14 Best Master’s Degrees in Nutrition

Are you passionate about healthy food and lifestyle choices? A career in nutrition might be the perfect path. These 15 Best Master's Degrees in Nutrition will prepare you for your dream job in 2019-2020.

It's well established that what we eat is crucial to our long term health. As a large section of the population ages, expertise and knowledge of disease prevention and nutrition are essential to the field of health sciences. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a rise of almost 10,000 jobs in this field by 2026. In 2017, the median income in this field was $59,410. Ten percent of those employed in the field earned more than $80,000 per year.

With a Master's Degree in Nutrition, you are making inroads as a leading expert in nutrition and diet. Those with an MA degree are prepared to advocate for nutritional public policy change, nutrition research, or within the food and supplement industry. It's a broad field with many opportunities for career growth and change. Professionals in the field may have their own private practice, work in public and community health settings, or lead research efforts for large food and vitamin manufacturers. Many jobs are also within higher education and local, city or federal government.

There are a variety of national organizations who support and promote health and nutrition in the United States. It's an active, engaged community. Check out the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics for guidance on career options, programs, and membership benefits. Many of the programs listed below are accredited by the Academy's accrediting agency, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. ACEND follows stringent policies and procedures to accredit programs in the field. These 14 programs represent the very best in nutrition education.


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Here are the 14 Best Master's in Nutrition for 2020!

#14. University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems

Graduates of the MS in Nutrition and Food Systems at KU are prepared to address and advocate for local and global nutritional problems.

The University of Kentucky's Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems is a four-semester program with two curriculum tracks. Students engage in original research, either for their thesis or an independent project. Either path contains a central 17-credit curriculum. Core curriculum courses include topics such as Food Systems and Society, Chronic Disease Management and Process, and Advanced Community Program Development. With a multidisciplinary approach central to its curriculum, the MS in Nutrition and Food Systems also offers classes on nutrition and aging, food-related behaviors, and advanced work in dietetics. Past student's thesis work has brought forth new research on diet in rural populations, social media marketing in relation to obesity reduction, and fruit and vegetable intake of older adults.

The program offers opportunities to travel abroad – recent month-long trips included study in Italy, Ghana, and Australia. The program also abounds in student organizations to better connect students with peers and post-graduation career networking. These organizations include UK's Student Dietetic and Nutrition Association as well as several organizations aimed at alleviating food insecurity both on campus and in the broader community. Master's students may also wish to pursue a dietetic internship, which can lead to a Registered Dietician Nutritionist credential.

School's Average Net Price: $19,361

#13. The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, AL

Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences

One of the central focus areas of the Department of Nutrition Sciences and the School of Health Professions at UAB is obesity and obesity-related diseases.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham's Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences offers five separate tracks to its graduate students. Depending on your career goals, you may choose an internship track, a research track, a dietetics program track, a prior learning track, or a lifestyle management and disease prevention track. All of the tracks can be completed between 1 and 2 years. Some tracks are offered completely online, and some require many hours of on-site supervised clinical experiences. After completing their degree, students on the internship track are prepared to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietician Nutritionists.

With 24 primary faculty members, the Department of Nutrition Sciences at UAB is home to active and engaged scientific inquiry. UAB is a Nutrition Obesity Research Center site – one of only a handful across the United States. DNS faculty member Barbara Gower sits as vice-chair at the center. DNS has a rich 75-year history as a pioneer in the field of nutrition sciences. The School of Health Professions at UAB, which the DNS is a part of, is one of the largest, fastest growing health profession schools in the nation.

School's Average Net Price: $17,016

#12. University of Illinois-Chicago

Chicago, IL

Master of Science in Nutrition

Students in the MS in Nutrition program at UIC will gain research experience in the UIC's state of the art 900-square-foot Metabolic Kitchen, opened in June 2018.

Whether you are a currently practicing dietician, or have a non-health sciences academic background, the Master of Science in Nutrition at the University of Chicago-Illinois will prepare you for work in nutritional sciences research or practice in the field. UIC's coordinated program prepares its students to sit for the registered dietician examination. The coordinated program is full-time, with most students completing the coursework within 2-3 years. In the first year, students will take courses such as Introduction to Dietetics and Culture and Food. Students enrolled in the traditional program take courses in Advanced Pathophysiology, Physiological Aspects of Nutrition, and Nutrition and Health Counseling.

