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Get the Skills to Become a Holistic Nutrition Professional

A woman with short blonde hair throwing a green apple in the air. Start your Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition Degree at Hawthorn.
The MSHN Degree program opens many nutrition-related sectors to you including education, program-planning, consulting, & more

Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition Program

I learned a lot and enjoyed my education at Hawthorn. The self-paced learning within a designated timeline worked well for me. I highly recommend Hawthorn University to anyone seeking an integrated approach to nutrition and overall health. | submitted Dec 22, 2020
Karsten Mueller, MSHN Graduate 2015

It helped me with my own health quite a bit. | submitted Jan 10, 2020
Marian Holton-Manuel, MSHN Graduate 2020

If you’re passionate about holistic nutrition and want to counsel others to attain optimal health, consider the Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition (MSHN) Degree at Hawthorn University. Complete this rich, instructor-guided program in under 60 months.

Gain the clinical nutrition skills and the in-depth knowledge needed to increase vitality and well-being while reducing long-term disease risk for clients, family, or yourself. At Hawthorn University, you’ll learn the principles of nutrition using current holistic and up-to-date evidence-based scientific information, with an emphasis on teaching you how to discern the quality and accuracy of research and developing critical thinking.

Often, students report that one of the highlights of the program is the ongoing, nurturing relationships that they build with their instructors who have clinical expertise in their field. All this delivered in a flexible, online format that can be tailored to meet your schedule.

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 Master 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 program, you’ll learn to incorporate the biochemical uniqueness of your clients and to develop individual health protocols using diet, supplement, and lifestyle suggestions. What’s more, you’ll be encouraged to include direct application of nutrition concepts in your own life, making learning personally relevant.

During the 57-credit Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition Degree program you’ll learn:

  • Holistic Health and Nutrition Fundamentals
  • Macronutrients: Energy and Structure
  • Micronutrients: Homeostatic Regulators
  • Digestion, Absorption, and Metabolism
  • Nutritional Assessment and Diet Planning
  • Health and Nutrition Consulting
  • Energy Balance and Weight Management
  • Clinical Nutrition for the Digestive System, Endocrine System, Musculoskeletal System, Cardiovascular System, Immune and Lymphatic Systems, and Mental Health
  • Detoxification and Filtering Systems
  • Life Cycle Nutrition
  • Business and Marketing Practices
  • And More!

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 With the Connection of a Classroom

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 Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition (MSHN) 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 courses that you are required to take by clicking on the “details” link for each course shown in the table below.

MSHN 501: Holistic Health and Nutrition Fundamentals – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 510: Macronutrients: Energy and Structure – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 515: Micronutrients: Homeostatic Regulators – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 505: Research Skills and Methods – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 520: Digestion, Absorption, and Metabolism – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 525: Nutritional Assessment and Diet Planning – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 530: Health and Nutrition Consulting – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN FLT: Foundation Level Test – 0 Semester Credits details
MSHN 535: Advanced Health and Nutrition Consulting – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 540: Energy Balance and Weight Management – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 545: Clinical Nutrition for the Digestive System – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 550: Detoxification and Filtering Systems – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 555: Clinical Nutrition for the Endocrine System – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 560: Clinical Nutrition for the Musculoskeletal System – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 565: Clinical Nutrition for the Cardiovascular System – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 570: Clinical Nutrition for the Immune and Lymphatic Systems – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 575: Clinical Nutrition and Mental Health – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 580: Life Cycle Nutrition – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 585: Business and Marketing Practices – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN ALT: Advanced Level Test – 0 Semester Credits details
MSHN CE: Comprehensive Exam – 3 Semester Credits details
MSHN 590: Thesis Preparation (optional) – 2 Semester Credits details
MSHN 595: Research Thesis (optional) – 4 Semester Credits details
MSHN 599: Research Thesis Continuation (optional) details

Scholastic & Graduation Requirements

Students must submit assignments and complete a course in sixty (60) days or less for three (3) credit courses and ninety (90) days or less for the four (4) credit thesis courses. Courses with an online examination(s) are taken prior to the end date of the course. Conferences must be scheduled and completed as indicated in the syllabus. Students are encouraged to begin the subsequent course while waiting for a final grade.

