Curriculum – MS HNFM

Program Pace

The pace of HNFM program is determined by the student’s preference. The recommended track has the student taking 2-3 classes per term and is completed in seven quarters (under two years/21 months). It is possible to complete the program one class at a time, extending the duration. We recognize that the life situations of our students vary considerably in terms of their family, employment and community commitments, thus we are flexible with regard to speed and prefer that students take the time they need in order to learn the material well.

Additionally, it is possible to take “leaves” for a quarter or more if needed. As long as the intended schedule is communicated with the registrar it is possible to extend the program to better suit a student’s individual needs. The program must be completed in a maximum of five years.

Electives

After completing the four foundational “core requirement” courses (Principles of Functional Medicine, Nutritional Biochemistry Evidence-Based Nutrition, and Whole Food Nutrition and Supplementation), students are allowed to select and start elective courses based upon availability and individual preference.

Advanced Standing

functional medicine coaching academyThe Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA) was established in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine.  Taught by IFM faculty and leaders in positive psychology and coaching, the curriculum blends basic Functional Medicine principles with positive psychology coaching, mind-body medicine, and functional nutrition.  The 12-month online program leads to a certificate as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach.  Students are taught how to partner with Functional medicine practitioners and help clients initiate and sustain diet and lifestyle change.  Graduates of the MS-HNFM program qualify for a 10% reduction in tuition.  For more information about FMCA, visit functionalmedicinecoaching.org.

Guest Lecturers

The HNFM program often hosts prestigious guest lecturers to speak about exciting topics in health, nutrition and wellness. Here are a few guests we’ve had the honor of hosting and the topics they presented on:

Neal Barnard, MD – “Evidence on Plant-Based Diets and Diabetes”
Kara Fitzgerald, ND – “Molecular Biology of Fatty Acid Therapy”, “Food Allergy, Intolerance, Sensitivity”, “Allergy and Atopy”
Alan Gaby, MD – “Controversies in Nutrition”
Alan Goldhamer, DC – “Fasting, Food Addictions”
James Gordon, MD – “Self-Care is the Heart of Health Care”
Dennis Hoyer, DC – “Fundamentals of Laboratory Assessment”

Requirements for graduation

The MS in human nutrition and functional medicine 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.

Learning Outcomes

With appreciation of the rapid advancements in the field of clinical nutrition and the increasingly respected role of nutrition in the maintenance of health and the prevention of disease, the master of science in human nutrition and functional medicine program prepares graduates to safely and effectively utilize nutrition, natural remedies and biopsychosocial therapies in the management of patients with complex health challenges at an advanced level beyond traditional nutritional programs. Graduates of the MS-HNFM will:

  1. Possess the knowledge and skills to assess individuals for nutritional deficiencies and imbalances and apply evidence-based therapeutic interventions.
  2. Bring to their patients and communities a well-informed understanding of the crucial relationship between whole food nutrition, health promotion and disease prevention.
  3. Link research findings to the clinical application of the functional medicine model.
  4. Engage in life-long learning.
  5. Practice according to ethical and professional standards.
  6. Produce a scholarly paper on an important functional medicine topic and pass the MS-HNFM comprehensive examination.

Textbooks

You can buy your textbooks online. Find the HFNM textbook list here.

Curriculum: 15 required courses and two electives (choose two)

*Courses do not need to be taken in the order listed below.

HNFM Required Courses

MSN 6100 - Principles of Functional Medicine 5 credits 55 hours

This course presents the fundamental concepts of functional medicine, including genetic predisposition to illness, biochemical individuality, environmental factors (nutrition/diet, xenobiotics, exercise, physical trauma, psychosocial changes), physiologic functions and imbalances, triggers and mediators of illness, common clinical imbalances (oxidative and reductive stress, energy production, structural integrity, assimilation, immune surveillance and inflammation, other defense mechanisms, hormone and neurotransmitter regulation, detoxification and biotransformation, nutritional genomics, and the relationships of mental, emotional and spiritual elements to health and healing). The personalized, whole-person, integrated systems approach of functional medicine will be compared and contrasted to conventional approaches to healthcare. This course lays the foundation for many of the subsequent courses in this degree program and must be taken in the first quarter of the program.

Hours: 5 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: g

MSN 6101 - Evidence-based Nutrition 3 credits 33 hours

This course provides core knowledge in evidence-based nutrition with a focus on the role of nutrition in health optimization and disease treatment. Students will gain a detailed understanding of the practical application of various nutrients and dietary strategies used in clinical practice. Discussions will also incorporate the three components of evidence-based healthcare (clinical expertise, patient preference, research evidence) into the decision-making and data-analysis process.

