For students who wish to pursue advanced study in nutrition, there are limited options in California. Individuals may choose to earn a master's or a doctoral degree at the graduate level; majors include food science, nutrition, and molecular and biology. Applicants to such programs need to hold undergraduate degrees, preferably in a related field. Such programs often emphasize research projects and may require students to complete a thesis, dissertation, or comprehensive examination prior to graduation.
Below are brief overviews of the four schools offering nutrition programs, as well as a table outlining the program types, tuition costs, and school settings.
Located in Orange, Chapman University offers a master's degree program in food science. This program takes about 18 months to complete and focuses on research and the study of innovative food packaging, processing, and preservation techniques. Students are required to take 30 credits of coursework in subjects including quality control, food analysis, nutrition and human performance, food engineering, clinical nutrition, and food packaging.
Students can gain practical experience through internships with one of the many food-processing companies in the surrounding area. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available; students who opt for the non-thesis option must complete a comprehensive examination. The food science program is also available jointly with a Master of Business Administration program. Food science students can pursue learning opportunities outside of the classroom through involvement with the Chapman University Food Science and Nutrition Student Association.
Loma Linda University
This 4-year university, based in Loma Linda, has two master's degree programs and a doctoral program in nutrition. The Master of Public Health program focuses on community nutrition and prepares students for employment in government agencies, community health centers or medical facilities. The curriculum includes coursework in environmental health, public health nutrition, community nutrition interventions, vegetarian diets, phytochemicals, and exercise nutrition. Students have the option to complete a coordinated track in dietetics as part of this program.
The Master of Science and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) programs focus on advanced study in nutritional science while placing a special emphasis on research skills. Participants in these programs complete advanced courses such as statistics, epidemiology, public health nutrition, and research methods. Students in the DrPH program are also required to write a dissertation based on their research in the field.
University of California - Berkeley
Located in Berkeley, UC Berkeley's Department of Nutritional Science and Toxicology offers training for aspiring nutrition research scientists. Students may choose from undergraduate programs in three concentrations: molecular toxicology, dietetics, or physiology and metabolism.
Students can earn a Master of Science or PhD in Metabolic Biology or a PhD in Molecular Toxicology. The master's degree program takes about two years to complete and the PhD programs take about five years to finish. Students are required to complete 2-3 lab rotations in their first year, depending on the program; PhD students are also required to participate in a teaching internship. Coursework in the nutrition degree programs includes organism nutrition and metabolism, statistics in nutrition research, metabolic regulation and molecular toxicology.
University of California - Davis
Found in Davis, this university offers several nutrition graduate program specialties, such as nutrition and development, human and clinical nutrition, nutrition and endocrinology, culture and nutrition, nutrition and aging, animal nutrition and international nutrition, among many others.
Students in the master's degree program choose between two tracks. The first track requires 30 units of graduate coursework and a thesis, with at least 12 units in the major field. The second plan is by petition only. Students in this track are required to complete 36 units of graduate coursework, as well as a comprehensive exam.
Individuals in the PhD program are required to take three core courses, followed by a preliminary examination. After completing the remainder of the required coursework, students who successfully complete the final qualifying examination move on to work on their research full time. One or two areas of specialization are required. Students also have the opportunity to pursue a designated emphasis in international and community nutrition, biotechnology or biophotonics.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Nutrition Graduate Programs Available||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Chapman University||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Master of Science in Food Science,
Master of Food Science and Master of Business Administration
|Loma Linda University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Master of Public Health in Nutrition,
Master of Science in Nutrition,
Doctor of Public Health in Nutrition
|University of California - Berkeley||4-year, public; midsize city|| Majors in Dietetics, Molecular Toxicology, and Physiology & Metabolism,
Master of Science in Metabolic Biology,
PhD in Metabolic Biology,
PhD in Molecular Toxicology
| $14,184 in-state; $43,176 out-of-state for undergraduate*
$14,131 in-state; $29,233 out-of-state for graduate*
|University of California - Davis||4-year, public; small city|| Master of Science in Nutritional Biology,
PhD in Nutritional Biology
|$13,570 in-state; $28,672 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator