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Program Curriculum

Degree requirements include 27 semester hours of core courses, three (3) or six (6) semester hours of elective courses, and either six (6) semester hours of thesis credit (for thesis option) or three (3) hours of research (for non-thesis option), for a total of 36 semester hours. A combined maximum of twelve (12) semester hours of course work may be transferred from the UAMS/CAVHS dietetic internship and a maximum of six (6) semester hours from other accredited colleges and universities. A specific degree plan will be prepared for each student.

All MSCN students (Thesis or Non-Thesis) are required to successfully complete the following core courses:

Course #TitleHours
BIOS 5013Biostatistics I 3
NUTR 5102Assessment of Nutritional Status 2
NUTR 5104Nutrition Research and Statistical Methods 3
NUTR 5106Nutrition and Metabolism:  Micronutrients 3
NUTR 5107Advanced Clinical Nutrition 3
NUTR 5110Nutrition and Metabolism:  Macronutrients 3
NUTR 5112Advanced Nutrition Seminar 1
NUTR 5116Advanced Clinical Practicum3
NUTR 5103Independent Study in Clinical Nutrition1
NUTR 5111Nutrition Counseling2
Specialty CourseNUTR 5113, NUTR 5114, NUTR 5115, or NUTR 5117 - Please see Course Descriptions below3
TOTAL27

Students may choose either a thesis or non-thesis option, both of which require 36 hours for program completion.

Comparison of Thesis vs. Non-Thesis

The MSCN degree program requires a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate credit. Students may elect the thesis or non-thesis option.  A specific degree plan is prepared for each student. Full-time students complete the program in two (2) years; part-time students may take up to five years to finish.

Thesis Option

CoursesSemester Credits
Core Courses27
*Electives3
NUTR 5121 - Master's Thesis in Clinical Nutrition6
TOTAL36

*Students may choose from the following elective courses (suggested, but not a complete list of elective courses):  NUTR 5108 Diet and Cancer Prevention, NUTR 5102 Special Topics in Clinical Nutrition, EPID 5112 Epidemiology I, or a second specialty course (NUTR 5113, 5114, 5115, or NUTR 5117)

Non-Thesis Option

CoursesSemester Credits
Core Courses27
*Electives6
NUTR 5101 - Research in Nutrition3
TOTAL36

*Students may choose from the following elective courses (suggested, but not a complete list of elective courses):  NUTR 5108 Diet and Cancer Prevention, NUTR 5102 Special Topics in Clinical Nutrition, EPID 5112 Epidemiology I, or the specialty courses (NUTR 5113, 5114, 5115, NUTR 5117)

Summary Comparison

RequirementsThesisNon-Thesis
Total Credit Hours36 semester credit hours36 semester credit hours
Written Comprehensive ExaminationYes, with passing score of 80%Yes, with passing score of 80%
Writing RequirementThesisSubmit a written research project report
Oral Communication RequirementThesis DefenseResearch Project Defense
Faculty Guidance CommitteeThesis committee of three faculty (one member from outside the department)Advisory committee of three faculty

Course Descriptions

DIET 5333 – Advanced Clinical Dietetics
Integration of scientific principles of nutrition and food science into the use of foods and nutrients in disease prevention and treatment in accordance with clinical competencies for the entry-level dietitian. Co-requisite:  Admission to Dietetic Internship.  Consent of faculty. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5101 – Research in Nutrition (1-10)
Completion of a capstone nutrition research project under direction of faculty advisor and non-thesis project committee.  Minimum of three hours required.  Grade of “IP” until at least three hours are completed and defended. Prerequisite:  Completion of or concurrent enrollment in all required courses in Clinical Nutrition.  Co-requisite:  Approved project advisor.      

NUTR 5102 – Assessment of Nutritional Status (online)
Study of nutritional assessment systems and methodology including the latest technology in dietary, biochemical, anthropometric, and clinical  valuation.  Emphasis placed on design of systems, interpretation of indices for all age groups in health and disease, and application of data in nutrition consultation.  Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses in Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Nutrition, Food Science or equivalents. (2 Credits)

NUTR 5103 – Independent Study in Clinical Nutrition (1-6)
This option may be used by students seeking to define a thesis topic or to pose a research question about a specific aspect of clinical nutrition.  The student will prepare a written report following designated guidelines. (Variable Credits)

NUTR 5104 – Nutrition Research and Statistical Methods
A study of research designs, statistics, and data collection methods used in nutrition research. Emphasis on planning metabolic, epidemiological, educational, and clinical studies including food  composition and nutritional assessment surveys with basic and advanced statistical applications.  Prerequisite: Graduate level course in Statistics or consent of faculty. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5105 – Principles of Advanced Nutrition Support
Advanced study in the art and science of nutrition support explored through a comprehensive review of the literature; discussion of the biochemical, physiological, and medical aspects of nutrition support; and application of these principles in clinical practice through case study presentation.  Students participate in literature analysis and case discussions.  Prerequisites: one of the following courses or equivalents: NUTR 5107, DIET 5333, NUTR 5110, NUTR 5102, or consent of faculty. (2 Credits)