Hours: 3 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 6102 - Sports Nutrition and Fitness 3 credits 33 hours

This course focuses on nutrition considerations and applications in exercise, athletes, performance enhancement, and weight management. Fitness promoting programs are compared and contrasted, and the evidence supporting various programs is evaluated. Pre-participation guidelines are reviewed.

Hours: 3 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 6200 - Nutritional Biochemistry 2 credits 22 hours

This course provides an overview of essential concepts in human biochemistry and links those concepts to specific applications in clinical nutrition. The course will examine the biological roles of macro- and micronutrients and their metabolism using basic knowledge in physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Topics include carbohydrates and energy metabolism, protein and amino acids, bioactive peptides, enzymes, fiber, lipids, the arachidonic acid cascade, minerals, water-soluble and fat-soluble micronutrients, along with an introduction to energy production, reductionoxidization balance, and biochemical individuality. Students will explore the relationships of nutrients to major health disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 6204 - Gastrointestinal Imbalances 4 credits 44 hours

This course presents a functional medicine approach to understanding the metabolism of the gastrointestinal system, with an emphasis placed on the nutritional implications of dysfunctional digestion or absorption, intestinal membrane integrity and permeability, alterations in GI microbiological flora and gut ecology, hepatoenteric cycles, hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, assimilation of nutrients, and the GI immune system. Nutritional support of GI function and repair is emphasized. Health disorders reviewed include inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten sensitivity, autism, and disorders of systemic inflammation.

Hours: 4 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 6300 - Detoxification and Biotransformation Pathways and Imbalances 3 credits 33 hours

This course examines the metabolic pathways involved in the conversion of exogenous and endogenous toxins and waste compounds and molecules into excretable substances, placing them in context within the functional medicine model. Phase I and II reactions, regulation of detoxification pathways, genetic variations, and functional assessment of these mechanisms are detailed. Nutritional support and the effect of drugs on detoxification pathways are reviewed, as well as the disturbed physiology and eventual pathology that results from imbalances in detoxification and biotransformation.

Hours: 3 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 6302 - Hormone and Neurotransmitter Regulation and Imbalances 3 credits 33 hours

This course examines the actions, interrelationships, control mechanisms and imbalances of neurotransmitters, neuroendocrine factors, hormones and immune mediators. Particular emphasis is placed on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, thyroid metabolism, and sex hormones. The effects of toxins, free radicals, stress, diet, nutrient deficiencies, digestive disorders, drugs and specific foods on neurotransmitters and hormones are analyzed within a functional medicine framework. Laboratory testing of the various substances, including precursors and metabolites is included.

Hours: 3 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 6305 - Whole Food Nutrition and Supplementation 4 credits 44 hours

This course covers concepts and evidence related to nutritional therapy, public health nutrition policy, whole foods and processed foods, food groups, dietary patterns, nutrient content of foods, organic and conventional foods, and various controversies in the field of nutrition. Evidence on nutritional prevention and treatment of major diseases is emphasized. Dietary guidelines, meal planning, and regulation and quality control in the dietary supplement industry are also discussed.

Hours: 4 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 7102 - Oxidative/Reductive Dynamics and Energy Production 3 credits 33 hours

This course examines the mechanisms leading to oxidative or reductive stress and the impact of those reactions on the development of chronic disease. Production of free radicals and reactive oxygen species, and the nitric oxide cycle are covered in depth. Mitochondrial dysfunction and other mechanisms of abnormal energy production are reviewed. Relevance to conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia will be emphasized.

Hours: 3 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 7106 - Autoimmune Disease: Causes and Strategies 3 credits 33 hours

The prevalence of autoimmune diseases is increasing rapidly worldwide and, as with other health ailments such as hypertension and diabetes, these conditions are becoming particularly more common in westernized societies. Rapid changes in disease prevalence point to a change in the patient’s environment rather than to genetic causes, to which these conditions have traditionally been ascribed. Likewise, these conditions that were once considered idiopathic have now been described and researched to the extent that we better understand the etiology and pathophysiology of the disease process, allowing us to formulate improved treatment approaches. This course uses a functional medicine perspective to explore the major autoimmune diseases, their unique and common etiologies, laboratory assessments, physical exam findings, and nutritional and integrative interventions, including pharmacologic drugs.

Hours: 3 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 7115 - Meal Planning in Health and Illness 2 credits

This course prepares students to design and modify meal plans in order to promote optimal health, address specific illness states, manage weight and encourage healthful food behaviors. Included are strategies for incorporation of therapeutic foods, caloric needs, macro- and micro-nutrient requirements, texture and flavor combinations and portion sizes into the planning process. Special consideration will be given to food selection, preparation methods, patient preference, operating within a budget, cultural influences and the creation of sustainable plans that encourage long-term compliance.

