You don't just become a dietician by learning how to eat more healthy. It takes a strong program where you can earn a degree understanding the inner-workings of the human body. There are many options to consider, but we're presenting the 30 Best Bachelor's in Nutritional Science as a surefire way to kickstart a career.
30 Best Bachelor's in Nutritional Science
A Nutritional Science Degree involves, unsurprisingly, a lot of science courses. Aside from the obvious options like food science, nutrition, or dietetics, it's exceedingly common for a Nutritional Science degree to involve studying more in-depth science courses. These might include biochemistry, microbiology, and anatomy. A degree in Nutritional Science is meant to prepare you to learn food's relationship to the human body, so learning inner-workings of the body plays a vital role in preparing for a career. Many students will flex the muscles of learning these scientific subjects in internships with pharmacies or home care facilities before graduating and receiving a nutritionist license. Necessities for obtaining a nutritionist license will vary by state, but getting a Bachelor's Degree in Nutritional Science is the first step to a wealth of plentiful opportunities in the field.
Becoming a registered dietician has its own set of requirements including a minimum of 1,200 hours of internship experience and a passing grade on the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) RD exam. Beginning in the year 2024 it will also be a requirement to have completed a master's before taking the registered dietician examination. The work is worth it, as it can lead to career prospects in clinical settings like hospitals, nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers. A Nutritional Science degree doesn't have to turn into a career as a dietician and that's what makes it very attractive to prospective students. Students can also consider opportunities to be part of government or university research projects, development of agency policies for nutrition programs, or even product development for major corporations.
Great news for those looking to enter this field: it's only intended to grow. US News reports that the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly 10,000 jobs are projected to open in the field by 2026. It's a well-rounded promising investment in your future on many levels. Dieticians and nutritionists made it to the list of top 100 best jobs to have by the US News & World Report with a huge emphasis on work-life balance. The opportunity exists to even work completely for yourself and a personal client base as a private dietician. Offering people tailored services for your educated guidance can earn your freedom and financial stability, and it all starts with a Bachelor's in Nutritional Science.
Healthcare Administration Degrees uses the best publicly available data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Payscale, and student review sites. Healthcare is a high-earning field with demanding education expectations. Because of that, Healthcare Administration Degrees focuses on the Mid-Career Pay of Graduates, Student Retention Rates, and the Average SAT Scores of accepted students, collectively amounting to 70 percent of a school's final score. Student Reviews and Affordability round out our metrics.
Here are the Best Bachelor's in Nutritional Science for 2019!
#30. Grand Valley State University – Allendale, MI
BS in Biomedical Sciences – Nutrition Emphasis
Net Price: $16,175
Studying nutrition isn't just about food, it's about people. The Biomedical Sciences program at Grand Valley State University aims to give students a "comprehensive understanding of human life sciences." As such, students can expect to participate in real laboratory experience covering a range of studies including Bacterial Genetics, Cardiovascular Disease, Epidemiology, Immunology, Obesity, and Toxicology among a breadth of others. The nutrition focus of the biomedical sciences degree is also an excellent place to go for those interested in sport's nutrition. Grand Valley has a widely recognizable football program, perhaps most well known for bringing alumnus Brandon Carr to the NFL.
#29. University of Texas at Austin – Austin, TX
Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition
Net Price: $14,356
A degree in Nutrition from UTA offers a handful of routes upon which to embark that are broken down into four paths. Students will be required to elect a focus from the provided options such as Dietetics, Nutritional Science, or Nutrition and Public Health, but there are also more advanced options for honors programs. Option IV requires honors courses in Nutrition, Research Methodology, and Writing. Option V requires admittance to the Dean's Scholars Honors Program, or Option VI calling for International Nutrition. The school is very transparent about what courses are required for each concentration so you can feel confident in making the right choice. There's a laundry list of notable alumni of this institution which includes Farrah Fawcett, Matthew McConaughey, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, in addition to tens of NFL, NBA, and MLB players. In terms of those who took up Nutritional Science, Miss Texas 2014 Monique Evans received her BS here.
