The Doctor of Clinical Nutrition program integrates a systems biology approach with contemporary perspectives in functional nutrition. The program produces compassionate, skillful, and creative practitioners who are capable of working collaboratively to support individuals and groups with personalized plans that move people to health. Students entering the Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN) will receive advanced education in clinical nutrition to enhance their clinical skills, contribute to the current literature in the field, and take leadership roles in this emerging field.
Students who enter the program with a Master’s degree earn 48 credit hours of coursework at the 800- to 900-level in a hybrid format with approximately 12% of the program completed on campus. The time to the doctoral degree is 3 years. Students who enter the program with a Bachelor’s degree complete 31 credits of coursework at the 600 and 700 level in an online, hybrid or on campus format. The bachelor’s to DCN students will receive a doctoral degree in five years.
There are two pathways to the degree: one for those who hold a master’s degree and a background in clinical nutrition and one for those who hold a bachelor’s degree with a strong science focus. The Master’s track is designed for individuals who are practicing clinical nutritionists, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals seeking to deepen their clinical nutrition skills. The bachelor’s pathway is for individuals with a bachelor’s degree, a strong interest in integrative clinical nutrition and the appropriate science courses. Students in the bachelor’s pathway earn 31 Master’s level credits and immediately enter the doctoral program.
The Doctor of Clinical Nutrition program is a professionally oriented, clinical doctoral program designed to educate students in all aspects of the field of integrative and functional nutrition. It is the only integrative DCN program in the country. DCN students will acquire a clinical skill set and knowledge base that prepares them to work with individuals by creating respectful, personalized plans that move people towards health. Additionally, students will publish original clinical nutrition manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. The curriculum includes core courses in functional nutrition and courses in research and publication, as well as courses on clinical nutrition client assessment and care plans for a wide range of health concerns and medical issues.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Doctor of Clinical Nutrition, students will be able to:
- Apply principles of integrative and functional nutrition to provide advanced nutrition care in the areas of gastrointestinal, immune, cardio-metabolic, neurological, nutritional genomics, energy metabolism, and endocrine health
- Evaluate data from the client history, diet history, nutrition focused physical examination, lifestyle, anthropometrics, genomics, environmental impacts, and laboratory findings to provide a comprehensive client assessment
- Synthesize didactic and clinical knowledge and skills, and translate this into personalized nutrition care plans
- Apply principles of research methodology, bioethics, academic journal writing, and case studies in practice and research settings
- Promote nutrition and lifestyle interventions for disease prevention and health optimization as part of a collaborative healthcare team.
The Doctor of Clinical Nutrition prepares students for careers in integrative health practices and health care organizations; to serve as educators in communities, in schools and in colleges and universities; in government and/or policy settings; and to be leaders in the field of integrative and functional nutrition
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median pay of Nutritionists/Dietitians in 2017 was $59,410 per year (www.bls.gov).
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016 reports that the average pay for nutritionists/dietitians in the state of Maryland was $66,520 per year (www.bls.gov).
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth, “Employment is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. The role of food in preventing and treating illnesses, such as diabetes, is now well known. More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for patients with various medical conditions and to advise people who want to improve their overall health (www.bls.gov).”