Dec 15, 2018  
2017-2018 University Catalog 
2017-2018 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Nutrition, MS

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Department of Clinical Nutrition

Two programs, which have a common core of courses, lead to a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Nutrition. Clinical Nutrition MS degree and Combined MS degree and Dietetic Internship.

Clinical Nutrition Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values - ICARE - Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Excellence translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. Rush actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. Rush is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the Clinical Nutrition program:

Acquire Information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses such as lecture, group, and physical demonstrations.
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches & data retrieval).
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description, and transparencies.
  • Identify information presented in images from paper, slides, videos, and transparencies.
  • Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity, cognition, verbal, and non-verbal communication.

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers. Use and interpret information related to physiologic phenomena generated from diagnostic tools.


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide or assist in holistic Clinical Nutrition care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments.
  • Practice in a safe manner and appropriately provide Clinical Nutrition care and assessment in emergencies and life support procedures and perform universal precautions against contamination.


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families.
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors, and all members of the healthcare team during practicum and other learning experiences.
  • Accurately elicit information including a medical history and other information to adequately and effectively evaluate a population’s, client’s or patient’s condition.

Intellectual Ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize data related to diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations.
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the Clinical Nutrition role.
  • Synthesize information, problem solve, and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment, or treatment strategy.


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances.
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need.
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings.


  • Demonstrate concern for others.
  • Integrity, accountability, interest, and motivation are necessary personal qualities.
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the Rush University and Clinical Nutrition Code of Ethics.

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine that they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Disability Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs. Given the clinical nature of our programs time may be needed to implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged. To learn more about accommodations at Rush University please contact:

Marie Ferro-Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Manager, Office of Student Disability Services
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St. AAC 440
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-5237

Clinical Nutrition: Academic Programs

Two programs, which have a common core of courses, lead to a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Nutrition.

Master of Science

The MS Degree  program is for those who hold the baccalaureate degree and wish to expand their understanding of human nutrition through critical evaluation, integration and application of nutrition research. The student has the option of selecting a thesis or non-thesis track. Those in the thesis track are required to take 6 credits of thesis research and will complete their own research project. Those in the non-thesis track will take 1-3 credits of independent study and have a research experience.

Clinical Nutrition: Admission Requirements

Applicants for the MS Degree

All applicants for the MS degree in Clinical Nutrition must have earned the baccalaureate degree. Obtaining the MS degree in Clinical Nutrition without an accredited supervised practice will not make the student eligible to sit for the registration exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Prerequisite courses from an US university that are required for admission to the MS degree include:

  • At least one course accredited in biochemistry*
  • At least one course in physiology
  • At least one course in nutrition
  • At least one course in statistics

*Students should note that two semesters of general chemistry and one semester of organic chemistry are typically the prerequisites for biochemistry. The prerequisite for physiology is an introductory biology course.

Students applying to the MS Degree complete an online application to Rush University at Application requirements, required application fees and the application process are specified on the Department of Clinical Nutrition website at Contact Kathryn S. Keim, PhD, RD, Chair at or call (312) 942-2812 for questions.

Acceptance procedures for the MS Degree include a review of application materials by the Rush University College of Health Sciences Admissions Office for completeness of application and a review by the Clinical Nutrition Admissions Committee for program acceptance. Students may be admitted in any of the three semesters. Students accepted into the MS Degree  program will receive a letter of acceptance from the Rush University College of Health Sciences Admissions Office. A program acceptance confirmation fee of $250 is required at this time. This fee is nonrefundable and will be applied to tuition for the first term. There are two tracks in the MS in Clinical Nutrition degree; thesis and non-thesis. The student will decide during the first term which track they will pursue.

Required Testing for all Applicants

Applicants for  the MS Degree in Clinical Nutrition will need to submit results of the following:

  • Graduate Record Examination
  • International applicants - graduates who obtained their education outside the United States and its territories must have their academic degree(s) validated as equivalent to the baccalaureate or master’s degree conferred by a regionally accredited college or university in the United States. These applicants also must submit results of TOEFL examination (see College of Health Sciences TOEFL requirements).

