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Get the Skills to Become a Doctor of Holistic Nutrition

A woman with grey hair, wearing a white shirt, in an open and naturally lit space. Take your Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition degree at Hawthorn.
This program will allow you to work in the field as a health educator, or to compliment your work as a health professional or researcher

Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition Program

Earning my doctorate degree from Hawthorn was one of the best career and educational accomplishments I've ever achieved. The experience was fantastic, the mentoring was wonderful, the information and knowledge I've gained was completely germane to my area of expertise! I would recommend Hawthorn University to any one serious about taking their educational expertise to the next level. | submitted Oct 16, 2019
Sheila Dean, DSC Graduate

Nutrition is inescapable. It relates to countless aspects of how we function as people; our relationship with our body and mind, health and disease, global nutrition politics and policies, the environment, and more. Not to mention the fact that we must feed ourselves daily to stay alive. With such an essential part of life, how did our relationship with food become so complicated?

If you’re motivated to do a deep dive into holistic nutrition, exploring these ideas and more, then you would be a good fit for the Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition (DSC) Degree program. This practical, interdisciplinary program provides you with a science-based understanding of holistic nutrition and gives you the tools to make a difference in others’ lives by preparing you to work in an educational or clinical setting. Earn a post-graduate doctoral degree in 3 to 10 years.

The best way to see if Hawthorn University is the right fit for you is to contact an admissions advisor. Get more information on the Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition Degree program, the online learning format, and pay-as-you-go options so that you can make an informed decision about your future.

Become Qualified in Holistic Nutrition

Throughout the DSC Degree program, we’ll provide you with a working understanding of human physiology and biochemistry, integrated with the current science of nutrition. We’ll use evidence-based information to zero in on how food and lifestyle affect overall health. You’ll learn about the use of nutritional and herbal supplements, detoxification programs, and laboratory testing that can be used to assess nutritional and functional status.

What’s more, you’ll gain awareness of the relevant history and present definition of the holistic nutrition field including major literature, theories, practices, problems, ethical issues, and research methods. As you are exposed to a variety of ideas, you’ll build the ability to discuss and debate nutrition issues – becoming an expert over the duration of the DSC Degree program.

During the 60-credit Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition Degree program you’ll learn:

  • Global Nutrition Politics and Policies
  • Research and Bioethics
  • Environmental Nutrition: Health Implications
  • Gastrointestinal Processes in Health and Disease
  • Detoxification: Theory to Practice
  • Inflammation, Immunity, and Nutrition
  • Nutrition, Metabolic Syndrome, and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Hormones and Nutrition.
  • Neuroscience and Nutrition
  • Health Promotion and Behavior Change
  • Biostatistics in Health
  • Directed Study
  • Dissertation Seminar
  • And More!

This program includes a dissertation, for in-depth exploration into a topic that interests and intrigues you. To review a copy of the Doctoral Dissertation Handbook, click here.

Certification Makes You Credible

As a Hawthorn graduate, you have options for board certification. Becoming certified can open doors to employment as it proves you completed a rigorous educational program and are able to demonstrate your knowledge – earning the highest level of professional recognitions in the holistic nutrition industry. Click HERE to download your copy of Post-Graduation Professional Certifications.

The Convenience of Online Learning

At Hawthorn, programs are entirely online and offer the support of your peers and mentorship of your teacher right at your fingertips. Educational tools include audio lectures, dynamic interviews with professionals in clinical practice, original articles from Hawthorn University, textbooks, journals, websites, diet analysis software, clinical conference calls, message boards, hands-on and community-based assignments, and individual teacher-student interaction. Each course concludes with a teacher-student telephone call and oral review.

As with traditional on-ground schools, you’ll be expected to complete practical activities, research and written assignments, practice exercises, and other community-based projects – all online. You’ll also have the option to engage with peers and faculty via website based message boards. Advanced level courses allow you to participate in clinical review; you’ll present client protocols via conference calls.

Program Details

Curriculum & Academic Requirements

Read on to learn about the Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition (DSC) Degree course descriptions, academic requirements, completion timelines, program grading scale, repeating courses, extensions, leave of absence policy, and more.

What You’ll Learn

View the in-depth curriculum, including course descriptions, course objectives, credits, exam schedules, and classes that you are required to take by clicking on the “details” link for each course shown in the table below.

The DSC Degree program has a cumulative Comprehensive Exam at the completion of all course work followed by a dissertation and an oral defense.

DSC 830 – Global Nutrition Politics and Policies – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 831 – Research and Bioethics – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 832 – Environmental Nutrition – Health Implications – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 833 – Gastrointestinal Processes in Health and Disease – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 834 – Detoxification – From Theory to Practice – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 835 – Inflammation, Immunity and Nutrition – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC FLE – Midterm Exam – 0 Semester Credits details
DSC 836 – Nutrition, Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 837 – Hormones and Nutrition – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 838 – Nutrition and Neuroscience – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 839 – Health Promotion and Behavior Change – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 840 – Biostatistics and Health – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 841 – Directed Study – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC ALE – Comprehensive Exam – 0 Semester Credits details
DSC 900 – Dissertation Seminar – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 901 – Doctoral Dissertation I – 4 Semester Credits details
DSC 902 – Doctoral Dissertation II – 4 Semester Credits details

Scholastic & Graduation Requirements

Students must submit assignments and complete a course in fifteen (15) weeks for the four (4) credit courses. DSC Students are expected to complete the program in sixty-seven (67) months for a 100% completion time rate and no more than one hundred one (101) months to meet the 150% completion rate. If a student completes and submits assignments for each course in less than the minimum requirements, he or she may complete the program in less time. Students are encouraged to begin the subsequent course while waiting for a final grade. Student conferences must be completed as written in the individual syllabi.

