Pharmacists serve as the medication experts within today’s team-based approach to care, but as many pharmacists know, medication is not always enough when caring for patients with acute and chronic conditions. Instead, care requires a holistic approach, including educating patients about the impact of nutrition. 

The management of diabetes is an example of where medication and nutrition go hand-in-hand. In many cases, nutrition education can be combined with medicinal treatment to help patients with diabetes control their blood sugar and improve health outcomes. Pharmacists with proper nutrition training can be better equipped to teach their patients in diabetes education classes how to manage their diabetes through a variety of approaches. In addition, pharmacists already support nutrition services in the inpatient care setting, for example, through parenteral (IV) nutrition. A pharmacist can even become a BPS Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist (BCNSP) or credentialed as a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC).

The joint Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.) in nutrition program is coordinated between Samford’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy and School of Public Health. Through credit sharing, a student can earn two degrees in less time. This joint degree will apply six credits of pharmacy course work to satisfy work required under the regular M.S. in nutrition curriculum. McWhorter School of Pharmacy will apply four credits of nutrition course work to satisfy the didactic elective course work required under the regular pharmacy curriculum. As a student in this program, you are required to complete 30 credits of M.S. in nutrition course work and at least  142 credits of pharmacy course work.

Students do not need to have a bachelor’s degree to be admitted to this joint degree program, but the bachelor’s degree must be earned to complete more than 12 credit hours of the master’s program.

This program does not provide eligibility to sit for the national registration examination to become a registered dietitian nor eligibility to apply for a dietetic internship.

General Policies

On graduation, you can receive both degrees, Doctor of Pharmacy and M.S. in nutrition, in the same semester. In this program, you must complete the M.S. in nutrition within five academic years of the original date of admission to the master’s program.

You will have two separate grade point averages, one for nutrition and one for pharmacy. McWhorter School of Pharmacy ranking and percentiles will be based on the pharmacy-only GPA. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the M.S. in nutrition program to be in good standing.

Students may register for a maximum of 21 credits per full semester. If desired, you may petition the associate dean of academic affairs to exceed this maximum course load.

You may choose to drop the joint degree in order to earn your Doctor of Pharmacy earlier. The School of Public Health will accept shared credit from the pharmacy school upon later readmission to the M.S. in nutrition program as long as the student:

  1. Began the joint degree before graduating with the Doctor of Pharmacy.
  2. Was in good standing with the School of Public Health.
  3. Requests readmission to restart M.S. in nutrition classes within one full semester after graduating with the Doctor of Pharmacy.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for the joint Pharm.D./M.S. in nutrition program, you must first be accepted to McWhorter School of Pharmacy and then the School of Public Health. For detailed information on applying to McWhorter School of Pharmacy, visit our admission page for details on the process and required documentation.

To be considered for the M.S. in nutrition portion of the joint program, you must submit the following materials to the School of Public Health:

  1. A completed School of Public Health joint degree application.
  2. A resume reflecting work experience and other accomplishments, which should be upload within the joint degree application.

For questions regarding the application, please contact Amber Kustos, the director of graduate and undergraduate services for the School of Public Health, at akustos@samford.edu or 205-726-4691.

Plan of Study