The Kinesiology and Nutrition Department at UIC offers hands-on learning experiences to its students. Students can join the Student Nutrition Association, where students take part in fundraising events and nutrition-related community outreach. The department is also home to the UIC Nutrition Teaching Garden, which supplies ingredients to four classes in the department. The department encourages study abroad options, with students in recent years conducting research in Costa Rica and Spain.

School's Average Net Price: $11,844

#11. University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences

The MS in Nutritional Sciences program at UA is home to the Tucson-based Future Researchers and Educators Stimulating Healthy Lifestyles (F.R.E.S.H.) graduate student organization.

The Master of Science in Nutritional Science at the University of Arizona is a 27-credit-hour program, which includes six thesis credits. The MS in Nutritional Science program has two central research focuses: bioactive compounds and their relationship to cancer and the behavioral factors that influence body composition. The department's faculty can also support students interested in researching diabetes, immunity, and cardiovascular diseases. Both faculty and student research findings are directly applied to outreach programs in the community and throughout the state of Arizona. Students in the graduate program prepare for thesis research with courses such as Statistics for Applied Nutritional Sciences, Advanced Nutrigenomics, and extensive laboratory work. Students spend a minimum of nine hours per week in lab rotations. Labs are seven to eight weeks long. Students in the MS Nutrition Science may opt to continue on to pursue their Ph.D. while enrolled in the program.

The Department of Nutritional Sciences maintains active partnerships with the University of Arizona Cancer Center, Bio5 Institute, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. UA offers a number of research assistantships and scholarships to graduate students on a competitive basis.

School's Average Net Price: $15,758

#10. Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Master of Science in Human Nutrition

MSU holds summer session courses both on campus and online. The university also has study abroad partnerships with institutions all over the world.

Students enrolled in Michigan State University's Master of Science in Human Nutrition may opt to select a thesis or non-thesis path to graduation. Non-thesis graduate candidates complete a Master's project and successfully pass a final examination. Both thesis and project paths require students to take courses in Advanced Biochemical Nutrition, Advanced Vitamins and Minerals, and Research Methods in Human Nutrition. Students must also select a secondary focus area of study in biochemistry, physiology, anthropology, immunology, epidemiology, psychology or sociology.

Applicants to the program must have a Bachelor's degree in nutrition, chemistry, biology, statistics or physiology. GRE test scores, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation are also required. MSU offers resident assistantships and scholarships to graduate students, as well as a variety of resources for graduate students with children.

School's Average Net Price: $16,684

#9. University of Washington – Seattle Campus

Seattle, WA

Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences with the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics

The Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington-Seattle offers several forms of financial assistance through scholarships and teaching assistantships.

The 62-credit Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences with the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics is in the heart of the University District of Seattle. Graduate students in this program will complete a rigorous combination of coursework, a thesis, and at least 1,200 internship hours. This is a full-time program that is completed in 2-2.5 years. Upon completion of the program, students earn not only the MS in Nutritional Sciences but also acquire the credentials to become a Registered Dietitian. The GCPD is authorized by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. To fulfill the internship, students are given the option of focusing on Medical Nutrition Therapy or Public Health. Recent students worked with the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition to fulfill their practicum rotation. Coursework in the program includes Introduction to Epidemiology, Structural Racism and Public Health, and Biostatistical Reasoning for the Health Sciences.

Students admitted to the MS in Nutritional Sciences Program at UW-Seattle do not necessarily come from a physical science or biology background. Students can have a bachelor's in any field. The program does require several prerequisites prior to entering the program. These include courses in microbiology, organic chemistry, psychology, food science, and management of nutrition services. It may be possible to waive these courses if the student has already completed the Didactic Program in Dietetics and can show a verification statement from ACEND.

School's Average Net Price: $9,443

#8. University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

UConn graduate students in the MS in Nutrition Science program come from a variety of educational backgrounds.

