Masters in Nutrition Degree Programs

Whether you are interested in practicing dietetics, community nutrition, food science research, or something else entirely, a Master's degree in Nutrition can help to prepare you with the knowledge needed to excel.

Nutrition Master's programs are broad in their focus and suited for professionals across many industries. Depending on your career of interest, you may benefit from a Master's program focused on clinical research, community outreach, nutrition leadership, or patient care. Generally speaking, any Master of Nutrition degree will require a Bachelor of Nutrition degree, or an undergraduate degree (and transcripts) in a related program area.

School Program Admissions
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill MPH/Registered Dietitian (MPH/RD)
Three CEPH-accredited concentrations: MPH Leadership, MPH Nutrition, MPH Registered Dietitian (MPH/RD).
Winthrop University Online Master of Science in Human Nutrition
ACEND-Aligned Curriculum. Gain comprehensive knowledge and leading-edge skills needed to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Certifying Examination. Online students who meet GRE requirements and have a DPD verification statement can apply for our dietetic internship.
Arizona State University Online Master of Science in Nutritional Science – Dietetics
Select from topics including sports nutrition, pediatric nutrition and obesity prevention to tailor your degree to your professional interests.
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Are there online Master's in Nutrition degree programs?

Yes, there are online Master's in Nutrition degree programs. A Master's degree in Nutrition can take many forms, including Master of Science (MS) and Master of Public Health (MPH in Nutrition) degrees, both of which have many online options.

For those interested in nutritional research and food science, a Master of Science degree may be a great fit. Master of Science degrees in Nutrition or Nutritional Sciences typically focus on areas such as metabolic studies, athlete performance and fitness, body composition, biochemistry, food composition, and human or animal-based research.

Typical online Nutrition Masters degrees

A Masters in Nutrition is a graduate level nutrition degree. While MS degrees can lead to community-based jobs, students interested in how nutrition plays a role in the social determinants of human health may benefit from a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in nutrition. These programs focus on how the interaction between people's nutrition, behavior, and environment plays a role in health outcomes.

There are also Masters in Nutrition Policy degrees, where you learn about public policies and infrastructure affect human nutrition, such as community access to grocery stores and food assistance programs. Students in this field typically go into roles such as food policy specialists, health and wellness program managers, and community health workers.

In depth review of top Master of Nutrition degrees for 2023

Depending on your focus, different types of degree programs may be better suited for the professional skills you are interested in building. Let's dive into some of our top choices for master's in nutrition degree programs, including options for those focused on dietetics, clinical research, public health, and more.

University of Alabama - Master of Science in Human Nutrition

The MS in Human Nutrition program is a 30-credit hour program offered online, including a Capstone experience. This program is designed for students who want to work professionally in an area of nutrition, enhance their knowledge as a registered dietitian, or continue to doctoral studies in nutrition. Depending on your area of interest, you can choose one of three concentrations: Clinical nutrition, Community nutrition, or Generalist tracks. The clinical track focuses on nutrients and biochemistry, with classes such as Advanced Vitamin and Mineral Metabolism, Metabolism of Energy Nutrition, and Nutrition for the Older Adult. The community track requires courses such as Community Nutrition, Maternal and Infant Nutrition, and Epidemiology, while the generalist track focuses on diverse classes such as biostatistics, research methods, and nutrition support for the critically ill. If you are not sure about the direction of your professional nutrition career, the generalist track is a great way to explore areas of interest and connect with professors in different fields.

To enter this program, students must either have completed an ACEND-accredited undergraduate program or a set of prerequisite courses in life sciences and nutrition. For students entering the program without the required prerequisites, there may be opportunities to complete the courses before the official start of the program.

North Carolina State University at Raleigh - Master of Nutrition

For professionals looking to enter the human or animal nutrition fields, this master's degree is designed to build applied knowledge and broaden students' understanding of diverse nutritional concepts. This 36-credit degree is offered online and does not involve a thesis project. If desired, students can choose between human nutrition and feed science emphases and complete specific directed practice and coursework credits to gain a Professional Science master's (PSM) designation. This program is interdepartmental, and students can work with faculty in the Department of Animal Science, Department of Agriculture and Human Sciences, Department Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Department of Poultry Science, and more to build skills in areas of interest.

