I get questions about my Master’s program all the time, and it took me awhile to find one that was best for me. I go to the University of Western States (more on that here), but there are so many other programs out there that are great! I compiled the list based off of recommendations from friends and followers (the two words used interchangeably, really) and tried to put them in some sort of organization based on type, length, price, prerequisites, etc. This list includes online Master’s programs, certificate programs, and Bachelor’s programs. If you currently go to one that you think should be added to the list, please leave a comment below or shoot me an email! Would love for this to the most comprehensive resource possible!
University of Western States
type: Master of Science in Nutrition and Functional Medicine
length: 2 years (5-9 quarters)
entry: April and October
qualifications: accredited – satisfies all coursework requirements to sit for several important national certification exams in the field of nutrition, including: Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), certified clinical nutritionist (CCN), and dipoloamate of the american clinical board of nutrition (DACBN)
careers: nutritionist, private practice nutritionist, integrative practice health and wellness coach, educator, lecturer, author (https://www.uws.edu/human-nutrition-functional-medicine/career-pathways/)
prerequisites: bachelor’s degree and one course biology, one course physiology or anatomy and physiology, one course biochemistry, one course nutrition (waived if you have background in healthcare), one course medical terminology (waived if you have background in healthcare) – if you don’t have this background, you can take these through their program called Straightline
other options: graduate certificate in human nutrition and functional medicine
Maryland University of Integrative Health
type: Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health
length: 2 years (part time is 3 years)
entry: Fall and Summer
qualifications (accredited): Prepare graduates to sit for national nutrition board certification exams, including the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) exams, and board certified in holistic nutrition
prerequisites: bachelor’s degree
has concentrations in the following areas: human clinical nutrition, community nutrition education, herbal medicine; also has separate courses for IIN graduates; beyond the master’s in
- RealFoodology has an entire post covered here.
- I love it because I have the choice to focus on whatever I love like I want to be culinary nutritionist so I take a lot of cooking labs, you can take more on specific illnesses or herbs or lab work if you choose. It is so amazing to allow yourself to be free in your learning experience” -@the.a.k.kitchen
- I’m currently working on my master’s in nutrition and integrative health at MUIH (Maryland University of Integrative Health). I’m a little more than halfway done with the program and I am so happy that I went this route! They have on campus, online and hybrid options. I started on campus when I lived in DC and switched to online when I moved to Colorado this past summer. –@radiant__roots
type: Master of Science in Nutrition and Functional Medicine
length: 2 years (full time)
entry: Feb 1st application deadline
qualifications: accredited – can sit to become an RD, satisfies all coursework requirements to sit for several important national certification exams in the field of nutrition, including: Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), certified clinical nutritionist (CCN), and diplomate of the american clinical board of nutrition (DACBN)
careers: RD, nutritionist – https://bastyr.edu/student-alumni-profiles?pt=473°%5B0%5D=479#_ga=1.44220512.5143980.1490389390
prerequisites: bachelor’s degree, 3.0 cumulative GPA, 3.25 GPA in science coursework), 1 course human physiology, 3 courses chemistry, 1 course nutrition, 1 course biochemistry, 1 course introduction to psychology, 1 course college algebra, 1 course microbiology
National University of Natural Medicine
type: Master of Science in Nutrition
length: 2 years
price: ~ $27,000
qualifications: satisfies all coursework requirements to sit for several important national certification exams in the field of nutrition, including: Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), certified clinical nutritionist (CCN), and dipoloamate of the american clinical board of nutrition (DACBN)
careers: health coaching and nutritional counseling, serving on integrative health care teams, personal chef and professional food service consultant, nutrition research, health insurance companies
prerequisites: bachelor’s degree and one course biology, one courst math (algebra or statistics – college level), one course general chemistry, one course psychology, two courses in anatomy and physiology strongly recommended but not required, 3.0 or higher GPA
Functional Nutrition Academy
length: 1.5 years (5-9 quarters)
- I’m doing a certificate program through the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy. Its like 5k, I can finish in 1.5years, all online and self paced, and its only for RDs. What works for me, might not for her. There are so many different factors that go into it. I actually emailed 11 grads of the certificate program telling them about my dilemma and asking if they felt they needed their masters to do private practice, what they honestly thought about the program, if they had to do it again would they have done both their masters and the program or for those without a masters, did they feel like they still needed it after the program. Everyone replied to me! 3 people talked about everything over the phone. Every single one said the program was amazing. One RD working in SC did both UWS masters and the program and said if she had to do it all over again, the program would have been enough, but she wants to teach eventually so she knew she needed the MS. It was really helpful getting everyones feedback. A few people said a masters cant hurt; which I totally agree with. I think it just truly depends on what you want to do with it, what you really want out of the program, where you’re at in your life, and your learning style. The lectures and power points I got the most out of but never had the time to go through them