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Frequently Asked Questions

You likely have questions about attending Hawthorn University and we have the answers. Read on to get explanations to commonly asked questions.


Where is Hawthorn University located?

Hawthorn University‘s administrative office is located in Whitethorn, California. All of Hawthorn University programs and courses are provided online. Students can download course materials and study offline in a comfortable place. There is no residency requirement to complete any of Hawthorn’s programs.

Will I have to come on campus to complete any of my degree requirements?

All classes are conducted online. There is no residency requirement. Students are able to interact with their instructors via phone and email. Students have access to faculty and fellow students via email, teleconference Webinar classes, and message boards. Study buddies and study groups are possible and encouraged for students who are looking for an interactive school experience.

Why should I choose Hawthorn University instead of another online school?

We receive very strong feedback from our students and graduates that Hawthorn University is a leader in online holistic nutrition education. We offer a combination of a science-based education with an experiential component that grounds the application of holistic nutritional concepts in graduate programs and certificate programs. The rich curriculum, the guidance of a professional practicing in the field, and the flexibility of an online program make Hawthorn the right choice for a motivated, entrepreneurial individual.

What is online learning like?

Students who do not have the time or schedule suitable to sit for and attend classes in a traditional on-campus setting are candidates for online learning. Online classes usually entail a time commitment of 9-15 hours per week, but these hours are more flexible in a distance-learning environment than at a traditional institution. At Hawthorn University students enroll in classes and proceed at their own pace (within certain parameters) through their assignments. One of the greatest benefits of online education is the convenience that it offers. Online learning allows you to access instruction at any time and from anywhere.

Set your own schedule, progress through the program at your own pace, and study in the comfort of your home or office or anywhere that you have an Internet connection. Course materials are presented online in a variety of forms accommodating your own unique learning style. Our learning platform will enable you to interact frequently with your instructors and peer learners.

How will I know if I can succeed in an online environment?

Lifestyles play a big role in the success of online learners. Successful online students are self-directed and motivated to reach their educational goals. Students should be comfortable with computers, use email, computer software, and the Internet. Since much of the “learning” takes place through assignments and readings, students should have good time management skills and the ambition to read and write about their studies. It is important that students be able to stay on task and work independently. Faculty are available during office hours to answer questions and many questions can be answered via email communications.

What exactly is holistic nutrition?

Holistic nutrition describes a perspective on health and healing that considers all aspects of life in creating a total state of health. A holistic practitioner will assist their clients in the process of self-healing.

Hawthorn teaches the principles of holistic nutrition in degree and certificate programs. If your intention is to work in private practice with individuals who have health concerns, you need an education that provides significant clinical training and professional guidance. Our clinical Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition (MSHN) program provides the expertise of a practicing professional, mediated by an asynchronous learning environment wherein you “learn by doing”. Professionals must be adequately trained and qualified to practice in the health field. A self-confident, well-trained professional will engender consumer confidence. Our educational programs provide guidance and direction regarding legal and practical business procedures so graduates are ready to operate a business for themselves or work with others in clinical practice. The Nutrition Consultant Certificate (NC) and the MSHN degree are both clinical programs. The Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition (DSC) program explores the links between holistic nutrition and environmental sciences, public policy, and how nutrition affects various organ systems.

The Master of Science in Health and Nutrition Education (MHNE) is a non-clinical program that contains information on holistic health and wellness that can be disseminated to others in an educational, community, or public setting.

Visit and review the Scientific Foundations of Holistic Nutrition (SFHN) and our Certificate programs and read more about our courses and holistic nutrition education.The Holistic Health (HH) program provides health and wellness information to enhance personal practices and improve your wellbeing.

Can I become a registered dietician after completing a program at Hawthorn?

No, registered dieticians (RD) attend a four-year program, complete a supervised practice program of six to twelve months, and sit for a qualifying exam to achieve the title of registered dietician. RDs are governed by the American Dietetics Association. An RD’s practice is based on the government model of the My Food Pyramid and RDA recommendations. Registered Dieticians are licensed.