At the University of Connecticut, the Master of Science in Nutritional Science graduate students benefit from the expertise of faculty in three areas: Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Human Nutrition and Metabolism, and Community Nutrition. The ten full-time faculties bring their expertise in these areas to their students. Most of the graduate students in UConn's MS in Nutritional Science program are fulfilling their degree through 15 hours of coursework, a thesis and a written examination. Recent thesis topics include "Maternal Anemia, Prenatal Health, and Birth Outcome in a Low-Income Population," "Obesity incidence among women from developing countries," and "The link between adiponectin and the metabolic syndrome." In some cases, students with a background in nutritional sciences may opt for a non-thesis path and instead take 24 credit hours, a written examination and present a research topic orally to a committee.

The Department of Nutritional Sciences offers a seminar series open to graduate students, the UConn community and the public. Seminars are hosted by experts and professionals in the field of nutrition, public health, and food security. The Department of Nutritional Sciences draws heavily from UConn's robust academic community and works with departments across the university.

School's Average Net Price: $18,699

#7. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

Cornell University has the largest faculty of any Nutritional Science program in the United States.

At Cornell University, graduate students pursue a concentration in of these four fields: Dietetics, Human Nutrition Evidence for Policymaking, Global Food Systems for Health or an individualized track where students may develop their own unique concentration. All four of these concentrations require 60 credit hours of coursework. The program is completed in four full-time semesters. All students in the MS in Nutritional Science program complete a thesis. Core coursework in the program includes a Seminar in Nutritional Sciences, Nutritional Biochemistry Colloquium, and a Community Nutrition Seminar.

Admission to the program is open to anyone holding a Bachelor's degree. Prerequisite courses in biochemistry and a human nutrition course, as well as macroeconomics, statistics, and dietetics are required prior to entry into the program. The College of Human Ecology at Cornell University works with Cornell's many centers and institutes to allow its students an interdisciplinary experience during their graduate education. These institutes and centers include the Institute for Healthy Futures, the Cornell Center for Health Equity, and the Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors and Disparities. Additionally, graduate students have access to state of the art research facilities such as the Human Metabolic Research Unit, the Human Nutritional Chemistry Service Laboratory, and the Cornell Statistical Consulting Unit.

School's Average Net Price: $31,449

#6. Rutgers University – New Brunswick

New Brunswick, NJ

Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences

Students in the MS in Nutritional Sciences program may utilize Rutger University's student farm for a hands-on learning experience.

The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University offers three concentrations to graduate students. Students may pursue a nutritional and biochemistry physiology focus, an applied and community nutrition focus, or an individualized study in dietetics. The first option is for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. and focuses on molecular aspects of nutrition. The applied and community nutrition focuses on preparation for a career in the public health field. Students pursuing an individualized study in dietetics are also pursuing credentials as a registered dietitian. All three curriculum paths require a thesis based on original research. The degree is 30 credits total and generally takes two years to complete. Classes in the program include Nutritional Aspects of Disease, Community Nutrition, and Metabolic Regulation.

The program requires prerequisite courses for all incoming graduate students. These courses include one year of general chemistry, one year of organic chemistry, and at least 12 credits in advanced-level science classes. Rutgers is home to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. NJAES is an extension program of the university that addresses and advocates for sustainable, healthy food sources and agricultural practices for the larger New Jersey community.

School's Average Net Price: $16,016

#5. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Raleigh, NC

Master of Science in Nutrition

The nutrition program at NCSU at Raleigh combines the knowledge and experience of several other departments, including animal science, poultry science and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Nutrition at North Carolina State University at Raleigh may select a thesis or non-thesis degree program option. Thesis students select a faculty member who best matches their research interests to guide them throughout the program. The thesis option is geared towards individuals who intend to work in research post-graduation or pursue a Ph.D. Non-thesis students select a concentration. Possible areas of concentration include an emphasis in feed-science or human nutrition, food, and bio-processing. Students have the opportunity to utilize North Carolina State University's feed mill for research and observation.

Many of the nutrition program's courses can be taken online. Over the course of the 36 credit hours, students will take classes such as Principles of Biochemistry, Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism, and Principles of Human Nutrition. Students in the program can add a Professional Science Master's designation if they pursue a combination of courses and internship with a prospective employer. NCSU at Raleigh MS in Nutrition program prepares its students for careers where they will communicate and apply complex nutrition concepts and research to real-world scenarios.

