Master of Science in Health Science

Functional Nutrition

Make use of food as a natural medicine. Reduce the risk of disease. Promote vibrant health. Request information today on this life-changing curriculum.

Rigorous Curriculum.
Hall of Fame Faculty.

Next Start: May 8, 2023

Functional Nutrition Program Overview

The Functional Nutrition track prepares individuals to make better use of food as a natural medicine to reduce the risk of disease and promote vibrant health. The curriculum focuses on:

  • a systems biology approach to identifying the root causes of disease and dysfunction
  • understanding the basic tenets of functional nutrition protocols
  • exploring traditional foodways and culturally based herbal medicine
  • translating modern research into recommendations for food selection, recipes, and product development.

These courses are appropriate for individuals in healthcare, allied healthcare, food manufacturing, product research and development, hospitality, or food service, and even for those interested in keeping themselves optimally healthy.

After completing the Functional Nutrition track, students are expected to be able to:

  • Use the systems biology approach to nutrition care, taking into consideration an individual’s symptoms, food choices, nutrient intake, lifestyle, environment, and metabolic differences as precipitating factors in disease and impaired health functioning.
  • Provide individualized nutrition guidance, within the scope of practice, for improved health, wellness, and Sports performance goals.
  • Translate current research into recommendations, recipes, and preparation techniques that will support optimal health.
  • Evaluate traditional eating patterns and medicine practices as sources for culturally appropriate food recommendations.
  • Evaluate therapeutic recommendations as evidence-based.

Why Functional Nutrition

This program is ideal for:

  • Allied health professionals in clinical settings who are looking to expand their knowledge around the role of nutrition in healing and wellness
  • Sport, fitness, and wellness professionals who are looking to better understand nutrition and the role it plays in their athletes’ or clients’ training, performance, recovery, and well-being
  • Chefs, culinary professionals, and food scientists who are looking to better understand the role of nutrients in the ingredients they choose and the menus they create.

This program was developed with the view that food is medicine and food is healthcare. Through this program, healthcare professionals will be able to provide patients with fact-based advice and knowledge on how to promote health through nutrition. For food scientists and culinary professionals, the curriculum will provide the why behind a recipe. Students will gain a greater knowledge of food synergies and how to amplify health benefits in creative ways.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts jobs for Dietitians and Nutritionists to grow 11% between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than the average. There are a number of careers graduates of the program can pursue, including:

  • Nutritionist
  • Dietitian
  • Food Scientist
  • Health Coach

Institutional Accreditation

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Health Sciences Core Curriculum (12 Credit Hours)

HS 504 Research Methods (3 credits)

Introduction to general research principles and research ethics. The student will be introduced to the following topics in the research process: problem statement, question formulation, principles of measurement, basic design and methodological features, issues of reliability and validity, and fundamentals of conducting a literature review. Quantitative article critiques will be conducted in class and outside of class. The class format will include lecture, small group discussion, and practice.

HS 506 Data and Decision-Making (3 credits)

This course will focus on the use and application of statistics commonly found in the field of exercise science. Topical areas include but are not limited to determining appropriate statistical tests to perform, interpreting results and determining appropriate follow-up tests as needed. Emphasis is on design of experiments and appropriate statistical test usage, and interpretation of results.

HS 507 Evidence-Based Practice (3 credits)

This course is designed to prepare health care professionals with the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to make independent judgments about the validity, results, and application of clinical research and to implement evidence-based clinical practice in their careers. This course will focus on the concepts of evidence-based practice with emphasis on forming answerable clinical questions and effective literature search strategies.

HS 602 Applications of Education Practice (3 credits)

This course will explore best practices of the application of educational instruction and delivery for individuals working in a variety of employment settings with diverse populations including clients, patients, students and community learners. This course will include topics associated with generational learning, learning styles, learning design for groups and individuals along with various styles of delivery.

Functional Nutrition (15 Credit Hours)

FN 630 Functional Nutrition (3 credits)

Functional medicine is an approach to treating health conditions and preventing disease through the identification and treatment of root causes for health conditions. It is founded upon the perspective that nutrition therapy considers the individual-specific information founded upon the nutrition assessment model assessing mind, body, spirit, environment, and community to promote lifestyle behavior change that will result in measurable health and wellness benefits.

FN 635 Therapeutic Functional Nutrition (3 credits)

A deep dive into the GI system and the microbiome will set the stage for the discussion of the other physiological systems. Common dysfunctions and chronic disease states and their food/lifestyle medicine protocols will be discussed. Topics are selected by the faculty and where appropriate, the link with gut health and dysfunction will be explored. Conditions explored may include autoimmunity, GI disorders, Celiac disease, heart disease, hypertension, Rheumatoid arthritis, acne, food intolerances, and obesity.

FN 650 Culinary Medicine and World Food Culture (3 credits)

World cuisines will be explored in the context of food as medicine using The Mediterranean Diet as a model. Diversity of the food, eating patterns and family traditions as well as the assimilation of immigrants and their influence on American cuisine will be covered. The historical use of polyherbal formulas in traditional medicines will be included. Topics may include African Heritage diet, Nordic diet, Asian cuisine, herbal medicine and curries of the world.

FN 655 Culinary Medicine and Health Promotion (3 credits)

This course explores food as medicine as a means to promote vital health. Trending meal patterns and food selection as well as preparation techniques to maximize healthfulness, flavor and disease risk reduction will be covered. Translating research into recipes and techniques that promote optimal health and vibrancy will be included. Topics may include botanical therapies, micronutrients, phytonutrients, herbs and spices, and tinctures.

WE 630 Nutrition & Exercise for Health & Wellness (3 credits)

This course includes an overview of chronic diseases and associated risk factors. The effects of behaviors in the etiology and treatment of chronic diseases are examined. Emphasis is placed on the effects of modifying behaviors such as nutrition, physical activity, sleep, smoking, and alcohol use as well as stress reduction. The role of exercise and diet in integrative lifestyle medicine is explored. Basic skills in exercise prescription and nutritional intervention strategies within scope of practice are developed.

Elective (3 Credit Hours) or Thesis (6 Credit Hours)

Elective course (3 credits)


HS 686A Health Science Thesis (3 credits)
HS 686B Health Science Thesis (3 credits)


Webinar on Sports Performance and Rehabilitative Science

Dr. Kim Isaac, PhD, AT, LAT, Program Director and Concentration Track Director

Webinar on the Functional Nutrition Track

Dr. Denise Pickett-Bernard, PhD, RDN, IFMCP, Concentration Track Director

Webinar on the Health Promotion and Wellness Track

Dr. Mary Shotwell, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Concentration Track Director

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA

Tuition & Financial Aid

Financial Aid: This program is eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid. Available to those who qualify.

Tuition: $590 per credit hour

Optional Thesis: $1770

Thesis Committee Fee: $1050

University Resource Fee: $36 per semester

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