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Brooks College of Health

Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition


The Department of Nutrition & Dietetics offers an online Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition (DCN). The DCN program is an advanced practice doctoral program with an emphasis on leadership, advanced evidence-based practice, and research. In contrast to a PhD in Nutrition, which is generally focused on bench research, this degree focuses on practice and emphasizes the production of applied scholarship and evidence-based outcomes in practice settings. Because we are a practice doctorate, you must be a registered dietitian with three years of practice experience to apply. The DCN will prepare practitioners for leadership roles in clinical, community, or higher education settings through course work, advanced practice residency, and the production of applied scholarship.
group picture of dcn students and faculty
Graduates will gain expertise and skills in chronic disease prevention, clinical treatment, cultural competency, critical thinking, public policy, and outcomes research to become advanced-level nutrition and dietetics practitioners and researchers. The curriculum will integrate evidence-based practice in nutrition and dietetics to provide the foundation for the completion of an outcome-based research project. The significance of developing an advanced practice Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition is evident from the increasing prevalence of dietary-related chronic diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, certain cancers, and renal disease). Graduates of the program will be rigorously trained to provide leadership in dietary prevention, intervention, and treatment of chronic disease at the individual and population levels.
The DCN program of study may be completed full or part-time. Students are also encouraged to obtain certifications as part of their studies with consultation and approval from their advisor.

Application Deadlines

June 1 for Fall 2024

Admission Requirements

For admission requirements and information on how to apply, please visit

The UNF Graduate School's Website

  • Course Descriptions

    View the UNF Course Catalog for detailed descriptions of our graduate courses.

  • Admission Requirements

    Successful applicants possess the RDN with a minimum of three years of practice experience and a master’s degree. Applicants without a master’s degree, may apply to and complete the UNF master’s program prior to entering the DCN program.

    Applicants will submit an application letter, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts from all college and/or university coursework with the final degree posted. Foreign degrees/transcripts need to have an official evaluation.

    We highly recommend that students participate in an on-site, two-day orientation at the start of the program. The Fall 2024 orientation is scheduled for July 31st and August 1st, 2024. Additional details will be provided to applicants upon acceptance into the program.

  • Graduation Requirements

    Candidates will successfully complete all required program of study courses with a grade of “B” or better, the Advanced Practice Residency, and the dissertation project.

    When all the required coursework is successfully completed, the candidate will successfully defend an Advanced Practice Residency outcomes study, which may have a clinical, community/public health, or other nutrition-related focus.

  • What does the program cost?

    The DCN program will likely carry a tuition rate that differs from other UNF graduate programs. The 2022-2023 tuition rate will be $750 per credit hour for both in-state and out-of-state students. Students will also be subject to additional per-credit-hour fees. View the 2022-2023 information on tuition and fees can be viewed.

  • State Licensure Disclosure

    You might have received a "Message from the Office of the Registrar" with the Subject "State Licensure Disclosure". Please note this has been done as a response to a new Federal mandate for disclosure. The DCN is currently not a licensure requirement in any state. The BS DPD, MS/DI, and ISPP nutrition programs at UNF are accredited by ACEND and prepare students to meet specific National Registration requirements. In addition, many states have licensure/practice regulations (i.e., licenses to practice/work in their state). Each state might also have additional requirements for licensure. Pls. contact your state's licensing board for additional information.

  • State Authorization of Distance Education

    The DCN is a fully online program and includes a practice residency, so it is important to determine the State Authorization of Distance Education and if the applicant will be able to do a residency in his or her home state or may have to do such elsewhere. Please see the UNF State Authorization Status website for more information and updates. "State Authorization of Distance Education is a complex and dynamic environment. Prospective students should check this site often for updates. Students are required to come onsite for 2-day workshops during the first three years of the program and also to defend their research project.

Contact the Program Directors 

Headshot of Jen Ross

Jen Ross, DCN, RD, LD/N, FAND

Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition Program Director | Assistant Professor
Phone: (904) 620-2328