MScN Course Descriptions

Questions? 503.552.1660 / Toll-free 877.669.8737 or

Course Descriptions – Required Courses

GSN 502 – Culinary Skills (1 credit)

This hands-on course will expose students to the basics of culinary skills, including proper knife and cooking preparation techniques. Students will develop a solid foundation of kitchen essentials to promote culinary competence and confidence. These skills will be honed through food preparation, reinforcing their nutritional and culinary applications.

GSN 503 – Farm to Table (2 credits)

This course trains students in the process of local food systems, specifically increasing awareness of local agriculture and the food service industry. Students will appraise food production, distribution and accessibility. A variety of class experiences include visiting local farms, farm-to-table restaurants and farmers’ markets.

GSN 504 – Food Policy (2 credits)

Investigate the public policy behind food production and distribution, and the factors that influence policy development. Topics include food systems, food needs and food safety, environmental sustainability, accessibility and food labeling.

GSN 505 – Healing Foods I (2 credits)

In this course students discover how to use food as medicine. They examine how food and food choices impact health and disease. Students will discuss specific foods that can be utilized to support health and prevent disease.

GSN 506 – Healing Foods I Practicum (2 credits)

This complementary course brings to life the content covered in the Healing Foods lecture (GSN 505). Students will have hands-on experience preparing foods and meals that showcase their healing properties in creative ways.

GSN 507 – Fundamentals of Nutrition (4 credits)

An in-depth look at carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals and water, and their roles in health and disease. Areas of focus include molecular structure, function, digestion, absorption, metabolism and optimal food sources. Students learn specific dietary requirements and how dietary excess or deficiencies present clinically.

GSN 508 – Fundamentals of Nutrition Workshop (1 credit)

This hands-on class emphasizes the objectives of macro and micronutrient nutrition and is taken concurrently with the Fundamentals of Nutrition course (GSN 507). Students will learn through a variety of culinary experiments and case-based activities.

GSN 514 – Nutritional Biochemistry (2 credits)

An examination of the impact nutrition has on health at the cellular level. Students will learn about metabolic pathways and how health is affected when those pathways are impaired. This class covers the breakdown and usage of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, as well as cellular utilization of vitamins and minerals. Students will also be introduced to basic inflammation pathways and microbiome health.

GSN 515 – Nutritional Assessment (2 credits)

This course introduces clinical and dietary evaluations to determine an individual’s nutritional status. This includes anthropometric measurements, nutritional physical, food frequency questionnaires, diet recall, diet records and nutrient intake analysis.

GSN 516 – Pathophysiology (3 credits)

This foundational course is an introduction to human physiological and pathological processes. Students develop an understanding of common health conditions and preventable diseases. Risk factors and causes of disease are also covered.

GSN 517 – Psychology of Eating (2 credits)

This course examines our relationship to food, including neurobiological and behavioral connections that influence food choices. Students explore related topics such as food cravings, food addiction, mindfulness and intuitive eating.

GSN 522 – Public Health and Community Nutrition (2 credits)

An overview of factors influencing nutritional health within the population at large, with a brief examination of public and private agencies and their role in community assessment, policy development and public health assurance.

GSN 524 – Medical Nutrition Therapy (3 credits)

Students will apply nutritional concepts for specific disease states, including gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic concerns, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, anemia, renal disease and bone health. Students will synthesize medical literature and nutrition literature to determine which diets to implement for each patient type.

GSN 526 – Lifecycle Nutrition I (2 credits)

The specific nutritional needs and nutrition-related issues during various stages of the lifecycle are identified. This course focuses on preconception, pregnancy, lactation and childhood nutrition.

GSN 528 – Health Coaching (2 credits)

Students will learn an integrative health coaching framework that includes models of behavior change, goal setting, identifying obstacles to success, and developing support systems. Skills in motivational interviewing, and one-on-one and group coaching are highlighted. Practical application of the material is woven throughout the course.