A total of fifty-seven (57) credits are needed to graduate from the MSHN program. Students must complete all courses and examinations and achieve an average grade of B or better. Students may resubmit assignments that have received a grade of F. Students must clear all financial obligations, and their student file must be complete before a diploma is awarded. Hawthorn University requires a Comprehensive Examination to complete the MSHN program.

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 MSHN program is defined as the successful completion of the program within sixty (60) months. Students who complete their courses within ninety (90) months are defined as 150% completers.

Most Hawthorn University students take only one course at a time. However, students can complete this program in twenty-four (24) 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 Scale

Letter grades are determined according to the following scale:

Grade Score Description 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 19 courses (57 credits) which are needed to graduate. You 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 MSHN program are:

  • $60.00 – Application fee (non-refundable)
  • $14,250.00 – 57 credits @ $250.00 / credit hour
  • $250.00 Foundation Level and Advanced Level Tests @ $125.00 each
  • $1,107.00 Estimated Books and Materials cost
  • $75.00 Graduation fee (domestic)
  • $15,742.00 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 cost of textbooks is not included in the quoted tuition (refer to the chart below for estimated prices). Students may purchase textbooks directly and are given suggestions on how to find discounted books and online resources.

Here is a course-by-course breakdown of the estimated cost of textbooks 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 Textbook Cost (rounded to the nearest dollar) Tuition Cost Total Tuition and Estimated
Textbook Cost
MSHN 501
$135.00 $750.00 $885.00
MSHN 505
$85.00 $750.00 $835.00
MSHN 510
$87.00 $750.00 $837.00
MSHN 515
$58.00 $750.00 $808.00
MSHN 520
$63.00 $750.00 $813.00
MSHN 525
$18.00 $750.00 $768.00
MSHN 530
$81.00 $750.00 $831.00
MSHN 535
$29.00 $750.00 $779.00
MSHN 540
$69.00 $750.00  $819.00
MSHN 545
$0.00 $750.00 $750.00
MSHN 550
$88.00 $750.00 $838.00
MSHN 555
$108.00 $750.00 $858.00
MSHN 560
$0.00 $750.00 $750.00
MSHN 565
$100.00 $750.00 $850.00
MSHN 570
$77.00 $750.00 $827.00
MSHN 575
$15.00 $750.00 $765.00
MSHN 580
$70.00 $750.00 $820.00
MSHN 585
$24.00 $750.00 $774.00
$0.00 $750.00 $750.00
MSHN 590 (optional elective)
$47.00 $500.00 $531.00
MSHN 595 (optional elective)
$0.00 $1,000.00 $1,000.00
Application Fee
Graduation Fee (Domestic)
Total Textbook Cost (estimated)
Foundation Level and Advanced Level Tests
Total Tuition Cost
(app fee, FLT/ALT, courses)
Grand Total

*Students who do not complete their thesis in the allotted time frame must register to continue at ½ the cost ($500.00) to maintain matriculation.

Holistic Nutrition Professionals Are Needed to Fill Many Roles

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

  • Plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease
  • Supervise activities of a department providing quantity food service
  • Counsel individuals
  • Conduct nutritional research
  • Monitor food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards
  • Assess nutritional needs, diet restrictions and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling
  • Advise patients and their families on nutritional principles, dietary plans and diet modifications, and food selection and preparation
  • Counsel individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits, and nutritional monitoring to improve their quality of life
  • Consult with physicians and health care personnel to determine nutritional needs and diet restrictions of patients and clients
  • Follow the “Scope of Practice” and “Code of Ethics” for nutritionists as described by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals

Extensive Career Prospects

Holistic Nutrition is a dynamic, fast-evolving field. As people seek trustworthy health information, the need for Nutrition Consultants and Educators with professional degrees grows.

Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition graduates are trained to:

  • Operate a private practice as a Nutrition Consultant
  • Write for health-oriented publications
  • Lead groups for health maintenance programs
  • Lecture for professional groups, lay audiences, or schools
  • Teach at schools, colleges, and other institutions
  • Conduct research
  • Develop or work for supplement or health product manufacturers
  • Collaborate with nutrition centers, spas, retreat centers, and sports teams

The field of nutrition is expanding as more people seek complementary and holistic approaches to wellness, meaning there are many avenues and opportunities for you to use your training.

Learn about admission requirements for the MSHN program.

View the sample program agreement.