Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN)


Program Overview

The Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition (DCN) program at University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) prepares practicing nutrition professionals for leadership roles in today’s multidimensional, interdisciplinary, healthcare environment. The DCN is designed for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) and is tailored to elevate levels of critical appraisal and dissemination of scientific literature, quality and informatics, and the application of advanced clinical nutrition during the program.

The program is fully online and challenges students to be innovative and think creatively to improve dietetics within their area of practice and expertise. Students are not required to come to campus except for graduation. Orientation will be held virtually, and all course content will be provided virtually in a secured online platform.

In addition to enhancing the skills of RDN practitioners, a niche for UTMB’s DCN program is to provide significant exposure to evidence-based practice through outcomes research to determine best-practices. Graduates will be adequately prepared to serve in various professional capacities including advanced clinicians, organizational leaders, researchers, industry scientists, and faculty in entry-level nutrition programs.

The program is designed for both full-time and part-time practitioners, seeking professional advancement in leadership, evidence-based practice and research that can translate to upward transitions within the hierarchy of dietetics practice.

The DCN program promotes leadership by engaging in meaningful partnership with Sodexo, a global leader in healthcare foodservice and facilities management. Sodexo is committed to creating a comprehensive career ladder for dietitians by providing endowment funding at UTMB towards the creation of the DCN and as a path to advance the skills of nutrition clinicians.

Applicants are required to have current Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) status and have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree. A minimum of 5 years of experience is preferred for the credentialed bachelor’s RDN and minimum of 3 years of professional experience post credentialing for the master’s level applicant.

Length of Program

This 48-semester credit hours graduate program is offered fully online and can be completed full-time over 3 years, or part-time within 4 or 5 years.

View More: DCN program curriculum

Graduates of UTMB’s DCN program will be able to engage in collaborative work, think critically within the context of complex health systems, and engage in a variety of research practices to produce evidence for standards-of-care, best practices and innovative approaches to improving human health and quality of life more effectively.

Most students enrolled in the DCN will likely work full or part-time jobs. The program offers a curriculum that can fit varying schedules. For part-time students, typical offerings of 2 courses each semester will be manageable. Students should recognize that working and going to school is challenging, especially when balanced with other commitments such as family. Students are encouraged to plan how to best balance personal and work demands with the need for reading, study, and completing course assignments.

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