Doctor of Clinical Nutrition

Program Pace

The doctor of clinical nutrition (DCN) program is a cohort program where students move through the two-year sequence with a group of peers and take a required set of courses for each of the eight quarters in the program.

Explore the current university catalog to view courses offered, descriptions and course sequence.

Learning Outcomes

Recognizing the need for clinical nutrition practitioners with advanced training to assess and manage patients/clients experiencing complex chronic illness and to promote wellness through optimal body function, the doctor of clinical nutrition program prepares graduates to skillfully address the multifaceted health needs of the individuals they serve.

Upon completion of the program, DCN graduates will:

  1. Apply appropriate patient/client evaluation methods to determine nutritional needs and clinical status.
  2. Create nutrition-focused care plans that incorporate scientific evidence and sound clinical judgment to promote therapeutic goals and wellness.
  3. Apply functional medicine tools and strategies that enable a whole-person approach to patient/client care.
  4. Model ethical methods of practice that accord with applicable principles of jurisprudence.
  5. Employ a collaborative approach to clinical nutrition care.

Curriculum

The doctor of clinical nutrition program includes 65 quarter credits over a two-year course sequence. Each quarter includes 7-11 credits and the courses are offered once a year for each cohort entering the program.

The following courses are all required for the DCN program; there are no electives in this curriculum.

Year One:

  • DCN7100 Foundations of Scientific Writing (2 credits)
  • DCN7101 Clinical Reasoning in Nutrition Practice (2 credits)
  • DCN7102 Research for Clinicians: Appraisal and Publication (3 credits)
  • DCN7200 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics I: Cardiometabolic (4 credits)
  • DCN7201 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics II: Gastrointestinal (4 credits)
  • DCN7300 Physical Examination I (4 credits)
  • DCN7301 Functional Medicine Case Management I (3 credits)
  • DCN7302 Professional Ethics and Jurisprudence for the DCN (2 credits)
  • DCN7400 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics III: Endocrine (4 credits)
  • DCN7401 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics IV: Neurological (4 credits)

Year Two:

  • DCN8100 Physical Examination II (4 credits)
  • DCN8101 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics V: Immune (4 credits)
  • DCN8200 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics VI: Special Populations (4 credits)
  • DCN8201 Functional Medicine Case Management II (4 credits)
  • DCN8300 Culinary Strategies for Vibrant Meals (3 credits)
  • DCN8301 Public Health and Policy in Nutrition (2 credits)
  • DCN8302 Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics: Advanced Applications (3 credits)
  • DCN8400 Distance Clinic Internship (4 credits)
  • DCN8401 Success and Sustainability in Nutrition Practice (2 credits)
  • DCN8402 Capstone Course (2 credits)
  • DCN8403 Onsite Clinical Practical Examination (1 credit)

Course Descriptions

DCN7100 Foundations of Scientific Writing (2 credits)
This course prepares students to effectively communicate their ideas through writing. Areas of emphasis include clarity, cohesion, originality and concision. The knowledge and skills developed through this course will prepare students to successfully complete written work in subsequent DCN program courses.

DCN7101 Clinical Reasoning in Nutrition Practice (2 credits)
This course provides approaches for determining which illness states and clinical imbalances patients and clients are presenting, as well as selecting therapeutic options to prioritize in their care. Through exploring illness scripts, problem representation, differential diagnosis, probabilities and predictive values, students will develop their ability to match assessment and treatment steps to the needs of the individual.

DCN7102 Research for Clinicians: Appraisal and Publication (3 credits)
This course prepares the future doctor of clinical nutrition to evaluate evidence for its application in their professional activities and to contribute to the peer-reviewed literature through publication. Accessible approaches for clinicians to create published work are emphasized, including case reports and literature reviews.

DCN7200 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics I: Cardiometabolic (4 credits)
This course provides advanced assessment and treatment strategies for conditions and clinical imbalances affecting the cardiovascular system and related metabolic processes. Through the use of functional medicine focused evaluation and treatment, students will be prepared to create individualized care plans to aid prevention and management of these issues.

DCN7201 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics II: Gastrointestinal (4 credits)
This course provides advanced assessment and treatment strategies for conditions and clinical imbalances affecting the gastrointestinal system and its connections with other body systems and processes. Through the use of functional medicine focused evaluation and treatment, students will be prepared to create individualized care plans to aid prevention and management of these issues.

DCN7300 Physical Examination I (4 credits)
This course introduces foundational physical examination procedures for the cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal and integumentary systems. Students will learn to distinguish normal and abnormal findings and connect examination findings with the diagnosis and treatment of notable clinical conditions affecting these systems.

DCN7301 Functional Medicine Case Management I (3 credits)
This course integrates and extends the clinical management of conditions presented in Functional Nutritional Therapeutics I and II, emphasizing complex case presentations, longitudinal case management and prioritization in assessment and treatment planning. Collaborative care strategies and documentation methods will also be discussed.

