Prospective graduate students who are interested in nutrition can earn a master's degree, PhD or graduate certificate. These programs are available at public and private universities around the country.
10 Schools with Nutrition Graduate Programs
There are public and private schools across the country with available programs in nutrition:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Drexel University||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||4-year, Private||Master's, Doctorate||$31,239|
|Boston University||Boston, Massachusetts||4-year, Private||Master's, Doctorate||$47,422|
|New York University||New York, New York||4-year, Private||Master's, Doctorate||$38,592|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, New York||4-year, Private||Master's, Doctorate||$29,500|
|Oregon Health Science University||Portland, Oregon||4-year, Public||Master's, Certificate||$20,412|
|Pennsylvania State University||University Park, Pennsylvania||4-year, Public||Master's, Doctorate||In-state: $19,328, Out-of-state: $33,142|
|University of Washington - Seattle||Seattle, Washington||4-year, Public||Master's, Doctorate||In-state: $15,207, Out-of-state: $27,255|
|Oregon State University||Corvallis, Oregon||4-year, Public||Master's, Doctorate||In-state: $12,150, Out-of-state: $20,952|
|City University of New York Hunter College||New York, New York||4-year, Public||Master's||In-state: $10,130, Out-of-state: $18,720|
|University of Massachusetts - Amherst||Amherst, Massachusetts||4-year, Public||Master's, Doctorate||In-state: $12,782, Out-of-state: $28,002|
* Source: National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Consider the following when looking for nutrition graduate schools:
- Prospective graduate students who are considering research-based master's and PhD programs should make sure that there are faculty members who share their research interests and can act as thesis or dissertation advisors.
- Individuals who want to become registered dietitians (RDs) should make sure that the programs have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). As of 2017, there are 26 accredited graduate programs in the United States.
- It is important for students to make sure that they meet the program's minimum admissions requirements. Some require students to hold a bachelor's degree specifically in nutrition, and some are only open to certified RDs.
- Students may want to find out about the school's laboratory facilities to make sure that they will have access to top-notch nutritional research equipment and software applications. For example, some schools allow students to use to nutrigenomics, metabolomics and lipidomics analysis technologies for their research.
Master's Degree Programs
At the master's degree level, several different types of programs are offered in nutrition. One option is a research-focused Master of Science (MS) in Nutrition. Students in these programs take advanced courses in topics such as biochemistry, physiology and public health, and they must often write a master's thesis in a particular area of interest under the supervision of a faculty member. An alternative for aspiring registered dietitians (RDs) is a coordinated master's degree program that prepares students for the licensure exam. There are also programs for experienced RDs who want to advance their research skills, clinical expertise and business management knowledge; these programs may be available online in order to accommodate the needs of working professionals.
Doctoral Degree Programs
In PhD in Nutrition programs, students take high-level courses in the biomedical sciences and conduct advanced research in a nutrition-related topic. Depending on their academic interests, they may conduct basic biochemistry research, utilize animal models or conduct translational studies on large human populations. They may also gain pedagogical experience through teaching assistantships. Graduates typically go on to academic research careers as professors at universities, but there are some schools that include RD programs within their PhD programs, enabling graduates to work as practicing dietitians.
Graduate Certificate Programs
There are several different types of graduate certificate programs in nutrition. Some enable students who already have a bachelor's degree in nutrition or a related field to take advanced courses in the field without committing to a full master's degree program. These programs may appeal to healthcare professionals who want to increase their expertise in this field, and they are often offered online in order to meet the needs of working professionals. There are also graduate certificate programs that prepare aspiring RDs for the state licensure exam.
When considering graduate programs in nutrition, prospective students should look for schools with programs that coincide with their career interests, whether they want to work as RDs or engage in academic research in the field.