A total of sixty (60) credits are needed to graduate from the DSC program. A doctoral dissertation must be approved by the instructor advisor and the dissertation committee and must be satisfactorily completed. To graduate, students must complete all assignments and achieve an average grade of B or better. Students must clear all financial obligations, and their student file must be complete before the degree is awarded.

Flexible Completion Rate

Hawthorn is obligated to report graduation statistics based on formulas defined by the California Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Education (CA BPPE). Using their guidelines, a 100% completion rate for the DSC program is defined as successful completion of the program within sixty-seven (67) months. Students who complete their courses within one hundred and one (101) months are defined as 150% completers.

Most Hawthorn University students take only one course at a time. However, students can complete this program in thirty-six months if enrolled in multiple courses at the same time.

Leave of Absence

Some students may have extraordinary life circumstances that take them over published completion rates. Students are encouraged to complete coursework in a timely manner and proceed to graduation! Students experiencing extraordinary circumstances can review the leave of absence policy or petition for a program extension. Read about the policy in the catalog or the student handbook.

Course Grading Scales

Letter grades are determined according to the following scale:

Grade Points
High Quality
Very Good
Very Poor
Below 69

Grade Point Average

Students in a graduate program must achieve a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above to graduate. The registrar calculates grade point averages according to the point values in the grading scale. A grade of W (Withdraw) or UW (unauthorized withdrawal) does not calculate into the GPA. Withdrawals, however, may be counted toward credits attempted for academic progress requirements.

Students who deserve recognition for excellence in academic performance will be identified at graduation with the following designations:

Summa Cum Laude – 3.90 – 4.00

Magna Cum Laude – 3.80 – 3.89

Cum Laude – 3.70 – 3.78

Repeating a Course

Students who receive an F (Fail) grade in a course may repeat that course one time in order to earn a passing grade. Failure of the same course a second time may result in dismissal from the University. GPA will be computed by the grade earned in the second attempt. Both course grades will remain on the transcript.

Reasonable Tuition & Fees

The program consists of 15 courses (60 credits) which are needed to graduate. Students may pay by the course and payment is due upon enrollment into the course. Tuition must be paid in U.S. currency, by check, money order, or credit card.

Regular tuition and fees for the Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition program are:

  • $60.00 – Application fee (non-refundable)
  • $24,000.00 – 60 credits @ $400.00 /credit hour
  • $250.00 Midterm and Comprehensive Exam
  • $24,310.00 Total

For a detailed list of other University fees: Click Here

Courses are released upon receipt of payment. Once the course is completed,
you are ready to advance by requesting the next course.

Your Textbooks Form the Basis of a Professional Library

The costs of textbooks and nutrition analysis software are not included in the quoted tuition. You may purchase textbooks from a vendor of your choice. The estimated cost of textbooks and software for Doctoral Program is listed in the chart below.

Here is a course by course breakdown of the estimated cost of your textbooks and other required materials for each course and for the entire program. Prices are from unless otherwise indicated. Tuition and book prices are subject to change.

Course Name
Estimated Materials
Cost (rounded to the nearest dollar)
Total Tuition
and Estimated Materials Cost
DSC 830
DSC 831
DSC 832
DSC 833
DSC 834
DSC 835
DSC 836
DSC 837
DSC 838
DSC 839
DSC 840
DSC 841
DSC 900
DSC 901
DSC 902*
Application Fee
Total Materials Costs (estimated)
Graduation Fee
Midterm and Comprehensive Exam
Total Tuition Cost
Grand Total

*Students who do not complete their thesis in the allotted time frame must register to continue at ½ the cost ($800.00) to maintain matriculation.

Holistic Nutrition Professionals Are Needed to Fill Many Roles

Upon successful completion of the DSC program you should be able to:

  • Assess environmental and economic issues on the quantity and quality of the food supply at the individual, national and global status
  • Evaluate the nutritional status of individuals and determine nutrition-related conditions and diseases by applying knowledge of metabolism and nutrient functions, food sources, and physiologic systems
  • Interpret and apply nutrition and food industry knowledge in order to meet the nutrition, food and health needs of society
  • Evaluate the history of agriculture, industry and eating and its impact on health
  • Use theory and research evidence to identify, design, and assess behavioral and action focused nutrition education programs to improve health and implement changes in health policies
  • Create activities and coalitions at the personal, family, community, national and global levels to promote policies and environments that are supportive of food security
  • Explain and abide by the “Scope of Practice” and “Code of Ethics” for nutritionists as described by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals

Extensive Career Prospects

This interdisciplinary DSC Degree program will allow you to work in the field as a health educator or to complement your work as a health professional or researcher.

Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition graduates are trained to:

• Work in private practice as a nutrition educator or consultant
• Assist in the promotion of health and the control of disease
• Lecture for professional groups, lay audiences, or schools
• Teach nutrition and/or health curriculum at various levels including college
• Work in a managerial capacity at a supplement or health product manufacturers, or health
food stores
• Serve as a health maintenance program group leader
• Conduct nutritional research
• Write or editing for health-oriented publications
• Work in a supervisory capacity at nutrition centers, spas, or retreat centers, and with
sports teams

The DSC Degree program can be applied in a variety of ways: teaching, writing, working with food or supplement manufacturers, media, and more. As a graduate, you can help consumers navigate through confusing or contradictory health and nutrition information – working to educate people so they can make informed health and lifestyle decisions more easily.

Learn about admission requirements for the DSC program.

View the sample program agreement.

*Program length when students take multiple classes at once. See the “Flexible Completion Rate” paragraph for more details.