GSN 529 – Applied Medical Nutrition Therapy (2 credits)

In this experiential course, students will develop recipes and menus, as well as prepare meals for specific medical conditions. This course complements GSN 524.

GSN 531 – Nutritional Counseling (2 credits)

An interactive assessment of individual nutritional health and status, with determination of detailed nutrient needs to improve health and minimize risk of chronic disease. Effective strategies are explored to assure that patient goals are met and maintained to achieve success.

GSN 532 – Nutrition Internship (2 credits)

This field experience provides opportunities to observe health practitioners, reinforcing counseling techniques and the practical implementation of nutrition education.

GSN 533 – Lifecycle Nutrition II (2 credits)

The specific nutritional needs and nutrition-related issues during various stages of the lifecycle are identified. This course focuses on adolescent, adulthood and geriatric nutrition in health and disease.

GSN 534 – Cultural Humility and Social Justice (1 credit)

This course is designed to explore the broad context of social justice issues within nutritional settings. Students will consider the complexities of working with individuals’ specific needs. In addition, the course will cover the impact of systems, institutions and policies that relate to food equity issues.

GSN 538 – Cooking Pedagogy (2 credits)

This course will teach students how to teach others in a kitchen setting. In addition, students will learn proper food preparation techniques, recipes and menu development, and food pairings.

GSN 614 – Advanced Nutritional Biochemistry (2 credits)

In this course, students expand on their previous biochemistry foundation to further elucidate the biochemical basis of health and disease. Students will build upon their knowledge of metabolism to explore micronutrient, macronutrient and enzymatic functions in the body. By the end of this course students will be able to identify bioactive sites of vitamins, functions of minerals, antioxidant functions in enzymatic reactions, proteins and their functions, and how these biochemical processes relate to human metabolism and disease. Through a deeper understanding of human metabolism, students will gain understanding in the application of nutrients in disease prevention and treatment.

Course Descriptions – Elective Courses

At least half of the 15 required elective credits for the MScN degree must be taken from courses designated as counting toward the program. The remainder may come from any approved graduate-level elective course offered at NUNM, as long as course prerequisites are met.

GSN 501E, 510E, 520E, 530E – Seasonal Cooking (2 credits each)

Fruits and vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet. With increasing accessibility of local produce, seasonal fruits and vegetables are easily available. Within Portland city limits, there are a handful of year-round farmers markets. This hands-on course will introduce students to the vast array of seasonal produce and seasonal cooking techniques so they may help their future clients integrate more fruits and vegetables into their diets, and have a working knowledge of the importance of eating with the seasons.

GSN 525E – Cultural and Traditional Diets (2 credits)

This course provides a practical approach to various cultural and traditional diets, such as vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher; including weekly preparation of specific foods to complement dietary concepts.

GSN 541E – Cuisine of Thailand (2 credits)

This course provides a broad introduction to Thai food. The increasing popularity of Thai cuisine in the United States can be seen as a positive development in light of its delicious flavors and healthy focus on fresh produce and herbs. Through a combination of hands-on cooking activities, assignments, guest presentations and participatory lectures, students will be exposed to techniques, ingredients and dishes through the unique cultural lens of the four food regions, as well as the traditional Thai healing system.

GSN 542E – Cooking and Considering Meat and Seafood (2 credits)

This course familiarizes students with various means of sourcing, handling and preparing meat and seafood. Students learn about the ecological considerations of meat consumption as well as specific culinary techniques and recipe patterns for preparing and serving a variety of proteins.

GSN 543E – Personal Chef and Food Service (2 credits)

Students learn about individual catering for private service and how to successfully incorporate all aspects of food service and preparation. Emphasis is placed on food purchasing, menu development, food pairing, food safety and sanitation, and cooking techniques.

GSN 544E – Food Systems: Global and Ecological Food Issues (2 credits)

This course will explore global and federal organizations participating in the food system; global food policy and trade agreements; food production, processing and distribution; food security and access; and sustainability on a global perspective. Students will be able to choose a subject to study in-depth, such as: certifications and labeling; how healthy are organic, local and natural foods; marketing food to children; GMOs; food health claims; should you eat local products; cultural traditions and religious impacts of food choice; and linking food accessibility and the obesity epidemic.

