Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine University of Western States
The 100% online Master of Science in human nutrition and functional medicine (HNFM) at the University of Western States (UWS) integrates cutting-edge functional medicine clinical tools and resources developed by the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), the organization that founded and developed many functional medicine concepts in use today. Functional medicine is a science-based, patient-centered approach to achieving and maintaining excellent health through natural methods, with diet and nutrition at the forefront. Founded on a holistic view of health, our functional medicine programs leverage the biochemical and genetic individuality of each patient so that practitioners can treat the whole person, not just the symptoms.
The Master of Science in human nutrition and functional medicine focuses on the clinical management of chronic illnesses and conditions as the framework for presenting the nutrition subject materials. Students are provided effective, patient-centered management strategies by which to address the myriad of clinical disorders commonly manifest in the current healthcare system population. This approach allows training to occur in the same context the practitioner will be applying the knowledge. The required coursework combines traditional nutrition science courses with coursework based on the clinical application of functional medicine.
- Evidence-Based Nutrition
- Principles of Functional Medicine
- Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Assessment
- Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
- Gastrointestinal Imbalances
- Detoxification and Biotransformation Pathways and Imbalances
- Hormone and Neurotransmitter Regulation and Imbalances
- Whole Food Nutrition and Supplementation
- Oxidative/Reductive Dynamics and Energy Production
- Autoimmune Disease: Causes and Strategies
- Meal Planning in Health and Illness
- Immune Imbalances and Inflammation
- Nutritional Epidemiology and Clinical Research
- Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Imbalances
- Clinical Nutrition through the Life Cycle
After completing the four foundational “core requirement” courses (Principles of Functional Medicine, Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Assessment, Whole Food Nutrition and Supplementation, and Evidence-Based Nutrition) students are allowed to select and start elective courses based on availability and individual preference.
- Foundations of Nutritional Biochemistry
- Fundamentals of Mind-Body Medicine and the Psychology of Well-Being
- Botanical Medicine
- Advanced Practice Modules (modules from IFM and AFMCP)
- Pharmacology and Drug-Nutrient Interactions
- Supervised Nutrition Mentorship I
- Supervised Nutrition Mentorship II
- Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics
- Psychology of Eating and Wellness
- Plant-Based Nutrition
- Nutrition Practice Strategies
- Ethical Use of Telehealth Platforms
Advanced Practice Modules (APMs) and the Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) from the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) can be completed for elective credit, with one APM or one AFMCP substituting for one elective course in our MS program. APMs are focused on a single key health dysfunction such as Gastrointestinal, Cardiometabolic, Detoxification, and Immune Imbalances. APMs are offered both in person and electronically for greater ease of access. To receive credit, students must submit the Certificate of Completion from IFM along with a reflective essay describing what they learned and how it may apply to patient/client care.
Students who enter the MS-HNFM program with the Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP) designation may apply for a total of up to 11 credits of advanced standing toward the master’s degree. If you believe you might qualify for advanced standing, please inform your admissions advisor so they can assist with requesting any applicable transfer credit.
The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA) was established in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine. Taught by IFM faculty and leaders in positive psychology and coaching, the curriculum blends basic Functional Medicine principles with positive psychology coaching, mind-body medicine, and functional nutrition. The 12-month online program leads to a certificate as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. Students are taught how to partner with Functional medicine practitioners and help clients initiate and sustain diet and lifestyle change. Graduates of the MS-HNFM program qualify for a 10% reduction in tuition. Graduates of the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy certificate program may be granted four elective credits toward the MS-HNFM.
The pace of the HNFM program is determined by the student’s preference. The recommended track has the student taking 2-3 classes per term and is completed in eight quarters (two years/24 months). It is possible to complete the program one class at a time, extending the duration. We recognize that the life situations of our students vary considerably in terms of their family, employment, and community commitments, thus we are flexible with regard to speed and prefer that students take the time they need in order to learn the material well.
Additionally, it is possible to take “leaves” for a quarter or more if needed, up to a maximum of four quarters total. As long as the intended schedule is communicated with program staff, it is possible to customize a schedule to better suit a student’s individual needs. The program must be completed in a maximum of five years.
Requirements for Graduation
The MS in human nutrition and functional medicine degree is conferred upon the individual who has fulfilled the following requirements:
- Maintenance of enrollment eligibility through satisfactory academic performance, professional development and behavior, and non-academic behavior.
- Successful completion of all required courses, lectures, labs, practicums, and seminars with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all required coursework.
- Successful completion of minimum graduation requirements as officially communicated to students through the university catalog, student publications, and other official documents of the university.
- Freedom from all indebtedness and other obligations to the university.
With appreciation of the rapid advancements in the field of clinical nutrition and the increasingly respected role of nutrition in the maintenance of health and the prevention of disease, the master of science in human nutrition and functional medicine program prepares graduates to safely and effectively utilize nutrition, natural remedies and biopsychosocial therapies in the management of patients with complex health challenges at an advanced level beyond traditional nutritional programs.
Graduates of the MS-HNFM program will be able to:
- Integrate whole food nutrition with strategies for health promotion and disease prevention.
- Apply the functional medicine model to the therapeutic needs a patient or client could present.
- Apply appropriate interventions to address physiological imbalances and illness states.
- Appraise research evidence to answer clinically relevant questions.
It is the responsibility of the individual student to understand and comply with all relevant local or jurisdictional requirements for clinical practice, which are highly variable and subject to periodic change. UWS makes no representation or guarantees that completion of UWS coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain certification, licensure, or other authorization to practice in any specific jurisdiction.
Human nutrition and functional medicine graduates currently have a tremendous variety of career options, and the field of health and nutrition is growing every day.
Graduates may seek careers that include:
- Nutritionist, solo practice
- Nutritionist, group/integrated practice
- Health and wellness coach
- Employee health coordinator
- Corporate wellness manager
- Health director
- Public policy expert