Doctor of Clinical Nutrition

Program Overview

The Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition (DCN) program at Fairfield University is an advanced practice doctoral degree with an emphasis on leadership, evidence-based practice, and research. The program prepares graduates to become registered dietitian nutritionists who are leaders in the profession. Graduates expand the knowledge of clinical nutrition to improve health outcomes with particular attention to the needs of underserved or vulnerable populations.

The program prepares students to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing examination to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Beginning January 1, 2024 a graduate degree will be required to sit for this Exam.

Coursework

The DCN is under the Future Education Model standards. The DCN is a three-year, full-time or four-year, part-time program, which includes didactic courses integrated with supervised experiential learning in community, healthcare and food service settings. Courses include nutrition and dietetics content as well as advanced leadership and research courses taught in conjunction with Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students. Collaborative learning opportunities include simulation to prepare students for interprofessional practice.

Career and Professional Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of dietitian nutritionists is projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The role of food in preventing and treating disease, such as diabetes, is now well known. More dietitians are needed to provide care for patients with various medical conditions and to advise people using evidence-based practice to improve overall health.

Dietitians can work in a vast number of places, which could include hospitals, long-term care, food service operations, business and industry, sales, supermarkets and schools.

NURS 7601Epidemiology and Biostatistics3
NURS 7605Advanced Healthcare Policy3
NURS 7608Research Methods for Evidenced-Based Practice3
NURS 7611Population Health3
NURS 7612Research Translation for Clinical Practice3
NURS 7613Finance and Quality Management in Healthcare Organizations3
NURS 7614Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement3
NURS 7615Leadership and Interprofessional Collaboration3
NURS 7620Advanced Concepts in Pathophysiology3
NUTR 7005Foundations of Nutrition Through the Lifecycle3
NUTR 7010Food Science4
NUTR 7015Nutrition Assessment and Diagnosis3
NUTR 7020Community Nutrition3
NUTR 7025Nutritional Biochemistry3
NUTR 7030Nutrition Pharmacology3
NUTR 7035Advanced Nutrition Counseling3
NUTR 7040Nutrition Metabolism3
NUTR 7045Food Systems Management3
NUTR 7050Nutrition for Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease3
NUTR 7055Nutrition and Global Health3
NUTR 7060Advanced Clinical Nutrition3
NUTR 7951Community Nutrition Practicum1
NUTR 7952Food Systems Practicum2
NUTR 7953Nutrition Practicum I3
NUTR 7954Advanced Practice Residency3
NUTR 7961DCN Project Seminar I1
NUTR 7962DCN Project Seminar II1
Total Credits75

Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition: Full Time

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
NURS 7620 Advanced Concepts in Pathophysiology 3
NUTR 7005 Foundations of Nutrition Through the Lifecycle 3
NUTR 7010 Food Science 4
 Credits10
Spring
NUTR 7015 Nutrition Assessment and Diagnosis 3
NUTR 7020 Community Nutrition 3
NUTR 7025 Nutritional Biochemistry 3
NUTR 7951 Community Nutrition Practicum 1
 Credits10
Summer
NUTR 7030 Nutrition Pharmacology 3
NUTR 7035 Advanced Nutrition Counseling 3
NUTR 7040 Nutrition Metabolism 3
 Credits9
Second Year
Fall
NURS 7608 Research Methods for Evidenced-Based Practice 3
NURS 7611 Population Health 3
NUTR 7045 Food Systems Management 3
NUTR 7952 Food Systems Practicum 2
 Credits11
Spring
NURS 7601 Epidemiology and Biostatistics 3
NUTR 7050 Nutrition for Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease 3
NUTR 7953 Nutrition Practicum I 3
 Credits9
Summer
NURS 7612 Research Translation for Clinical Practice 3
NURS 7614 Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement 3
NUTR 7055 Nutrition and Global Health 3
 Credits9
Third Year
Fall
NURS 7613 Finance and Quality Management in Healthcare Organizations 3
NUTR 7060 Advanced Clinical Nutrition 3
NUTR 7954 Advanced Practice Residency 3
NUTR 7961 DCN Project Seminar I 1
 Credits10
Spring
NURS 7605 Advanced Healthcare Policy 3
NURS 7615 Leadership and Interprofessional Collaboration 3
NUTR 7962 DCN Project Seminar II 1
 Credits7
 Total Credits75

Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition: Part Time

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
NURS 7620 Advanced Concepts in Pathophysiology 3
NUTR 7005 Foundations of Nutrition Through the Lifecycle 3
 Credits6
Spring
NUTR 7015 Nutrition Assessment and Diagnosis 3
NUTR 7025 Nutritional Biochemistry 3
 Credits6
Summer
NUTR 7030 Nutrition Pharmacology 3
NUTR 7040 Nutrition Metabolism 3
 Credits6
Second Year
Fall
NURS 7608 Research Methods for Evidenced-Based Practice 3
NURS 7613 Finance and Quality Management in Healthcare Organizations 3
NUTR 7010 Food Science 4
 Credits10
Spring
NURS 7601 Epidemiology and Biostatistics 3
NUTR 7020 Community Nutrition 3
NUTR 7951 Community Nutrition Practicum 1
 Credits7
Summer
NURS 7612 Research Translation for Clinical Practice 3
NUTR 7035 Advanced Nutrition Counseling 3
 Credits6
Third Year
Fall
NURS 7611 Population Health 3
NUTR 7045 Food Systems Management 3
NUTR 7952 Food Systems Practicum 2
 Credits8
Spring
NUTR 7050 Nutrition for Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease 3
NUTR 7953 Nutrition Practicum I 3
 Credits6
Summer
NURS 7614 Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement 3
NUTR 7055 Nutrition and Global Health 3
 Credits6
Fourth Year
Fall
NUTR 7060 Advanced Clinical Nutrition 3
NUTR 7954 Advanced Practice Residency 3
NUTR 7961 DCN Project Seminar I 1
 Credits7
Spring
NURS 7605 Advanced Healthcare Policy 3
NURS 7615 Leadership and Interprofessional Collaboration 3
NUTR 7962 DCN Project Seminar II 1
 Credits7
 Total Credits75

NUTR 7005 Foundations of Nutrition Through the Lifecycle3 Credits

This course will begin with an introduction to the fundamentals of human nutrition including a broad overview of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Analysis and application of the physiological, biological and biochemical basis for differences in nutritional requirements throughout the stages of the lifecycle including pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and older adulthood will be discussed.

NUTR 7010 Food Science4 Credits

This course introduces the principles of food science and food safety. Students will understand government and regulatory regulations, and the changes that occur in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other food components during food preparation. The lab portion will teach culinary techniques and introduce a variety of recipes, emphasizing information learned in lecture. Students will learn general principles of choosing, storing, and preparing different categories of food.

NUTR 7015 Nutrition Assessment and Diagnosis3 Credits

Prerequisite: NUTR 7005.

This course provides an introduction to the standardized language for the Nutrition Care Process in various disease states and conditions. It will include interviewing, anthropometrics, laboratory data, nutrition diagnosis, intervention and monitoring and evaluation. It will include an introduction to the nutrition focused physical assessment.

NUTR 7020 Community Nutrition3 Credits

Corequisite: NUTR 7951.

This course provides a comprehensive review of program planning, policies, resources, and nutrition issues specific to community nutrition. Additionally, the resources available to providing and implementing nutrition programs for various populations and how to assess those interventions will be addressed.

NUTR 7025 Nutritional Biochemistry3 Credits

This course emphasizes the metabolism and biochemistry of carbohydrates, protein, and fat (energy containing nutrients). The course covers chemical structures, digestion, absorption, distribution, and metabolism of the nutrients, including information on the metabolic pathways.