GSN 545E – Global Cuisine: Foods of the World (2 credits)

Students will be exposed to delicious cuisine from around the world. The course will demonstrate how food availability, local ecosystems, cooking traditions and cultural differences vary from region to region. Preparation of regional cuisine each week will support these concepts.

GSN 546E – Food Allergies and Intolerances (2 credits)

A detailed look at immunological effects of food allergies and intolerances, including potential symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options to reduce health implications.

GSN 547E – Fad Diets (2 credits)

This course examines popular diets and how they are marketed and promoted for weight loss and metabolic issues.

GSN 548E – Eating Disorders and Intuitive Eating (2 credits)

Abnormal eating patterns are discussed, including bulimia, anorexia nervosa and binge eating. The course includes detailed examination of the physiology, psychology, prevention and treatment of various eating disorders. Intuitive eating philosophy is explored to understand how the human body can signal the need for food and nutrition.

GSN 549E – Detoxification and Cleanses (2 credits)

This course uses an evidence-based approach to examine the body’s natural detoxification processes and how to optimize detoxification through the use of wholefood nutrition. It focuses on the physiological processes responsible for detoxification. Sources of toxicity are also discussed. Students research and develop whole-food-based interventions to support the detoxification process.

GSN 551E – Therapeutic Diets (2 credits)

A comprehensive examination of commonly prescribed therapeutic diets, including the DASH, Mediterranean, Paleo, anti-inflammatory, gluten-free and casein-free diets. Nutrition fundamentals, current research and popular media views will be thoroughly explored. Hands-on preparation sessions provide practical experience with each diet.

GSN 552E – Nutritional Supplements (2 credits)

Explore the use of nutritional supplements (including nutritive herbs) for health. Understand when to use certain nutrients, which forms are found in supplements, and how to select them. Students learn about food, drug and nutrient interactions, and how supplements influence human biochemistry. Regulation of the nutritional supplement industry is also covered, including laws, purity and quality control.

GSN 553E – Gluten-Free Cooking (2 credits)

Investigate the impacts of gluten on human health and understand how gluten can affect physiology. Students will learn how to shop and cook gluten-free with a comprehensive understanding of how to find hidden ingredients on food labels that may be derived from gluten or wheat.

GSN 554E – Sports Nutrition (2 credits)

This course investigates the human demands for increased nutritional support from athletic performance, the timing of meals, and what types of balanced menus are appropriate to support individual exercise regimens. Research on sports nutrition supplements to support athletic training is also discussed.

GSN 557E – Cooking with Medicinal Herbs (2 credits)

Medicinal herbs do not always have to be taken in pill, powder or concentrated form. Learn how to incorporate herbs into everyday meals to support health, gain an understanding of the basics of botanical medicine, and discover which herbs are best suited to culinary use.

GSN 558E – Food as Medicine in the Community (2 credits)

Community cooking and nutrition programs have been identified as a key factor in reducing chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Learn how to build a successful, community-based, hands-on cooking and nutrition series from the ground up; including how to navigate project location development, cultural competency in diverse populations, sustainable program funding, and cooking workshop management and logistics.

GSN 559E – Vegan Diets (2 credits)

Vegan diets are plant-based and include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. A vegan lifestyle choice is becoming more popular for people trying to lower cholesterol or control obesity. This hands-on course will teach students to develop healthy and delicious vegan menu plans as they support their future clients’ transition to veganism.

GSN 562E – Nutrition in the News (1 credit)

In this course, students will investigate current topics in nutrition. With the constant bombardment of varying nutrition information from popular media, it is important to examine the heart of each issue. Discussion topics may include food policy and regulation, ethics in nutrition, local food systems, current events, and new peer-reviewed nutrition research. Students will compare the story in the news to the original research, further teaching them how to read research studies.

