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College of Health Sciences > Department of Clinical Nutrition > Overview of the Master's in Clinical Nutrition Program for Registered Dietitians
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The MS Degree for Registered Dietitians program is offered on a part-time or full-time basis. A full-time student can complete the program in seven quarters; all students must complete the program within five years of matriculation. Students may be allowed to transfer up to 9 quarter hours of applicable graduate credit from another accredited university. Graduate courses must be completed with a “B” or better and approved by the student’s supervisory committee to be awarded transfer credit.


The Vision for the students within the master's degree program and the combined dietetic internship and master's degree program at Rush University Medical Center is:

"Graduates will be recognized as nutrition experts, leaders and advocates."

The Mission of these degree programs at Rush University Medical Center is:

"To educate nutrition experts, leaders and advocates."

The Program Goals are that graduates:

  • Are recognized as nutrition experts by peers, employers and/or professional organizations
  • Contribute to the nutrition body of knowledge
  • Apply evidence-based nutrition knowledge
  • Demonstrate leadership
  • Advocate for nutrition issues

The Goals & Outcomes for the students within both programs are as follows:

  • To expand their understanding of advanced human nutrition and medical nutrition therapy
  • To develop critical evaluation skills through an integration of nutrition and management research
The program is ideally suited for part-time students, so practitioners may continue to work. Students usually complete the program in three to five years. A full-time option is also available, with anticipated completion in 18 months. The master's degree program in clinical nutrition requires a completion of 48 credits.

Research is an integral part of completing the master's degree. Each student will have the opportunity to complete a research thesis.


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Students within the Master of Science degree in clinical nutrition program must complete 48 credit hours.

Course descriptions are provided below or view the complete list of coursework required in the Rush University Catalog.

NTR 503 Leadership in Dietetics 2 credits Theories of leadership will be examined. Discussion will focus on practices and principles related to developing leadership skills.

NTR 521 Regulation of Macronutrient Metabolism in Human Nutrition 4 credits This advanced course in human metabolism integrates biochemical and molecular nutrition, emphasizing regulation of dietary carbohydrates, fat and protein metabolism and their impact on nutritional status and health. Differences in fuel utilization in specific organs under various conditions will be highlighted.

NTR 522 Energy Metabolism and Bioactive Ingredients in Human Nutrition 2 credits This advanced course in human metabolism integrates biochemical and molecular nutrition as it relates to the regulation of energy metabolism. Health impact of dietary supplements and phytochemicals as new bioactive molecules of interest in human health will also be covered.

NTR 523 Advances in Vitamin & Mineral Nutriture in Human Nutrition 2 credits This advanced course in human metabolism looks at key metabolic pathways and physiological factors affecting micronutrient needs at various life stages.


NTR 531 Application of Behavioral Change and Educational Theories in Nutrition Counseling and Education 4 credits Students will plan, implement and evaluate a nutrition counseling project around specific dietary behavior and behavior change theory and strategies. Students will share results of the experience and project with clinicians.

NTR 541 Integrating Nutrition in Disease Prevention and Treatment I 4 credits Pathophysiology of disease and the interrelated role of nutrition in prevention, etiology and treatment of disease are emphasized in this series. Critical review of the nutrition literature in prevention and treatment of acute and chronic disease.

NTR 542 Integrating Nutrition in Disease Prevention and Treatment II 4 credits Pathophysiology of disease and the interrelated role of nutrition in etiology and treatment of disease are emphasized in this series. Critical review of the nutrition literature in prevention and treatment of acute and chronic disease.

NTR 545 Nutrition Assessment Course 2 credits Nutrition assessment is the interpretation of information from dietary, laboratory, anthropometrics and clinical study. In this course the student will learn various nutrition assessment techniques and the appropriate use of these tools in determining the nutrition status of a population and/or individual client.

NTR 555: Population Studies in Nutrition Epidemiology 2 credits Cross-sectional studies, longitudinal studies, and clinical trials that focus on nutritional outcomes, and dietary patterns in relation to health outcomes of population groups. A major emphasis is placed on the findings garnered from major national surveys or trials, some discussion on how findings have influenced nutrition policy, research and future prevention strategies.