NUTR 5106 – Nutrition and Metabolism Micronutrients (online)
This course reviews the roles of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements in metabolic processes, and their roles in human metabolism.  Alterations in metabolic processes caused by specific vitamin deficiency diseases will be discussed.  Metabolism of common drugs and drug-nutrient interactions will be reviewed.  Prerequisite: NUTR 5110 or equivalent, or consent of faculty. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5107 – Advanced Clinical Nutrition (online)
Integration of principles of biochemistry, physiology, pathology, anatomy, psychology, anthropology, epidemiology, nutrition and food science into therapeutic use of foods and nutrients in disease prevention and treatment through a case-oriented approach.  Prerequisites include Biochemistry, Diet in Disease, Anatomy and Physiology, or consent of faculty; DIET 5333 in the Dietetic Internship can be substituted for this course. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5108 – Diet and/or Cancer Prevention
Focused on clinical and preclinical studies that address how dietary related factors, such as nutrients, bioactive food components and obesity, influence cancer development and cover major mechanisms by which dietary factors modify cancer risk.  Prerequisites:  A previous course in nutrition, biology, biochemistry, or physiology, or consent of faculty. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5109 – Medical Nutrition Therapy (online)
Introducing nutrition as a medical specialty from the perspective of disease prevention and treatment including assessment, patient interviewing strategies, medical terminology, nutrition care plan techniques, and prevention strategies.  Prerequisites:  a course in nutrition and in organic biochemistry, physiology or equivalent, or consent of faculty. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5110 – Nutrition and Metabolism Macronutrients (online)
Reviews cell function, including acid-base, utilization of nutrients in metabolic processes, and roles of specific nutrients in human metabolism.  Physiology and organ systems function as related to nutrition will also be addressed.  Alterations in metabolic processes caused by specific diseases will be discussed. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5111 – Nutrition Counseling
Provides an understanding of the methods, strategies, and evaluation techniques of nutrition and diet counseling.  Learning styles, nutritional anthropology, and instructional technology are applied in the health care setting. Prerequisite: NUTR 5107 or DIET 5333, or consent of faculty. (2 Credits)

NUTR 5112 – Advanced Nutrition Seminar
Graduate seminar of important current research in clinical nutrition to reflect content, application to clinical practice, and study parameters and design. Students will read original papers, write critiques, and make presentations for discussion. (1 Credit)

NUTR 5113 – Geriatric Nutrition
Examines the relationships between nutrition and physiologic aging. The impact of aging on nutritional requirements, effects of chronic and acute disease, effects of nutrition on the aging process, and nutrition programs for older adults are explored. Students will actively analyze and discuss research literature. Prerequisite: one of the following courses NUTR 5110, NUTR 5106, NUTR 5107, DIET 5333, or consent of faculty. (3 Credits) 

NUTR 5114 – Pediatric Nutrition
This course describes the relationship of growth and development to nutrient requirements, from infancy to adolescence.  The assessment of feeding practices, food habits, and nutritional status in growth problems, health and diseases will be discussed.  Nutritional interventions and therapies for specific conditions will be planned.  Prerequisites: one of the following courses NUTR 5110, NUTR 5106, NUTR 5107, DIET 5333, or consent of faculty. (3 Credits) 

NUTR 5115 – Nutrition in Health, Wellness and Sports (online)
This course describes the application of advanced principles of normal and preventive nutrition to health and fitness, physical performance, disease prevention, and health promotion in dietetic practice.  It relates clinical research in exercise physiology to decision making in wellness and sports nutrition counseling.  Prerequisites: one of the following courses NUTR 5110, NUTR 5106, NUTR 5107, DIET 5333, or consent of faculty. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5116 – Advanced Clinical Practicum
Based on individual needs and prior clinical experiences, the student may elect an area of advanced clinical nutrition practice for in-depth experiences after determining goals, objectives, and major experiences desired. Prerequisite: NUTR 5107 or DIET 5333, NUTR 5110, NUTR 5102, NUTR 5111, or consent of faculty. (3 Credits) 

NUTR 5117 – Community Nutrition
This advanced-level course will provide the student with a framework to approach, analyze, and work with the community nutrition problems.  The needs of different populations and resources within the community will be discussed.  This course will cover nutritional needs assessment, nutritional education and public policy.  Pre-requisites: one of the following courses NUTR 5110, NUTR 5106, NUTR 5107, DIET 5333, or consent of faculty.  Off-site activities will be necessary to fulfill requirements for this course. (3 Credits)

NUTR 5120 – Special Topics in Clinical Nutrition
Advanced work in selected topics of current interest and investigation in clinical nutrition.  Topics might include new research and guidelines in the use of nutrition or selected nutrients to prevent or treat a specific disease state such as diabetes, digestive diseases, osteoporosis, obesity, or cardiovascular diseases. (1-3 Credits)

NUTR 5121 – Master’s Thesis in Clinical Nutrition (1-6)
Under supervision of graduate faculty, an original research study will be designed and conducted with written thesis following Graduate School guidelines.  Prerequisite: Consent of faculty

NUTR 5122 – Clinical Nutrition Special Project (1-3)
Students will participate in a research project under the supervision of a faculty member.