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    Saybrook University
  Feb 06, 2023
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Mind-Body Medicine, Specialization in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Ph.D.

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Augmenting Healthcare with Evidence-Based Nutritional Interventions

Integrative and Functional Nutrition is a specialization for PhD students in the CIMHS. This specialization integrates the paradigms and interventions of integrative and functional nutrition with those of mind-body medicine to manage disease and promote overall mind-body wellness. 

By combining nutrition science with mind-body-medicine, students will develop a synergistic set of skills unique to healthcare.  Graduates will be positioned to address a spectrum of health conditions including functional bowel disorders, food addictions, autoimmune diseases, cognitive impairments, obesity, and many other difficult-to-manage cases from a truly integrative approach.  Graduates will also contribute to advancing integrative healthcare practices through ground-breaking research that merges the fields of nutrition and integrative medicine. 

Students electing to incorporate the Integrative and Functional Nutrition specialization within their PhD program will take a minimum of 18 credits from the available Integrative and Functional Nutrition courses.  These Integrative and Functional Nutrition courses cover topics including nutritional biochemistry, physiology, nutritional assessment methods, and traditional and integrative nutritional therapies.  Students may elect to take additional Integrative and Functional Nutrition courses to fulfill the academic requirements of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists to pursue the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credentials.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students completing the PhD Degree in Mind-Body Medicine will be able to:

1. Evaluate methodologies and/or conduct independent research to investigate contemporary issues in lifestyle and wellness.

2. Explain the influence of biopsychosocial factors on general health and wellbeing and the implications for individuals, organizations, and/or communities.

3. Interpret the values, ethical principles, and practice standards that are paramount for multidisciplinary practitioners and researchers.

4. Assess and synthesize evidence, theories, and informed practices/interventions in integrative medicine.

5. Apply published research and critical thinking skills in academic papers, presentations, and/or communications.

6. Develop reflective practices and/or model adaptive skills in integrative healthcare and wellness.

7. Demonstrate multicultural competencies and diversity awareness, and support health equity and social justice in healthcare systems. 


The doctoral degree program in Mind-Body Medicine with an  Integrative and Functional Nutrition Specialization offers professionals a science-based approach to broaden and deepen their academic and professional development in the fields of clinical nutrition and integrative healthcare. The program provides the opportunity to build upon the foundation provided by a master’s degree from Saybrook or from another regionally-accredited college or university.

Specialization Requirements Overview

Candidates for the Integrative and Functional Nutrition specialization must demonstrate that they have completed a master’s degree or the equivalent.  They must show evidence of having earned 3 credits of anatomy and physiology, 3 credits of general biochemistry or organic chemistry, and 3 credits in basic nutrition as part of their undergraduate or graduate work. Applicants lacking these courses will take them as part of their Saybrook doctoral coursework.

Students in the Integrative and Functional Nutrition specialization must complete 18 credits in integrative and functional nutrition, including courses on the foundations of integrative and functional nutrition, and advanced coursework in nutritional physiology and nutritional biochemistry.

All students in the Integrative and Functional Nutrition specialization also complete a sequence of research courses preparing them to conduct a doctoral dissertation project investigating a mind-body-medicine topic which incorporates a nutrition and health-related component, and also complete a minimum of 100 hours in a nutrition-focused doctoral practicum. In addition, they will choose electives in such areas as the psychobiology of eating, community health and nutrition, and sports nutrition.


Specialization Credits (Years 1-4) 18

Degree Requirements for 2017-2018 Academic Year approved by the CIMHS Degree Program Committee.


  • The degree completion time for a student following the default course sequence will average between 4 ½ to 5 ½ years. Some students may complete degree requirements in fewer terms and some may require more terms to complete the degree.
  • A listing of acceptable CIMHS courses and electives is available in the Saybrook catalog. Students may also choose an elective from the required courses in other specializations.
  • This is a structured cohort program and the sequence of courses is different for students who start in the fall than for students who start in the spring.

Learning Outcomes

A PhD in Mind-Body Medicine with a specialization in Integrative and Functional Nutrition provides healthcare practitioners with a comprehensive preparation to integrate nutritional interventions, mind-body skills, and a person-centered approach into healthcare.  Graduates will be prepared to offer therapies within the scope of their licenses and certifications, augmented with a variety of complementary treatments and integrative medicine interventions. In addition, graduates will be prepared for academic jobs in universities, colleges, and medical schools, teaching an integrative approach to health and mental health.

Students enrolled in the  Integrative and Functional Nutrition specialization can earn nationally recognized certificates in health and wellness coaching, further adding to their toolbox of evidence-based skills in demand in healthcare today. They also can acquire the knowledge and skills for work in chronic pain, palliative care, and integrative hospice services, areas where nutritional and mind-body approaches have been demonstrated to be clinically effective.

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