NTR 558 Dietetic Public Policy Initiatives and Advocacy 1 credit This course introduces students to the public policy initiatives supported by the American Dietetic Association, reviews the policy formulation process and provides opportunities to advocate for food & nutrition initiatives with elected governing officials. Students will monitor and actively advocate for public policy impacting food and nutrition.

NTR 560 Food and Nutrition Services Management 3 credits The course will focus on advanced practices and principles related to management of food and nutrition services in health care operations.

NTR 566 Seminar 1 credit This course is designed to allow students to research the literature related to a specific topic, present a summary and critical analysis of the literature supporting/refuting this topic, respond to questions and lead a discussion among peers and faculty.

NTR 598 Thesis variable credit Clinical Nutrition thesis research.


CHS 501 Introduction to Biostatistics for the Health Scientist 3 credits This course will focus on concepts and procedures for descriptive and inferential statistics for continuous and discrete data and data analysis using parametric and nonparametric statistical procedures. Computerized statistical programs, such as SPSS, will be used.

CHS 502 Research Methods 3 credits The course will focus on selection of a research problem and identification of designs and methodologies available to address the research problem. In addition, the course is designed to facilitate student interpretation and critical analysis of research literature.

CHS 510 Health Care in America 2 credits Health Care in America is designed for students who are entering a health profession. Faculty leaders from across the Medical Center present topics that address contemporary issues in America's health care system. Examples include the organization and delivery system, the economics and financing of health care, the national's health care workforce, long-term care, technology and health care, biomedical ethics, health policy and the public's health, and future directions of America's health care system. Following presentations, the class breaks into interdisciplinary groups lead by faculty to explore those and other class-developed questions about health care in America.

Applicants for the Master of Science degree for registered dietitians program apply by completing the Rush University College of Health Sciences program online application. Please note an application fee of $40 needs to be paid via debit or credit card transaction; checks are not accepted. Applications will not be considered complete until the application fee is paid.

The Department of Clinical Nutrition will obtain proof of registration from the Commission on Dietetic Registration upon receipt of the application.

Due dates for all application materials are:
  • January 2 (for spring quarter start)
  • April 2 (for summer quarter start)
  • July 2 (for fall quarter start)
  • Oct 2 (for winter quarter start)

Applicants must also send the following to:

Rush University
College of Health Sciences, Admissions
Armour Academic Center
600 S. Paulina Street, Suite 440
Chicago, IL 60612

  1. One official academic transcript from each college or university attended.
  2. Three letters of recommendation from persons who can address your ability to do graduate work.
  3. Official Graduate Record Examination scores taken within the last five years. Indicate the following on the GRE application materials:
  • Field as number 0214 (Nutrition) and the
  • College as number 3263 (Rush University).

At the time of acceptance into the master's degree program, a confirmation fee of $250.00 will be assessed and applied towards the applicant's first quarter tuition.

If you are an international student, please contact the Office of International Services   for further requirements and assistance.

For program information, please contact:

Kathryn S. Keim, PhD, RD, LDN
Program Director for M.S. Clinical Nutrition
Phone: (312) 942-2812

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Registered dietitians in the MS degree program are eligible for some scholarships. Scholarships are available from the Department of Food and Nutrition at RUMC and Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University. The scholarships awarded are included in the students total financial aid packet, and typically payments are spread across multiple stipend pay checks or applied directly to the tuition.

The Ellis Jones Scholarship

All entering students who have completed a FAFSA are eligible for this award which recognizes academically-outstanding incoming students. The award amount varies and is given at the beginning of the first year. Last year $5,600 was given.

The Frye Foundation Scholarship

All entering students are eligible for this award, which recognizes outstanding, incoming minority students. The award amount varies and is given at the beginning of the first year. In the past, an amount of $2,000 has been awarded

The Rush University Golf Outing Award

All Rush University students are eligible to receive this award based on faculty assessment of performance and professional potential. This award varies in amount and is given at various times each year. Last year, $2,000 was given.

Additional scholarships are available from the Office of Student Financial Aid at Rush University. You may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at (312) 942-6256 for details.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also offers scholarships to registered dietitians. Each student is encouraged to apply for scholarships with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and if they are members in their home state, with state and district dietetic associations.

If you would like more information about student loans available through Rush University, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Estimated Costs

For the most current and accurate cost, consult the Rush University Office of Student Financial Aid: University Costs. Estimated costs, including tuition, books, equipment, allowance for insurance and living expenses are subject to change.

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