Holistic Nutrition Consulting is not a licensed field in most states at this time. There are a number of titles for professional nutritionists that largely depend on the training they received and the state where the practice is located. At Hawthorn University we are approved by the State of California to confer degrees and certificates. Students and graduates are responsible for verification of any legal requirements within their own home states or countries.

Your literature refers to “health products” What does this mean?

During the course of study, students are introduced to supplements and their use in the field. Learning about the best supplements to recommend to clients is a benefit to nutrition professionals. There are a number of professional supplement lines that are sold directly to health practitioners to use in their clinical practice. Hawthorn University courses make references to various nutraceutical product providers and/or suppliers, but makes no guarantee or warrantee as to their products and/or services. We are firmly dedicated to the use of holistic products but the act of mentioning them in any of our course materials does not imply that we globally endorse any product or service.

Would my Hawthorn degree be valid in another country or in another state?

Hawthorn University is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The DEAC is also recognized internationally. Hawthorn University is also licensed by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).
Regarding the validity of your degree in another country or state, we suggest that you look up the relevant legislation in your country or state and search for ‘Nutrition Consultant and nutritionist’ to familiarize yourself with the laws pertaining to the practice of nutrition in your locale.

Hawthorn’s programs are recommended by The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), which offers a US nationwide credential and certifying exam. The Holistic Nutrition Credential Board (HNCB) test has received a trademark for their certification (“Certified in Holistic Nutrition” CHN). Graduates of the DSC, MSHN, MHNE, and NC programs are qualified to sit for the HNCB certification exam.

Hawthorn has been approved by the International Organization of Nutrition Consultants (IONC) after a thorough review of all our programs. They were wowed by the breadth and depth of Hawthorn’s degree programs awarding their gold star of approval to the Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition and the Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition programs. Graduates of these programs are recognized as Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioners (ROHP). Graduates of the Masters of Science in Health and Nutrition Education and the Nutrition Consultant programs may use the designation of Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner (RNCP) upon graduating.

Do I have to live in the United States to enroll in Hawthorn University?

Students from around the globe have enrolled at Hawthorn University. Course materials are delivered in an online format and easily retrieved from any location. Email and online message boards offer students a-synchronous communication.

Academic questions may be emailed to your instructor or, if the questions are not related to your coursework, to a member of Hawthorn’s staff. Students in some programs regularly Skype with their instructors.

Students are invited to live online webinars which are also archived to the student’s private online portal. If you cannot attend a webinar, it can be conveniently accessed via the archive at any time.

Can I find out what students say about their experience at Hawthorn?

You can look at the Graduate Success Stories page on our website and read testimonials from students who have attended Hawthorn University. We survey our students fairly regularly and have received excellent feedback concerning their satisfaction with their courses and programs. Hawthorn does not practice the distribution of email addresses without the direct consent of the individual.

Request to speak to a graduate by contacting the admissions department.

Can I experience what a class will be like?

You can take a course as a non-matriculating student and “test the waters” before committing to an entire program. Speak to admissions about the courses available to you.
You can sample some of the archived public webinars to hear what holistic nutrition professionals add to the academic experience at Hawthorn. All About Alumni archives features graduates sharing their professional accomplishments. These recordings are changed over time, so check back with us often.

Where do I get help if needed?

If you want questions answered from admissions or technical support, simply email our Help Desk and you will get a response within twenty-four (24) hours.


What delivery model does Hawthorn use for its classes?

Students use online and collaborative technologies, discussion boards, and email to communicate with instructors and other students. Students log on to their personal student home page to access syllabi, online reading materials, audio lectures, etc. Hawthorn students are independent learners, who want programs that offer the flexibility of studying at their own pace and are inspired to build or expand careers in areas of natural health education, nutrition, and wellness.

Is Hawthorn University accredited?

Hawthorn University is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The DEAC is an accrediting commission based in Washington, D.C. established in 1926. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency.

The DEAC defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence in distance education institutions, reviewing an institution’s mission and objectives; student services; qualifications of administrators, faculty and staff; educational program objectives, curricula and materials; admission practices, and financial responsibility.