DCN7302 Professional Ethics and Jurisprudence for the DCN (2 credits)
This course prepares students to practice within applicable legal and ethical boundaries. By understanding the potential risks to patients/clients and themselves that can arise from acting outside these boundaries, students will be able to maintain a cautious, informed approach to their practice that protects the public and their profession.

DCN7400 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics III: Endocrine (4 credits)
This course provides advanced assessment and treatment strategies for conditions and clinical imbalances affecting the endocrine system and its connections with other body systems and processes. Through the use of functional medicine focused evaluation and treatment, students will be prepared to create individualized care plans to aid prevention and management of these issues.

DCN7401 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics IV: Neurological (4 credits)
This course provides advanced assessment and treatment strategies for conditions and clinical imbalances affecting the nervous system and its connections with other body systems and processes. Through the use of functional medicine focused evaluation and treatment, students will be prepared to create individualized care plans to aid prevention and management of these issues.

DCN8100 Physical Examination II (4 credits)
This course introduces foundational physical examination procedures for the nervous, endocrine, musculoskeletal systems and provides an overview of the head, eyes, ears, nose and throat examination. Students will learn to distinguish normal and abnormal findings and connect examination findings with the diagnosis and treatment of notable clinical conditions affecting these systems.

DCN8101 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics V: Immune (4 credits)
This course provides advanced assessment and treatment strategies for conditions and clinical imbalances affecting the immune system and its connections with other body systems and processes. Through the use of functional medicine focused evaluation and treatment, students will be prepared to create individualized care plans to aid prevention and management of these issues.

DCN8200 Functional Nutritional Therapeutics VI: Special Populations (4 credits)
This course addresses the nutritional and health care needs of individuals that may differ from the general population. This includes varying life cycle stages, persons with severe health impairments and socio-cultural groups whose members may have distinct health care needs.

DCN8201 Functional Medicine Case Management II (4 credits)
This course integrates and extends the clinical management of conditions presented in Functional Nutritional Therapeutics III, IV and V, emphasizing complex case presentations, longitudinal case management and prioritization in assessment and treatment planning. Collaborative care strategies and documentation methods will also be discussed.

DCN8300 Culinary Strategies for Vibrant Meals (3 credits)
This course examines food selection and preparation methods that facilitate enjoyable, accessible cooking while supporting healthful food behaviors. These elements are crucial to maintain patients’ and clients’ long-term engagement and compliance with dietary recommendations and to enhance their quality of life. Students will learn a variety of methods and approaches that emphasize sensory awareness, health-promotion, cultural inclusiveness and sustainability.

DCN8301 Public Health and Policy in Nutrition (2 credits)
This course examines the nutrition-related factors and systems impacting health and illness at the community and national level. It provides an overview of public health concepts and approaches, enabling students to develop the skills and knowledge to be informed participants and advocates in relevant organizations or through the political process.

DCN8302 Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics: Advanced Applications (3 credits)
This course addresses the crucial interplay between food and nutrients, gene expression and genetic variants. Through advanced clinical cases and strategies, students will learn how to personalize their nutritional recommendations to the needs of the individual patient/client.

DCN8400 Distance Clinic Internship (4 credits)
This course provides virtual experiences in patient/client management to refine students’ skills in assessment and treatment. Through interactive activities and simulated patient interactions, students will learn how to manage the many aspects of a successful clinical encounter.

DCN8401 Success and Sustainability in Nutrition Practice (2 credits)
This course addresses the planning and operational strategies that can help ensure the success of a nutrition practice. Students learn essential aspects of marketing and public communication, business planning, revenue generation and practice management.

DCN8402 Capstone Course (2 credits)
This is the capstone course in the degree program and is taken in the last quarter of study. Each student will complete a case report project integrating the skills and knowledge they have gained through their work in the program. Students also write a reflective essay about their learning experiences in the DCN program.

DCN8403 Onsite Clinical Practical Examination (1 credit)
This practical examination occurs at the UWS campus and consists of four days of review and assessment. Patient/client evaluation skills and clinical management approaches are observed in simulated care scenarios.

Textbooks

Students are encouraged to check the library catalog for electronic versions of required and recommended textbooks before purchasing. The library carries a few copies all of the required and recommended textbooks in print and has been able to obtain electronic versions of many textbooks for all programs at UWS, saving students hundreds of dollars per term. To purchase books, please visit the UWS campus store.

Find the DCN textbook list here.

Faculty

Read about the esteemed faculty within the doctor of clinical nutrition program.

Requirements for graduation

The doctor of clinical nutrition degree is conferred upon the individual who has fulfilled the following requirements:

  1. Maintenance of enrollment eligibility through satisfactory academic performance, professional development and behavior, and non-academic behavior.
  2. Successful completion of all required courses, lectures, labs, practicums, and seminars with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all required coursework.
  3. Successful completion of minimum graduation requirements as officially communicated to students through the university catalog, student publications, and other official documents of the university.
  4. Freedom from all indebtedness and other obligations to the university.