Graduate programs that build off of a nutritional sciences undergraduate degree can be focused on both academia and public policy and can prepare you for careers helping the community and individuals to live healthier and longer lives. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the graduate programs you can pursue after you complete a bachelor's degree in nutritional sciences.
Graduate Courses for Nutritional Sciences Undergrads
Once you've completed your bachelor's degree, you'll either enter the workforce or continue your education. With a bachelor's degree in nutritional sciences, what can you study in graduate school? There are several options for master's degrees available, including the following.
Master of Public Health
A Master of Public Health prepares you for work planning and bettering public health policies. In this program, you will look at public health as it relates to economic and social standing, cultural backgrounds, and environmental influences. In general, you'll look at research and statistical analysis methods. Although specific requirements can vary greatly, many schools' MPH programs require at least 45 credit hours that include classes on population health, including program design and evaluation. You'll also study current health laws and policies in the nation and locally. To top off this degree, you'll likely take part in an internship with a local community organization to learn from hands-on experience.
Master of Nutrition Education
There are two master's in nutrition education programs geared toward different career goals. An M.Ed. in Nutrition Education can prepare you to work as a teacher in a secondary school, and will go over how to design curricula, nutrition issues in schools, learning and human development, and general nutrition education. A Master of Science in Education Nutrition, on the other hand, is more for those who aim to work as a dietitian. For those seeking to help clients, you'll look at research methods, nutrition counseling, body image theory, food and behavior, human development, epidemiology, and nutritional ecology.
Master of Science in Food & Nutrition/ Community Nutrition
A Master of Science in Food & Nutrition with a concentration in community nutrition is a bit of a combination between public health and nutrition master's degree programs. After completing this program, you should have the background knowledge and experience to become a registered dietitian. This program can typically be completed in about two years of full-time study. Some of the course topics you'll look at include epidemiology, U.S. health systems, nutritional therapy, food service management, nutrition assessments, and nutrition policy/programs.
Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition
Completing a Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition will prepare you for certification with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to become a registered dietitian or develop your skills if you are already a RD. These programs range from about 30-40 credits, depending on whether you already hold your RD credentials, and include courses relating to therapy through nutrition, nutrition assessments, sports nutrition, critical care nutrition, pediatric nutrition, weight management, eating disorders, and advanced vitamins and minerals. As part of this program, you'll complete a clinical practicum, where you'll learn about research and how to use this new knowledge.
Common Application Requirements
Though each of these master's degree programs have a varied number of required courses, you'll typically find a 5- or 6-year maximum allotment to complete the program. As for applying to the master's programs, you'll need to have your bachelor's degree nearly completed or completed, with a valid graduation date. Along with an application and application fee, you will find that most colleges ask for letters of recommendation, official transcripts from your undergraduate colleges, and a resume. If you are a non-native English speaker, schools may ask you to include a TOEFL or IELTS score along with your GRE score.
Earning your bachelor's degree in nutritional sciences sets you up to continue your education with a graduate degree in programs like a Master of Public Health, Master of Nutrition Education, Master of Science in Food & Nutrition, or a Master of Science in Clinical Education. Although you can typically finish these degrees in about two years, some colleges allow up to six years for completion.