The Healthcare System is Changing Rapidly

Health professions have increased educational standards beyond the bachelor’s degree; in fact, the Commission on Dietetic Registration has increased the requirements to be eligible to take the Registration Exam for Dietitians to the completion of a master’s degree beginning in 2024. To remain competitive in the field and obtain the advanced competencies and skills needed in the job market, completion of a master’s degree is becoming essential.

Curriculum Overview

The M.S. in Clinical Nutrition is focused on core nutrition, clinical nutrition, professional skills, and electives. This is advanced learning at its best, and is ideal for people with a strong background in clinical nutrition, confidence working at the graduate level, and a commitment to become leaders in clinical nutrition and dietetics. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to translate research; recognize and formulate responses to evolving developments in clinical nutrition practice, policy, and research; and lead and manage professional teams to design nutrition-related services.

Fall Deadline February 15*
Spring Deadline November 1*
Summer Deadline March 1*
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

* This is the priority deadline. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

General Admission Requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or its equivalent and a minimum grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
  • Have completed the following prerequisite courses:
    • General chemistry
    • Organic chemistry
    • Biological sciences
    • Physiology
    • Biochemistry
    • Statistics
    • Human nutrition
    • Clinical Nutrition

Application Process

To ensure full consideration for admission into the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition, it is strongly recommended that applications be completed by:

  • Fall semester: February 15
  • Spring semester: November 1
  • Summer semester: March 1

Applications received after their respective priority deadlines will be considered as space permits. Review of applications for admissions are reviewed immediately after respective deadlines, applicants can usually expect to be notified a month after deadlines.

Steps to apply are listed below:

1. Complete a UW–Madison Graduate School Electronic Application.

The electronic application includes:

a. Reasons for Graduate Study. Please include a brief statement about your professional goals, and reasons for applying.

b. Letters of Recommendation. Three letters of recommendation are required. All letters of recommendation are submitted electronically through the admission application.

c. TOEFL scores, if necessary.

d. Unofficial transcript, submitted electronically.

2. Be sure to closely follow the Steps to Apply for Graduate School and watch your application status page through MyUW for missing checklist items or additional information.

For any questions or if you need additional information please go over the Graduate Admissions FAQ, or send an email to the graduate program coordinator: Katie Butzen,

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Students enrolled in these programs are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships or other appointments that would result in a tuition waiver. Our program does offer scholarship opportunities. 

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
No No Yes No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Students must earn a B or above in all core curriculum coursework.
Assessments and Examinations No formal examination is required.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

Core Nutrition Courses
NUTR SCI 653 Clinical Nutrition Research3
NUTR SCI 710 Human Energy Metabolism2
NUTR SCI 715 Micronutrients: Human Physiology and Disease3
NUTR SCI 720 Advanced Nutrition Assessment1
Clinical Nutrition Courses9-18
Select from the following:
Advanced Clinical Nutrition: Critical Care and Nutrition Support
Advanced Clinical Nutrition - Pediatrics
Advanced Nutrition Counseling and Education
Personalized Nutrition: Genetics, Genomics, and Metagenomics
Nutrition Informatics
Advanced Community Nutrition
Special Topics (Topics: Nutrition and Aging, Nutraceuticals for Health Professionals, Nutritional Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders, or Sport Nutrition)
Professional Skills3
Select from the following:
Writing for Professionals
Professional Presentations
Organizational Communication and Problem Solving
Ethics for Professionals
Leading Teams
Effective Negotiation Strategies
Special Topics (Management in Dietetics)
No elective credits are required, but if students are interested a maximum of 9 credits may be taken. See list below for options.
Total Credits30

Optional Electives

NUTR SCI 699 Special Problems1-3
NURSING/​PHM PRAC/​SOC WORK  746 Interdisciplinary Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs3
NURSING 702 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Diverse Communities3
NURSING 772 Leadership and Organizational Decision-Making in Health Care3
LSC 560 Scientific Writing3
LSC 432 Social Media for the Life Sciences3
NUTR SCI 670 Nutrition and Dietetics Practicum I 13
NUTR SCI 671 Nutrition and Dietetics Practicum II 13
POP HLTH 795 Principles of Population Health Sciences1-3
POP HLTH/​SOC  797 Introduction to Epidemiology3

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count no more than 14 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).

  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).

  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

Students must be in good academic standing with the Graduate School, their program, and their advisor. The program director and the Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who received grades of BC, C, D, F, or I in courses numbered 300 or above, or grades of U in research and thesis. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment, and the student may be suspended from graduate studies.