Students typically enter with a background in a science-related field and take at least 9 credits per semester to be considered full-time students. If completing the professional skills component, students will be able to connect with prospective employers to take part in career-focused internships and build job-ready skills.

University of Georgia - Master of Science in Foods and Nutrition, Community Nutrition

Similar to a Master of Public Health degree, this community-focused master's is intended to help students build skills in community nutrition, intervention, and leadership. This master's program is offered online and qualifies students to become certified as Georgia School Nutrition Directors. Many students go on from this program to work as school nutrition directors and coordinators, nutrition outreach specialists, nutrition education leaders, and other private and public sector professionals. This program offers diverse courses such as Nutrition Health and Aging, Community Nutrition, Diet and Disease for Nutritional Educators, Food Sanitation and Safety, and Health Promotion Research Methods.

To enter this program, students should have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, have had introductory science classes, and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Students can further demonstrate their interest in the field with a personal statement and letters of recommendation.

Eastern Michigan University - Master of Science in Human Nutrition

The Master of Science in Human Nutrition (MSHN) offered by Eastern Michigan University is a great program for those interested in building their nutrition knowledge without seeking a Registered Dietitian Nutrition (RDN) credential. This program helps students land positions in health care, business, education, and human performance. This program has two main aims: Help students develop skills to evaluate nutrition-based literature professionally and make informed decisions, and build knowledge of research practices by working with top faculty. Students work in the field to learn how to take research projects through all development stages, from idea to publication. Students have the exciting opportunity to focus their learning on topic areas of interest, including community-based nutrition, entrepreneurial skills, cultural nutrition, and nutritional ecology.

This program is delivered online and is designed for professionals of all ages. To enter the program, students need prerequisite courses in chemistry, statistics, and nutrition. For students with RDN credentials, this master's program provides Continuing Professional Education hours towards maintaining your credential.

Oklahoma State University - Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences with a Concentration in Nutrition

Oklahoma State University offers several Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences options, including the Dietetics Practice option, the Dietetics Research option, and the Nutrition option. For students not looking to become an RDN or who would like to enhance their nutritional education in addition to their RDN credential, this is a great option. All students in this program will take core courses in nutritional science, including classes in macronutrients, micronutrients, and nutritional research. After the core courses are completed, students can choose either a thesis or non-thesis plan and pick electives that suit their interests. Because of the options to customize the program and courses, this is a great master's program for students in all stages of their careers.

To enter this program, students need to submit a Graduate College application, transcripts from previous universities, a CV, letters of recommendation, three professional references, and a personal goals statement. While this may seem like a long list, students in the program learn from renowned faculty, all of which have PhD or RDN credentials. Students have the opportunity to get involved with faculty research, including diverse topic areas such as military fitness and nutrition, micronutrients in cancer, and the human microbiome.

San Diego State University - Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences

San Diego State University offers a prestigious Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences through the College of Health and Human Services School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. For students interested in leaning into nutritional research, this is a great program because of the opportunity to get involved in laboratory-based human and animal research. Students are able to work with professors across departments to integrate nutritional research into diverse subject fields. Students in this program investigate research topics such as nutritional differences across communities, human breast milk composition, cholesterol and energy balance, and more. Students can further tailor their experience by choosing Plan A or Plan B. Plan A involves completing a thesis and oral examination of the thesis, while Plan B involves directed readings.

To enter this program, students must have a strong background in the sciences. Students are expected to have prerequisite courses in areas such as general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general biology, microbiology, and human physiology, alongside some intro nutrition courses.

University of Michigan - Master of Public Health in Population and Health Sciences with a Concentration in Precision Nutrition

The Population and Health Sciences online Master of Public Health degree at the University of Michigan is a great way for students interested in public health nutrition to build a broad set of skills while still focusing on nutrition-based courses. This master's program involves 42 credit hours, including core courses and electives. The core curriculum involves courses such as Introduction to Biostatistics, Social Determinants of Health, Nutrition and Public Health, Epidemiology, Leadership Skills, Public Health Sciences and the Environment, and Nutrition and Public Health. After the core curriculum, students can then choose up to two concentrations. For nutrition-based professionals concentrations in Maternal and Child Nutrition and Precision Nutrition can set you up to build important knowledge in this field. For students looking unsure of their direction, mixing one nutrition certificate with another certificate such as Health Management or Health Behavior can expand your resume and prepare you for a broad set of professional roles.