more than once. I want so badly to read journals and articles and be like eureka!, that’s amazing! But my brain just shuts off and I have a hard time retaining any of the information. I felt like I wasn’t getting anything from the forums. Even when I read something super interesting it was information overload and I’d walk away without anything really sticking. So I gave it a try, I was doing SO well, but it just started to feel like it wasn’t right for me afterall. Everyone who responded to me said they learned the most by seeing patients, which is absolutely true. I learn by repetition (which I didn’t have the time to get at UWS) and by doing (which I’m not doing yet because I can’t really market myself as a functional RD yet). I guess I wanted more of a fast track to put me in a place where I could start seeing patients and really start making this come to life for me. The workload for the program is an average of 7 hours a week too. SO manageable. I just got married in July and honestly, its been an awful time dealing with not being around, not being mentally present, always feeling stressed…all while I’m supposed to be in some honeymoon phase or whatever. I was losing myself, not working out anymore, not taking good care of myself. It was costing me more than I was willing to pay. Since making the decision, I feel more like myself than I have since starting the program. I know I made the right move. –@truehealingrd
Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Certification
length: 6 months or less
prerequisites: high school diploma or GED
qualifications (not accredited): nutrition and wellness consulting, nutrition coach, health coach, lifestyle coach, food supplement sales, nutrition and wellness writer, corporate wellness centers, weight loss centers health food and nutrition retail stores, nutrition and wellness education
certification: accredited program that allows you to apply to be a board certified holistic health care practitioner, board certified nutritional consultant or board certified holistic nutritionist through the american naturopathic medical certification board
testimonial: “I started one from aFPA for certificates for Nutrition & Wellness Consultant and Holistic Nutritionist. I liked that they were accredited and when you were finished you could sit to become a board certified holistic nutritionist. I see a lot of people in my company do the Institute for Integrative Nutrition but the outcome is “health coach” and it’s not accredited so I just didn’t feel like it was worth the $6K” –@lattesandplaydates
The Nutrition School by Keri Glassman
length: 12 weeks
Nutritional Therapy Association:
has a Nutrition Therapy Consultant Program (9 months) and a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program
type: certificate (not all online – 3 mandatory in-person workshops)
length: 9 months
qualifications: not accredited – allows you to sit for the National Association of Nutritional Professionals (NANP) exam
careers: nutritional consultants / combine certificate with existing license or certificates in alternative medicine
prerequisites: high school diploma
curriculum: http://nutritionaltherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/NTA-Course-Catalog-2016-17_Final-1.pdf (page 19-21)
website: http://nutritionaltherapy.com/ntt-programs/ntp-classes/ and http://nutritionaltherapy.com/ntt-programs/ntc-classes/
- Nutritional Therapy Association: (NTC course is $3,900, 9 months) and then the nutritional therapy practitioner program is $5400 and 9 months). Both have same readings, but NTPs learn a hands on functional evaluation. Both are holistic nutritionists – advising on diet and lifestyle, suggesting supplements button diagnosisg disease. I love it because it aligns closes to Weston Price philosophy of real, nutrient dense, properly prepared foods. They also don’t endorse vegan and vegetarianism. Still heavy on veg but place importance on traditional foods, good quality animal products etc! –@ditea
- Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program, is a 9 months with three weeks in-person workshops to learn a functional exam, and supplements. That is about $5000. The nutritional therapy consultant program is almost the same, except no functional portion, no weekend workshops, and is cheap. Lots of bloggers, maybe mostly paleo bloggers are NTPs/NTCs –@paleo_practioner
- I’m going through the NTA to get my certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. It’s great options for less time commitment and you can do with a full time job. It’s 9 months. –@barefoodnutrition
Southwest Institute of Healing Arts
holistic nutrition specialist OR holistic nutrition wellness practitioner
type: certificate or diploma
length: 75 weeks for the practitioner course
price: $11,460 for practitioner cost (couldn’t find cost or length of the specialist certificate)
qualifications – accredited: couldn’t find on the website – connect with admissions counselor
careers: health clubs, health and wellness facilities, senior care, natural food stores, personal one-on-one settings
prerequisites: couldn’t find on the website
curriculum: https://swiha.edu/wp-content/themes/swihamain/pdf/swiha_online/coe_specialty/coe-ps-holistic_nutrition_specialist.pdf and https://swiha.edu//wp-content/themes/swihamain/pdf/swiha_online/diploma/D-HNWP-OL.pdf
website: https://swiha.edu/holistic_nutrition_specialist/ and https://swiha.edu/holistic-nutrition-wellness-practitioner/
AFPA holistic nutrition certificate
length: 6 months or less
qualifications – accredited: Board Certified Holistic Health Care Practitioners, Board Certified Nutritional Consultant or Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist through the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board (ANMCB)
prerequisites: high school diploma
length: 18 months online program
- Kansas State University offers a lot of different online health programs. Too many to compile into one big list, but worth checkout out their website for undergrad people. It even has a speciality for nutrition and health for pre-PA students. So cool! website: http://www.he.k-state.edu/fndh/ugrad/nutrition_health/
- Huntington College of Health Sciences: http://www.hchs.edu/course/bachelor-science-nutrition
Have you spoken with anyone who graduated from the Institute for Functional Medicine?
