HNFM questions answered here:
HNFM program features
What makes this program unique and different from other nutrition programs?
The University of Western States HNFM programs include advanced instruction in nutrition, similar to other master’s level nutrition programs, but go far beyond by also presenting extensive educational content on functional medicine principles and practices derived from the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). These include important interdisciplinary and evidence-based perspectives, patient assessments and clinical interventions designed to enhance the function of the whole person. The functional medicine model is woven deeply into the fabric of the curriculum.
Are you accredited?
Yes, we are accredited regionally through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. This is the highest level for non-profits and it is recognized in all U.S. states.
What is the online format like?
Read about the HNFM online learning platform here.
How do instructors ensure a high-quality education experience for students?
Instructors ensure a high-quality education by reviewing current literature and selecting the most relevant, best-constructed examples, incorporating synthesis activities to create deeper interaction with the material, and opening multiple avenues of communication, including interactive forums, direct email discussion, recorded lectures, and/or live classroom meetings.
Do these programs have a clinical focus?
The programs are primarily clinically-focused, with emphasis on treating individual or multiple conditions and their risk factors using dietary and nutritional interventions. Every course contains elements of clinical assessment and diagnosis. There is also a strong focus on wellness promotion and general health in order to meet the clinician's primary goal of preventing disease and metabolic dysfunction before they occur.
What is the value of these degrees for a doctor of chiropractic?
This HNFM programs enable doctor of chiropractics to expand their role from support to direct management of chronic complex disease. They prepare DCs to skillfully prescribe nutritional interventions to create a maximum therapeutic effect at minimum cost and risk to patients.
At what point in the MS program are students eligible to enroll in elective courses?
After completing the four foundational courses (Principles of Functional Medicine, Nutritional Biochemistry, and Whole Food Nutrition and Supplementation, and Evidence-Based Nutrition), students are allowed to select electives based upon availability and individual preference.
Is it possible to take additional electives beyond the required number?
Students may pay for and take additional electives beyond those required for graduation. If receiving any kind of financial aid, they should check with the financial aid office for continued eligibility. Additional elective credits will not be used to satisfy core credit requirements.
What patient/client assessment tools are taught throughout the program?
In addition to clinical tests, the use of various health assessment questionnaires and other analytic tools is covered in depth.
What business-related topics are included?
The programs include information on ways to manage the care of patients (e.g., patient communication, motivation, case presentation, etc.). There are also opportunities to interact with faculty and other students through online discussions regarding marketing strategies. All programs include information on ways to manage the care of patients or clients (e.g., patient/client communication, motivation, case presentation, etc.). Students in the MS-HNFM and graduate certificate programs are encouraged to consider the elective course MSN8165, Nutrition Practice Strategies to deepen their knowledge of practice management, business planning, and patient/client engagement strategies. Students in the DCN program will extend their knowledge of business-related topics in the course DCN8401, Success and Sustainability in Nutrition Practice.
How much clinical practice is part of the curriculum?
While the curriculum and course content are designed to be clinically applicable throughout, there is no requirement for an internship or mentorship to complete the program. Students may choose to complete an elective mentorship which is an observational clinical experience conducted with a nutrition-focused practitioner the student identifies in their area.
What is functional medicine?
Functional medicine is a science-based, patient-centered and systems-oriented approach to helping people achieve and maintain excellent health. This is accomplished primarily through natural methods, with diet and nutrition as a central focus. Functional medicine is a forefront model for health care practice that seeks to address the causes of disease and dysfunction rather than suppressing symptoms. Founded on a holistic view of health, functional medicine delves deep into the biochemical and genetic individuality of each patient. University of Western States has partnered with the Institute for Functional Medicine to develop a program that lives up to the highest ideals of the functional medicine movement.
How is functional medicine different than conventional medical treatment?
Many health issues and chronic conditions are related to longstanding imbalances and dysfunctions of bodily systems. In conventional medicine, disease and illness is typically treated symptomatically, without addressing the underlying cause. While conventional medical treatment can be life-saving, in the long run it is also very important to correct functional abnormalities through functional medicine so that disease can be prevented or reversed by helping the body heal itself. Functional medicine practitioners investigate each patient individually to assess whether they have imbalances and dysfunctions of bodily systems. Focuses of this practice include dietary recommendations emphasizing whole foods and nutritional supplementation, lifestyle changes and mind-body approaches.
Is the UWS master’s in human nutrition and functional medicine affiliated with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)?
Much of the course content was developed in conjunction with experts from the IFM. We are actively working to add to and revise content in our curriculum based on consultation with IFM.
When may students take courses delivered by IFM that can be applied for credit in the HNFM program?
IFM courses are electives that may be taken at a time chosen by the student after completing the three four required foundational courses (Principles of Functional Medicine, Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Assessment, Whole Food Nutrition and Supplementation, and Evidence-Based Nutrition). Seminars conducted by IFM are scheduled by IFM as listed on their website. These courses are an additional cost to the HNFM program. Some of the material in the required courses will be provided by IFM in a distance-learning format. Tuition for these courses is paid to IFM, with no additional tuition due to UWS.
If I have completed an IFM course previously, can it be used toward the elective requirement?
Yes, as long as the course has been taken within five years prior to entering the program.
When is the best time to apply?
Students are admitted on a case-by-case basis until the cohort is filled. Contact the office of admissions to determine if there are still spaces available for your desired entry term.
Can I apply without finishing the prerequisites?
Yes, but consult with the office of admissions first.
Are labs required for prerequisite courses?
No, labs in prerequisite courses are not a requirement for entry.
After I'm accepted, can I change my start date without having to reapply?
UWS accepts students enrolling with a specific entering class and entry date. Written requests to change enrollment to a different entry term will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
HNFM certifications and careers
Will this program qualify me for any professional certificates?
Graduates of the MS-HNFM program can sit for the Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) examination and for the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) examination. Students who plan to sit for the CNS exam and who have NOT completed behavior science coursework (e.g. a psychology course) in their prior academic degrees should connect with their Student Services academic advisor to select one of the eligible MS-HNFM elective courses to meet this newer CNS requirement. Alternatively, they may choose to earn continuing education hours in behavior science to meet this requirement - please consult the CNS website for more information on their requirements. Some certifications also require supervised clinical practice hours and students should contact these organizations to receive the most up-to-date information. Licensed professional health care providers may sit for the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (ACBN) examination after successfully completing 300 hours of specialized postgraduate training in nutrition, which can be fulfilled by the UWS master’s degree curriculum. In addition, ACBN certification requires writing a nutrition-oriented article or paper acceptable by the Board and at least two years of practice experience in nutrition. Chiropractic physicians who complete at least 300 hours of nutrition courses in the UWS HNFM program are eligible to sit for the diplomate exam of the Chiropractic Board of Clinical Nutrition (CBCN).
Upon program completion, will I be a registered dietician?
The HNFM program at UWS is not for people seeking to become a registered dietician. Completion of the MS HNFM program satisfies all or part of the educational requirements to sit for several important national certification exams in the field of nutrition.
What are the benefits of these additional certifications?
An accredited degree in nutrition adds significantly to the credibility of a practitioner and this may be further enhanced by additional certifications. However, at this time such certifications are not required by most states that have laws regulating the practice of nutrition.