Effective Jan. 1, 2024, the minimum degree requirement for eligibility to take the registration examination for dietitians will change from a bachelor’s degree to a graduate degree. To meet the profession's new RDN requirements, Pacific is offering an entry-level master's degree in clinical nutrition at the Sacramento Campus and is open to students with a bachelor’s degree or higher, with or without academic and career experience in nutrition and dietetics. (Note: Students without a degree in nutrition will need to complete pre-requisite courses prior to admission; see below).

About the Program

Pacific's MSCN program embeds supervised clinical practice experiences with in-seat and hybrid (mixed classroom and online classes) course learning. The 16-month, full-time program (four consecutive trimesters) includes 1,200 experiential learning hours, which fulfills all requirements to sit for the Commission of Dietetic Registration's RDN examination upon program completion.

Career Path

The scope of practice for RDNs continues to expand, and this program prepares students to learn the critical thinking and scientific skills needed to be a clinical dietetic practitioner. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists serve as food and nutrition experts for health care teams in clinical practice, and hold leadership roles in management, education and research. They practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, ambulatory and long-term care facilities, private practice, community agencies and food service corporations.

Graduate Program

The mission of the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition FG Program is to provide a graduate level, student-centered, interprofessional Nutrition and Dietetics education, that is integrated with leadership, innovative supervised experiential learning and research experiences that prepares students to become skilled and compassionate registered dietitian/nutritionist professionals who practice comprehensive clinical nutrition care using an evidence-based approach.

Goal 1

Prepare graduates who become employed entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs).


1.1. At least 80% of program graduates complete program/degree requirements within 2 years (150% of the program length).

1.2. Ninety percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.

1.3. The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.

1.4. Of graduates who seek employment, 70 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.

1.5. During graduates first year of employment, program graduates will be ranked by at least 80% of employers who respond to our employer survey as “satisfactory” or better in professional knowledge and skills as compared to the expected competency of entry-level RDNs.

1.6. During graduates’ first year of employment, 80% of program graduates who respond to our graduate survey, will rate the program as “meets expectations” or higher for the question on program preparation as an entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). 

Goal 2

Prepare graduates who participate in interprofessional practice and apply an evidence-based approach to practice.


2.1 During their first year of employment, 100% of program graduates who respond to our graduate survey will report participating in interprofessional education of client and patient-centered care activities during the 16-month program.

2.2 During their first year of employment, 100% of program graduates who respond to our graduate survey will report how they will routinely use current evidence-based research in professional practice.

Program and student learning outcomes available upon request.

The MSCN program has a rolling admissions deadline, which means that applications will continue to be received and reviewed until the class is full. Complete your application by the priority deadline of Jan. 15, 2021. The program's goal is to make admission decisions as soon as possible to provide applicants sufficient time to plan.

How to Apply

Prospective students apply to the MSCN program by using the GradCAS application, which includes four sections: Personal Information, Academic History, Supporting Information and Program Materials. The GradCAS help center is available for application troubleshooting.

Admission Requirements


Official transcripts from all institutions attended post-high school (this includes vocational/technical school transcripts), must be submitted to GradCAS as part of the application. Please do not send transcripts to the University of the Pacific during the application phase.

Personal Statement

Provide a personal statement (essay) stating why you have chosen to pursue the MSCN degree and your professional goals upon completion of your MSCN degree (5,500-character maximum). Your personal statement will be uploaded in the Program Materials section of the application.

Two (2) Recommendations

Recommenders will be required to submit their recommendations in the GradCAS online system. One letter must come from a former faculty member.


Your Resume/CV is a required admission document. Upload your resume in the Documents section of the application.

Note: Standardized Tests, including the GRE, are not required for admission to the MSCN program.

Note: Completion of a U.S. Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) with Verification Statement OR a bachelor's degree PLUS the following prerequisite courses:

Prerequisite Courses

Please Note: All courses must be taken as individual courses.
Courses are listed in a recommended sequence for supporting higher level chemistry and nutrition courses.