I haven’t! So sorry.
See my info below, Megan. I’ve finished the IFM course work and just need to do the exam and case study. Happy to answer questions for you.
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Thanks Katie! Great post! I finished my certificate at the Bauman College in Boulder, CO in 2016 and have opened a very successful private practice since. I would love to see them added to the Certificate list here. It was a great experience and I would highly recommend it!
Awesome! I’ll definitely add it in!
Have you heard anything about the Masters of holistic nutrition program through Hawthorn university?
I haven’t! So sorry xo
Awesome post thanks for sharing.
Sure thing! Glad it was helpful!
Thanks, Katie! This is a great list. I am currently doing the AFPA holistic nutrition route and looking into an online master’s program. I would love to do the masters program with MUIH, but the others that you listed look great too. I’m excited to do more research on the schools!
BTW..love your research-backed blog posts. Go science!! haha
Hi I’m a certified health coach and I’m looking for more nutrition education. I’m considering the AFPA holistic nutrition cert as I’m a bit older with a little one I don’t know if I can afford the time on a masters. Curious as to why you are considering the masters after doing this certification. Was the program not adequate for your career goals? any feedback would be appreciated.
I did the Master’s program so I can only speak to that – I never did the certification.
good post.dietitians can learn online and can help persons who want ideas for healthy body.
Saybrook University has a MS of Functional Nutrition and also offers a PhD in Mind-Body Medicine with a Functional Nutrition emphasis (all online). And, there’s also an MS in Human Nutrition from University of Bridgeport that has an integrative, functional approach (all online). Also, under Bachelor’s University of Northern Colorado has an online program that meets the requirements for those wanting to do the RD/RDN route. Thanks for compiling these. I’m trying to figure out which program I want to do, and it’s been hard to whittle it down to even the the three I’m considering.
This is a helpful list! Thank you.
I have completed the coursework for IFM. The cost is $3,350 for the intro 5-day module (AFMCP). Then there are 6 Advanced Practice Modules, 2.5 days each costing $1800 each. Finally, the exam and case study required for certification cost $800 each. Bringing the total to $15,750. Those prices are all for physicians (ND, DC, DO, MD). Non-physicians pay less. A background in healthcare is necessary. It takes about 2 years to complete, depending on the scheduling of the courses. You can go in person or live stream. I highly recommend in-person, though this adds a lot to the cost, as the hotels are always $200+ per night.
In the end, I’m wondering if an MS or equivalent program will help fill in some holes. IFM gives you wonderful materials for patient and is really best for people already seen patients. But the amount of information is super intense. And the details of the biochemistry are not the main focus. I’m having trouble (as many do) with practice implementation and not feeling like the foundation of the knowledge is as rock solid as I’d like. I also think a CCN or CNS or DABCN certification would be useful. Most people who teach or get interviewed for FM programs have those credentials if they’re not an MD. IFM-CP on it’s own doesn’t seem to be perhaps enough for a DC like me if I want to really be advanced in this practice.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I just graduated from Bauman College (while doing my MBA) and I am now going to go back to school for nutrition. I am REALLY torn about what I want to get RD VS Master’s in Nutrition. Thank you so much for putting this list together!
Hi Katie, Thank you so much for this informative, concise, and beautiful resource. I am researching programs and spent some time considering Bastyr, eventually deciding I am looking for a program more functionally based. I am currently between UB and UWS. Could I ask you two questions: 1. is the price you provided for each year of full-time attendance, or the cost of the program in total? 2. Have you connected with anyone who has experience with the MS Nutrition program at University of Bridgeport?
Thanks for your time and information!
Hi Taeya, I wrote this post back in 2017, so I’d encourage you to look at each program’s website for more specific and accurate numbers for pricing. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone from Bridgeport! You could try reaching out to their admissions office and ask them to connect you to an alumni. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!