Online Capstone Certificate in Clinical Nutrition

Earn a post-graduate certificate from a world-class university!

OnlineCapstoneImageThis new 12-credit online certificate program builds on knowledge and skills obtained in your undergraduate studies and professional experiences. It is designed to expand your knowledge and give you new insight and experiences in:

  • critical care
  • nutrition support
  • complex nutritional assessment
  • nutrition counseling
  • advanced pediatrics
  • clinical nutrition research

Areas which are essential for success in today’s complex clinical environment. The four courses can be completed in as little as 12 months.

At-a-Glance: Capstone Certificate in Clinical Nutrition

When: Begin any semester—fall, spring or summer—and complete the program in one (1) year.
Where: Completely online format
Who Should Apply: Recent graduates and experienced professionals seeking graduate-level education in Clinical Nutrition

Apply Online!

Lynette M. Karls, M.S., R.D., C.D.

Benefits to You

Obtain 12 graduate-level credits that may be used toward a graduate degree.
Beginning in 2024, a graduate degree will be required to obtain the R.D. credential.

Develop advanced level “cutting-edge” clinical nutrition skills needed in today’s competitive job market.
The courses focus on areas where employers are seeking advanced skills and reflect the most reliable, research-based knowledge in the field.

Capstone1Improve your chances of obtaining a competitive Dietetic Internship.
Currently, only 50% of internship applicants receive appointments.

Flexibility of an online program allows you to complete the program  while employed or during your Dietetic Internship.

Highly experienced and engaged instructors.
All instructors have more than 15 years of clinical nutrition teaching experience at UW-Madison.

Receive continuing education credits to maintain your credential for the Registered Dietitian and other professional certifications.

Why Choose UW-Madison?    

Reputation of the University
UW-Madison has long been recognized as a world-class university. Founded in 1848, it has an extraordinary legacy of learning and discovery.


A Dedication to Continuous Learning

Our students have the opportunity to work with people who embrace meaningful and spirited discussion, and who embrace learning as a lifelong journey.

Access to Cutting-Edge Research
Research is a critical component of this university. Students are immersed in the latest discoveries and challenged to think critically. Get ready to be inspired by your instructors, challenged by your classmates, and supported in your desire to learn.

Stand Out in a Competitive Environment
We can help you stand out in an increasingly competitive environment through our unique combination of teaching excellence, vibrant experiences, cutting-edge research, innovation and credibility.

Click here to see what one of our recent students had to say about the program.

Be part of more than 150 years of excellence in education at UW-Madison!


All instructors

  • have more than 15 years of clinical nutrition teaching experience at UW-Madison!
  • have graduate degrees!
  • are Registered Dietitians with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!

With whom you will be working:

Capstone-ThurlowJulie Thurlow, PhD, RD is a Faculty Associate in the  Department of Nutritional Sciences where she has been involved in the teaching  of core courses in the dietetics program, including Clinical Nutrition.  Her previous experience includes developing  the UW course World Hunger as an online course, serving as program director and  instructor for a graduate program in dietetics, and working as a clinical  dietitian at major medical centers in the areas of pediatrics and nutrition  support. She received her BS in Dietetics from the UW-Madison, her MS in  Nutrition with an Emphasis in Clinical Education from Boston University,  her Doctorate in Public Health Nutrition at  the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, and did her dietetic  internship at St. Mary’s-Mayo.

Capstone - JohnsonMichelle Johnson, MS, RD has been involved in teaching the  capstone course, ‘Applications in Clinical Nutrition’ for the UW-Madison  Dietetics Program.  Her prior experience  includes work in clinical dietetics as a nutrition support specialist for  hospitalized and home care patients.  She  has also worked as a metabolic dietitian for individuals with inborn errors of  metabolism.  In addition to her work as a  clinical dietitian, Michelle has also served as Associate Outreach Specialist  coordinating research activities for a multi-state project.  She received her BS in Dietetics from the UW  Steven Point and her MS in Nutrition from UW- Madison.  She completed her dietetic internship at the  VA Medical Center in St. Louis, MO.

Capstone - KarlsLynette M. Karls, M.S.,  R.D., C.D. is the Program Director for  the Capstone Certificate and has been teaching application of clinical nutrition  in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UW-Madison for 31 years.  She is the Coordinator of the Didactic  Program in Dietetics and Chair of the Curriculum Committee.  She completed her B.S. degree in Dietetics  and her M.S. degree in Nutritional Sciences at UW-Madison.