MSCN Prerequisite Requirements
Course Course Details
Anatomy (with Lab)* 4 semester units or equivalent
Physiology (with Lab)* 3 semester units or equivalent
General Chemistry (with Lab) 4 semester units or equivalent
Organic Chemistry (with or without Lab) 3-4 semester units or equivalent
Biochemistry (with or without Lab) 3-4 semester units or equivalent
Microbiology (with Lab) 4 semester units or equivalent
Introduction to Nutrition (from a Nutrition or DPD program) 3 semester units or equivalent
Experimental Foods (with Lab) 4 semester units or equivalent
Macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat) Metabolism** 3 semester units or equivalent
Introduction to Vitamin and Minerals Metabolism OR Micronutrient Metabolism** 3 semester units or equivalent


Important Notes

*OR a year-long (2 semesters or 3 quarters) combined Anatomy & Physiology course (with Lab)

** "Macronutrient Metabolism" and "Vitamin and Mineral Metabolism OR Micronutrient Metabolism" cannot be met with one course.

All prerequisite courses must be completed by the time of enrollment and the overall GPA must be 3.00 or higher to be considered for admission.

Prerequisite courses older than seven years will not be accepted

Experience in the food/nutrition field is encouraged.

Check out the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition Tuition and Fees

Also check out our Student Aid Calculator.

MSCN PROGRAM COSTS (Estimated) 2020-2021 (per trimester)*
Tuition per trimester $15,000
Application Fee (one time one) $50
Graduate ASUOP Student Fee $30
Professional Liability Insurance No cost to student
Health Insurance $1,671 per term
or may submit annual waiver if student has own comprehensive health insurance plan
Physical Examination, Immunizations $200 (flu and TB test renewed annually)
Background check and Toxicology Screen $120
Housing/Meals/Transportation $4,000 (location, accommodations-specific if single/shared)
Auto Insurance Varies
Textbooks and Reference Materials ~$550-$600
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Membership/California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Membership (renewed annually) $65/year (CAND free for student Academy members) enable access to Evidence Analysis LibraryⓇ used for the systematic reviews in 8 courses
Nutrition Care Professionals (NCPro) (one time only)

$120 — covers 18-month access
Virtual learning environment with comprehensive Academy Nutrition Care Process-centered case studies used in experiential learning

ServSafe Manager Certification (one time only)

You may choose either method below:

  • ServS​​afe Manager Course with Online Proctored Exam: $135
  • ServSafe Manager Book (7th Ed) with Online Exam Voucher $68
  • Certification due no later than 10/15/2020


Slip-Resistant Shoe Coverings (one time only) $4.99-$13.99
Cut Gloves (one time only) $8.99+ 
Professional Development/Conference Attendance (Food and Nutrition Conference Expo, California Academy Annual Meeting, or similar) $1,000 Optional
RDN Exam Review Course $400 (end of program)
Parking There is no cost for parking on the Sacramento campus. There may be a cost to one of more affiliated supervised experiential learning sites (at student epense)
Graduation Fee There is no graduation fee
Estimated Total Cost per Trimester $21,986-$23,179 *highest includes one-time expenses
Estimate Total Costs for the Program $89,132 (4 Trimesters)

Check out the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition's course list!

Check out our FAQ page to find answers to your questions about the MSCN program!

Attend an Event

We strongly encourage anyone interested in joining the program to attend an information session to learn more.

Ready to get started?

We're here to help you navigate this journey and start the process. We strive to educate leaders in advancing the lifelong wellness of our communities.

Accreditation Status

Future Education Model Graduate Program in Clinical Nutrition

The University of the Pacific School of Health Sciences’ Nutrition and Dietetics Education Program has been granted candidate status by the Accreditation Council for Education (ACEND) in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312.899.0040 ext. 5400. www.eatrightpro.org/ACEND. This new and innovative MS in Clinical Nutrition Future Graduate (FG) Future Education Model (FEM) program will prepare Registered Dietitian Nutritionists/Nutrition.

The program is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year

Contact Anne Davis at adavis3@pacific.edu or 916.733.2804 for more information.

*The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) released the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards for programs in nutrition and dietetics (see www.eatrightpro.org/FutureModel).  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.

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Clinical Nutrition

Administrative Building Room 100
3200 Fifth Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817