Mar 20, 2023  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog

Clinical Nutrition, M.S.

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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. 

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. All candidates who choose the Practitioner track without any transferable credit must complete 52 hours of coursework and successfully pass the Comprehensive Exam.

  3. This group must complete 52 credit hours in either track in addition to the above prerequisites. 

  4. All students enrolled in any variation of either track must take all required coursework. Transfer credit is granted only for recommended courses.

Admission Requirements

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.

Research Track

Required to complete Thesis & 10 credit hours of Electives

Practitioner Track

Choose 18 credit hours of Electives

Thesis or Non-Thesis Option

Thesis or Non-Thesis Option for all graduate degree programs (Clinical Nutrition and Sport Health Science) offered by the SHS Division


All graduate students are expected to select either a thesis or non-thesis option in order to meet the requirements of the degree and it will depend on the concentration or tract that the student has selected.  

  • The number of credit hours required for thesis depends on the degree.  For example, the thesis option in the SHS Department requires the student to complete 12 credit hours of thesis which applies toward the elective category.  Whereas the thesis option in the Nutrition Department in the Research track requires the student to complete 8 credit hours.  
  • The non-thesis option for either degree requires the student to complete a certain number of electives credits (defined per each concentration or track) and successfully pass a written comprehensive exam.  Therefore, the student will complete course work in the core and required area plus elective credits in order to complete a total of 52 credits hours for the degree.
  • Both programs MS in Clinical Nutrition and the MS in Sport Health Science requires the student to complete a total of 52 credit hours.

Thesis – SHS Division

Students interested in pursuing the thesis option in a culminating graduate study experience.   This scholarly learning experience provides the student with an opportunity to explore a specific area of 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 to be submitted 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 submit a full written thesis.

Once the committee is formed, the student will develop a proposal with the supervision of the committee.  All students must hold a prospoectus meeting and obtain approval to seecure IRB approval.  Once the data collection, data analysis, and finding are completed the student will hold a formal research presentation (thesis defense meeting) 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 within the SHS Division

For those students completing the non-thesis option, each candidate is required to take a written, comprehensive exam.  The examination will be drawn from all the core and required courses in each student’s specific area of study.  The written comprehensive exam is designed to measure the student’s ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and apply the knowledge acquired through the program.


Eligibility Requirements:

1.Completion of the Comprehensive Application

2. Completed all core and required courses for the track or area of concentration.

3. Minimum GPA of 3.0.

4. All required application materials are on file.

To be eligible for the Written Comprehensive Examination, the student must complete an application and review the eligibility checklist for completeness.  The application must be filed with the department no later than week six of the quarter before the comprehensive exam will be completed.  The application can be obtained in either department (Nutrition or SHS) within the Sport Health Science Division.  During the application process, the student is also directed to contact the registrar’s office to start the exit review process for graduation. 

The application is forwarded to the graduate advisor for review and approval.  The graduate advisor’s responsibility is to ensure that the student has met the eligibility criteria listed on the checklist. Once the file has been reviewed and approved by the graduate advisor, the application will be forwarded to the Assistant Dean for final approval.  Once the final approval is granted, the Asst. Dean is responsible for registration for MSHS 6990   or MNTR 6980  .  The deadline for registration is week 10 of the quarter before the exam is completed. 

The exam is offered on the Friday of the 4th week of ever quarter.  The exam starts at 9 AM in the Harris Assessment Center. The faculty members who teach in the program will grade the exam.  Faculty are given two weeks for reading and grading. The exam is graded as pass/fail.  The student will be notified by mail of the outcome of the comprehensive exam.

If the student does not pass the written comprehensive examination on the first attempt, there is one additional re-take of the exam (only retake the parts that one failed).  Suppose, on the second attempt; the student does not pass. In that case, the student is considered academically dismissed from the graduate program within the division of Sport Health Science (Clinical Nutrition and Sport Health Science degree programs).


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