The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is a non-profit [501 c 6] educational association located at:
1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808, Washington, D.C. 20036 Tel: 202-234-5100

Will my earned credits be acceptable for transfer to another institution?

Every college/university has the right to accept or deny credits earned at another institution. If you plan to attend another school after you have completed a program at Hawthorn, it is best to check with your future school concerning their regulations.

How will the courses be structured?

Most courses are structured in a similar fashion. Students request a course and gain access to a course syllabus, online reading materials, lectures, and other related materials. All information that is needed for the course is clearly detailed in the course syllabus. Students are expected to proceed with the online and textbook reading assignments, listen to lectures, participate in the practical activities and answer review questions, and complete written and experiential assignments. Students submit their work on or before the dates indicated in the syllabus. Students are encouraged to post messages on the Hawthorn message boards for asynchronous discussion with other students and faculty. Students are invited to online ‘live’ Webinars on current holistic nutrition topics which are archived and available for online viewing and listening at a later date.

In the Nutrition Consultant, the Scientific Foundations of Holistic Nutrition and the Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition program, there is a graded Skype conference where students and faculty interact and student questions are answered.

Hawthorn offers both clinical and non-clinical study programs. The Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition (MSHN) and the Nutrition Consultant (NC) programs are clinical programs designed for professionals who want to work one-on-one with individuals.

The Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition, Masters of Health and Nutrition Education and the Holistic Health certificate program are non-clinical programs designed to support individuals who seek knowledge in holistic health, wellness promotion, and nutrition education. The purpose of these programs is to educate individuals who are focused on teaching. Students communicate with their instructor’s via email and weekly office hours. These programs may also contain Skype conferences and/or proctored online exams.

All programs require that students purchase books that comprise the basis of a professional library from vendors of their own choice and are introduced to quality online sources of nutritional information. Students download their Hawthorn instructional materials from the Student Portal. After completing assigned textbooks readings, listening to the audio lectures, experiencing practical activities, and submitting written assignments, and any online required examinations, students in clinical programs schedule a conference with their instructor. Students in non-clinical programs take a proctored examination via Skype in designated courses. Assignments are graded and returned to the student’s website with written feedback from the instructor.

How long do students have to complete a course?

Students must submit assignments and complete a course every two (2) months or less for three (3) credits courses, and three (3) months or less for four (4) credit courses.

What are the Hawthorn University instructors like?

Hawthorn instructors are trained professionals in the field of nutrition. They have a variety of backgrounds and expertise that adds richness and relevance to our programs including PhDs, DSc, RDs, NDs, DCs and EdD. You can see pictures and biographies of our instructors on our Faculty page.

How much interaction will I have with my instructors?

Instructors are available to students on a weekly basis via phone during their office hours and on a daily basis via email. We suggest that students check in with their instructors via email when they have quick questions about their coursework.

Students in the NC, SFHN, and MSHN programs spend about an hour one-on-one with their instructor via Skype at the conclusion of every course. This gives students the opportunity to practice with a professional and gain self-confidence and display mastery of the materials. In all programs instructors offer feedback and comments on written assignments. Instructors review posts to the discussion boards and may interact there as well.

How will I communicate with my instructors?

You can communicate by phone or Skype with your instructor during their dedicated office hours. You will be given the scheduled office hours for your instructor via Hawthorn University email when you begin your first nutrition course.

You can communicate with your instructor via email at any time of the day or night. Your instructor will typically respond to you within forty-eight (48) hours. Your instructor will review your submitted assignments and return them to you graded and with written feedback.

How much time will I need to study?

Students absorb materials differently. Our experience indicates that approximately nine (9) to fifteen (15) hours of the week is needed to read and respond to assignments.

What is the directed elective in the doctoral program?

The purpose of a self-directed elective (directed study) is to allow students to study a specific area of interest. The subject chosen by the student is often related to the student’s dissertation topic and requires advanced approval by the Director of Doctoral Studies.