#28. University of Kentucky – Lexington, KY
Bachelor's of Science in Human Nutrition
Net Price: $19,361
The Bachelor's of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Kentucky sets the groundwork for furthering a wide scope of careers in the field of healthcare or in nutrition services. Some possible career outcomes can include pharmaceutical or nutritional supplement sales, quality control in the food industry, and food policy. The program is not intended as a prerequisite for the registered dietician examination but does allow for a smooth transition into master's studies. It's a good starting point for students looking to enter further studies in Medicine, Pharmacy, Healthcare Supplies, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Public Health, Nutrition, and Nutrition Research. The school has had an Agricultural Experiment Station on the campus since 1885, offering research opportunities into food processing and nutrition. It's an impressive hands-on experience for undergrads hoping to shift into food policy jobs.
#27. Delta State University – Cleveland, MS
Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics
Net Price: $12,669
A Nutrition and Dietetics degree from Delta State University is a suitable pathway to a career as a dietician. This BS is highly specialized and accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. Students at Delta State who are enrolled in the Nutrition and Dietetics program are required to complete 1200 hours of supervised practice before graduation, which is the current final stage before being able to take the registered dietician exam. This is planned to change starting in 2024 when only students who have completed a masters degree will be eligible to take the RDE. RDs are nationally recognized experts in food and nutrition, so this route is a common and popular progression for students hoping to bring their nutrition knowledge into a clinical setting.
#26. California State University-Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition Science
Net Price: $3,907
Sunny California is an inviting atmosphere for students of the School of Health and Human Services. The school combines a scientific teaching approach with a community-centered focus. Students are encouraged to get out into the community to study, present, and immerse into their future career. Students become eligible to apply for dietetic internships or continue their coursework with the master's in Nutritional Science after graduation from this program. This track puts students on course to work in the public sector or private practice concerning the nutritional field. Cal State–LA is a worthwhile investment to begin a future in nutrition or dietetics. Plus Cal State–LA is considered one of the Best Valued Schools by the US News & World Report.
#25. University of Cincinnati-Main Campus – Cincinnati, OH
Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics
Net Price: $21,050
Accreditation: DPD, ACEND
The University of Cincinnati's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics offers a foundation in nutrition, food science, medical nutrition therapy, health promotion, and wellness. All of these concepts are crucial to the degree program but students are given the liberty to choose to concentrate their studies in Sports Nutrition or Clinical and Community Nutrition. The career prospects upon completion of the degree are vast. The program can act as a preparatory stepping-stone for possible Dietetic Internships and the Dietetic Registration Exam. UC students exceed the national passing percentage with a 92 percent success rate for first-time test takers. There are plenty of other career opportunities through this degree which UC lists on their Center for Exploratory Studies.
#24. University of Massachusetts-Lowell – Lowell, MA
Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition Sciences
Net Price: $18,375
The University of Massachusetts has an essential program for all students interested in the field of Nutrition Science. The coursework emphasizes dietary patterns, metabolism, health and wellness, the nutritional content of food in America, as well as how to begin and maintain healthy eating patterns. Overall, the aim is to promote the understanding of health and wellbeing for everyone – a shared goal with professionals in the field of nutrition. UMass is recognized nationally as a research university, and Nutrition Science students will be able to take part in the research studies done on campus. The program prepares students for the Master of Public Health Coordinated Program in Dietetics.
#23. Youngstown State University – Youngstown, OH
BS in Applied Science in Dietetics
Net Price: $10,637
For a more intentional approach to a career as a dietician, Youngstown State University has a Bachelor's of Science in Dietetics. This major sets out to "prepare you for a career in food and nutrition as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist or Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered." Though it's strongly focused on this end-goal, it is a multi-disciplinary degree which has some flexibility to meet your personal needs and career goals. Students can choose the Coordinated Bachelor's Program, which sets you up to immediately take the registered dietitian exam after 5 semesters, or the Didactic Bachelor's program that requires 120 credit hours before you can enroll.