To prepare students to enter career roles post-graduate, this program requires second-year students to complete a yearlong capstone experience. This experience involves working with an outside organization and embarking on a relevant project for your interest area. This could involve analyzing data, creating infographics, writing a policy brief, becoming involved in the community, and more.

University of Wisconsin - Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition

The Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition is designed for clinical-focused students who are committed to working in clinical nutrition practices, policy, and research. Students are expected to have a strong background in clinical science and be confident in graduate-level science courses. This program consists of core courses such as Human Energy Metabolism, Micronutrients, Advanced Nutrition Assessment, and Clinical Nutrition Research. Students can then choose clinical nutrition and professional skills courses suited to their interests, such as Advanced Nutrition Counseling and Education, Personalized Nutrition, Nutrition Informatics, Writing for Professionals, and Creating Breakthrough Innovations.

To enter this program, students must complete prerequisite courses such as General Chemistry, Biology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physiology, and Statistics, alongside sending in transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

Note: As the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will soon require a Master’s degree to qualify for the Registration Exam for Dietitians, many Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) in training are seeking out nutrition-based graduate degrees to expand their skill set.

Top courses for an Online Nutrition Masters program

Courses vary widely depending on the focus of the program. However, most nutrition-based master’s programs will have a core curriculum focusing on different aspects of nutrition. These courses will be under different catalog numbers depending on the university. Potential courses you might see in your master’s program include:

Foundations in Professional Practice

Foundations of Professional Practice is a course designed to help students enter nutrition-based professions. This course explored concepts such as ethics within nutrition professions, standards of practice, how to prepare for qualifying exams, legal aspects associated with different careers, and how to continually build skills throughout their careers.

Human Energy Metabolism

This course will focus on macronutrient metabolism and the effects of nutrition on human health. This course will typically use biochemistry and physiology knowledge, including energy assessment and an understanding of anabolic and catabolic changes within the body.

Community Nutrition

Community nutrition typically focuses on nutrition within the community and how to assess whether a certain group of people is having their nutritional needs met by community policy and infrastructure. This may include examining community programs, implementation strategies, evaluation methods, and differences among cultures.

Nutrition Across the Lifespan

This course teaches about how our nutritional needs change from birth through to old age. This teaches students key skills needed to design interventions and clinical nutrition plans that are suited for the target audience. For example, nutritional interventions focused on improving the health of children will be much different than those aimed at pregnant women, athletes, or people over the age of 60. Cultural differences and individual requirements for community members are often emphasized in this class.

Nutritional Assessment

Nutritional assessment courses teach students how to assess nutritional metrics within a community. These courses help students enter into research or community leadership and include advanced methods in analyzing food-related behaviors, designing community-based surveys, understanding biobanks and genetic samples, and more.

What can you do with a Masters in Nutrition degree?

With a Master’s degree in Nutrition, you can work in many fields related to helping understand the field of nutrition and implementing more effective nutritional interventions within the community.

This can take shape in diverse job positions, such as one of the following career paths:

  • Health Educator
  • Nutrition Researcher
  • Health Coach
  • Public Health Advocate
  • Nutritionist
  • Health administrator
  • Policy Advocate
  • Nutrition Project Manager
  • Clinical Trials Manager
  • Education Leadership
  • Regulatory Affairs Manager

You can also use your Master’s in Nutrition degree to enhance your knowledge as a health care worker alongside gaining qualifications as a medical doctor, nurse, or registered dietitian nutritionist. For those looking to continue their career in research or academia, a master’s in nutrition can set you up to enter advanced studies such as a doctoral program in nutrition.

Nutritionist career and salary info

Professionals in nutrition-related fields typically experience competitive pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nutritionists and Dietitians make an average of $61,650 per year, as of May 2021 [BLS].

The nutrition and dietetics field is broad, and your specific industry will have a large impact on your earning potential. For example, health education specialists make an annual wage of $60,600, while community health workers typically bring in around $46,590. Professionals in clinical fields are some of the highest-paid professionals in the nutrition field, with health service managers bringing in an average of $101,340 and agriculture and food scientists earning an average of $74,160. As you gain professional experience, your pay is may increase as you move into more senior positions.