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Department Chair: Jayne Byrne

Faculty: Jayne Byrne, Bernadette Elhard, Amy Olson, Linda Shepherd, Diane Veale Jones

Nutrition plays a vital role in the maintenance of health, athletic performance, prevention and treatment of disease, public health policy development, foodservice management, food and product development, and consumer health education. Rapid advances in medical research, health care reform, and consumer demand have made this discipline increasingly complex. The need for nutrition experts, dietitians and nutrition scientists is greater than ever before. The Nutrition Department offers two distinct majors: dietetics and nutrition science, and a minor in nutrition.

Registered Dietitians gain employment as professionals with expertise in medical nutrition therapy (e.g., diabetes, eating disorders, heart disease, pediatrics, cancer, and weight management), foodservice management, community nutrition, public health, nutrition counseling, sports nutrition, and as consultants to the media, food industry, and health care organizations.

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University offer a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD.) The DPD offers the academic preparation for dietetics; the professional experience is obtained through an accredited internship following graduation. Completion of the DPD makes it possible but does not guarantee placement in an internship. Upon completion of the internship, DPD students are eligible to take the national Registration Examination.

The nutrition science major is intended for students who will continue their education by attending graduate school or a professional program. Nutrition science is an excellent background for those individuals pursuing careers in medicine and other health professions (e.g., dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, sports medicine, exercise physiology, or physician assistant programs). Nutrition plays a critical role in the promotion of healing and recovery from surgery and illness, in addition to its role in health maintenance and disease prevention. Therefore, this major serves all health profession programs well. Nutrition knowledge is essential for physicians because they are ultimately responsible for the decisions regarding diet and nutrition support for the patient. Nutrition science also provides the foundation for graduate work in nutrition, food science, or exercise physiology, leading to opportunities in research and development in food industry, or research and teaching at the college level. Exercise physiologists with a background in nutrition can design fitness programs that include both nutrition and exercise components essential for the enhancement of optimal athletic performance, as well as, recovery in rehabilitation programs.

The nutrition minor is designed for students with an interest in nutrition but majoring in such areas as management, psychology, or communication. These students may find the exposure to nutrition pertinent to their field. Students can select a general minor or focus in community nutrition or food management.
The Catholic Benedictine tradition and the strong liberal arts core provided by the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University serves our dietetics and nutrition science students well. It encourages the development of strong communication skills, critical thinking, ethical decision making skills, a commitment to service, and respect for all individuals. In addition, the nutrition curriculum provides exceptional opportunities for active learning through laboratory experiences, service learning projects, professional practice experiences, and research.


The Nutrition Department completes an annual assessment of student outcomes and curricular programs. Outcome assessments reflect the students’ abilities in written and oral communication, service learning, collaboration, leadership, and their knowledge-base in nutrition. The Didactic Program has  Developmental Accreditation status granted by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of The American Dietetics Association (216 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312-899-4876,

Major Didactic Program in Dietetics [DPD] (50 credits)

The DPD provides the academic preparation for a career in dietetics; the professional experience is obtained following graduation through an accredited internship which is required to earn the credential, “registered dietitian.” Students can pursue a minor or elective coursework, or study abroad. Students can also use this major without the internship to gain a nutrition background for other health care careers or jobs in food industry.

Required Courses for the Didactic Program:
Prerequisites: CHEM 105; BIOL 121, 214; MATH 124.
Nutrition Courses: 125, 220, 225, 230, 305, 323, 330, 331, 333, 336, 337, 341, 342, 343, 344. and 335.

Major in Nutrition Science (26-28 credits)

Nutrition science is excellent preparation for individuals pursuing a medical or health related career, or graduate programs in exercise physiology, food science or nutrition. This major builds on the basic sciences and provides opportunities to explore nutrition in depth through research. Students gain experience in designing and conducting research, laboratory methods, collecting data, writing proposals and presenting results. These skills are imperative for students advancing to graduate programs or entering professions where staying on the cutting edge of practice requires the continual critical evaluation of published research.

Required Courses:
Prerequisites: CHEM 123, 234; BIOL 121, 221.
Supporting Courses: CHEM 235, 236; MATH 123, 124; PHYS 105, 106.
Nutrition Courses: 125, 300, 323, 330, 331, 380.

