General Questions

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FAQ – General Questions
Where is Hawthorn University located?
Hawthorn University‘s administrative office is located in Whitethorn, California. All of Hawthorn University programs and courses are provided online. Students can download course materials and study offline in a comfortable place. There is no residency requirement to complete any of Hawthorn’s programs.
Will I have to come on campus to complete any of my degree requirements?
All classes are conducted online. There is no residency requirement. Students are able to interact with their instructors via phone and email. Students have access to faculty and fellow students via email, teleconference Webinar classes, and our message boards. Study buddies and study groups are possible and encouraged for students who are looking for an interactive school experience.
Why should I choose Hawthorn University instead of another online school?
We receive very strong feedback from our students and graduates that Hawthorn University is a leader in online holistic nutrition education. We offer a combination of a science-based education with an experiential component that grounds the application of holistic nutritional concepts in graduate programs, certificate programs, and continuing education courses. The rich curriculum, the guidance of a professional practicing in the field, and the flexibility of an online program make Hawthorn the right choice for a motivated, entrepreneurial individual.
What is online learning like?
Students who do not have the time or schedule suitable to sit for and attend classes in a traditional on-campus setting are candidates for online learning. Online classes usually entail a time commitment of 9-15 hours per week, but these hours are more flexible in a distance-learning environment than at a traditional institution. At Hawthorn University students enroll in classes and proceed at their own pace (within certain parameters) through their assignments. One of the greatest benefits of online education is the convenience that it offers. Online learning allows you to access instruction at any time and from anywhere.
Set your own schedule, progress through the program at your own pace, and study in the comfort of your home or office or anywhere that you have an Internet connection. Course materials are presented online in a variety of forms accommodating your own unique learning style. Our learning platform will enable you to interact frequently with your instructors and peer learners.
How will I know if I can succeed in an online environment?
Lifestyles play a big role in the success of online learners. Successful online students are self-directed and motivated to reach their educational goals. Students should be comfortable with computers, use email, computer software, and the Internet. Since much of the “learning” takes place through assignments and readings, students should have good time management skills and the ambition to read and write about their studies. It is important that students be able to stay on task and work independently. Faculty are available during office hours to answer questions and many questions can be answered via email communications.
What exactly is holistic nutrition?
Holistic nutrition describes a perspective on health and healing that considers all aspects of life in creating a total state of health. A holistic practitioner will assist their clients in the process of self-healing.
Hawthorn teaches the principles of holistic nutrition in degree and certificate programs. If your intention is to work in private practice with individuals who have health concerns, you need an education that provides significant clinical training and professional guidance. Our clinical Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition (MSHN) program provides the expertise of a practicing professional, mediated by an asynchronous learning environment wherein you “learn by doing”. Professionals must be adequately trained and qualified to practice in the health field. A self-confident, well-trained professional will engender consumer confidence. Our educational programs provide guidance and direction regarding legal and practical business procedures so graduates are ready to operate a business for themselves or work with others in clinical practice. The Nutrition Consultant Certificate (NC) and the MSHN degree are both clinical programs.
The Master of Science in Health and Nutrition Education (MHNE) is a non-clinical program that contains information on holistic health and wellness that can be disseminated to others in an educational, community, or public setting.
Hawthorn's Master of Science in Traditional Nutrition (MSTN) program provides students with the opportunity to learn about whole foods and traditional diets by incorporating the principles and philosophy of Weston A. Price.
The Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition (DSC) program explores the links between holistic nutrition and environmental sciences, public policy, and how nutrition affects various organ systems.
Visit and review the Scientific Foundations of Holistic Nutrition (SFHN) and our Certificate programs and read more about our courses and holistic nutrition education.
Can I become a registered dietician after completing a program at Hawthorn?
No, registered dieticians (RD) attend a four-year program, complete a supervised practice program of six to twelve months, and sit for a qualifying exam to achieve the title of registered dietician. RDs are governed by the American Dietetics Association. An RD's practice is based on the government model of the My Food Pyramid and RDA recommendations. Registered Dieticians are licensed.
Holistic Nutrition Consulting is not a licensed field in most states at this time. There are a number of titles for professional nutritionists that largely depend on the training they received and the state where the practice is located. At Hawthorn University we are licensed by the State of California to confer degrees and certify graduates as Holistic Nutrition Consultants. Students and graduates are responsible for verification of any legal requirements within their own home states or countries.
Your literature refers to “health products” What does this mean?
During the course of study students are introduced to supplements and their use in the field. Learning about the best supplements to recommend to clients is a benefit to nutrition professionals. There are a number of professional supplement lines that are sold directly to health practitioners to use in their clinical practice. Hawthorn University courses make references to various nutracueutical product providers and/or suppliers, but makes no guarantee or warrantee as to their products and/or services. We are firmly dedicated to the use of holistic products but the act of mentioning them in any of our course materials does not imply that we globally endorse any product or service.
Would my Hawthorn degree be valid in another country or in another state?
Regarding the validity of your degree in another country or state, we suggest that you look up the relevant legislation in your country or state and search for ‘Nutrition Consultant and nutritionist’ to familiarize yourself with the laws pertaining to the practice of nutrition in your locale.
Hawthorn University is licensed by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE - Hawthorn’s programs are recommended by The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP - which offers a US nationwide credential and certifying exam. The Holistic Nutrition Credential Board (HNCB - test has received a trademark for their certification (“Certified in Holistic Nutrition” CHN). Graduates of the DSC, MSHN, MHNE, and NC programs are qualified to sit for the HNCB certification exam. Graduates of the MSTN program may are also qualified to sit for the NANP board certification exam if they complete two additional courses; MHNE 611 and HRB 1.
Hawthorn has been approved by the International Organization of Nutrition Consultants (IONC - after a thorough review of all our programs. They were wowed by the breadth and depth of Hawthorn’s Degree Programs awarding their gold star of approval to the Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition and the Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition programs. Graduates of these programs are recognized as Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioners (ROHP). Graduates of the Masters of Science in Health and Nutrition Education and the Nutrition Consultant programs may use the designation of Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner (RNCP) upon graduating.
Do I have to live in the United States to enroll in Hawthorn University?
Students from around the globe have enrolled in Hawthorn University. Course materials are delivered in an online format and easily retrieved from any location. Email and online message boards offer students a-synchronous communication.
Academic questions may be emailed to your instructor or, if the questions are not related to your coursework, to a member of Hawthorn’s staff. Students in some programs regularly Skype with their instructors.
Students are invited to live online webinars which are also archived to the student’s private online portal. If you cannot attend a webinar, it can be conveniently accessed via the archive at any time.
Can I find out what students say about their experience at Hawthorn?
You can look at the testimonial page of our website and read testimonials from students who are or who have attended Hawthorn University. We survey our students fairly regularly and have received excellent feedback concerning their satisfaction with their courses and programs. Hawthorn does not practice the distribution of email addresses without the direct consent of the individual.
Can I experience what a class will be like?
You can sample some of the archived webinars on our Webinar Archives page ( The Webinar Archives offers recordings from Hawthorn’s public webinars. These recordings are changed from time-to-time, so check back with us often.
Where do I get help if needed?
If you want questions answered from admissions or technical support, simply email our Help Desk ( and you will get a response within twenty-four (24) hours.

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