Pacific's Response to COVID-19

Pacific continues to monitor conditions around COVID-19 in our communities and regions. Throughout the pandemic, we followed the guidance of our public health organizations and the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency temporary standard. 

Please refer to Pacific's COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date information. 

Ready to Apply?

Prospective students apply to the MSCN program by using the Slate application, which includes four sections: Personal Information, Academic History, Supporting Information, and Program Materials. 

Admissions Deadline

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 January 15, 2024, for the 2025 Cohort, which begins August 2024. Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed past the January priority deadline until June 15, 2024. The program's goal is to make admission decisions as soon as possible to provide applicants with sufficient time to plan.

students looking at laptop

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following admission requirements

Completion of one of the following:

  1. ACEND® accredited U.S. Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
    • A “Verification Statement” or “Declaration of Intent” to complete form must be submitted in the student’s Slate application to show evidence of DPD enrollment.
    • A “Verification Statement” must be provided by the time of enrollment.
  2. Another bachelor’s degree program completed at any accredited institution and all of the MSCN Program Prerequisite Courses listed below. These courses are listed in a recommended sequence for supporting higher-level chemistry and nutrition courses. ​​​​
    • Anatomy (with Lab)* 4 units or equivalent
    • Physiology (with Lab)* 4 units or equivalent
    • General Chemistry (with Lab) 4 units or equivalent
    • Organic Chemistry (with or without Lab) 3-4 units or equivalent
    • Biochemistry (with or without Lab) 3-4 units or equivalent
    • Microbiology (with Lab) 4 units or equivalent
    • Introduction to Nutrition (from a Nutrition or DPD program) 3-semester units or equivalent
    • Experimental Foods (with Lab) 4 units or [Food Science] equivalent
    • Macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat) Metabolism** 3 units or equivalent
    • Vitamin and Minerals Metabolism OR Micronutrient Metabolism** 3 units or equivalent
    • * The Anatomy and Physiology individual course requirements can also be met by completing a year-long (2 semesters or 3 quarters) combined Anatomy and Physiology course.
    • ** For DPD students, these requirements are met by MNT I & II, Advanced Nutrition, Nutrition Metabolism, Clinical Nutrition, etc.

Both DPD students and non-DPD students must meet the following admission requirements.

  • Completion of a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or foreign equivalent by the time of enrollment.
  • The cumulative GPA for all MSCN Program Prerequisite Courses must be 3.00 or higher. Please contact Pacific’s Graduate Admissions if you need assistance on how to calculate the GPA. This TPA is also calculated in Slate.
  • All MSCN Program Prerequisite Courses must be completed with a minimum grade of “C.”

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

Upon admission to the Pacific MSCN program, the admitted student must meet the following requirements prior to the program start date.

  • Criminal Background Screening. The Program requires students to undergo background screenings prior to matriculation and periodically throughout enrollment. Students have a fiduciary responsibility for the costs associated with the background screening. Recent violations which have yet to be adjudicated and positive findings on a background check may result in dismissal from the Program. Applicants are required to be truthful when completing their application in the Slate system regardless of time and disposition. Discrepancies noted on the pre-matriculation background screening will be investigated and may result in denial of matriculation or dismissal from the Program. Also, some clinical placements require an additional background screening immediately prior to the start of the rotation. Therefore, students may be required to complete multiple background screenings throughout enrollment, at the student’s expense.
  • Toxicology Screening. The Program requires students to undergo toxicology screenings prior to matriculation. Students are the fiduciary responsible for the costs associated with toxicology screening. Some clinical placements require additional toxicology screens immediately prior to the start of the rotation; therefore, students may be required to complete multiple screens throughout enrollment. Abnormalities noted on the pre-matriculation toxicology screening will be investigated and may result in denial of matriculation.
  • Health Clearance and Immunization Compliance. The MSCN program requires students to obtain a health clearance comprising a health history and physical examination and completing all immunization requirements. Students are the fiduciary responsible for the costs associated with health clearance and immunization compliance. A detailed description of these requirements can be found on the Pacific Student Health Services website for Requirements for Health Profession Students.

Slate Application

Prospective students apply to the MSCN program by completing the online Slate application, which includes the four sections below. Students will also submit a $50 application fee.

