North Carolina Nutrition Degree Programs, Online Included

There are over 20 nutrition degrees in North Carolina at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. You can find Bachelor's in Nutrition degrees at schools like North Carolina Central University, Meredith College, and East Carolina University.

There are also Masters in Nutrition programs at Duke University, the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, which has an online MPH in Nutrition degree.

In North Carolina, you can find CEPH accredited MPH programs and ACEND accredited dietetics programs.

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).
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Are there online nutrition programs in North Carolina?

Yes, the most common online degree program offered at North Carolina schools is a Master's degree. There are many variations of a Master of Science in Nutrition degree offered. Masters Degrees with concentrations in nutrition, dietetics, epidemiology and community nutrition are all options at NC state public and private schools. MS programs based in North Carolina are available to students in and out-of-state (as well as internationally), so all qualified candidates can benefit from the flexibility of online programs from NC schools.

UNC Chapel Hill online MPH in Nutrition

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill offers an online MPH in Nutrition program with three CEPH-accredited concentrations: MPH Leadership, MPH Nutrition, MPH Registered Dietitian (MPH/RD).

Online nutrition degrees in North Carolina

University Degree Program Accreditation Format

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

MPH in Nutrition CEPH Online

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

MPH in Nutrition & Dietetics CEPH Online

In depth review of North Carolina nutrition degrees

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill- Master of Public Health - Online

UNC's MPH program is a top nutrition/public health program housed in The Gillings School of Global Public Health. It has been recognized by US News & World Report as the #2 best rated public health school behind Johns Hopkins and Harvard. UNC Gillings is notably one of the first Accredited Future Education Model (FEM) program approved by ACEND.

UNC specializes in three separate concentrations or tracks for the Master of Public Health: Leadership, Nutrition or Applied Epidemiology. Each track provides students with a comprehensive curriculum combining nutrition science principles with a current public health landscape. The Nutrition concentration is designed to integrate nutrition science concepts with education in nutritional and dietary guidance to improve health outcomes for communities and populations. Courses in this track explore behavior change, communication, counseling and the effects of dietary culture on individuals and within communities. All three of the online MPH program concentrations use the same curriculum as the corresponding concentration for the on-campus MPH program. All concentrations include the 14-credit Gillings MPH Core, practicum courses, a comprehensive exam and a 3-credit culminating experience.

Graduates of the on-campus MPH program with a Nutrition concentration have gone on to work for a variety of lifestyle and health-related media and publication companies, to include the Food Network, Southern Living, EatingWell, and Shape.

East Carolina State University (ECU) - Master of Science, Nutrition; Beginning in Fall 2024, Accelerated MS-DI

Based in Greenville, NC, ECU currently offers a Master of Nutrition online, with an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship option. The ECU dietetic internship is one of the largest in the country accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Beginning Fall of 2024, ECU will offer a hybrid online/in person Accelerated Master of Science in Nutrition, with a DI onsite in hospitals and clinics in the Greenville, NC area (DICAS application required). This program can be completed in about two years.

The Master of Science program is a 33-hour program, and is not an ACEND accredited program. It can be completed as a thesis or non-thesis program, and it is offered only online. Some on-campus activities may be required for the thesis option. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate courses, and the equivalent of ECU's Nutrition Foundation requirements (if your undergraduate degree is in something other than nutrition), and a minimum of a C grade in Algebra, completed within past 5 years of application.

North Carolina State University - Master of Science in Nutrition

NC State, based in Raleigh, is the largest school in the Carolinas and in the University of North Carolina school system. It is also known as the flagship STEM school in the UNC system, but it also excels in agriculture and life sciences, where its nutrition programs are housed. NC State offers programs for all degree types, BS, MS and PhD. Two master degree programs are offered online, one with a thesis and the other a non-thesis program which is 100% online. NC State's nutrition degree programs are not ACEND accredited.

The non-thesis option is a unique, interdisciplinary, applied degree program designed to prepare graduates for career success in either human nutrition or animal nutrition. Students choose between a human nutrition emphasis and a feed science emphasis. The human nutrition track is suitable for students looking to work in community and public health nutrition, health and wellness promotion, or food and pharmaceutical manufacturing with an emphasis on nutritional health products. NC State has one of the only programs where you can elect a concentration in animal feed science and feed formulation as part of the nutrition masters. The Master of Nutrition curriculum requires 36 credit hours of coursework, which includes up to 6 credit hours of a directed practicum, internship or independent project.

