Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition

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Program Overview

The Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition (DCN) degree program at Fairfield University is an advanced practice doctoral degree with emphasis on leadership, advanced evidence based practice and research.

Fairfield University demonstrates its leadership in education by being among the first Doctoral program to be seeking accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) under the new Future Education Model standards. The program prepares students as registered dietitian nutritionists with the necessary knowledge, values, and skills to assess, manage, and evaluate common nutritional problems through a cross-population perspective. Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) are experts in the use of food science and nutrition to promote health and manage disease. RDNs provide services in a variety of settings including health care, business and industry, community/public health, education, research, government agencies, and private practice.

The DCN is a three year, full-time or four year part-time program, which includes both didactic courses integrated with supervised experiential learning in community, healthcare, and food service settings. Admission to the program is open to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with required prerequisite courses.

Upon program completion, graduates will be granted a verification statement which is required to sit for the national credentialing exam set by the Commission on Dietetics Registration and select state certification licensure. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge about organizations, business management, information technology and policy-making from their integrated curriculum to improve systems of healthcare delivery.

The DCN is in initial phases of accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), and the process will be completed by summer 2020. Qualified students will be admitted upon program accreditation by ACEND.

Information Session

Join us for a Graduate Information Session so we can answer your questions one-on-one, give you an opportunity to meet our faculty, learn about program details and introduce you to the Fairfield University community and experience.

Career And Professional Opportunities

Employment opportunities for registered dietitian nutritionists are on the rise in the state of Connecticut and nationally. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dietitian nutritionists is projected to grow 11% from 2018-2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Registered dietitian nutritionists may be employed in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Private Practice
  • Hospitals
  • Government
  • Outpatient Care Centers
  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
  • Food Service
  • Healthcare Organizations
  • Corporate Nutrition Programs
  • Food and Nutrition Industry
  • Research
  • Schools
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Community and Public Health Facilities
  • Universities
  • Medical Centers

Learn more about how the University's Career Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.


Admission Requirements

Admission to the program will be competitively offered to students who complete a bachelor’s degree in ANY discipline with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a strong personal statement.

Prerequisite courses for the program include eight credits in anatomy & physiology (six credit theory/2 lab credits), four credits in microbiology (3 credits theory/1 lab credit) and eight credits in general, organic and biochemistry (6 credits theory/2 lab credit). Students who enter the program with CDR certification and master’s degrees in nutrition/dietetics will be evaluated individually to determine if some program requirements may be waived.

Formal Admission Process

Students seeking admission must submit:

  • A completed online application
  • A non-refundable $60 application fee paid by credit card. Fee is waived for current Fairfield students.
  • A professional resume. Applicants are required to submit a current resume that includes employment and education history (submit online)
  • A personal statement. Students should describe why they want to undertake graduate studies in clinical nutrition (submit online)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended demonstrating a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an approved evaluating service
  • Two recommendation forms and letters, one of which must be, preferably, from a current employer or supervisor. Recommendations are completed online. At the time of application candidates will need to provide the email addresses and names of their two recommenders


At Fairfield, our dedicated faculty play a critical role in our student’s personal and moral development as healthcare providers. Meet the faculty and staff at The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)

Fairfield University has applied to open a new and exciting program to prepare Registered Dietitian Nutritionists/Nutrition in Fall, 2020.

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) released the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards for programs in nutrition and dietetics (see These accreditation standards integrate didactic coursework with supervised experiential learning in a competency-based curriculum designed to prepare nutrition and dietetics practitioners for future practice.

Fairfield University demonstrated its leadership in education by submitting an application to be part of the first cohort of programs to be accredited by ACEND under these new standards. Our eligibility application was accepted by ACEND and we are in the candidacy application and review process for our proposed Future Education Model (state degree level) program in nutrition and dietetics. The program is not accepting applications at this time but will do so upon successful completion of the candidacy application process when the program receives accreditation from ACEND.

Contact Us

For more information about the Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition graduate program, please contact:

Janet Hiser


Director of Clinical Nutrition

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