Minor in Nutrition (20 credits)

Minors in General Nutrition, Community Nutrition/Wellness, or Food Management are available. Students interested in a nutrition minor are encouraged to contact the Chair in order to plan their area of specialty. NUTR 125 is required plus 16 additional credits planned with a faculty member to reflect an area of concentration.

Courses (NUTR)

120 Medical Terminology. (2)
This class is a study of basic medical terminology, including abbreviations and symbols, used in medical writing and documentation. A programmed learning approach will be used to emphasize learning word parts for constructing or analyzing terms. Emphasis is placed on spelling, definition, proper use and pronunciation. Classroom experiences will include case studies, simulations and practical writing exercises to demonstrate and practice application. Spring.

125 Concepts of Nutrition Science. (4)
Basic concepts of nutrition are introduced emphasizing the role of nutrition in health. Topics include: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals; energy balance and weight control, Eating disorders; sports nutrition and fitness; and food safety. Students are provided the opportunity to assess their own nutritional status through computerized diet analysis, cholesterol screening, study of body composition, and a variety of hands-on experiences in the lab setting. Laboratory. Fall and spring.

220 Exploring Weight Issues: Obesity and Eating Disorders. (2)
This course will examine the diagnostic criteria and current prevalence of obesity and eating disorders (ED) including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The course will explore the multi-factorial causes and consequences of obesity and eating disorders, and the latest clinical treatment options, including an in-depth look at the theory and evidence behind many of the popular diets. The last section of the course will discuss prevention strategies for ED and obesity, and include novel public health approaches to the prevention of obesity. Prerequisite: 125. Fall.

225 Experimental Food Science. (4)
A laboratory-based foods course which examines the underlying principles of chemistry, biology, and physics that influence food quality. Employing the scientific method, students observe the effects of modifying ratios and types of ingredients, as well as altering food preparation methods on a variety of food products. Emphasis is placed on classic culinary techniques in the preparation of food, and sensory and objective evaluation of the results of food experiments. Issues in food safety, technology, and biotechnology are discussed throughout this course. Laboratory. Fall.

230 Cultural Foods. (2)
The meaning and significance of food in different culture will be identified by exploring the way that climate, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and religion influence food choices and preferences. A Special focus will be placed on how food impacts health and nutritional status of various populations. The experience of tasting foods and practicing food preparation techniques from a variety of traditions will be part of the class. Prerequisites: none. Fall.

271 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the lower-division level. Permission of department chair required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.

305 Leadership in Dietetics. (2)
This course is focused on professional knowledge and skill development related to practice issues such as Standards of Practice, Professional ethics, health care ethics, health care policy and reform, and legislative involvement.  Student will have the opportunity to develop a professional portfolio, and establish career goals, Prerequisites: 125, and 323, 333 and 343. Dietetics majors only. Fall.

323 Public Health Nutrition: Infancy Through Aging. (4)
Study of nutrition and human growth and development including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence. Physiological, psychological, and chronic degenerative conditions associated with aging and related nutritional implications are examined. An epidemiological approach is utilized to examine relationships between diet, disease, and health status; implications for public health policy; and existing federal, state, and community programs. Prerequisite: 125. Spring.

330 Nutritional Biochemistry and Assessment (Macronutrients). (4)
Physiological functions and biochemical roles of major nutrients, carbohydrates, lipids and protein, are addressed. The mechanism of action, functions, and interrelationships of hormones, enzymes, and other “modulators” are explored through advanced study of the biosynthetic and energy-producing pathways of central metabolism. The laboratory will emphasize research design and techniques for determining nutritional status. Students will learn how to formulate hypothesis, design experiments, collect data, measure and interpret nutritional assessment parameters, integrate and analyze information, answer research questions, and draw appropriate conclusions. Laboratory. Prerequisites: 125, CHEM 105 or concurrently with CHEM 235. Fall.

331 Exercise Nutrition and Supplements. (4)
The specific nutritional needs of the athlete and physiological consequences of nutrient deficiencies are discussed. The class emphasis is the biochemical roles of ergogenic aids, vitamins, and minerals and herbal products. Laboratory experiments provide students with the opportunity to be both subject and researcher as they design experiments, collect data and interpret results. Laboratory. Prerequisites: 125 and CHEM 105 or CHEM 235. Spring.