Appalachian State University - Bachelor of Science Nutrition and Foods; Master of Nutrition, Public Health concentration online

Appalachian State University, based in the Blue Ridge mountains of Boone, NC is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. While it may seem small, App State boasts over 20K students. It also offers five Nutrition degree programs, with two degree programs attainable fully online. The online Master of Nutrition with a concentration in Public Health blends synchronous (set meeting times in an online classroom) and asynchronous (coursework completed on your schedule) courses and can be completed in two years. The BS in Nutrition and Foods is a 120-hour program science-based program that prepares students to work in community health and wellness, food assistance programming, food science or the food industry.

The Nutrition and Wellness program was added to the curriculum in 2020. While this concentration does not lead to the RDN credential, it does meet the growing need for food and nutrition professionals to learn best practices for promoting healthy lifestyles to diverse sectors, such as community/public health nutrition organizations, communities and populations.

Campus-based and online dietetics and nutrition degrees in North Carolina

University Degree Program Accreditation Format

Appalachian State University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Appalachian State University

MS in Dietetic Internship ACEND Campus

Duke University

Dietetic Internship Campus

Duke University Hospital

ACEND Campus

East Carolina University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

East Carolina University

Master of Science in Nutrition Campus

Meredith College

BS, MS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Meredith College

M.S. in Nutrition programs, MS-Didactic Program in Dietetics Track Campus

North Carolina Central University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

North Carolina Central University

Graduate Program (MS) ACEND Campus

North Carolina State University

M.S. & Ph.D. in Food Science, M.S. & Ph.D. in Nutrition Campus

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Master of Science in Public Health Campus

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Master of Public Health Campus

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

M.S. in Nutrition Campus

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Ph.D. in Nutrition Campus

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)

MPH ACEND Campus

University of North Carolina Greensboro

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

MPH in Nutrition CEPH Online

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

MPH in Nutrition & Dietetics CEPH Online

Western Carolina University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Western Carolina University

MHS in Dietetic Internship ACEND Campus

Are there ACEND accredited nutrition and dietetics degrees in North Carolina?

Yes, there are currently 10 ACEND accredited programs available in North Carolina, according to the ACEND Accredited Program page. Four offer undergraduate Bachelor of Science degrees. Six programs offer a Masters or combined Masters and Dietetic Internship (DI). Three of the six Master’s degree programs are offered online. There are seven other ACEND programs in NC, but they are not offered online. There are also non-ACEND online nutrition degree programs offered at North Carolina schools for students who aspire to pursue other clinical or community nutrition roles besides dietetics. North Carolina colleges and universities offer both didactic and coordinated programs.

East Carolina University – Bachelor of Science in Nutrition

Two tracks within ECU’s Bachelor of Science degree are offered: the didactic program in dietetics (DPD) and the nutrition with science (NS) track. Both tracks are on-campus, face-to-face programs. The DPD track requires 120 semester hours and is the correct choice for students who intend to become an RDN. Admission for the DPD track is competitive and requires a minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average, with completion of all prerequisite courses outlined in ECU’s cohort application.

Duke University – Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS)

The Duke University Hospital Nutrition and Dietetics program is a 14-month Future Graduate (FG) program and is ACEND accredited. It is a unique, rigorous and inter-professional master’s degree program that consist of two components. The first is a master’s degree, the Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS), and the second is an experiential component of mentored nutritional experiences. This program is unique in that it not only fully meets ACEND’s Future Education Model standards (preparing graduates to be fully certified experts in the field of Nutrition and Dietetics), but will also provide EMT certification.

The program starts in June and concludes in August. Students must meet graduation requirements within 19.5 months of the start date. To graduate, students must complete with a passing grade the 38 credits required for the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree.
Upon graduation, students receive a verification statement confirming 1,000 hours of experiential learning in clinical nutrition, community, food service and administrative areas. Students will earn an EMT certificate, the EMT -B Course offered by Durham Tech. Upon graduation, students will be eligible to sit for CDR Registration Exam to become Registered Dietitians, and obtain state licensure by North Carolina Board of Dietetics and Nutrition.

