Curriculum - Coursework

MNSD coursework provides the foundation for professional training and covers the core content areas of the profession including nutritional status assessment, clinical nutrition, management, and addressing communities through program development and policy. Our courses are designed to prepare students for graduate-level practice and include advanced themes such as quality assurance, resource management, policy evaluation, recommending and administering nutrition-related pharmacotherapy, and research methods in nutritional sciences. 

  • NST 208, Foods with Laboratory 
    This course is designed for students to explore the fundamentals of food. The course will begin by discovering the science of foods; the functional role of foods as ingredients; and the impact on food quality, acceptability, and compatibility as measured by sensory evaluation methods. Students will then integrate their knowledge of chemistry and food science by modifying recipes for disease prevention and management. Students will explore food preparation techniques and world cuisines to further their appreciation of foods, eating patterns, and food trends across cultures. Students will apply principles of food safety and sanitation to the procurement, storage, and production of foods. Units: 4
  • NST 201, Metabolic Regulation
    This course will provide a graduate-level view of metabolism spanning the physiological, biochemical and molecular aspects of metabolic homeostasis. The course will emphasize four areas: history of metabolism research across primarily mammalian species; past and current available methodological tools to understand metabolism; established and emerging principles of metabolic regulation, with lessons learned from classic physiological and biochemical investigations, isotope tracing and modern molecular techniques and the clinical assessment of metabolism and targeting of metabolic regulation/signaling, including the therapeutic application of diet, pharmaceuticals, cell therapies, tissue culture/engineering, and genetic medicine. Units: 2
  • NST 210, Research Methods & Analysis in Nutritional Sciences with Laboratory
    This course will familiarize students with current methodologies of assessing nutritional status through molecular biology, clinical/biochemical analysis, and dietary experimentation and analysis. Upon completion of this course, students will understand the work of a nutrition scientist, including asking scientific questions and generating hypotheses, using creativity and critical thinking to develop experimental design and execution of laboratory procedures, as well as interpreting data and presenting (written and oral) findings from results obtained. Throughout the course, students will perform several nutritional assessments and compare and contrast the results to those obtained from a controlled analytical method or specimen. Units: 4
  • NST 235, Food Systems Management 
    This course will provide students an opportunity to discuss and apply the organizational and management principles within institutional food service systems. Topics will range from production and delivery systems, management of resources, quality assurance, equipment, layout, marketing, personnel management, and fiscal management. Students will apply concepts through laboratory experiences, projects, and engagement in foodservice settings on campus. Units: 4
  • NST 245, Counseling in Nutritional Sciences
    This graduate-level course will focus on effective nutrition counseling strategies and applying behavior change theory. Students will address behavior change by applying the Nutrition Care Process and utilizing appropriate Medical Nutrition Therapy and theory-driven interventions. Integrated practice will occur through mock counseling sessions and role playing activities for various populations and conditions. Units: 2
  • NST 261, Nutrition Care Process and the Lifespan
    This graduate-level course will teach students how to utilize the Nutrition Care Process of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics as a framework to explore nutritional care throughout the lifespan. Students will determine nutritional status by considering anthropometrics and physical assessment, biochemical data, clinical findings, dietary intake, complimentary and integrative therapies, and physical activity. Disease pathophysiology, diagnosis, medical and pharmacological treatments, and nutritional therapies and nutrition-related pharmacotherapy will be discussed for conditions common across the lifespan. Students will be responsible for utilizing medical terminology and documentation, and for identifying relevant current research to support their nutritional recommendations. Units: 4
  • NST 262, Medical Nutrition Therapy 
    This graduate-level course will address nutrition as a component of disease treatment. The Nutrition Care Process of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics will be used as a framework to explore disease pathophysiology, diagnosis, medical and pharmacological treatments, and nutritional therapies. Students will examine and apply an understanding of complementary and integrative nutritional therapies on drugs, disease, and heath. The conditions that will be studied include cardiovascular disease, upper and lower GI disease, hepatic disease, renal disease, diabetes, diseases of the pancreas, cancer, HIV/AIDS, pulmonary disease, and critical illness. Students will be responsible for utilizing medical terminology and documentation, and for identifying relevant current research to support their nutritional recommendations. Units: 4
  • NST 266, Nutrition in the Community
    This graduate-level course addresses nutrition in the context of the community and population. It explores nutrition programs that serve various segments of the population, and the relationships these programs have to nutrition policy at the local, national, and international levels. The course provides an opportunity for community assessment, program planning, implementation, and evaluation. The history, science, current issues, and innovations involved in improving nutrition among various communities will be presented. Nutritional concerns, including food security and global health, will be discussed. Units: 3
  • NST 294, Dietetics Professional Practice Seminar
    This course is intended to enhance student understanding and appreciation of professional responsibilities and conduct as future dietetic professionals. Current topics in the field of nutritional sciences and dietetics will be discussed. The course will provide a platform for students to begin to prepare for the registered dietitian nutritionist credentialing examination. Units: 2
  • NST 295, Capstone Project in Nutritional Sciences 
    The Capstone course gives students the opportunity to synthesize their graduate level course work by connecting their academic knowledge from their coursework to a capstone research project. Students will learn new research techniques and approaches and broaden their exposure to nutrition research. The project will entail a technical research poster and presentation of their work. Units: 11 
  • NST 400, Professional Preparation: Supervised Practice in Dietetics
    This course will allow students the opportunity to apply their knowledge from their academic courses, build and practice skills, and demonstrate competency as an entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist under the supervision of a qualified professional. Units: 2-12, 26 required

