Nutrition Science, a growing sector in the United States, provides an array of rewarding career opportunities.
Those with a master’s degree in nutrition have career opportunities in public and private settings, including hospitals and clinics, business and industry, government agencies, health maintenance organizations, international agencies and health organizations, colleges and universities, and private research companies.
Colleges offering graduate programs in nutrition typically provide Master of Science (MS) or Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees, as well as doctoral degrees.
Full-time students typically take two years to complete a master’s degree program in nutrition. Graduates of an MS/Nutrition program can take the exam to become a Registered Dietitian.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 20% employment increase for dietitians and nutritionists from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
The average salary in August of 2012 for registered/licensed dietitians: $41,175 to $59,794. (PayScale.com)
While creating the 10 Best Master’s Degree Programs in Nutrition list, we had to leave out some excellent programs. Our guidelines are based on the quality of the program, the faculty, job placement success, and reputation.
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Shown alphabetically, here is our list of the 10 Best Master’s Degree Programs in Nutrition:
Students in the MS in Nutrition program learn from faculty members involved in education, administration, research, communication, professional practice, and consulting.
Important practicum experiences are available in settings such as:
- Private practice focused on nutrition for athletes
- Eating disorders clinic
- Outpatient cardiovascular clinic at a suburban teaching hospital
- Clinical research center at a large teaching hospital
- Offices of a nationally distributed nutrition newsletter
Graduates are qualified for jobs in areas such as public health programs, consulting and research, nutrition and health communication, and nutrition-related businesses.
2Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Nutrition Sciences Department: MS in Nutrition
The Master of Science in Nutrition program thoroughly covers normal and therapeutic nutrition for individuals and groups.
Students can choose the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) track or the Nutritional Sciences track. Students taking the DPD track complete the degree as non-thesis students, while those taking the Nutritional Sciences track have the option of completing a thesis or not.
Full-time students taking the MS/Didactic Program in Dietetics can complete the program in two years. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in another field are allowed to take the program.
3Hunter College, City University of New York, School of Public Health: MPH in Public Health Nutrition
(New York, New York)
The school provides a curriculum for registered dietitians and a curriculum for students who don’t have the credential.
Students learn how to evaluate the nutritional needs of different types of population groups, how to plan and implement nutrition and food programs, and how to oversee nutritional programs in institutional and community environments.
Graduates of the program are qualified to promote the nutritional well-being of population groups.
Graduates of the program have job opportunities in settings such as:
- Local, state, and federal government health departments
- Community programs
- International nutrition programs
(West Lafayette, Indiana)
The Interdepartmental Nutrition Program involves faculty from 10 departments, providing a broad range of expertise and training opportunities.
Interdepartmental Nutrition Program faculty members have expertise in food toxicology, product formulation, sensory evaluation, consumer behavior, and botanicals.
Students are accepted via the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program and train under a faculty member in the home department of the faculty member.
Students learn how foods or food components influence the health of people and animals. Students in the program train in one of the following emphasis groups:
- Human and Clinical Nutrition
- Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition
- Public Health and Education
- Animal Health, Growth, and Development
5Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy: Master of Nutrition Science and Policy, Blended Learning Program
The Master of Nutrition Science and Policy (MNSP), Blended Learning master’s degree program covers the design and impact of nutrition programs and the biological aspects of nutrition, as well as the applied analytical methods utilized to solve nutrition and lifestyle challenges and problems.
The program focuses on nutrition science and policy. The program also reviews domestic and global policy areas which affect nutrition and food security.
The Tufts University Master of Nutrition Science and Policy, Blended Learning program has been taught for four years in the United Arab Emirates. The program has moved to the university’s Boston/Medford campus in the United States and will be available beginning in 2013.
The program combines residencies at the Boston/Medford campus and online learning. According to a university spokesperson the program includes about 95 percent of the courses provided before the move. Students can complete the program in 16 months.
The Graduate Group in Nutritional Biology, a cooperative interdepartmental organization, offers a master’s degree in nutritional biology.
The group comprises 17 departments distributed among three colleges: Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Biological Sciences; and Letters and Science.
The program’s strengths include nutritional biochemistry, nutrition and development, human/clinical nutrition, nutrient biovailability, nutrition and behavior, community nutrition, maternal and child nutrition, nutritional energetics, and other areas.
The Division of Nutritional Sciences, a campus-wide, interdisciplinary graduate program, is tailored for students interested in science and business. There is also a separate Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition.
Graduates are qualified for scientific and technical careers in educational institutions, industry, healthcare facilities, and government agencies.
Students in the master’s degree program choose a thesis or non-thesis option. Students have the opportunity to gain expertise in specific areas of food science and human nutrition.
The strengths of faculty members in the Division of Nutritional Sciences include:
- Community nutrition
- Clinical nutrition
- Nutritional biochemistry
- Nutritional toxicology
Students receive multidisciplinary training, though they may also focus on areas they’re interested in.
Graduates are qualified for careers in healthcare, education, academia, wellness, and other nutrition-related fields. Students select a thesis or non-thesis option.
The master’s program in nutritional sciences provides emphasis in areas such as:
- Clinical nutrition
- Molecular and biochemical nutrition
- Community nutrition
- Wellness/sports nutrition
9University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health: MPH in Nutrition
(Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
The MPH in Nutrition program provides a track for a MPH with a Combined Registered Dietitian (RD) component.
Those finishing the program complete the registered dietitian requirements. Those who complete the MPH-Registered Dietician program meet the knowledge and performance requirements identified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Graduates of the program are eligible to take the dietetic registration exam.
Graduates of the program qualify for careers in nutrition and dietetics overseeing nutrition programs in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, industry, and educational institutions.
10University of Washington, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology: MPH in Public Health Nutrition
The Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health provides an MPH degree program in public health nutrition.
The program includes the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics–accredited Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD), which is required for obtaining Registered Dietitian (RD) status.
The program has strong connections to the Warren G. Magnuson Health Sciences Center, as well as the University of Washington Medical Center, a research and teaching facility. Via links with the Clinical Research Center, the Clinical Nutrition Research Unit, and the School of Public Health, students have opportunities to participate in nutritional research projects, counseling, clinical rotations, community education projects, and other public health programs.
Students receive training in the application of nutritional sciences to dietetic practice via clinical, didactic, and community experiences. The main areas of study include public health nutrition, clinical nutrition, and experimental nutrition.