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    Saybrook University
  Jun 02, 2023
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum [Archived Catalog]

Integrative and Functional Nutrition, M.S.

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Saybrook’s Master of Science in Integrative and Functional Nutrition was designed to educate the next generation of nutritional professionals. Graduates of this program will be prepared to apply advanced evidence-based nutritional approaches to effectively address conditions ranging from obesity and high blood pressure, to depression and chronic pain.

Integrative and functional nutritionists recognize how physical health is influenced by biological, environmental, behavioral, and emotional factors. They apply knowledge from biological and nutritional sciences to the results from comprehensive nutritional assessments to inform nutritional diagnoses and develop personalized nutrition care plans to help clients achieve optimal health and vitality. 

Declining global health dictates a greater need for well-trained, competent nutrition practitioners across healthcare settings.  This need is not being met by current educational models.  Thus, CIMHS has created a Master’s degree in Integrative and Functional Nutrition to prepare future nutrition leaders in the health field. With courses that study nutritional biochemistry and physiology, functional nutrition assessment methodologies, and integrative nutritional therapies, along with a 100-hour professional practicum, this program equips its students with cutting-edge knowledge, skills, and competencies to be professional nutrition practitioners addressing world-wide health concerns of individuals and communities.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply evidence-based integrative and functional nutrition approaches to comprehensively assess and promote the health and wellness of diverse individuals and communities.
  2. Critically evaluate and utilize evidence-based resources to inform professional practice.
  3. Explain the role of integrative and functional nutrition in health promotion and disease prevention and management to clients and professionals.
  4. Apply knowledge of biochemical, physiological, and psychosocial sciences to assess nutritional status and design integrative interventions.
  5. Identify and articulate the ethical, humanistic, and legal guidelines for professional nutrition practitioners.


Admissions Requirements

Applicants for the Master of Science degree in Integrative and Functional Nutrition must:

1) Submit official transcripts showing completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, with a 3.0 or higher GPA;

2) Provide official transcripts showing completion of undergraduate or graduate-level science courses in the past ten years, with a minimum of a B in each, including 3 credit units from each: a) biochemistry or organic chemistry, b) anatomy and/or physiology, and c) human nutrition. Students lacking any of these courses may be admitted and will add these courses to their Saybrook program plan;

3) Provide a writing sample demonstrating academic writing skills. Students with challenges in academic writing may be accepted, but will be required to take an academic writing class; and

4) Submit a personal statement addressing their educational objectives.

Degree Requirements

Saybrook’s Master of Science in Integrative and Functional Nutrition requires 39 credits for those students meeting prerequisite science course requirements, and 39-48 credits for those adding any prerequisite science requirements or the academic writing course. No face-to-face residential components (RC) are required for this degree.  However, students may choose to attend any of Saybrook’s RCs where they will meet other Saybrook students, faculty and staff.  Aside from the optional RC, all required coursework is conducted in an online learning environment, mostly asynchronous, supplemented by live videoconferences with instructors and classmates. No thesis is required.  The expected length of the 39-credit program is approximately 21 months.   

Students earning a Master of Science in Integrative and Functional Nutrition can acquire complementary skills to enhance their professional practice by adding a Minor in Integrative Wellness Coaching or a Minor in Mind-Body Medicine to their degree program.  The addition of a Minor will add to the total credits of the student’s program and take approximately one to two semesters to complete.   

Saybrook may accept up to three graduate transfer credits into the Master of Science in Integrative and Functional Nutrition from other regionally accredited colleges and universities prior to entrance. Transfer credits must be suitable for transfer to the intended degree and approved by the Department Chair. Credits are applied to the number of elective or required course credits needed for degree completion.

For further details regarding transfer credit policies, consult the Institutional Transfer Credit Guidelines section of the University Catalog.

Degree Curriculum

The 39-credit Master of Science in Integrative and Functional Nutrition (IFN) includes 21 credits of core courses, 15 credits of IFN electives, and 3 open credits.

Courses required of all MS IFN students (21 credits)

MS IFN Total Degree Requirements - 39 credits

Basic Science Pre-requisites and Academic Writing (if required)

Total Degree Requirements with Basic Science(s) and Writing: 39-51 credits

Degree Requirements for 2018-2019 Academic Year approved by CIMHS Degree Program Committee.

Optional: Minor in Mind-Body Medicine - 12 credits

MS IFN Total Degree Requirements with Minor in MBM - 48-60 credits

Optional: Minor in Integrative Wellness Coaching (IWC) - 9 credits

MS IFN Total Degree Requirements with Minor in IWC - 45-57 credits

Degree Requirements for 2018-2019 Academic Year approved by CIMHS Degree Program Committee.


  • The degree completion time for a student following the default course sequence will average 21 months to two years. Some students may complete degree requirements sooner and some may take longer to complete this degree. Those students incorporating prerequisite sciences, academic writing, or a Minor into their course plan may require longer to complete the degree.
  • Students who demonstrate equivalent professional learning to waive a required course(s) will be able to take elective course(s) in place of the waived course(s).  Available electives will be discussed with your academic advisor in your first term of enrollment.


Learning and Career Outcomes

The Master of Science in Integrative and Functional Nutrition at Saybrook University prepares students for advanced integrative and functional nutrition practice and exposes them to various complementary healthcare practices.  Additionally, this degree prepares individuals for advanced doctoral level studies in nutrition or other health-related professions.

Saybrook University’s Masters of Integrative and Functional Nutrition degree program is designed to fulfill the current academic requirements for the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) exam. The Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) requires a graduate degree in the field of nutrition from a regionally accredited university, specific coursework, and 1000 hours of supervised experience.  BCNS reviews each candidate individually, including current course descriptions, transcripts and experience to determine eligibility.  To learn more about becoming a CNS, see

In addition, the program fulfills the current core academic requirements in science and nutrition of the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB) for the Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) credential. The CNCB reviews course descriptions, applicant’s transcripts, and academic programs to determine eligibility for the CCN examination. To learn more about becoming a CCN, see

The Master of Integrative and Functional Nutrition degree program does not lead to eligibility for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN®) credential.

Depending upon each state’s specific credentialing and practice requirements, graduates may consider careers in:

  • Independent consulting and private practice
  • Medical centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other clinical care settings
  • Higher education
  • Health promotion and wellness education programs
  • Yoga and wellness retreats, sports care facilities
  • Culinary institutes, agricultural programs, schools, prisons, restaurants and corporate food service establishments
  • Public health care, community organizations, legislature and policy settings
  • Natural products and dietary supplement industries
  • Research and development
  • Nutrition, science, food, medical writing/journalism (non-technical, technical)

Prospective students who are interested in taking courses within the Integrative and Functional Nutrition program at Saybrook, yet do not wish to undertake a master’s degree are encouraged to review the Certificate options described later in this catalog.

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