School's Average Net Price: $13,442

#4. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

St. Paul, MN

Master's in Nutrition

The faculty of the Department of Nutrition at the University of Minnesota comes from a wide variety of academic and food industries, such as cereal science and technology, food-borne pathogens, and processed meat technology.

At the University of Minnesota, graduate students in the Master's in Nutrition program take a core course series and complete 10 credits of thesis work or 10 additional credits. The total program is 30 credit hours and requires a seminar presentation on the student's thesis, as well as an oral examination. Core coursework includes nutritional biochemistry, nutritional physiology, vitamin and mineral biochemistry, and nutrition and genetics. Whether students select a thesis or non-thesis option, they will gain research experience in the subject of their choice in areas such as maternal and child nutrition, energy metabolism or phytochemicals.

UM offers a non-credit, non-degree dietetic internship experience intended to prepare participants for the registered dietitian examination. Dietetic interns may choose to focus their internship experience on eating disorders or medical nutrition therapy. The Department of Food Science and Nutrition also offers its students a spectrum of food product research groups and facilities, such as The Joseph J. Warthesen Food Processing Center, several food analysis labs, and the Dairy and Meat Salesroom.

School's Average Net Price: $16,808

#3. The Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

Master of Science in Human Nutrition

The College of Education and Human Ecology offers scholarships to graduate students pursuing the MS in Human Nutrition at The Ohio State University.

With 16 dedicated faculties, the Master of Science in Human Nutrition at The Ohio State University offers students a robust learning environment rich in research opportunities. Students complete 11 core courses in subjects such as Macronutrient Metabolism, Vitamin & Mineral Metabolism, and Nutrition Research Design. Additionally, students must take a minimum of one course addressing methods of research. Ten credits of supporting credit hours are also required to complete the degree, along with a six-credit thesis. Supporting course examples include Nutrition and Physical Performance, Fundamentals of Oncology, and the Epidemiology of Obesity.

Graduate students in the program have a variety of opportunities to apply their knowledge and research both on campus and through off-campus affiliations. The Russell Klein Nutritional Research Symposium, Graduate Students Nutritional Sciences and the Food Innovation Center are all active centers of research participation and productivity. OSU also houses the Center for Advanced Functional Foods Research and Entrepreneurship. The College of Education and Human Ecology has an over 100-year-old legacy of innovative teaching and learning experiences in the field of human nutrition.

School's Average Net Price: $ 18,042

#2. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

Master of Science in Nutrition Science

The Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University has two central student organizations: the Nutrition Society and the Food Science Club.

The Master of Science in Nutrition Science program pulls from the expertise and training opportunities of both Purdue University and the Indiana University School of Medicine. Students may choose to take courses in any of these disciplines: physiology, biochemistry, food science, cell biology, genetics, and psychology. Students select an emphasis in either Public Health and Education; Human and Clinical Nutrition; Growth and Development; Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition; or Animal Health. Thesis work is required of all graduate candidates. The program is a total of 30 credits. Once the core curriculum of 17 credit hours is completed, students have a great deal of flexibility to shape and focus on their particular area of interest and research.

Purdue University's Department of Nutrition has made research advancements particularly in the fields of metabolism and obesity, minerals, Vitamin D and bone health, and carcinogenesis and cancer prevention. Purdue also offers organized learning communities to its graduate students where students can socialize, attend events and discuss their chosen area of expertise in dietetics or nutrition science.

School's Average Net Price: $12,117

#1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IN

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

The majority of graduate students at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign receive financial support in the form of fellowships or scholarships during their education.

The Master of Science in Nutritional Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a highly customizable graduate program. Students are encouraged to delve into their own unique research and assemble coursework representative of their long-term career goals. The program's faculty emphasizes the six central research themes at UI covering fields such as animal nutrition, biochemical and molecular nutrition, community nutrition, and food safety. Once students select their area of emphasis, students may also opt to participate in a graduate teaching position or a dietetic internship.

The MS in Nutritional Science offers exemplary opportunities for professional development. Each year, the Nutritional Sciences program at UI hosts an annual nutrition symposium. This event draws national attendance. Graduate students present their research and listen to a key note speaker address the most current and relevant subjects in nutrition. UI nutrition students may also benefit from the Frontiers in Nutrition Sciences Seminar Series or a study abroad award.

School's Average Net Price: $16,638

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