Nutritional Epidemiology Master's Programs

May 31, 2019

This article provides prospective students with information about the types of courses included in a master's program in nutritional epidemiology. Explore what is necessary to be admitted into one of these programs as well.

Master's degree programs in the field of nutritional epidemiology may be of interest to students who are interested in the relationship between human health and nutrition and disease. Below, students can learn more about these types of degrees, including common courses, and admissions information.

Information About Nutritional Epidemiology Master's Programs

When looking for a master's degree program in nutritional epidemiology, students may need to expand the specific degree titles that they search for, as this degree program may go by a number of different names. For example, it is possible to find Master of Science degrees in nutrition data science, public health nutrition, or epidemiology, which may then offer students the ability to specialize in nutritional epidemiology through a concentration. These programs are generally designed for students who are interested in pursuing careers in research. Below, we will look at five different types of courses offered in these types of programs.

Foundations and Methods of Epidemiology

Students usually begin the curriculum by taking a course that provides them with an introduction to fundamental concepts and methods in epidemiology. In such a course, students will learn about distribution, the spread of disease, risk, how statistics are used in this field, and how to interpret and analyze data. Some other topics that may be covered in regard to methods include effect modification, controlled trials, meta-analysis, and measurement error.


Because biostatistics is used heavily in epidemiology, students are typically required to take a course in this topic. The course may cover biostatistics from a general perspective, providing students with an overview of a variety of concepts, or it may focus on a type of biostatistics, like Bayesian biostatistics. Students will likely encounter topics like hypothesis testing, chi-square tests, t-tests, Bayesian reasoning, and various other methods of data analysis.

Nutritional Epidemiology

Given the nature of these programs, students will also be required to take a course in nutritional epidemiology specifically. In this course, students will study human health by looking at diet and nutrition and the connection to disease. Students will learn how to design studies in the field of nutritional epidemiology and analyze the resulting data. Additionally, students will study literature about current research that is being done in this field in order to stay up to date with contemporary trends and studies in nutritional epidemiology.

Data Analysis

It is also common for students to take a more focused course on data analysis after learning some fundamental concepts in the program. Students will build on these concepts and may focus more specifically on different types of data analysis, like survival data or categorical data. Additionally, such a course may encourage students to think of their own research interests, imagine how they would design a research study, and analyze the data they collected using contemporary tools in data analysis.

Community Nutrition

A course in community nutrition is another common requirement in the curriculum. This course aims to provide students with an overview of research in community nutrition, what types of organizations are working in this field, and the relationship between nutrition and the health of a community. Students will study different groups that are present in a community, like children and older adults, in order to gain an understanding of how their nutritional needs differ from each other. Additionally, this course will likely cover topics in health care and nutrition policy and what types of programs exist that relate to meeting the needs of the community in regard to nutrition.

General Admissions Guidelines for Master's Degree Programs in Nutritional Epidemiology

When applying to a master's degree program in nutritional epidemiology, there are a number of prerequisites that applicants will need to fulfill in order to be eligible for admission. While it is not required that students have achieved a bachelor's degree in one specific field, all applicants must hold a bachelor's degree by the time they begin the program and must have taken a number of related courses during their undergraduate studies in order to be prepared for the graduate-level coursework. Common prerequisite courses include general nutrition, biology, biochemistry, statistics, and chemistry. In order to be considered for admission, students typically submit a completed application form, letters of recommendation, past academic transcripts, a personal statement, and results from the GRE.

It is possible for students to study nutritional epidemiology by finding a relevant master's program either in this discipline or in a closely related discipline with a specialization in nutritional epidemiology.

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