Clinical Nutrition: Graduation Requirements

Once admitted into the MS Degree in Clinical Nutrition program, students embark on a journey which entails the acculumation of 36 semester hours for graduation. In order to graduate and have the degree conferred students must:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.
  • Successfully complete all didactic coursework.
  • Successfully complete all requirements of the thesis/non-thesis research experience.
  • Pass the Rush University Interprofessional course.
  • Complete a minimum of 16 contact hours of approved professional or community service.

Students must complete all program requirements within 5 years from matriculation. Any student who expects to go beyond the timeframe, must request an exception to the policy in writing to the Clinical Nutrition Academic Progress and Promotions committee.

Clinical Nutrition: Research Activities

Students have the option of selecting the thesis or non-thesis track of the degree but all students will complete some form of research experience.  Faculty members of the Department of Clinical Nutrition are involved in basic and applied clinical nutrition and management research. Faculty and students present at professional meetings and publish in peer reviewed journals. A list of faculty and student research presentations and publications can be found at the Clinical Nutrition website at

Clinical Nutrition: Service Activities

Students are required to complete 16 hours of community or professional service during the program. Students meet this requirement in a variety of ways including assisting at health fairs; volunteering at the local food pantry; and assisting at local, state and national professional association meetings.

Clinical Nutrition: Academic Policies

The MS Degree is offered on a part-time or full-time basis. A full-time student can complete the program in five terms; all students must complete the program within five years of matriculation. Rush University requires continuous enrollment through to completion of degree (see Rush University policies for further information). Students may be allowed to transfer up to 12 semester  hours of applicable graduate credit from another accredited university. Graduate courses must be completed with a “B” or better and approved by the student’s supervisory committee to be awarded transfer credit.

If a student is not finished with the MS degree in five years, a request for extension must be made to the Clinical Nutrition Academic Progress and Promotions Committee. If an extension is granted, conditions of the extension may include additional coursework to assure relevancy and currency of knowledge/competence at the master’s level.

Academic Progression

Students in the MS Degree for Registered Dietitians program are required to earn grades of “C” or better in all courses. Failure to earn required grades may result in dismissal from the MS program and will result in a performance review by the Clinical Nutrition Committee on Academic Progress and Promotions. The faculty reserves the right to request the withdrawal of any student whose conduct or performance demonstrates lack of fitness for continuance in the graduate program.

Automatic probation for any student results when a student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 or when a student receives a grade of “D” or “F” in any course. The Clinical Nutrition Committee on Academic Progress and Promotions notifies any student placed on probation, states the reason(s) for probation and indicates the conditions that must be satisfied for removal of probation. A student who earns a grade of “D” or “F” in a course, other than those listed above, must repeat the course and earn at least a “C.” A student who earns a grade of “D” or “F” in more than one required course will be dismissed. Full-time students on probation must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater by the end of the next two consecutive quarters. Part-time students on probation must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater after completing the next 3 courses (approximately 9 quarter hours). Improvement in the GPA must be shown each term of probation.

College of Health Sciences/Rush University Academic Policies

Academic policies specific to the College of Health Sciences and Rush University are located in those sections of the catalog.

Master of Science Degree/non-thesis track

(Sample plan of study)

Year 1

Year 2

Hours Required for MS Degree: 36


Several programs in the College of Health Sciences either require or have an option for a thesis project. Completing one’s thesis is a significant academic accomplishment and acknowledges that the student has conducted an independent scientific investigation that will add to the knowledge of his or her field. All students are required to have their theses registered with the Proquest Information and Learning Company. This process includes the publication of the thesis abstract, the microfilming of the thesis and the copyrighting of the work (approximately $150). In addition, the original copy of the thesis is bound and becomes a permanent part of the collection of the Library of Rush University Medical Center. The director of the Library of Rush University Medical Center coordinates the process.

Master of Science Degree/ thesis track

Hours Required for MS Degree: 36

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