PhD in Nutrition Program Information and Career Options

Nutrition Ph.D. programs prepare students for research, teaching and advanced professional careers. Doctoral students receive some classroom instruction, but the majority of the programs' durations involve studying and conducting research.

Essential Information

Nutrition programs at the Ph.D. level prepare students for advanced work in nutritional science as they study the compounds contained in food and learn how those compounds affect wellbeing. Teaching assistant or research assistant positions are included at some schools. Programs vary; students can compare each one to learn which specializations or practical education opportunities are available at each school. To work as a dietitian or nutritionist, individuals must acquire some sort of credentialing as per state standards.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's or master's degree in nutrition or related health science; some programs don't specify a degree type and just require the completion of math and science-based courses
  • Other Requirements: Teaching assistantship, research assistantship

Ph.D. in Nutrition

The majority of the student's time during a nutrition Ph.D program is spent acquiring practical education through student teaching or research opportunities. Nevertheless, students do spend a portion of their learning in the classroom. All students are required to take certain core classes and a specified number of electives. The electives allow students to select classes pertaining to their various interests within the nutrition field. Aside from minerals, metabolism, and vitamins, some common classes include:

  • Nutritional epidemiology
  • Nutrition and aging
  • Community nutrition
  • Cellular nutrition
  • Kinesiology
  • Statistics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of Ph.D nutrition programs typically find work as advanced professionals, researchers or teachers at the academic level. Some employment choices include:

  • Nutritionist
  • Food scientist
  • Secondary educator
  • Registered dietician

Continuing Education

Students that pursue advanced nutritionist or dietitian jobs may need to acquire licensure. Many states mandate that nutritionists and dietitians adhere to licensing, certification or registration regulations. The eligibility requirements for such credentials vary for each state.

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