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Clayton College of Natural Health
Established 1980
Type Private, distance education
President Kay G. Channell
Location Birmingham, Alabama, United States

The Clayton College of Natural Health is a non-accredited American distance-learning natural health college based in Birmingham, Alabama, offering classes on natural health.[1] It was founded in 1980 by Lloyd Clayton Jr.. According to its website, the school has more than 25,000 students and graduates.[2] Prior to 1997 it was known as the American College of Holistic Nutrition.[3] The school and some of its more notable graduates have been the subject of controversy.



As of 2009, Clayton offers five degree programs and seven certificate programs.[4] Because the school is not accredited, degrees earned will not qualify the graduate for any professional license in any state in the US. Graduates are taught alternative theories of health and nutrition, with varying degrees of truth and accuracy, but graduates should be cautious about violating state laws which license physicians, dietitians and other health professions. Violating these laws can lead to serious legal trouble and fines of several hundred thousand dollars. [5]


Degree programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Natural Health (traditional naturopathy, holistic nutrition, herbology, homeopathy, holistic health, universal energy, psychospiritual health, and how the immune system works)[4]
  • Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition (human physiology; digestion; biochemical individuality; food, vitamins, drugs, and herbal interactions; clinical nutrition; community nutrition; and integrated weight management approaches)[4]
  • Master of Science in Natural Health
  • Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition
  • Doctor of Education in Holistic Health and Wellness

Certificate programs

  • Iridology: Theory & Practice
  • Family Herbalist Certificate
  • Consulting Herbalist Certificate
  • Master Herbalist Certificate
  • Companion Animal Studies
  • Practitioner Education Studies
  • Natural Wellness Studies

Notable alumni

Well-known graduates include television nutrition personality Gillian McKeith,[6] controversial naturopath Hulda Regehr Clark, author Robert Young, and author Kim Barnouin, co-author of the diet book, Skinny Bitch.[7] McKeith's credentials from Clayton have been the focus of comment in The Guardian's "Bad Science" column, specifically the institution's unaccredited status and the institution's refusal to make McKeith's doctoral dissertation available for outside review.[8][9]


American College of Holistic Nutrition was founded in 1980 by Lloyd Clayton Jr.. In 1997 its name was changed to Clayton College of Natural Health.[3]

Clayton College of Natural Health has never had educational accreditation from any agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.[10] Several state education agencies specifically list Clayton as unaccredited, among them Oregon, Texas, Michigan, and Maine.[11] Degrees issued by Clayton may not be acceptable to some employers or institutions, and use of degree titles granted by Clayton may be restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions.[11][12]

Clayton College is licensed as a private school by the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education. "The license is issued to operate in the State of Alabama and is not associated with accreditation."[13]

In 2008 Clayton College became the first school to be certified as an Alternative and Continuing Education provider by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) under their Quality Standards program, which was created in response to requests from Clayton College and other organizations for a program of this type.[14] The USDLA notes that this certification is not an accreditation nor does it speak to the quality of any Clayton College program.[15]


  1. ^ Course list available online
  2. ^ Clayton College of Natural Health website
  3. ^ a b Rachel Shabi,Food fighters, The Guardian, January 8, 2005
  4. ^ a b c "Clayton College of Natural Health Educational Programs". Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bad Science, The Guardian
  7. ^ John Rogers, `Skinny Bitch' Diet Book Gains Fans, Fox News, August 22, 2007
  8. ^ Gibson, Owen (2007-02-12). "TV dietician to stop using title Dr in adverts". The Guardian.,,2011151,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  9. ^ Ms Gillian McKeith – Banned From Calling Herself A Doctor! – squabble update below, by Ben Goldacre, The Guardian February 12, 2007
  10. ^ U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs and Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations, searched November 25, 2007.
  11. ^ a b State accreditation database results include the following, verified 16 January 2009:
  12. ^ Jones, Adam (2007-02-11). "State’s diploma mills draw academic ire". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  13. ^ Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education: Private School Licensure
  14. ^
  15. ^ "USDLA New Accreditation Service". USDLA. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 

External links


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