GSN 563E – Business of Nutrition (2 credits)

Nutritional counseling or being a personal chef requires the knowledge of running a small business. This course teaches students how to launch and operate a small business, from filing for a business license, to marketing and basic accounting. Students will learn practical skills, such as how to bill insurance and when to file taxes. Local business experts will guest lecture to discuss their experiences and provide tricks of the trade. Students will have the opportunity to develop a business plan for their own business.

GSN 564E – Nutritional Genetics (2 credits)

Have you ever wondered if your diet affects your genes? Or whether your genes affect what you can eat? Students in this course will examine the relationship between genetics, metabolism and diet. Topics include how diet can affect epigenetic patterns and gene expression, how our metabolic response to food has been shaped by genetic variation, and how our health is impacted by the interplay of genetics and diet. Students will also consider the utility of using genetic information to make dietary choices.

GSN 565E – Food Anthropology (2 credits)

Explore the interconnections of cultural forces that influence what, when, where and how we eat. This course is organized around critical analysis and discussion of why and how these cultural forces are successful in developing and reinforcing personal food choices; based on historical, anthropological and literary sources, as well as contemporary writing and films on the politics and socioeconomics of food.

GSN 567E – Healing Foods II (2 credits)

The course examines how bioactive compounds in foods can influence human metabolism and biochemistry. Foods with anti-inflammatory, healing and nourishing properties will be covered. Following the course, students will be able to identify specific foods that can be utilized to support health and prevent disease.

GSN 568E – Healing Foods II Practicum (2 credits)

Students will discover how to make food as medicine in a kitchen setting. This course is a continuation of Healing Foods I (GSN 505). The course examines how bioactive compounds in foods can influence human metabolism and biochemistry. Foods with specific properties, including anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects will be covered, and students will practice food preparation in an active learning kitchen setting.

GSN 569E – Lifestyle and Wellness (2 credits)

This course offers an in-depth look at modifiable behaviors that directly influence chronic disease, mortality and healthcare costs. The areas of focus include diet and nutrition, exercise, stress management and sleep behaviors, social support and environment impacts. Students learn comprehensive lifestyle interventions to prevent and potentially reverse the progression of chronic disease.

GSN 570E – Food Accessibility in Vulnerable Populations (2 credits)

Through case studies and lab time in the kitchen, students will learn how to identify barriers to food accessibility and preparation for vulnerable populations. Following the course, students will be able to effectively utilize appropriate nutritional resources and techniques for CDC-recognized vulnerable populations, including those who are affected by low social economic status, homelessness, disabilities, incarceration and trauma.

GSN 571E – Introduction to Organic Agriculture (2 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the science and practice of organic agriculture. Students will gain insight into the cultivation of various plant species through scientific literature, lectures, assignments and case-based projects. Fundamental concepts of biology and soil chemistry are presented as the basis for environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. Plant biology, physiology and ecology serve as the context for practical concepts, such as crop rotation, cover crops, integrative pest management and seasonality. Course topics are discussed within the framework of current agro-economic and political systems and their environmental implications.

GSN 572E – Indian Cooking (2 credits)

Traditional Indian cooking is based on the foundations of Indian philosophy. This course explores the concepts of Indian cooking, the properties of food, and the seasonal selection of dishes to achieve optimum health for body, mind and spirit. This course covers classic and regional dishes including vegetarian, non-vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie, low-sodium and Ayurvedic dishes. The Indian concepts of Tridosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), individual dietary requirements, and disease-specific diets will also be covered.

GSN 574E – Food Relationship Coaching (2 credits)

This course teaches an advanced approach to nutrition coaching by addressing the client’s underlying relationship with food rather than the micro or macro components of their diet. Students will learn to focus on the psycho/spiritual/emotional roots of clients’ day-to-day interactions with food and the influence of the larger social environment on those thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions. Students will learn the skills necessary to empower clients to make sustainable changes to their diet by helping them “rewrite” the story, or script, of their relationship with food.

