time after a six-month waiting period.
If the student does not pass the written comprehensive examination after remedial work or after retaking the examination, he or she will be considered academically dismissed from the M.S. graduate program in Clinical Nutrition.