How do I access my courses?

Enrolled students attain access to their courses via their Hawthorn student portal. All information on how to access and work in the online environment is communicated during orientation.

Who do I contact when I have a question about a course?

Your instructor is available to answer any questions you have via email or during their scheduled office hours.

What resources are available to students?

In addition to the intellectual resources of our professional faculty and staff, students have links to library resources that support their programs. Students may access information on nutrition that is posted on the student portal, retrieve pertinent information and news about the University, and see a current listing of career opportunities. Technical support is also available should students experience problems by posting an inquiry through our Help Desk system.

Can I take courses without working towards a degree?

Students may opt to take individual courses for their personal enrichment. Students will be accepted into the University as non-matriculated students and will pay for the course or courses that they take.

Can I take more than one course at a time?

Hawthorn recommends that students start with one course at a time. However, students have the option of taking one or more courses at a time if they wish to accelerate through their program.

Can I be awarded credit for previous academic work or work experience?

Hawthorn will transfer a maximum of:

1. Twelve (12) credits from for four (4) of the first six (6) courses in the Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition program.
2. Seven (7) credits for any of the first five (5) courses in the Master of Science in Health and Nutrition Education program.
3. Nine (9) credits for the Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition program.
4. Nine (9) credits for the Nutrition Consultant programs.
5. Three (3) credits for the Scientific Foundations of Holistic Nutrition.
6. No credits transfer into the Holistic Health Certificate program.

Credits will be transferred on a course-by-course basis as appropriate to Hawthorn’s curriculum. In some cases, the combining of two or more courses may be necessary to equal the content of ONE three (3) credit course at Hawthorn.

The applicant must submit:

1. A Transfer Evaluation Request form with fee.
2. An official transcript.
3. Course Descriptions.
4. Course syllabi if possible.
5. Any other documentation such as homework assignments, resume including related experience, proof of attendance at a conference or seminar, certificates, etc. indicating competency in the subject area.

Upon receipt of all available documentation, Hawthorn will review and evaluate the transfer credit request. Students will be informed within ten (10) business days of the decision. All acceptable transfer credits will be recorded on the student’s transcript as TC. Transfer credits will not be counted in the grade point average (GPA) of the student but will apply to the total credits needed to graduate.

What is the difference in the master degree programs?

The Master of Science in Health and Nutrition Education (MHNE) is a 35 credit independent study program in health and nutrition education. Students build a professional portfolio while developing proficiency in wellness promotion and holistic nutrition education.

The Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition program (MSHN) is a clinically based 57 credit program. Learn about functional medicine nutritional tools that can increase vitality and reduce long-range disease risk while working with practice clients. Each course in this program ends with a face-to-face conference with your instructor.

How long will it take to complete a program?

Many students at Hawthorn are working full time and programs are designed to support those who are only able to take one course at a time. Full-time students can take multiple courses at once and graduate sooner.When students enroll in a program of study they are encouraged to set a study track and determine a goal of how long they intend to take to complete their course of studies.

Scientific Foundations of Holistic Nutrition – This certificate programs consists of eight (8) courses and twenty-four (24) credits are required for graduation. We anticipate that students taking one course at a time will be able to complete this program in twenty-four (24) months. Full-time students may complete in twelve (12) months.

Nutrition Consultant – The Nutrition Consultant curriculum consists of seventeen (17) courses of which sixteen (16) are required and an optional thesis. Students taking one course at a time may complete the required courses in 48 months and are given 51 months should a research project be requested. Full-time students may complete in twenty-four (24) months.

The Holistic Health certificate program is made up of four (4) courses totaling twelve (12) credits. This four (4) course program can be completed six (6) months for a full-time student and eleven (11) months if taking one course at a time.

Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition – Students are encouraged to complete this clinical program in sixty (60) months. Motivated, full-time students may accelerate to complete the program in twenty-four (24) months.

Master of Science in Health and Nutrition Education – Students are encouraged to complete this 35 credit program in thirty-two (32) months. Full-time students may complete in thirteen (13) months.

Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition – Full-time students may complete the 60 credit Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition program in a minimum of thirty-six (36) months. The maximum time to complete this program may not exceed ten (10) years.

Will I have enough time to complete my dissertation?

Doctoral students have a doctoral committee of three members who help to shape, refine, and edit the dissertation. One member of the committee must be a subject specialist from outside of the University. Students are encouraged to select a topic by midway through the program. The Director of the Doctoral Studies Program is available to meet with students to their dissertation topic and to guide the process.
The dissertation is divided into three courses. Extensions are available if needed and students requiring additional time have the option to maintain matriculation in their final dissertation course. See catalog for additional details.

How much time each week will I need to devote to each course?

Everyone works at a different pace depending on their schedule of work and personal responsibilities. However, it is recommended that students set aside approximately nine (9) to fifteen (15) hours a week for their studies.

How do I take exams?

All program courses contain multiple choice online exams or quizzes. Some programs require that a student complete a mid-program exam prior to advancing in the program as well as a final exam before graduating.

In clinical programs, students are also graded on their ability to present information during oral conferences which are conducted via Skype individually with your instructor.

How flexible is the program to fit my individual goals and needs?

We encourage students to work through the courses and programs at a pace that will help them to achieve their goal of receiving a degree in the shortest amount of time possible. Hawthorn understands the difficulties of working and studying at the same time and allows for individual needs.

Temporary Change in Extension Policy

As of March 23, 2020, Hawthorn temporarily increased the number of extensions for submission of coursework without charge. Students may now take two 14-day extensions at no cost. This will assist all students who may be first line responders or experiencing financial hardships during the pandemic. Additional extensions after the second one are subject to the fee.

Hawthorn reserves the right to change this policy at any time.

Students may request a one-time extension for fourteen (14) days in any course (except orientation (O101) if circumstances prevent them from completing and submitting their final assignment by the due date. An extension must be requested on or before the actual due date for the course. Students who request an extension will be given an Incomplete “I” grade which will be changed to the earned letter grade upon submission of their work. If assignments are not received on or before the extension due date, additional extensions of fourteen (14) days may be requested and an extension fee of $60 will apply for each extension. If at the end of the last approved extension students have not completed the course, they will receive the appropriate grade for the number of assignments completed. Students who require more time may wish to consider taking a Leave of Absence.

An extension is not granted for an individual assignment. Students who are unable to submit an individual assignment due to emergencies or unavoidable life factors must contact their instructor or the director of student management to receive permission for extra time. Keeping open lines of communication with an instructor is important and supportive in an online environment.

Midterm and Final Examinations do not qualify for an extension.

Students may also take a leave of absence for certain unforeseen circumstances which can be granted for a period of three (3) months, or six (6) months for a documented Medical Leave of Absence. For additional policy information, students may refer to the college catalog. Hawthorn also allows students to take a moderate amount of time off between courses. A stop out time of ten (10) days between courses is allowed.

Temporary Change in Stop Out Policy

As of May 5, 2020, Hawthorn’s policy allowed a break of ten (10) days between courses. Due to the pandemic, students may now take two ten (10) day stop outs for a total of 20 days at no charge. If additional stop out time is needed, (after the 20 days) a late registration fee of $35.00 will be required for each additional stop-out period of 10 days.

Hawthorn reserves the right to change this policy at any time.  

If more than 40 days is required, students should consider a Leave of Absence if eligible, to avoid being placed on probation or withdrawn from the University. Hawthorn values students and will assist students to find their path towards graduation. Communicate with the registrar as soon as possible to help you make the best decision on how to move forward.

Addition to Probation Policy effective 6/2/20

All enrolled students who do not meet academic or rate of progress standards or meet requirements for continuing enrollment (over 40 days on a stop out) may be placed on probation for six months. Students unable to return after 40 days will stop incurring fees and also be placed on probation. If they wish to return to an active status, they will incur a reinstatement fee of $100 and submit a written document indicating their ability to return and be successful. If no contact is made by the student after six months, the student will be dismissed.