Hours: 0 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: g

MSN 7200 - Immune Imbalances and Inflammation 4 credits 44 hours

This course explores inflammation and immune dysfunction as common pathogenic mechanisms in many chronic disorders, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, allergy, and autoimmunity. Dietary and phytonutritional influences on the inflammatory process, including both proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects, are explored in depth using a functional medicine framework. Case studies include autoimmune diseases, allergies, and metabolic disorders. Risks, benefits, and nutritional interactions associated with common anti-inflammatory medications are reviewed.

Hours: 4 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 7207 - Nutritional Epidemiology and Clinical Research 4 credits 44 hours

This course is an introduction to the principles of epidemiology and their application to nutrition. This course addresses the role of nutrition in investigating the epidemiology of many chronic diseases. The course also stresses clinical research design methods utilized in nutrition research as well as general clinical research designs such as clinical trials, cohort studies, case-control studies, and other pragmatic designs.

Hours: 4 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 7215 - Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Imbalances 2 credits 22 hours

Diseases of the cardiovascular system and disruption of its related metabolic processes are among the deadliest and most economically burdensome health problems facing industrialized societies. Having reached epidemic proportions, an urgent need now exists to identify and implement strategies for reversing the trend of increased morbidity and mortality, uncontrolled cost and younger age of onset that characterizes these conditions. This course presents a functional medicine approach to the prevention and nutritional management of chronic cardiovascular disease and imbalances of metabolism (including metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes mellitus). Students also learn the key diagnostic criteria, physical examination and laboratory findings associated with these conditions.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 7305 - Capstone Course 3 credits 33 hours

This is the capstone course in the degree program and is taken in the last quarter of study (with other courses), or in the following quarter. Each student produces either a topic paper in the format of a narrative literature review on a subject related to nutrition and/or functional medicine or a case study that demonstrates their application of the principles and practices covered in the program including a review of the relevant literature. Students also write a reflective essay about their learning experiences in the MS-HNFM program. A comprehensive final examination covering all areas of required coursework in the program is taken at the conclusion of this course.

Hours: 3 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

HNFM Electives

MSN 7101 - Structural Integrity 2 credits 22 hours

  • This course examines the interrelationship between structure, function, well-being and chronic pain syndromes. Structural integrity is considered throughout the spectrum, from cellular membranes and receptors up through the neuromusculoskeletal system and whole body structure. Nutrients closely related to membrane integrity, transport and signaling mechanisms, pain mediation, and bone metabolism are discussed. Selected assessment procedures are reviewed so that practitioners can directly identify and treat areas of dysfunction for common pain syndromes; included in this physical assessment is the “nutritional physical” by which clinicians can appreciate physical manifestations of internal imbalances and nutrient insufficiencies.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 7201 - Fundamentals of Mind-Body Medicine and the Psychology of Well-being 2 credits 22 hours

This is an overview of mind-body medicine — history and current practices. There will be a particular emphasis on the growing variety of evidence-based mindfulness practices, specifically Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and related approaches. We will approach mind-body medicine through a biopsychosocial lens, taking into account the context and culture of environment. We will also look at the impact of meaning and story on illness / wellness and how this can be brought into the therapeutic relationship through Narrative Medicine. This class includes a strong experiential component through instruction and practice in mindfulness and other mind-body practices.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 8100 - Botanical Medicine 2 credits 22 hours

This course presents a practical overview of medical botany/herbology, including history, composition, safety, and therapeutic use of the most commonly used botanical medicines. Each of these agents is reviewed regarding its classification, bioactive components, herb-drug-nutrient interactions, mechanism of action, metabolism, indications and contraindications, toxicology, methods of administration, and dosage

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 8101 - Nutrition in Special Populations 2 credits 22 hours

This course looks at nutritional needs and interventions in special populations, such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women, post-surgical patients, patients with terminal illnesses, and disabled persons who may have mental or physical conditions that affect their basic nutritional needs and their ability to utilize food normally.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 8115 - Advanced Practice Modules 2 credits 22 hours

Advanced Practice Modules (APMs) and the week-long Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) from the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) can be completed for elective credit, with one APM or one AFMCP substituting for one elective course in our MS program. APMs are focused on a single key health dysfunction such as Gastrointestinal, Cardiometabolic, Detoxification and Immune imbalances. APMs are offered both in person and electronically for greater ease of access. Graduates of the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy certificate program may be granted four elective credits. (2 credits each, a maximum of 4 credits allowed)

 

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 8125 - Pharmacology and Drug-Nutrient Interactions 2 credits 22 hours