Lenoir Rhyne University – Master of Nutrition, DPD online

Lenoir Rhyne is a private, Christian university located in Hickory, North Carolina. It has a combined dietetic internship and MS program in coordination with the Solmaz Institute which provides education and support to address child and adolescent obesity. Lenoir Rhyne provides students the opportunity to complete the didactic portion of the program online, obtain a DPD verification statement and apply for an internship onsite with the Solmaz Institute to meet the post-baccalaureate requirements necessary to sit for the CDR exam to become a RDN.

Meredith College – Master of Science- Didactic Program in Dietetics Track or Accelerated MS/DI

Meredith College in Raleigh is a small private, women’s liberal arts college with a coeducational graduate school. It has a small enrollment of about 1,500 students but offers multiple benefits who want to earn an MS in Nutrition online (non-RD track), or for those who wish to pursue RDN licensure and apply for a dietetic internship. Either way Meredith has multiple tracks that prepare students professionally. It offers an Master of Science online that is a not ACEND-accredited, as well as a Master of Science on campus for those with a DPD verification statement who wish to pursue a Masters and/or obtain RDN licensure. It also offers a coordinated DI/MS program.

The Master of Science Degree in Nutrition – Didactic Program in Dietetics is a 36 semester hour program with a curriculum rooted in a foundation of the science and applied nutrition that includes study of the research process, essential nutrients and their role in human biology, as well as a focus on nutrition in the lifecycle, education, and the food system.

Meredith’s MS-Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist track is an ACEND accredited program designed for students holding an undergraduate degree in any field of study who have completed the required prerequisites to apply. It is one of the three tracks offered that earn students a Master of Science in Nutrition. This coordinated track combines didactic and advanced nutrition coursework with supervised experiential learning hours into one program. The Accelerated Dietitian Nutritionist MS track is for students who have already successfully completed an undergraduate degree in a science field and want to pursue an advanced didactic degree that will enable them to gain experiential hours via a Dietetic Internship. The school’s location in Raleigh near Research Triangle Park, is ideal for graduate students to gain experiential learning at well-known local corporations medical centers, human services agencies and school systems. Upon graduation, students will earn a master of science degree in nutrition and are eligible to sit for the CDR credentialing examination to become a Registered Dietitian.

In depth review of top campus-based nutrition programs in North Carolina

Most North Carolina schools that offer undergraduate degrees in nutrition are primarily on-campus programs. Some offer Master’s degrees both on campus and online. UNC Chapel Hill has the most options for online and on-campus study in nutrition and dietetics. Some of the smaller undergraduate schools will specialize further, or offer specific concentrations. For example Lees-McRae College in the mountains of Banner Elk, NC provides a comprehensive nutrition science program that is one of the only undergraduate nutrition science major programs taught within the Health at Every Size® (HAES) Framework. North Carolina A&T offers both BS and MS programs and has applied for accreditation with ACEND as a Future Education Model School (FEM). Both are not ACEND accredited schools (yet). Most of the undergraduate programs at the larger state schools are ACEND-accredited.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC)- BS, MS, PhD in Public Health

The Department of Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. UNC’s MPH-RD program is rigorous and only offered on campus. It is one of the first Future Education Model (FEM) programs approved by ACEND. Students begin the program online in January of each year and complete the program in 28-32 months. UNC also offers an accelerated 16- and 24-month program option for the MPH-RD. Admission is competitive and information can be found at https://sph.unc.edu/nutr/mphrd-admissions/

University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) – Bachelor of Science, Human Nutrition and Dietetics

With its low a student-to-faculty ratio, UNC Greensboro’s School of Health and Human Sciences offers a didactic program with personal attention and mentoring from a top nutrition program. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs in nutrition science with 3 different concentrations– nutrition science, dietetics and a wellness concentration. Students in the dietetics concentration are automatically enrolled in the Didactic Program in Dietetics at UNC Greensboro and will complete coursework necessary to apply for a supervised practice program in dietetics. Successful completion of this concentration prepares students for the experiential internship required to become a RDN.