#22. University of Illinois at Chicago – Chicago, IL
BS in Nutrition Sciences–Nutrition, Coordinated, or Didactic Dietetics
Net Price: $11,884
Accreditation: NCACS, HLC
The University of Illinois at Chicago puts its Nutrition Science students into the center of their prospective careers. It's a program that offers "intensive study in biological and physical sciences to understand the relationships between nutrients and human health." The school offers fantastic hands-on experiences such as the opportunity to join the Student Nutrition Association, which embarks on outdoor activities like a survival weekend where students put their studies into play by identifying edible plants, purifying water, and applying their education to real-life scenarios. Students have the freedom to opt for the path to become a dietician or use the undergrad in nutrition as a springboard for careers in research, industry, and community settings. Those who want to become dieticians find huge success from this education. UIC graduates boast a 98 percent pass rate on the Registered Dietician Exam.
#21. Indiana State University – Terre Haute, Indiana
Bachelor's of Science in Food and Nutrition
Net Price: $11,443
Accreditation: HLC, ACEND
Indiana State University's Bachelor in Food and Science covers a range of possible career paths including the option for the coordinated program in dietetics. Coordinated programs are designed to cover the requirements to take the registered dieticians exam and as such will include 1200 hours of professional experience in clinical settings. Graduates are also eligible to earn national dieticians credentials or move into a master's program. There are plenty of organizations to join while studying at ISU, like the Food and Nutrition Club, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the Alpha Phi Chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron, a National Family and Consumer Sciences honor organization. These groups help to set up a network of industry professionals, both current and upcoming. The school also makes mentoring and career guidance from faculty readily available.
#20. Arkansas State University-Main Campus – Jonesboro, AK
BS in Nutrition and Food Science
Net Price: $19,815
Accreditation: ACEND (on probation)
Arkansas State University's BS in Nutrition and Food Science is a pathway to a career as a dietician. Aspiring dieticians will find this course provides all the necessities to take the Registration Examination for dietitians or to begin an entry-level role upon graduation. It is particularly well-suited for RD hopefuls because it is clinically focused with an emphasis on medical nutrition therapy. As you work toward taking the exam, the coordinated program saves time on internship opportunities. Hands-on experience happens in the kitchen and labs as part of the coursework, and additional opportunities in community service put you in contact with the people who need such educated guidance.
#19. University of Vermont – Burlington, Vermont
BS in Food and Nutrition
Net Price: $11,443
The university in this legendary winter sports city offers a Bachelor's in Food and Nutrition program that offers a sense of flexibility for potential careers. The program helps students to learn how to communicate the benefits of food science, practice it as a medical professional, or simply prepare for a food-focused career. Once coursework is complete, UV offers extensive opportunities to bring your education into the workforce. Browse job opportunities and more on their Career Center, meet with a Career Counselor, or network to find the best hand-picked opportunity for you. The tailored and accredited career approach on a beautiful campus led to a spot on the ranking of Best Colleges by the US News & World Report.
#18. Washington State University – Spokane, WA
BS in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology
Net Price: $17,885
Washington State University is a public research institution which offers a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition and Exercise Philosophy for hopeful nutritionists and dieticians. In the Elson S. Floyd School of Medicine class sizes are small and intimate which allows students to maintain lasting connections with professors and peers alike. Upon completion of the program, students become eligible for a variety of certifications in the field. Certifications available to students include a Certified Exercise Physiologist credential and specialty certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine. Up to 400 practical experience hours can be applied to the ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, which can then be used for a career in exercise management. There are a few prerequisites for declaring this major that all include standard science courses such as Biochemistry and Human Nutrition but also go as far as to include Public Speaking and Ethics.