What do I do if I have questions or a problem regarding a course?

If your question is related to your coursework, an email to your instructor will get you an answer. If you have a problem related to uploading or downloading information and is computer related, your issue will be resolved by emailing our Help Desk.

Are courses ever canceled?

Hawthorn University has never had to cancel any courses. We are dedicated to student success and, as such, will provide you with an instructor even if the number of students enrolled in the course is small.

Can I get an extension to complete a course?

Students may request a one-time extension for fourteen (14) days in any course (except orientation (O101) if circumstances prevent them from completing and submitting their final assignment by the due date. An extension must be requested on or before the actual due date for the course. Students who request an extension will be given an Incomplete “I” grade which will be changed to the earned letter grade upon submission of their work. If assignments are not received on or before the extension due date, additional extensions of fourteen (14) days may be requested and an extension fee of $60 will apply for each extension. If, at the end of the last approved extension students have not completed the course, they will receive the appropriate grade for the number of assignments completed. Students who require more time may wish to consider taking a Leave of Absence.

An extension is not granted for an individual assignment. Students who are unable to submit an individual assignment due to emergencies or unavoidable life factors must contact their instructor or the director of student management to receive permission for extra time. Keeping open lines of communication with an instructor is important and supportive in an online environment.

Midterm and Final Examinations do not qualify for an extension.

If necessary, can I get a leave of absence?

Hawthorn University is aware that there are situations when a student may wish to interrupt his or her course of study. The University is committed to reasonable evaluation and responsible handling of such cases. A student may request a Leave of Absence (LOA) after completing their current course by filling out a request form located on the student website. If a student needs a LOA and is unable to finish their current course, the student must withdraw from the course prior to requesting the leave. A leave of absence is granted for a three (3) month period, or six (6) months for a documented Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA), and is approved by the chief academic officer. A student may request a Leave of Absence no more than three (3) times during the course of a program. A Leave of Absence may not go beyond 180 days in a calendar year.

How do I withdraw from a course or from the program?

Students who wish to withdraw from a course may do so online by clicking the Withdrawal from Program form link in the Forms/Publications section on their student portal, completing the form, and sending it to the Registrar but the communication of withdrawal in any form will be accepted.

Career Service

What type of employment will I be prepared for after graduation?

DSC graduates may work in private practice, education, research, write, lecture, and apply for employment in any health-related facility or business.

NC and MSHN Hawthorn graduates are trained to work in clinical private practice as nutrition consultants and are eligible to sit for the Holistic Nutrition Credential Examination. Many graduates open their own business.

Graduates from MHNE are prepared to work in their communities as educators, write for publications, be team leaders, and work in health-related practices and fields.

Hawthorn graduates may write for health-oriented publications, lead groups in health-oriented programs, lecture for professional groups, lay audiences or schools, teach at schools and other institutions, conduct research, work for supplement or health product manufacturers or health food stores, work with nutrition centers, spas, retreat centers, and sports teams. Graduates may work in association with doctors integrating holistic medicine, physical therapists, acupuncturists, nurses, chiropractors and other licensed health care providers, herbalists, body care specialists, natural foods chefs, therapists, and health counselors.

After graduation, what certifications can I receive?

Graduates of the DSC, MSHN, MHNE and NC programs are qualified to sit for the board certification exam in holistic nutrition from the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB).

Graduates of the DSC, MSHN and MHNE programs are qualified to sit for the Certified Clinical Nutritionist Exam awarded by the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board.

Please consult your state legislature for rules specific to your state.

In December 2009, the International Organization of Nutrition Consultants (IONC) reviewed and approved all our programs. Graduates of the Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition and the Doctorate of Science in Holistic Nutrition programs are recognized as a ROHP – Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner, and Graduates of the Masters of Health and Nutrition Education and the Nutrition Consultant programs are recognized with the RNCP – Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner designation.

What can I call myself after I have graduated?