This course provides a practical overview of pharmacologic therapy used in the management of ambulatory patients with chronic illnesses or non-life threatening acute illnesses. The student will study the effects of drugs on organ systems and diseases and the mechanism of action (pharmacodynamics), the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of drugs (A.D.M.E. of pharmacokinetics), potential toxic effects of medications, factors affecting the effectiveness of drugs, and interactions with drugs, botanical compounds, foods, and nutritional supplements.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: g

MSN 8126-8128 - Supervised Nutrition Mentorship 2 credits

MSN8126 Supervised Nutrition Mentorship I (2 credits)

MSN8127 Supervised Nutrition Mentorship II (2 credits)

MSN8128 Supervised Nutrition Mentorship III (2 credits)

Mentorships are designed to provide practical experiences to help students explore various career opportunities and/or improve practical knowledge and skills within the field of nutrition. During a mentorship, students work under the supervision of a credentialed nutritionist or other health care professional in a nutritional practice environment. The university strives to maintain a list of credentialed supervisors throughout the United States. However, students are ultimately responsible for making their own work arrangements. The supervised experience must total at least 66 hours and include observational experience in each of the following categories: nutritional assessment, intervention, education, counseling or management, and monitoring or evaluation. Optionally, students may extend the preceptorship to 335 hours with a minimum of 70 hours in each of the categories listed above. Only two credits per quarter will be awarded, no matter how many additional hours above the minimum 66 hours are involved.

 

2 credits each.

Hours: 0 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic

MSN 8132 - Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics 2 credits 22 hours

This course explores the current understanding and practical application of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics. By considering the impact of individual genetic variations on nutritional status and requirements (nutrigenetics), students will learn to provide tailored dietary and nutritional recommendations that accommodate common genetic variants. Evaluating the evidence for food and nutrient modulation of gene expression (nutrigenomics) will improve the student’s ability to design nutritional treatment plans that address common chronic illnesses and aid in their prevention. Connections to nutritional epigenetics and genetic testing options will assist the student in navigating the complexities of gene-mediated influences on health and illness.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: g

MSN 8135 - Psychology of Eating and Wellness 2 credits 22 hours

This course explores our complex relationship with food: why we eat what we eat, how we eat, and why we eat too much or too little. Based on positive psychology, mind-body medicine, cognitive-behavior therapy, and a functional medicine model of psychological intervention as paths to wellness, the course also focuses on expectations, beliefs, and resistance to change. Students will examine their own eating and wellness practices, as well as their readiness for counseling others. Therapeutic interventions for developing healthy behaviors and recognizing eating disorders will be discussed and the role of family, peer, societal, corporate and government influences on personal choices will be emphasized.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 8145 - Plant-Based Nutrition 2 credits 22 hours

This course provides a comprehensive guide to plant-based nutrition. Subjects addressed include obtaining sufficient protein from plant sources, the health benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet for prevention and treatment of chronic disease, and determining which supplements are essential. Emphasis is given to transitioning to a vegan diet, and its appropriateness during pregnancy and breastfeeding, for children and teens, for people over fifty, and for people engaged in recreational sports and competitive athletics.  Nutrient-dense recipes and menus are provided. Various dietary controversies are evaluated in an evidence-based framework.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 8165 - Nutrition Practice Strategies 2 credits 22 hours

This course addresses essential aspects of successful nutrition practice with an emphasis on advanced nutrition counseling techniques. Students study effective communication, observation, and active listening skills. Assessment of stages of behavior change and motivational interviewing are integrated with methods for guiding clients/patients through goal setting and maintaining accountability. Case studies to integrate knowledge with clinical application are examined. Analytical strategies such as planning, implementation, and assessment of progress are discussed to prepare the practitioner for successful patient management. Practical steps for setting up a nutrition practice are presented.

Hours: 2 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G

MSN 8167 - Topics in Nutritional Supplementation 2 credits 22 hours

This course will present fundamental concepts of nutritional supplementation in a functional medicine framework, defining and describing the differences among nutritional supplement types including concentrates, extracts, whole food supplements, and isolates, as well as natural and synthetic formulation processes. Safety issues, regulatory standards, and industry standards will be explored. Clinical approaches to integrating supplementation into dietary counseling for a variety of conditions will be considered. Guidance will be provided on the qualities nutritional products should possess when deciding which supplements to use in clinical practice.

UWS appreciates the collaboration and support from Standard Process, Inc., in developing the content for this course under the direction, review and control, and with final approval by UWS. This course is open to students in the UWS doctor of chiropractic and human nutrition and functional medicine programs. For chiropractic students, it provides an introduction to functional medicine and the role of nutritional supplementation. For Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine students, it provides a review of concepts and practices addressed in earlier courses.

Hours: 0 lecture - 0 lab - 0 clinic
Grading: G