#17. University of Mississippi – Oxford, MS
BS in Dietetics and Nutrition
Net Price: $14,259
Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACEND
Ole' Miss puts human health and wellbeing at the forefront of the Bachelor's of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition. One main benefit of this program is the 10:1 ratio of students to faculty. Having smaller class sizes creates a tight-knit learning community with a wide selection of possible mentors. Students will be able to experience the Certified Green 40-seat restaurant on campus, which is operated by chefs and is in place to teach both hospitality and dietetics students through hands-on cooking. To further their involvement, students can join the Student Dietetic Association or Kappa Omicron Nu, the leading National Human Sciences Honor Society. Acceptance rates for dietetic internships or coordinated programs after completion of a BS from Ole' Miss are near 80 percent. If a career as a dietician is the goal, the school also offers a coordinated program to prepare students for the RDE.
#16. University of Texas at San Antonio – San Antonio, TX
BS in Nutrition and Dietetics
Net Price: $11,861
Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACEND
Like most similar programs, the Nutrition and Dietetics Bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio is focused on educating students in the well-being of others through good food and diet. This BS provides the foundation for moving into a Master's of Dietetics which is necessary to take the registered dietician exam. UTSA offers a hands-on experience where students can engage in community dietetics, clinical dietetics, and food service management opportunities outside of the classroom that counts toward their overall coursework. The experience of this degree will prepare students to work in clinical settings, private practice, or the food industry. This major cannot be declared as a freshman and students will begin in Life and Health Sciences courses before they can declare a major in Nutrition and Dietetics.
#15. Rowan University – Glassboro, NJ
BS in Nutrition – Exercise Science or Dietetics
Net Price: $19,246
Earning your degree from Rowan University requires choosing from one of two tracks: Exercise Science or Dietetics. Both tracks will have much of the same core coursework but will differentiate in the particular specializations that are unique to your chosen path. One of the main differences between the two paths is that a focus on Dietetics will prepare students to take the Registered Dietician Exam, while Exercise Science will not. Those who graduate with a focus in exercise science can go on to work in hospitals, worksites, or schools as a fitness professional. Choosing a concentration in dietetics is a part of the coordinated program designed to be prepared for the year 2024 when all registered dieticians will be required to have completed a master's degree.
#14. Utah State University – Logan, UT
BS in Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science
Net Price: $12,338
Utah State University gives aspiring nutrition professions the option of choosing a focus in nutrition, dietetics, or food science. For students planning to move on to medical school, nutrition is a good prerequisite as it will provide experiences in lab research and clinical nutrition. A food science concentration prepares students to seamlessly move into the many layers of the global food industry. A concentration in dietetics also prepares students for the registered dietician examination. A dietetics concentration does require a formal application process, which is explained in more detail in the Dietetics FAQ. Ultimately, any of the three options offered by Utah State will set the stage for a career in the high-demand field of food science.
#13. Colorado State University-Fort Collins – For Collins, CO
BS in Nutrition and Food Science
Net Price: $17,191
Students in this bachelor's program will get a hands-on education in Biology, Chemistry, and Health Sciences as they apply to human nutrition. There are four concentrations to choose from upon enrollment: Dietetics and Nutrition Management, Food Safety and Nutrition, Nutrition and Fitness, and Nutritional Sciences. There are slight differences among the quartet and those differences will ultimately lead students down different career paths. The uniting factor is that all four of the concentrations will cover a mix of Math, Science, Nutrition, Food Science, and relative electives. Between the nearby Rockies and on-campus "RAMily" of athletic teams, the campus offers a great place to learn nutrition if sports and exercise is your career goal.