The program director and the Graduate School may also put students on probation for incompletes not cleared within one term. All incomplete grades must be resolved before a degree is granted.


All students are required to conduct a yearly meeting with their advisor.

Failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on the student’s registration. The meeting may be held via telephone, web-conferencing, or in person.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence.

Students may count the coursework completed before their absence for meeting graduate degree credit requirements; the Graduate School will not count that work toward the Graduate School’s minimum residence credit minimum.

grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences: Grievance Policy

In the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), any student who feels unfairly treated by a member of the CALS faculty or staff has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing. Some complaints may arise from misunderstandings or communication breakdowns and be easily resolved; others may require formal action. Complaints may concern any matter of perceived unfairness.

To ensure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint, and to protect the rights of both the person complaining and the person at whom the complaint is directed, the following procedures are used in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies.

  1. The student should first talk with the person at whom the complaint is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. Others may be resolved by established departmental procedures.
  2. If the student is unsatisfied, and the complaint involves any unit outside CALS, the student should seek the advice of the dean or director of that unit to determine how to proceed.
    1. If the complaint involves an academic department in CALS the student should proceed in accordance with item 3 below.
    2. If the grievance involves a unit in CALS that is not an academic department, the student should proceed in accordance with item 4 below.
  3. The student should contact the department’s grievance advisor within 120 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment. The departmental administrator can provide this person’s name. The grievance advisor will attempt to resolve the problem informally within 10 working days of receiving the complaint, in discussions with the student and the person at whom the complaint is directed.
    1. If informal mediation fails, the student can submit the grievance in writing to the grievance advisor within 10 working days of the date the student is informed of the failure of the mediation attempt by the grievance advisor. The grievance advisor will provide a copy to the person at whom the grievance is directed.
    2. The grievance advisor will refer the complaint to a department committee that will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed, providing a copy to the student. Either party may request a hearing before the committee. The grievance advisor will provide both parties a written decision within 20 working days from the date of receipt of the written complaint.
    3. If the grievance involves the department chairperson, the grievance advisor or a member of the grievance committee, these persons may not participate in the review.
    4. If not satisfied with departmental action, either party has 10 working days from the date of notification of the departmental committee action to file a written appeal to the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee. A subcommittee of this committee will make a preliminary judgement as to whether the case merits further investigation and review. If the subcommittee unanimously determines that the case does not merit further investigation and review, its decision is final. If one or more members of the subcommittee determine that the case does merit further investigation and review, the subcommittee will investigate and seek to resolve the dispute through mediation. If this mediation attempt fails, the subcommittee will bring the case to the full committee. The committee may seek additional information from the parties or hold a hearing. The committee will present a written recommendation to the dean who will provide a final decision within 20 working days of receipt of the committee recommendation.
  4. If the alleged unfair treatment occurs in a CALS unit that is not an academic department, the student should, within 120 calendar days of the alleged incident, take his/her grievance directly to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The dean will attempt to resolve the problem informally within 10 working days of receiving the complaint. If this mediation attempt does not succeed the student may file a written complaint with the dean who will refer it to the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee. The committee will seek a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed, subsequently following other steps delineated in item 3d above.


Students enrolled in these programs are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships or other appointments that would result in a tuition waiver. Students in these programs cannot enroll in other graduate programs nor take courses outside the prescribed curriculum.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Articulating and integrating specialized knowledge in the field of advanced clinical nutrition - including energy metabolism, micronutrient requirements, and nutrigenomics needed to meet the challenges of future careers and opportunities.
  2. Articulating and demonstrating advanced skills in nutritional assessment and nutritional care of patients with complicated disorders/diseases in a clinical or community setting.
  3. Demonstrating advanced skills in nutrition counseling and education needed to precipitate behavior and cognitive change.
  4. Formulating systems to gather, analyze and interpret data from a practice setting to develop appropriate protocols and care plans using the nutritional care process.
  5. Formulate problem statements and writing research proposals using appropriate study design.
  6. Demonstrating an ability to understand, interpret, evaluate, and design clinical nutrition research.
  7. Demonstrating high level problem-solving, critical thinking, and use of informatics required in advanced clinical nutrition practice.
  8. Demonstrating advanced professional skills in communication, information and project management, leadership, and ethics.

Dave Eide (Department Chair), PhD 1987

Program Manager
Makayla Schuchardt, MS, RDN, CNSC

Graduate Coordinator
Katie Butzen, MS,

Faculty Associate
Michelle Johnson, MS, RD
Nathan Johnson, PhD
Tara LaRowe, PhD, RDN
Amber Haroldson, PhD, RDN
Taiya BAch, MPH, RDN