NUTR 7030 Nutrition Pharmacology3 Credits

This course focuses on the principles of pharmacology, with a focus on the impact of food and nutrients on the action and effectiveness of medications and complementary and alternative medicine. The course covers basic pharmacology principles, drug classifications, and the role of medications to treat disease and improve quality of life.

NUTR 7035 Advanced Nutrition Counseling3 Credits

Prerequisite: NUTR 7015.

This course provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to communicate with individuals, groups, and the public. Students will practice and evaluate communication skills in counseling individuals.

NUTR 7040 Nutrition Metabolism3 Credits

Prerequisite: NUTR 7025.

This course has the student come to an understanding of the physiological and metabolic processes involved in processing nutrients. This ranges from gaining understanding of the organs involved in digestion, to the biochemical processes that transform nutrients to be utilized by cells. Furthermore the course demonstrates the regulation of nutrient processing and aberrations of the process in metabolic diseases.

NUTR 7045 Food Systems Management3 Credits

Corequisite: NUTR 7952.

Prerequisite: NUTR 7010.

This course will focus on food safety and regulations as well as human resource management, institutional menu development, budgeting, finance, and food service equipment, layout, and design.

NUTR 7050 Nutrition for Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease3 Credits

Corequisite: NUTR 7953.

Prerequisite: NUTR 7015.

This course addresses chronic disease states and the dietary modifications necessary to meet the needs of the body during pathological conditions. Includes oral, as well as other enteral and parenteral feeding routes. Application of the nutrition care process to assess, diagnosis, plan interventions, monitor, and evaluate patient outcomes.

NUTR 7055 Nutrition and Global Health3 Credits

This course provides information on the major health challenges faced globally. In addition, determinants of health and disease, emerging health priorities, impact of poverty, health systems, and global initiatives for disease prevention and health promotion will be explored.

NUTR 7060 Advanced Clinical Nutrition3 Credits

Prerequisites: NUTR 7050, NUTR 7953.

This course addresses the dietary modifications necessary to meet the needs of the body during pathological conditions while identifying complex metabolic and physiological interrelationships. In addition, advanced nutritional concepts in healthcare will be addressed. Application of the nutrition care process will be used in assessing, diagnosing, planning interventions, monitoring, and evaluating patient outcomes.

NUTR 7951 Community Nutrition Practicum1 Credit

Corequisite: NUTR 7020.

Supervised experiential learning applying knowledge obtained in the Community Nutrition course. Practicum will include a participation in the daily activities in a community setting, acting in a staff relief position in a community nutrition setting, and completing culminating Program Planning and Evaluation Project in a community setting.

NUTR 7952 Food Systems Practicum2 Credits

Corequisite: NUTR 7045.

Supervised experiential learning applying knowledge obtained in the Food Systems Management course. Practicum will include a culminating project demonstrating planning, marketing, healthy menu development, teaching, budgetary needs, cost control, quality assurance, and evaluation.

NUTR 7953 Nutrition Practicum I3 Credits

Corequisite: NUTR 7050.

Supervised experiential learning applying prior knowledge in a clinical setting. Practicum will include working with patients with various disease states. Students will work under the supervision of Registered Dietitians providing Medical Nutrition Therapy for various disease states using the Nutrition Care Process.

NUTR 7954 Advanced Practice Residency3 Credits

Corequisite: NUTR 7060.

Supervised experiential learning applying prior knowledge in a clinical setting. Practicum will include working with patients with various disease states. Students will work under the supervision of Registered Dietitians providing Medical Nutrition Therapy for advanced disease states and critical care. This will include two weeks of staff relief on a patient care unit.

NUTR 7961 DCN Project Seminar I1 Credit

Prerequisites: NURS 7608, NURS 7614.

The focus of this doctoral-level project seminar is to write a research proposal, collect data, and obtain an IRB for the final research project.

NUTR 7962 DCN Project Seminar II1 Credit

Prerequisite: NUTR 7961.

The focus of this doctoral-level project seminar is to complete the final research paper and disseminate research data at a professional poster session.