  1. Personal Information
    • Student enters biographical information and Slate release statement.
  2. Academic History
    • Student lists colleges attended and respective GPAs.
    • Student enters the courses they have taken to fulfill the Pacific MSCN Program Prerequisite Coursework per Slate instructions. Slate calculates a Pacific MSCN Pre-Requisite GPA based on the courses entered. Note that both DPD students and non-DPD students must complete this section.
    • Transcripts. Official transcripts from all institutions attended post-high school (this includes vocational/technical school transcripts), must be submitted in Slate as part of the application. Students can order their official transcripts within Slate for their institutions attended. Please do not send transcripts to the University of the Pacific during the application phase.
  3. Supporting Information
    • Resume/CV. Students upload resume/CV in the Documents section of the application. The resume/CV must include your Work and Volunteer Experience and Extracurricular Activities.
  4. Program Materials
    • Three short-essay questions. Students will enter their short-essay responses in the Slate text boxes. Each short essay should be no more than 300 words.
    • Two letters of recommendation. Students will send requests to their recommenders within Slate. Recommenders will be required to submit their recommendations to Slate. At least one letter must come from an academic faculty member. The second letter can be a work/volunteer supervisor or additional academic faculty member.
    • Verification Statement or Declaration of Intent. DPD students must upload their verification statement or declaration of intent form issued by their DPD program director.

Have questions about your Admission Requirements and Slate Application? Our Pacific Graduate Admissions team is here to help:

Office of Graduate Admission
Knoles Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 207B
3601 Pacific Ave., Stockton, CA 95211
Phone: 209.946.3929

A selection committee, comprising the Program Director and faculty, reviews qualifications and skills and rates each applicant using a standardized Applicant Score Sheet. A committee approach is used to foster diversity and prevent unconscious biases. The selection committee selects students on a competitive basis, based on their application and interview.

The MSCN Program uses the following selection criteria to assess applicants’ ability to be successful in the program and is listed in order of importance below:

  • Academic Preparation — A strong applicant is one who has done well in both professional nutrition courses and general science courses, with particular attention to advanced nutrition (macronutrient and micronutrient metabolism), anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry courses. Additional academic preparation via a DPD program is recognized but not a significant determinant of selection.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation — Your letters of recommendation should be from those who know you well enough to comment on your strengths, your achievements and those qualities that will make you successful.
  • Essay Questions — Applicant’s responses to Pacific’s three short-essay questions are reviewed. Strong responses:
    • Address all components of the questions
    • Include specific examples
    • Follow the instructions
    • Highlight your skills and suitability for the program, including leadership skills, critical thinking and problem-solving and professionalism.
  • Resume/CV — Experience in the food/nutrition field is encouraged but not required. Valued work experience is that which gives a student responsibility, time management, problem-solving, ability to work with others and leadership skills.
  • Interviews — The selection committee invites applicants to interview who meet criteria scoring. Strong interview candidates demonstrate effective communication, professional skills, problem-solving and personal self-reflection and attributes.

Advanced placement cannot be granted in the Program.

Transfer of credit is not allowed. No credit will be granted for work-related experiences.

The student must be able to achieve and maintain certain technical standards of knowledge and skill to successfully complete the MSCN Program. The technical standards apply to satisfactory performance in all academic and clinical course work, as well as fulfillment of non-academic essential functions of the curriculum involving physical, cognitive, and behavior factors that are essential to a professional clinical practitioner.

More specifically, a student in the Clinical Nutrition Program must have adequate abilities and skills in the following four areas: 1) Observation; 2) Communication; 3) Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities and 4) Behavioral and Social Attributes.

1. Observation: A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities. A student must be able to integrate all information visually and through the other senses.

2. Communication: A student must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and rapidly in English with patients and members of the health care team. A student must be able to elicit information from patients, perceive nonverbal communications, and describe changes in mood, activity and posture. Communication includes not only speech but writing, reading, interpreting tables, figures, graphs and computer literacy.

3. Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: A student must have the intellect necessary to quickly analyze and resolve problems. These intellectual abilities include numerical recognition, measurement, calculations, reasoning, analysis judgment and synthesis. The student must be able to identify significant information from the patient's history, provide a reasoned explanation for likely issues, and share appropriate information. The ability to incorporate new information from many sources in formulating plans is essential. When appropriate, students must be able to identify and communicate the limits of their knowledge to others.

4. Behavioral and Social Attributes: A student must possess the emotional health required for full use of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the care of patients. The development of mature, sensitive effective and professional relationships with patients and members of the health care team is essential. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are desired in a health professional and assessed during the admissions and education processes.

Non-discrimination Policy

It is University policy to admit qualified students irrespective of race, age, gender, color, creed, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. To be considered for admission to any program offered by the University, the student must possess the academic credentials and professional attributes deemed essential by the respective program admissions committee for selection to the program.

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