PhD Degree in Sports Nutrition: Program Information

There are no PhD programs specifically focused on sports nutrition, but interested students can pursue a more general doctoral degree in nutrition. Learn more about what these programs entail and what students can expect after graduation.

Essential Information

While doctoral programs in sports nutrition are unavailable, many Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in Nutrition offer a concentration in sports nutrition. Most doctoral programs in nutrition feature core classes covering advanced theories in human nutrition and dietetics, but they also include specialized electives, such as sports nutrition. Over the course of the program, students also have the chance to conduct independent research in their area of interest, so they may be able to focus their studies on a particular aspect of sports nutrition, such as the importance of nutrition in the sports community or biochemistry and sports nutrition. Prior to graduation, they must write up their findings in a publishable dissertation. In order to apply to one of these programs

The most common prerequisites for admission into a PhD program in nutrition are the completion of a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. Applicants must also submit GRE scores and a resume detailing any relevant professional experience in the fields of nutrition or sports nutrition.

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Doctor of Philosophy in Nutrition

The core courses and seminars included in a PhD program in nutrition typically focus on advanced studies in food science and general nutrition, while specialized courses in sports nutrition might focus more on kinesiology and physical exercise. Some examples of course topics include the following:

  • Advanced nutrition
  • Nutrition epidemiology
  • Advanced vitamins and minerals
  • Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
  • Research methods
  • Nutrition counseling and education
  • Sports nutrition
  • Kinesiology
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Physiology of exercise

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Many graduates of PhD programs go on to teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others pursue careers as professional sports nutritionists.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ( does not differentiate between sports nutritionists and other nutritionists. The BLS reports that nutritionists and dietitians held 59,740 jobs in the United States in 2015. Employment of nutritionists and dietitians is predicted to grow 16% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average. In 2015, the median annual wage for these workers was $57,910.

Overall, PhD programs in nutrition provide students are interested in sports nutrition provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of the nutrition field as a whole, as well as the opportunity to focus their studies specifically on sports nutrition. With this degree, students can pursue academic careers or become dieticians or nutritionists.

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