Many Hawthorn graduates are entrepreneurial, building business of all sizes. Some own stores, manufacture products, others have their enhanced professional services. Graduates have used the following titles: health educators, nutrition consultants, and wellness coaches among other terms

  • If you graduate from the Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition program, you can use the initials DSc after your name indicating the achievement.
  • An alum of Hawthorn University with a Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition or Health and Nutrition Education may use an MS designation.
  • Graduates of Hawthorn’s Nutrition Consultant program may say they are a graduate of a nutrition consultant program from Hawthorn University.

Graduates of the above programs may sit for additional post-secondary certifications.

The occupational title “nutritionist” may be regulated by state law. Some states restrict the use of the occupational title “nutritionist” but do not limit the practice of nutrition. Some US states require a license to practice nutrition. Check the laws in your state regarding the use of titles such as “nutritionist” and “nutrition counselor” which are regulated in some states. Consult with the Council of Holistic Health Educators a national 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization where you can learn about nutrition practice laws in your state.

Hawthorn is authorized to provide holistic nutrition education in California where no certification or license is required to be a holistic nutritionist or health educator, but disclosure of educational credential is required. No determination has been made that Hawthorn’s curriculum meets other states’ educational requirements for certification or license. Prior to enrolling in a program at Hawthorn, we urge you to review regulations in your specific state.

It is recommended that if the word certified is used, there is a clear demonstration of who the certification comes from. For example, if certified by NANP: “Nutritionist, Certified by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals” . Graduates of Hawthorn’s Degree Programs and the Nutrition Consultant program are eligible to sit for NANP’s certifying examination.

Are employment opportunities listed for student use?

The student’s portal has a link to the University forum which lists opportunities.

Are students licensed in nutrition when they graduate?

Students at Hawthorn University are not licensed. Hawthorn graduates receive a diploma or certificate. Working with a licensed health care provider may assist  in billing insurance.


Do I need an Internet connection to take courses?

An Internet connection is needed to take all your courses and perform all communications to the University and faculty. We recommend broadband access (DSL, Cable or High-Speed Satellite connections).

What hardware requirements are necessary?

Students must have access to a computer with the following configurations in order to benefit from and easily navigate Hawthorn University’s learning platform. A broadband connection is required. The computer should have a soundcard and speakers, webcam, and microphone. Students will need Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (here’s a free download) and a Skype account.

Additionally, Windows Users should have:

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • Minimum of 8 GB Memory
  • Browser: Google Chrome version 60.0 or higher (Recommended)

Mac Users should have:

  • Mac OS X or higher
  • Minimum of 8 GB Memory
  • Browser: Mozilla Firefox 50.0 or higher

Are there any other software and hardware requirements?

Assignments in all programs are submitted in PDF format. Many students have word processing software that will convert documents to PDF format or students can download freeware programs that will convert documents to PDF format. Links to these programs can be found on the student portal.

Are there online instructions and support?

Students receive instructions during orientation and online instructions for each course are with the course syllabus. Technical support is available through our Help Desk.

What is the average turn-around time for technical support responses?

Most questions are responded to within a few hours. Students should not have to wait more than twenty-four (24) business hours for a response and a resolution to their problem. We have had a high level of success in the past, and our support staff is willing to work with you until your problems are resolved.

Do I have to log in at a certain time or for a certain amount of time?

Students may log in at any time that is convenient for them to work on their course.

Webinars are presented on Tuesday evenings at 4 p.m. Pacific Time. If there is a change in the Tuesday schedule, students will receive advanced notice. All Webinars are recorded and archived on the student portal and can be viewed at a future time if a student is unable to be present. A large library of archived webinars available on the student portal can be viewed by enrolled students at any time.

Does the college provide a computer?

Students are responsible for providing their own computer.

Are there any computer competency requirements?

Hawthorn University students are expected to:

1. Perform basic functions, including creating, saving, copying, and retrieving files
2. Be able to upload and download documents
3. Format documents
4. Perform basic word processing activities
5. Engage in basic Internet activities, including subject searches

Should students experience any difficulty in navigating the system or in their general use of the website, technical support is available through Hawthorn’s Help Desk system.