How the program works

You can begin the program in any semester – fall, spring or summer – as courses may be taken in any order.  The 12 credit program can be completed in 1 year and consists of four 3-credit courses which are taught, as follows:
Summer Session
NS 651:  Advanced Clinical Nutrition – Pediatrics
NS 652:  Advanced Nutrition Counseling and Education
Fall Semester
NS 650:  Advanced Clinical Nutrition – Critical Care and Nutrition Support
Spring Semester
NS 653:  Clinical Nutrition


Course Descriptions

Nutri Sci 650: Advanced Clinical Nutrition: Critical Care and Nutrition Support, O SS; 3 cr. This course provides advanced study of the metabolic demands of critical illness and how these alterations influence the nutritional needs of critical care patients in various disease states. Using an evidence-based medical approach, students will assess nutrient requirements and determine best methods of nutrient delivery in various disease states. Anthropometric measures and hematological indices will be incorporated to assess nutritional status and monitor response to nutritional therapies.

Nutri Sci 651: Advanced Clinical Nutrition – Pediatrics, O SS; 3 cr. Pediatric nutritional requirements with emphasis on issues related to evidence-based medical nutrition therapy.
Nutri Sci 652: Advanced Nutrition Counseling and Education, O I; 3 cr. Application of current theories and techniques of counseling and education to the field of nutrition and dietetics. Practical application of communication techniques, client-centered counseling methods, motivational interviewing, learning theories and behavior change techniques, and factors affecting eating patterns. Nutrition psychology and the psychoanalytic approach to nutrition counseling will be emphasized in the class. Principles of group counseling/facilitation and instructional material/media design.
Nutri Sci 653: Clinical Nutrition Research, O II; 3 cr. Research use and development as it applies to clinical nutrition practice: effective use of the literature in evidence based practice and research development, problem development, methodology, analysis and reporting of results and conclusions.

Upon completion of the program, the “Capstone Certificate in Clinical Nutrition” will be granted and posted on the UW-Madison official transcript.

Admission Requirements*

  • Earned Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Minimum Cumulative GPA ≥ 3.0 (on 4.0 scale)
  • Completed Didactic Program in Dietetics OR the following prerequisite courses:
    • General Chemistry
    • 2 courses in Biological Sciences
    • 1 course in each of the following— Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physiology, Statistics
    • 2 courses in Nutrition (Human Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition)

*NOTE: If you do not have the prerequisites, you may apply to UW-Madison as a University Special Student to complete them.

Eligibility of International Students

  • International students who need an F-1 or J-1 visa to legally study in the United States are not eligible to apply for the Capstone Certificate in Clinical Nutrition.
  • If you are already in the U.S. on another visa type (e.g. J-1 scholar, J-2 dependent, HIB), you may be eligible for admission.
  • International students who are abroad, whatever their visa status, are not eligible for admission.

Application Process & Contact Information

All applicants are advised to determine whether this program meets requirements for licensure in the state where they live. See the Commission on Dietetic Registration website for contact information for state licensing boards.


You can begin the program in any semester—fall, spring or summer—as courses may be taken in any order. Applications are accepted any time of year.Steps to apply:
  1.   Apply online as a University Special Student.   APPLY HERE
  2. Submit the following materials to the Program Director (see contact information below):

Official transcripts from all colleges/ universities attended
Brief essay describing your reasons for applying and your career goals
Resume or curriculum vitae

Lynette M. Karls, MS, RD, CD, Director- Capstone Certificate in Clinical Nutrition   Dept. of Nutritional Sciences, UW-Madison   1415 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706 608-262-5847 E-mail:


Tuition and fee information for the University of Wisconsin–Madison is available on the Registrar’s website. Please note that tuition and fees for the Capstone Certificate in Clinical Nutrition are charged at $800 per credit.

Document Fee – Students are assessed a $65 one-time fee on their first semester tuition bill. This fee impacts students whose first enrolled term is Fall 2015 and beyond. Students who were enrolled for a term prior to Fall 2015 are exempt from the fee. This fee entitles students to unlimited official transcripts among other benefits. Please visit for more information.

Technology Requirements
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