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Nutrition from UNCG can choose from three different options: thesis (37 hours); M.S./DI combined (38 hours) or non-thesis (40 hours). The MS/DI program combines the MS degree with the Dietetic Internship post-baccalaureate certificate Program. Students complete a one year plan of study that includes the Master of Science track courses, then the DI courses during the second year.
A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university with completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is required by ACEND. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in core nutrition/DPD program is required.

Applications for admission to the M.S./DI program are submitted in February for the following fall semester. UNCG participates in the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS) application system and applicants should consult the DICAS website to confirm dates and deadlines for the computer matching process.

East Carolina University – DPD Bachelor of Science in Nutrition

ECU’s BS in Nutrition offers two tracks: the didactic program in dietetics (DPD) and the nutrition with science (NS) track. Both tracks are primarily on-campus, face-to-face programs that provide many opportunities for students throughout their course of study.

NC State University – BS, MS and PhD degrees in Nutrition Science

As the largest school in the UNC school system, it’s worth mentioning NC State’s on-campus degree program offerings, since it offers a wide range of options for study in nutrition. NC State offers three degree options. The Master of Nutrition prepares graduates for jobs in public health, health and wellness, food and pharmaceuticals. This path complements prior health and nutrition experience and can develop students to become competitive candidates for jobs in allied health fields, or for advanced study. The program requires a minimum of 36 course credit hours which includes a 6 credit hour thesis.

The Master of Nutrition does offer an online option, with emphases in Feed Science or Human Nutrition, and an option for course work that qualifies as a Professional Science Master’s degree. This option is for students seeking technical research experience or who are considering a Ph.D. The doctoral degree requires a minimum of 72 credit hours, including a dissertation. Students core courses like Energy Metabolism, Protein and Amino Acid Metabolism, Vitamin Metabolism, and Mineral Metabolism.

It is important to note that NC State’s programs do not lead directly to dietetic internships or RDN certifications.

Western Carolina University – Bachelor of Science, Nutrition and Dietetics DPD

Western Carolina’s College of Health and Human Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science program. It is a 120-hour ACEND accredited undergraduate degree program. Acceptance into the program requires a minimum GPA of 2.8 overall and 3.0 in pre-requisite coursework. Program graduates receive a CDR verification statement and will be eligible to apply to take the exam for Dietetic Technicians and/or apply to an ACEND- accredited dietetic internship program.

Coursework includes topics on food science, medical nutrition therapy, nutrition interviewing and counseling, research methods, nutritional assessment and legal and legislative aspects of healthcare.

Typical online nutrition coursework at universities in North Carolina

  • Nutrition Across the Life Cycle – Typically a general requirement in most nutrition bachelors and master’s programs. Life Cycle covers nutrition across the life stages of human life. Most courses focus on a variety of populations and life stages, including women during preconception, pregnancy and lactation, and stages of life including infancy, childhood, adolescence and older adulthood (65+).
  • Nutrition Communication, Counseling and Culture – Courses in nutrition communication focus on the art and science of communicating with individuals, groups and the public. It focuses on cultural awareness, and provides practice counseling individuals and facilitating groups, along with instruction on how to frame nutrition content for mass media and social media.
  • Human Nutrition – Explores the fundamental science of human nutrition like the basic concepts of macro and micronutrients, food sources and the evidence-based requirements for a healthy diet.
  • Food and Nutrition Policy – Focuses on nutrition policy at federal, state and local levels. Covers topics like policy formation, consumer advocacy, key legislation, equity and diversity, global food policy issues, sustainability, and community health
  • Nutritional Epidemiology – Introduces basic methods of dietary assessment, reviews various topics in nutrition epidemiology and instructs on how to critically evaluate the nutritional epidemiologic literature.
  • What to know about becoming a Registered Dietitian in North Carolina

    North Carolina’s Dietetics/Nutrition Practice Act mandates that applicants who wish to become registered dietitians or RDNs in North Carolina complete education that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This means candidates must complete at least a bachelors’s degree (this changes in 2024 to minimum of a Master’s degree), and have completed education in a nutrition focused category like human nutrition, nutrition science, foods and nutrition, dietetics, food systems management, community or public health nutrition, nutrition education, clinical nutrition, nutrition counseling, nutritional and functional medicine, nutritional biochemistry, integrative health or an equivalent course of study. For more specific information on ACEND requirements, check the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s website at https://www.cdrnet.org/. Keep in mind that as of January, 2024, the CDR will require all applicants for the registered dietitian exam to have a minimum of a master’s degree.