Please see the program handbook  to learn about policies related to awarding credit for prior learning. 

Curriculum - Supervised Practice

Students will be placed in professional worksites to prepare for practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. All students will rotate through a hospital setting, a community nutrition setting, and a foodservice management setting. Worksite rotations begin at the end of year one and continue through year two.

Supervised Practice Rotations

  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
    The first eight weeks of this rotation focuses on practicing the Nutrition Care Process with populations with less complex medical conditions impacted by diet including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, neurological conditions, and gastrointestinal disorders. The second eight weeks of this rotation focuses on practicing the Nutrition Care Process with populations with more complicated conditions such as renal disease, cancer, hepatic disease, and critical care, and interns apply nutrition support. Larger assignments include mini-case studies, a major case study with an oral presentation and research review, a quality improvement audit, an in-service to the multidisciplinary team, and staff relief.
  • Education and Counseling
    This rotation focuses on developing skills to promote lifelong nutrition-related behavior change through nutrition counseling and nutrition education. Major projects include providing nutrition counseling, teaching nutrition-focused classes, development of an education material, and understanding billing and coding.
  • Institutional Foodservice Management 
    In the Institutional Foodservice Management rotation, interns develop skills in marketing, procurement, storage, preparation, delivery, service, quality and management. Interns practice and operate equipment, conduct sanitation audits, apply food safety guidelines, plan menus, assess customer service, and apply management skills. Rotation activities include a menu planning project, food safety and quality audits, a waste and sustainability report, and a quality improvement project. 
  • Community Nutrition
    This rotation focuses on developing skills to provide nutrition services to the community at large through participation in community-based nutrition programs. Major projects include program planning and implementation, participation in program activities, and participation in nutrition-related policies.
  • Campus Community
    The goal of this rotation is to participate in the Cal campus community by designing, implementing, and evaluating nutrition programs for the campus population.

Three researches in a lab.

Curriculum - Research

The summer session term following year one is dedicated to a capstone project in the metabolic biology research labs or other nutritional sciences focused labs. During this experience, students will investigate nutritional science themes and connect research with their coursework. Students will investigate important topics such as: the effect of calorie restriction on oxidative stress, the effect of fructose on circulating levels of cytokines, how epigenetic factors influence energy metabolism, links between brown adipose tissue and obesity risk, and more. 

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