#12. Texas Christian University – Fort Worth, TX
BS in Nutrition Science
Net Price: $35,363
A Bachelor in Nutrition Science from Texas Christian University gives students the opportunity for state-of-the-art training in the nutrition field. The coursework combines education in nutrition and dietetics as a whole with a liberal arts infusion. There is ample opportunity to partake in research under the supervision of highly professional and experienced faculty mentors. These mentors will serve as guidance through school-mandated research that is a necessity to graduate and a standout opportunity amongst national nutrition programs. This research will be collected and served as the final project at the annual TCU College of Science & Engineering Michael and Sally McCracken Annual Student Research Symposium.
#11. University of Missouri–Columbia – Columbia, MO
BS in Nutrition and Food or BS-MS 5-Year Program
Net Price: $17,762
At the University of Missouri, there are two options for education in Food Science: a BS in Nutrition and Food or the coordinated program in Dietetics. The Coordinated program will be more of a fast-track to a career. Within 3 years, students will complete their BS in Nutrition and Food and go on to earn a Master of Science in Dietetics. The coordinated program makes students eligible for the registration examination for Dieticians. To qualify for this test, you must have completed the coordinated program or Master's degree. For those who don't want to pursue dietetics, the Bachelor's in Nutrition and Food from Mizzou can translate into fulfilling careers in the food industry.
#10. James Madison University – Harrisonburg, VA
BS in Dietetics
Net Price: $16,154
James Madison University students are among some of the most successful in pursuing careers in Food Science or Dietetics. The school boasts a 95 percent passing rate for first-time registered dietician exam takers and a high match-rate for internships. The degree approaches education through creative classroom experiences, case studies, computer applications, problem-solving, and decision-making projects which leads up to senior-year research experience. For those wishing to move into a clinical career in a hospital, James Madison gives you your first taste. Students are given the opportunity to complete a hospital-based practicum to flex their knowledge in dietetics in a real-life setting.
#9. Wayne State University – Detroit, MI
BA or BS in Nutrition and Food Science
Net Price: $13,287
Effective January 1, 2024, all students wishing to take the registered dietician examination will be required to have a minimum education of a master's degree. In preparation for this, most schools are already implementing coordinated programs, enabling students to begin their careers upon completion. Wayne State University has its own coordinated program in dietetics for those who have the goal to become a registered dietician. The coordinated program is only one option, though, and students who have other goals in food and nutrition can find success with a bachelor's degree. The options help to tailor the education process to your goals. For instance, the Bachelor of Arts in Food and Nutrition covers science to a lesser extent than a BS, making it a good option for those aiming for a non-technical position in the food business.
#8. University of Washington–Seattle Campus – Seattle, WA
BA in Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health
Net Price: $9,443
For students looking for a food degree with less emphasis on the sciences, this BA from the University of Washington is a fantastic option. Students can expect exposure to a cross-dimensional education including Food and Culture, Economics, Environmental Policy, and Social Justice. This approach allows for another way of thinking as it teaches how the many components of food systems can affect nutrition and health. This blended form of coursework opens up many portals for a career in public health, sustainability, or other affiliated liberal arts careers on local, regional, and global scales. This degree will allow students to aim high in their career, much like UW alumni Bruce Lee. If food science, or perhaps beet farming, speaks to you more then it may interest you to know that The Office's Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) has also received his education at this accredited university.
#7. University at Buffalo – Buffalo, NY
BS in Dietetics
Net Price: $16,120
A Bachelor of Science in Dietetics is the first step to moving into a fulfilling career as a registered dietician. Since the pathway to becoming a dietician is set to change in 2024, the University of Buffalo has factored in the updates to help students make the most informed decisions based on their individual goals. The first step requires some sort of undergraduate education, and students can begin at the University of Buffalo through either the Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics or the Dietician Education Program. Both tracks allow for different career outcomes and require additional prerequisites for taking the RDE.