    North Carolina also supports professionals who want to practice medical nutrition therapy beyond the credential of dietitian or RDN. It recognizes and supports licensure for people who are seeking, or who have earned the credential of CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialists) and those who are diplomates of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.

    North Carolina licenses dietitians officially as LDN’s (licensed dietitian nutritionists) and nutritionists as LN’s (licensed nutritionists) for the purposes of practicing medical nutrition therapy. Under its state laws, a license is required to use the title “dietitian/nutritionist” or “nutritionist.” Additionally, a license is also required to use the title “licensed nutritionist,” or “licensed dietitian/nutritionist”. There are 6 categories of licensure for people with various backgrounds and one provisional category.

    NC also provides provisional licenses, or PLN’s (provisional licensed nutritionist). PLN candidates are people who are candidates for the CNS credential who have made application to the Board for Certified Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) to take the CNS exam, or have made application to the American Clinical Board of Nutrition to take the Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (DACBN) exam.

    There is no state licensure requirement for providing nutrition services that are not medical nutrition therapy.

    More information on NC state licensure can be found at NC State Licensure page-categories of licensure

    Organizations to know for nutrition in North Carolina

    Nutritionist career options in North Carolina

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitians and nutritionists in North Carolina earned an average salary of $58,930 as of May 2021. Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to grow by 11% from 2020 to 2030 — faster than the average for all occupations, according to the The Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of Sept, 2022). See BLS stats here

    Licensed nutritionist jobs are available across the state of North Carolina. Some recent job postings found for licensed nutritionists include Clinical Nutrition Manager, Nutrition Services Manager- retirement communities, School Nutritionist – NC Public Schools, Patient Food Services Manager – Health Systems, WIC Nutritionist

    Examples of potential careers and focus areas in nutrition might include:

    • Nutrition and health policy expert
    • Public Health Agency work
    • Expert contributor or journalist for a media publication
    • Physician Private Practice, nutrition counselor or advisor
    • Worksite Wellness Expert
    • Nutrigenomics
    • Long-term care facilities
    • Sports Nutrition Therapy or Counseling
    • Outpatient clinician- nutrition therapy
    • Research and development
    • Teaching and education
    • Freelance, private practitioner or digital content developer

    Making your decision on nutrition education in North Carolina

    To recap, North Carolina has a robust education system of 67 four-year colleges and universities, with more than 20 schools offering varying levels of degree programs for aspiring dietitians or nutritionists. Degree programs are offered at the bachelors, masters and doctorate level, and include accelerated, online and coordinated plans of study. There are various types of graduate degrees from NC schools that are ACEND accredited as under the its Future Education Model (FEM), including a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Biomedical Sciences.

    What are didactic programs?

    The didactic programs cover coursework students need to become future registered dietitians. After graduation, students are required to submit a DPD verification statement, and complete an ACEND-accredited internship before sitting for the CDR exam. A coordinated program in dietetics, offered by a few NC schools, includes the supervised experiential requirement as part of its curriculum, some with an option to combine a dietetic internship and an MS degree.

    As of 2024, you now need your Masters to become a RDN

    Current RD/RDN’s (prior to Jan, 2024), or students who have already completed an undergraduate DPD program could pursue online ACEND Master of Science programs that lead to a Master in Nutrition from two NC schools, or a Master in Public Health degree from UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School. UNC’s MPH program is both ACEND and CEPH accredited.

    As of January 1, 2024 the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a Master’s degree to become a RD.

    With a DPD verification statement students can apply to an ACEND supervised practice program, also known as a dietetic internship (DI) and eventually sit for the CDR exam. However the DI would be need to be approved and completed onsite in NC, or approved by the program and completed in the state where you live.

    North Carolina Nutrition Programs
    Information about these North Carolina nutrition programs was hand-gathered through a lot of research on the web. Several sources we used include: ACEND, ASN, CEPH, IPEDS, and more. You can also contact us if you see a missing school or program, or a degree needs adjusted.

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