Regents approve new academic programs in nutrition, pharmacy and general studies

A Master of Science in Nutrition Science is one of three new academic programs launching next year.

A Master of Science in Nutrition Science is one of three new academic programs launching next year.

University of the Pacific is launching academic programs in the fields of nutrition, pharmacy and general studies to meet needs for these in-demand areas of study.

Pacific’s Board of Regents approved three programs today, which include a Master of Science in Nutrition Science, Master of Science in Regulatory Science and Bachelor of Arts in General Studies. The nutrition and regulatory science programs will begin spring 2025 and general studies will launch fall 2025, pending WSCUC approval.

Master of Science in Nutrition Science, School of Health Sciences

The master’s degree in nutrition science is designed for practicing dietitians and dietetic students and interns pursuing the registered dietitian/nutritionist credential.

Legislation passed earlier this year changed the national minimum requirement to become a Registered Dietitian from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree.

Registered Dietitians who are already practicing are allowed to continue working but will be at a disadvantage in their careers.

“Many practicing Registered Dietitians are already in managerial positions, and newcomers will outrank them in degree,” said Long Wang, program director and chair of the Department of Nutrition at Pacific. “Also, if you have a graduate degree, you immediately qualify for a higher pay grade and are on the fast track for promotion.”

Nearly 35,000—roughly half—of currently practicing dietitians nationwide do not have a graduate degree. 

The program differs from Pacific’s clinical nutrition program in that it does not include a clinical rotation component.

The course can be completed in 12 months and is fully online and asynchronous to accommodate working professionals and dietetic interns completing their internship concurrently with this program.

Three new certificate programs are also available for those who are interested in furthering their skills in a particular area without pursuing a master’s degree:

  • Nutrition Research
  • Nutrition Leadership and Innovation
  • Functional Nutrition

Master of Science in Regulatory Science, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy

A new graduate program in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy will train students for careers in the rapidly growing biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

Professionals trained in regulatory science ensure that new pharmaceutical drugs, devices and health care products comply with all regulations in domestic and global markets.

Students will be prepared to work for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, global regulatory agencies, private companies and in academia.

Courses are taught on Pacific’s Stockton Campus and can be completed in 16 months.

“Students will get hands-on experience in this program, including developing FDA submission protocols with our faculty who are doing cutting-edge research,” said Dean Berit Gundersen. “Having real-world experience will help students stand out when they graduate.”

The school also recently launched a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science, which prepares students for careers as scientists and specialists in the design, develop and manufacture new drugs.

Bachelor of Arts in General Studies, Benerd College

A new degree completion program in Benerd College is designed for professionals working in education who started bachelor’s programs but never earned their degrees. 

“Students who have to put their education on hold often have a hard time going back to school later to complete their degrees,” said Benerd College Dean Patricia Campbell. “This program allows them to finalize their degrees and further their careers.”

The courses are taught entirely online to allow for maximum flexibility. The program has cohorts to ensure strong support networks.

Students also have the option to continue their studies with a direct pathway to the online Master of Arts in Education plus credential program. This pathway allows students to use 13 units from their General Studies degree toward their master’s degree.

Students who complete both the bachelor’s and master’s programs plus credential can finish both in just 2.5 years.