Admission and Degree Requirements

The preliminary training of students seeking a graduate degree should include courses in the following fields: inorganic chemistry with laboratory, organic chemistry with laboratory, biochemistry with laboratory, vertebrate or human physiology, cellular and molecular biology, statistics, and nutrition. The Graduate Studies Committee may recommend that some or all of these courses be completed as a prerequisite for admission to the program or in addition to the courses required for the graduate degree. 

A handbook available from the graduate coordinator gives details of policies, procedures, and requirements.

Master of Science 

In Residence Program. The Graduate Studies Committee must approve the Program of Work before the student is admitted to candidacy for the master’s degree. Thirty semester hours are required, distributed as follows: (1) 18 hours in specified nutrition courses; (2) six hours in a minor or supporting field such as biology, anthropology, biochemistry, immunology, educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, health education, public health, pharmacology, or kinesiology; and (3) six hours in the thesis course, involving an original research project. The 18 hours in nutrition must include at least three hours in research methods, at least three in research problems, at least three in seminar, and at least six in recent advances; the remaining three hours may be in either research methods or recent advances. 

A degree program with report (non-original research) is also available, for students seeking a terminal master’s degree. In this program, Nutrition 398R  and three additional hours in either research methods or recent advances replace the thesis courses.

Online Program. The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences online degree program is designed to provide advanced nutrition training to students who have already completed their Bachelor’s in Nutrition or a related science field such as biology, biochemistry, health education, kinesiology, nursing, medicine or public health. This degree does not provide a path to the Registered Dietitian (RD) certification. For additional information about becoming a registered dietitian, please see

The Graduate Studies Committee must approve the Program of Work before the student is admitted to candidacy for the master’s degree. For the online master’s degree, 30 semester hours are required, distributed as follows: (1) 15 hours in core nutrition courses and (2) 15 hours in an area of concentration (Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Biochemical and Functional Nutrition, Community Nutrition, Lifecycle Nutrition). Students also have a thesis option, which includes completing the 15 hours of core nutrition courses, along with nine hours in their chosen concentration, and six thesis hours.

Doctor of Philosophy

The doctoral program typically requires four to five years of full-time study. Students are expected to meet the following requirements for admission to PhD candidacy by the end of the second year: (1) completion of courses conditional to admission; (2) 18 semester hours in nutrition, including the following courses with a grade of at least B in each: Nutrition 390 (Topic 1: Advances in Nutritional Sciences I), Nutrition 390 (Topic 6: Molecular Nutritional Sciences), Nutrition 390 (Topic 7: Advances in Nutritional Sciences II), and Nutrition 394 (Topic 1: General Nutrition); (3) six hours of graduate coursework outside nutrition in fields germane to the dissertation research, such as biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, health education, and kinesiology; (4) presentation and defense of a dissertation research proposal and satisfactory response to questions on nutrition and related sciences; and (5) approval by the Graduate Studies Committee of the proposed course plan and proposed dissertation research program. Further supporting work in nutrition or related sciences is needed to augment the program. All doctoral candidates must write a dissertation based on the results of their original research and must make a formal oral defense of the dissertation. The Graduate Studies Committee must certify that all of the degree requirements have been completed.