Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): Holistic Nutrition Degree Overview

Oct 26, 2019

Doctorates in holistic nutrition aren't available, but interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) programs allow students to study how nutrition and physical activity can combine to promote overall health. Learn about the program and job outlook.

Essential Information

Most holistic nutrition-related doctoral programs allow students to choose a focus area, such as health promotion or exercise nutrition. Training can be found in 3 to 4 year Ph.D. programs with titles like nutrition and exercise physiology or physical activity, nutrition and wellness. A master's degree is usually required for admission, but some programs accept outstanding students with a bachelor's degree. Having completed a data-based research thesis is also listed as a preference at some schools. Applicants may also need to submit GRE scores, a writing sample and letter of recommendation.


Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition

Commonly emphasized skills are leadership, research, presentation, critical thinking, problem solving and self-directed learning. Common course topics may be:

  • Health promotion theory
  • Epidemiology
  • Geriatric nutrition
  • Obesity and weight management
  • Exercise physiology
  • Nutrition and metabolism

Popular Career Choices

The coursework in a Ph.D. program prepares graduates for research-based careers. Most work in postsecondary education, government agencies or private industry. Some become leaders in the field, improving public health by developing, implementing and evaluating nutrition, exercise and health promotion programs. Those wishing to teach at the university level also have the credentials and skills necessary to do so upon completion of the program.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In 2018, postsecondary teachers of health specialties subjects earned an annual median salary of $97,370, while dietitians and nutritionists earned $60,370, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2018-2028, postsecondary health specialties teachers in general could expect 23% employment growth, while dietitians and nutritionists could look forward to an 11% increase in job opportunities, the BLS predicted.

Interdisciplinary doctorate degree programs in majors like nutrition and wellness or nutrition and exercise physiology can provide the necessary holistic nutrition knowledge to prepare students for careers as dietitians and nutritionists or postsecondary educators. Depending on the career, job growth could span from 13%-16% through 2024.

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