GSN 577E – Nutrition Career Strategies (weekend format) (2 credits)

Planning your career in nutrition involves a variety of steps, including identifying your skills and values, researching your options, setting goals, and developing a plan to achieve those goals. The nutrition retreat is a concentrated time for education and career planning. Students will engage in self-reflection, as well as investigate different career options. At the end of the retreat, students will have a map of their education at NUNM and goals for their future employment. This weekend course is set off-campus and has a fee to cover the expenses of the retreat site. As with any nutrition retreat, discussion will take place over delicious and healthy food.

GSA 525E – Ayurvedic Tongue and Pulse Evaluation I (2 credits)

Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of determining a root cause in order to appropriately address an individual’s balance of doshas (Ayurvedic bio energies). Evaluative methods are fundamental to making that determination. This course examines Ayurvedic physical evaluation with a focus on tongue and pulse examination. Instruction, demonstration and practice are included.

GSA 541E – Tridosha (2 credits)

This course methodically explains Tridosha: Vata, Pitta and Kapha (also known as “bio-energies” in the Ayurvedic tradition). Tridosha is the fundamental concept of Ayurveda. The course provides a detailed explanation of the role of each of the Tridoshas in the context of health and management of health. This course will also illustrate the relation of Tridosha with the formation, progression and treatment of disease. The relationship of Tridosha with food, digestion, formation of body type, age, time of day, seasons, emotions and spiritual aspects will also be emphasized in this course.

GSA 542E – Ayurvedic Dietetics (2 credits)

This course explains the fundamental principles of Ayurvedic nutrition such as the Ayurvedic perspective of the digestive system, the relationship of Tridosha with digestion and food, and the importance, art and power of mindful eating. The Ayurvedic classification of foods, preventive nutrition, therapeutic diets, methods of cooking, and the effect of food on the mind, body and spirit will also be explored. The course provides hands-on experience with Ayurvedic cooking and nutrition counseling.

GSA 544E – Ayurvedic Yoga I (2 credits)

This course examines the philosophy and significance of yoga within the context of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic yoga is a modality for promoting health, wellness and the prevention of disease. Yogic postures for specific body types and conditions will be taught through instruction and practice. Selected practices will be explored including asanas, mantras, mudras, bandhas, breathing techniques and meditation.

GSA 545E – Philosophy of Ayurveda (2 credits)

This course provides an overview of the Ayurvedic medical system, including views on health and disease, Ayurvedic treatments, and the mission of Ayurvedic practice and practitioners. The holistic approach of Ayurveda considers the role of spirituality, the mind and emotions in health and disease. This course covers Ayurveda’s central philosophical concepts including Pancha-mahabhoota (five basic elements), the theory of Tridosha (three functional bio-energies), Manas prakriti (constitution based on the doshas of mind), seasonal lifestyle and nutrition, and the three pillars holding life and health. An introduction to Dhatu (body tissue), Malas (body wastes), Gunas (universal qualities of matter), Agni (transformation), tastes and the digestive process are also covered.

GSA 546E – Ayurvedic Aesthetics (2 credits)

This course explores the Ayurvedic philosophy and approach to aesthetics. Techniques and concepts for optimizing dermatological health including the skin, hair and nails are covered. Students learn about Tridosha (the three body types), dosha-specific personal care, Dincharya (Ayurvedic diurnal and nocturnal regimens), Dhatu (body tissues), the use of herbs and herbal preparations, and beauty products and the role of mind and spirit as it relates to Ayurvedic aesthetics.

GSA 547E – History and Fundamentals of Ayurveda (2 credits)

This course studies the rich history and evolution of the ancient science of Ayurveda. The course examines Ayurveda as the part of Atharvaveda and its various traditional schools. The impact of the prevailing six philosophies (‘shad darshana’) on the cosmology of Ayurveda will be examined. An overview will show how Ayurveda spread in the West, and the subsequent globalization of Ayurveda. Students will learn the national and international popular journals, as well as various activities of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations for promotion of Ayurveda. Finally, how Ayurveda fits into career opportunities with respect to research, scope of work and opportunities is discussed.