#6. University of Connecticut – Mannsfield, CT
BS in Dietetics or BS in Nutritional Sciences
Net Price: $18,699
Getting to the stage of taking the Registered Dieticians Examination requires two prior steps: an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and 1200 hours of supervised practice. Similarly, at the University of Connecticut, there are two tracks students can pick: the coordinated program or didactic program. The coordinated program allows for the RDE to be taken immediately upon completion while the BS sets you up for 1200 hours of practice hours that will be required before the exam. UCONN urges prospective students to consider whether they are detail-oriented problem solvers who have a passion for food and nutrition to explore their degree offerings and apply to their accredited program.
#5. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus – Pittsburgh, PA
BS in Nutrition Science
Net Price: $22,848
To transform with the times the University of Pittsburgh now offers a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition Science. Completion of this degree enables students to implement knowledge and skills into a variety of roles in government, academia, and the food industry. This BS, like most others on our list, will require further coursework or practice hours before eligibility to sit for the registered dietician's exam to become an RD. Students who have this trajectory as a goal can consider the Dietician Nutritionist Program. Though it's the most expensive option on our list, Pitt has good reason why this degree will cost a pretty penny. It one of the most highly ranked nutritional science programs in the nation and as such requires at least 60 hours of college credits as a prerequisite to apply and can be fulfilled within four terms (or 120 credits) after that.
#4. Ohio State University-Main Campus – Columbus, OH
BS in Human Nutrition–Dietetics, Nutrition in Industry, or Nutritional Sciences
Net Price: $18.042
Accreditation: HLC, NCA
Becoming a Buckeye is one of the most fulfilling undergraduate experiences in the country. Ohio State University has churned out impressive alumni like Jesse Owens, Roy Lichtenstein, and R.L. Stine. Entering into their Human Nutrition program puts you in an opportunity to join in the shared alumni success, but in a food-focused career. The staff of teachers is made up of internationally-renowned field experts that guide students through understanding how food can optimize health. Training in the field and hands-on research will form the foundation of a fruitful career as a nutrition professional at the completion of this Bachelor's in Dietetics, Nutrition in Industry, or Nutritional Sciences.
#3. University of Minnesota – St. Paul, MN
BS in Nutrition
Net Price: $16,808
The Nutrition program at the University of Minnesota has been taught for over 100 years. The campus takes up 1,000 acres smack between the Twin Cities which are abundant with opportunities in sports and volunteering. A Bachelor's in Nutrition can take one of three tracks: Didactic Program in Dietetics, Nutritional Science, or Nutrition Studies. The didactic track will prepare for the registered dietician examination, while Nutritional Science and Nutrition Studies offer more flexibility. All three call for the same 60 credits before branching out into the respective concentrations. Focusing in Nutrition Studies is particularly flexible, allowing students to choose a personalized track of coursework.
#2. Purdue University-Main Campus – West Lafayette, IN
Bachelor of Science – Numerous Concentrations
Net Price: $12,117
There are several concentrations for a nutritional science degree through Purdue University that all share a scientific common ground. All of the undergraduate students can expect to complete coursework in Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Human Physiology as a means to understand the broad scope of improving the lives of people. Completing a science-focused nutrition degree at Purdue University means you'll share an alma mater with famed spacemen Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and Jerry Ross. Though you may not be launching off in a rocket with a nutrition degree, the opportunities you'll encounter are still out of this world! This impressive program will only consider applicants who were top of their class in high school or ended with a minimum 3.75 GPA.
#1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC
BS in Public Health – Nutrition
Net Price: $11,100
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earned our perfect score for a few reasons. Aside from being located in one of the best college towns in the country, UNC's Department of Nutrition is one of the nation's top-ranked nutrition departments. It puts an emphasis on human disease control through food knowledge and sets the stage for further education in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, or other nutrition graduate programs. UNC offers opportunities for nutrition research projects as well as the follow-up master's degree to those who complete the Bachelor's of Science in Public Health. Completing a master's is required if your goal is to become a registered dietician. UNC was the nation's first public university and remains an outstanding institution of higher learning, especially for those setting out on a nutrition career path.