Admission and Degree Requirements

Graduate handbook information is updated and maintained by each program. Graduate handbooks are available within each program's office and online at https://utexas.box.com/v/UTAustinGraduateHandbooks. Please contact the program with concerns or questions.

The foundational 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 

There are three options to complete a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences (MSNS). In-residence graduate students can complete 24 credit hours of graduate coursework (described in detail below) combined with six credit hours of original Master’s thesis research OR 27 credit hours of graduate coursework combined with three credit hours of Master’s Report (a review of the research literature in a specified area of study). Online master’s students also have the option of completing 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, without completing a thesis or report. Students who complete a Master’s thesis are eligible to transition to the PhD program, while students who complete the Master’s Report are not eligible to transition to the PhD program. 

In Residence Program. The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences in-residence program requires 30 credit hours of coursework, distributed as follows: (1) 18 credit hours in specified nutrition courses; (2) six credit 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 credit hours of Master’s thesis, involving an original research project. The 18 credit hours of nutrition coursework must include the following core courses: Nutrition 390 (Topic 1: Advances in Nutritional Sciences I), Nutrition 390 (Topic 7: Advances in Nutritional Sciences II), Nutrition 390 (Topic 6: Molecular Nutritional Sciences), and Nutrition 394, Graduate Seminar in Nutritional Sciences (any topic), and at least six hours in Nutrition 390, Recent Advances in Nutritional Sciences (any topic) and/or Nutrition 392, Research Problems in Nutritional Sciences (any topic).  For students seeking a terminal master’s degree, a degree program with Report option (non-original research) is also available. For the Report option, Nutrition 398R and three additional hours in either research methods or Nutrition 390 replace the thesis courses.

Integrated Coordinated Program in Dietetics (ICPD). The ICPD integrated program is designed to allow undergraduate students in the dietetics track to complete their training in an accelerated program that offers undergraduate- and graduate-level coursework, as well as the supervised practice hours required for professional certification to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). The ICPD requires 120 hours of undergraduate coursework (see Undergraduate Catalog for details) and 30 hours of graduate level coursework. For the ICPD, the 30 hours of graduate coursework are distributed as follows: (1) 15 hours in core nutrition courses, including Nutrition 390 (Topic 1: Advances in Nutritional Sciences I), Nutrition 390 (Topic 7: Advances in Nutritional Sciences II), Nutrition 390 (Topic 6: Molecular Nutritional Sciences), Nutrition 380K (Topic 3: Experimental Design and Statistics) and Nutrition 380K (Topic 4: Advanced Experimental Design and Statistics) and (2) 15 hours of graduate coursework in Nutrition 390, Recent Advances in Nutritional Sciences (any topic) and/or Nutrition 392, Research Problems in Nutritional Sciences (any topic), selected from among areas of concentration (health promotion and 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 a chosen concentration, and six thesis hours.

Online Program. The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences (MSNS) 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 visit Dietetics' website. For the online MSNS degree, 30 semester hours are required, distributed as follows: (1) 15 hours in core nutrition courses, including Nutrition 390 (Topic 1: Advances in Nutritional Sciences I), Nutrition 390 (Topic 7: Advances in Nutritional Sciences II), Nutrition 390 (Topic 6: Molecular Nutritional Sciences), Nutrition 380K (Topic 3: Experimental Design and Statistics) and Nutrition 380K (Topic 4: Advanced Experimental Design and Statistics) and (2) 15 hours of graduate coursework in Nutrition 390, Recent Advances in Nutritional Sciences (any topic) and/or Nutrition 392, Research Problems in Nutritional Sciences (any topic), selected from among areas of concentration (health promotion and disease prevention, biochemical and functional nutrition, community nutrition, lifecycle nutrition). Students also have a thesis option, which includes completing the above 15 hours of core nutrition courses, along with nine additional 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) 12 semester hours in nutrition, consisting of 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, Graduate Seminar in Nutritional Sciences (any topic); (3) six hours of additional graduate coursework in nutrition (Note: At least three hours of graduate level statistics are required; Nutrition 380K (Topic 3: Experimental Design and Statistics) and Nutrition 380K (Topic 4: Advanced Experimental Design and Statistics) are recommended); (4) 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; (5) presentation and defense of a dissertation research proposal and satisfactory response to questions on nutrition and related sciences; and (6) approval by the Graduate Studies Committee of the proposed course plan and proposed dissertation research program. Further supporting work in nutrition or related sciences may be 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.