FAIRFIELD, CT – Sacred Heart University will offer an online master of science degree in human clinical nutrition beginning this fall. Jobs related to nutrition are increasing because of an increased focus on disease prevention and integrative health care. With only about 30 online master’s degrees in clinical nutrition available nationwide, the new degree makes SHU a pioneer in educating students to fill these positions.
Emerging areas within the nutrition discipline include telehealth, behavioral counseling, diet prescription, informatics and genomics. Because of the field’s growth and expansion, educational programs like SHU’s are attracting recognition nationwide.
The part-time degree program comprises 34 credits within six trimesters over two years. The flexible course schedule will enable busy professionals and others to complete the program, which serves as a pathway to the clinical nutrition specialist (CNS) board examination. Students also will work under the guidance of a professional nutritionist, either virtually, in-person or a combination of the two, depending on the location.
The master’s degree program will prepare students for careers in federal, state or private agencies, as well as in research, public health or academic settings. The curriculum is based on theoretical knowledge and evidence-based research, combined with practical clinical applications. A team-based structure will enable students to develop decision-making skills while learning to design, synthesize and present research in a clinical setting. Using precision medicine principles, students will learn to customize nutrition recommendations based on a client’s health.
The new minor in human nutrition will offer undergraduate students in any major a pathway to the new master’s program. “I’m excited about adding this to the College of Health Professions’ portfolio of programs,” said Jody Bortone, associate dean of faculty affairs and new initiatives in the CHP. “We keep looking to develop initiatives that integrate well with our existing programs so they can build on each other.”
One factor that will set SHU’s new program apart from others is its unique opportunities for experiential learning. Service learning, global health and culinary coaching opportunities that may lead to a study-abroad program in Italy or Greece, further broaden the master’s in nutrition program.
“This program is going to be a wonderful opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of team-based learning and clinical decision-making skills, while emphasizing an integrated approach to health and incorporating fundamentals of nutrition,” said Christina Gunther, clinical assistant professor and chair of health sciences.
Program admission includes a bachelor’s degree and completion of prerequisites. A prerequisite package will be offered to applicants who have not completed them.
The human clinical nutrition program is pending approval and accepting inquiries for fall 2021.