333 Medical Nutrition Therapy - Chronic Disease. (4)
The course provides an overview of the role of the diet and nutrition in the management and treatment of selected diseases. Class theory will emphasize why diet is altered in response to certain pathologies. Topics: nutrition screening and assessment, nutrient/drug interactions, cardiovascular diseases, weight management and eating disorders, diabetes, food allergy, nutritional anemias, special nutrition concerns of the geriatric and pediatric population, nutrition and neurological/psychiatric disorders, selected topics in alternative medicine. Prerequisites: 125, 323, 330, background in physiology and/or permission of instructor. Fall.

335 Clinical Applications of Nutrition. (4)
This course introduces the basic concepts of nutrition for students pursuing a non-dietetic or non-nutrition health care profession. The first half primarily provides an overview of the function of the major macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients, including the principles of how nutrients are absorbed, digested and metabolized. The second half of the course emphasizes the role of diet in the management and treatment of a variety of common clinical conditions. The aim is to provide the learner with an understanding of the principles of some of the common dietary interventions. Prerequisites: BIOL 214 and NRSG 207. Spring.

337 Medical Nutrition Therapy - Critical Care. (4)
The course presents an overview of the role of diet and nutrition in the management and treatment of selected conditions and diseases. Class theory will emphasize how diet is altered in response to certain pathologies, and will cover the fundamentals of nutrition support. Topics: renal diseases, nutrition and immunity , cancer, HIV/AIDS, critical care nutrition, nutrition support, gastrointestinal diseases, pulmonary disease, ethical issues related to nutritional care. Prerequisites: 125, 323, 330, background in physiology and/or permission of instructor. Spring.

341 Nutrition Education. (2)
This course examines the principles and theories of effective nutrition education. Using the principles and theories, students develop nutrition education presentations for adults and children, create public displays, write nutrition articles and materials, and use and evaluate media. Prerequisites: 125, 323. Spring.

342 Interviewing and Counseling Skills. (2)
The course examines the principles and theories that provide a framework for successfully influencing behavior and motivating behavior change. Basic concepts of counseling theory, methods, and interviewing strategies are addressed. The laboratory provides experiences through case studies and simulations to develop skills in interviewing and counseling in a variety of settings. Prerequisites: 125, 323. Spring.

343 Food Production and Procurement. (4)
The principles of food planning and production, menu planning, procurement, service and distribution, sanitation and safety, facility management including layout and design and equipment selection are addressed using a system approach to food service operations. Significant hands-on quantity food production laboratory experiences will take place in the large-scale kitchens of CSB/SJU and the surrounding community. A final class catering project will reflect a culmination of the theory discussed throughout the course and the experience gained in supervised practice. Laboratory. Prerequisite: 225. Spring.

345 Entrepreneurship and Management in Food Industry.  ()
The course will provide a forum for studying the process of management--which provides the framework for discussion of leadership in the profession. Emphasis will be placed on the foodservices system; management and leadership decisions are made with the understanding of their effect on the whole as well as the parts. The course begins with a review of important background information: paradigms and societal transformations; systems theory; ethics and social responsibility. Then, the major management functions of: 1) planning, decision-making, communication and marketing, 2)organizing structures, 3) leadership and organizational change, 4)human resources management, and 5) controls and financial management will provide the guiding structure review of the fundamental principles and responsibilities of the modern leader in food and nutrition services.  Students will engage in a unique hands-on experience building on their prerequisite knowledge of Experimental Food Science (Nutr 225) and Food Production and Procurement (Nutr 343) as they develop and operate a small catering company.  Students will develop a business plan and examine the managerial functions of planning, organizing, human resource management, leadership, and controlling the financial and quality factors within the structure of their system. In the process, students will market their company to potential clients and ultimately produce and serve foods designed to meet client expectations. The course consists of lecture, research and development labs (12) and outside catered events (4 or more).

371 Individual Learning Project. (2-8)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements.

380 Nutrition Research (1-8).
Independent student research and seminar. Students take the research seminar [1 credit] fall and spring semester, and design their own project in consultation with a faculty moderator. Prerequisite: 330. A minimum of 6 credits [including seminars] is required, may be repeated for up to 8 credits.

398 Honors Senior Essay, Research or Creative Project. (4)
Required for graduation with "Distinction in Nutrition." Prerequisite: HONR 396 and approval of the department chair and director of the Honors Thesis Program. For further information see HONR 398.