So you've got your undergraduate degree. What's next? For hopeful dieticians and nutritionists, the answer is grad school. A Master's Degree is more than just continuing education. By the year 2024, all dieticians will be required to take this step. In preparation for that time, we've collected the 15 Best Master's Degrees in Nutrition.
15 Best Master's Degrees in Nutrition
You can find food at the epicenter of every living culture and community. Plants, animals, and humans alike seek energy from their preferred food sources. While plants and animals have stayed somewhat true to their tailored menus for millennia, humans have branched out into territories far and wide. Some of these wonderful additions to diet have had proven to be beneficial, while others have taken a serious toll on human health. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are just some examples of how poor food choices can wreak havoc on our lives if we're not careful with what we eat. These diseases are especially prominent in America, which leads to a greater need for professionals with a Master's Degree in Nutrition.
A Master's Degree in Nutrition doesn't pigeon-hole you into a career as a clinical registered dietician. You'll be able to choose from various categories to concentrate as you work toward receiving your MBA. A tailored education experience will prepare you to choose a path toward Sports Nutrition, Health Coaching, Holistic Nutrition, Clinical Dietician, or a Certified Nurse Specialist. The breadth of educational and career goals translates to potential job environments. Diet and Nutrition MBAs can choose to work in schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, corporations, food manufacturing industries, public health organizations, government agencies, and plenty of other places. No matter which way you choose to mold your career, the proof is in the pudding: those with a Master's Degree in Nutrition make an average 42 percent more a year than someone who only completed an undergraduate degree.
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 Master's Degrees in Nutrition for 2019!
#15. University of Wisconsin Colleges – Madison, WI
M.S. in Clinical Nutrition
Net Price: $6,818
This Master's program from the University of Wisconsin is built around the concept of clinical nutrition. Students can expect the coursework to focus on Core Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition, and Public Health among other electives. The goal upon completion is to be able to turn the education into fully integrated and professional practices within dietetics. Students can expect to partake in plenty of research but also learn how to translate, recognize, and formulate responses to advancements in nutrition. In their future career, it is the goal of the University of Wisconsin to have students lead professional nutrition teams. Fulfillment of the degree requires 30 curriculum credits, 16 residency credits, and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Graduates from UW will be absolutely ready to ace the Registered Dietician Exam and bring their clinical experience into the field.
#14. University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, AL
MS in Nutrition Sciences, Dietitian Education Program
Net Price: $17,016
The University of Alabama at Birmingham and its associated hospital are both highly-rated institutions of education and medicine. The Dietician Education Program Track for the MS in Nutrition puts its focus in clinical education and experience, though students have the flexibility of being anywhere to complete the completely-online coursework. There's also the opportunity to tailor the experience to meet personal goals by choosing from Community Wellness, Diabetes Practice, or Translation Research in Obesity or Cancer specializations. The one aspect of the degree that is the same across the board is the Supervised Practicum or Internship Requirement. For this requirement, students will put their education into real-life practice under supervision from a preceptor. It's meant to be the final test of competency before registering for the RDE.
#13. University of Illinois at Chicago – Chicago, IL
MS in Nutrition
Net Price: $11,884
The MS in Nutrition from the University of Illinois goes deep into the biology of diet. Students will better understand how nutrients affect human health by studying biological and physical sciences. This Master's level of education creates experts in biology and the psychology behind the human relationship with food. The program builds in hands-on experience, and students will find themselves in hospitals and businesses in Chicago, applying what they learned in the classroom and applying it into a real-world experience. One hundred percent of graduates from the Master's Coordinated Program pass the Registered Dietician Exam within a year of graduation, reaffirming the integrity of the education. Admission is tight, as UI accepts only 36 applicants per year into the Nutrition Program, and they expect a minimum 3.0 grade point average from a completed undergraduate degree. UI holds a monthly Nutrition Information Session, which is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the program and prepare to apply.
#12. University of Arizona – Tuscon, AZ
MS in Nutritional Sciences
Net Price: $15,758
The Master's in Nutritional Sciences from The University of Arizona puts research and investigation at its core. Highly-knowledgable faculty serve as mentors for students as they work through a combination of advanced Nutrition coursework and research projects. With a strong emphasis on sports at the University of Arizona, nutrition and dietetics is a particularly notable program. Employees at the school are highly trained and educated in the field, including the Director of Sports Nutrition Phil Lewis. Some other notable alumni include athletes Damon Stoudamire and Andre Iguodala, but also Hollywood icons Jonathan Van Ness, Nicole Richie, and Kourtney Kardashian.
#11. Michigan State University – East Lansing, MI
Graduate Degree – Human Nutrition – Master of Science
Net Price: $16,684
Accreditation: HLC, ACEND
Having both student-run organic farms and an environmental journalism organization are just two examples of how Michigan State embodies nutritional education. Originally known as Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, plenty of research has been woven into the fabric of the school's Food and Nutrition courses. Students getting their Master of Science in Human Nutrition will go through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resource and partake in research, course work in advanced nutrition, and seminars. They'll also be tasked with choosing additional areas of study in biochemistry, physiology, anthropology, immunology, epidemiology, psychology, or sociology. Pioneering the way America addresses food and nutrition is a hallmark of MSU, as researchers like William J. Beal, the developer of hybrid corn, studied here.
#10. University of Connecticut – Storrs, CT
M.S. in Nutritional Science
Net Price: $18,699
If earning your Master in Nutritional Science is the goal, then there are two plans of action through the University of Connecticut to get you there. Plan A involves 30 credits, a written general examination, and a research thesis, or students can follow Plan B which is the non-thesis route. Plan B is only available to a select few students who have already participated in practical experience in Nutritional Science. Both routes will require some sort of final paper and presentation. After a plan is chosen, a department concentration in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Human Nutrition and Metabolism, Community Nutrition and Nanotechnology can be chosen next. No matter which course is taken, the curriculum will cover Chemistry, Biology, and Microbiology. Studying at UConn means you'll get an education from a top ranked school in Public Health, Earth Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Medical School for Research categories.
#9. Cornell University – Ithaca, NY
Master of Science in Nutritional Science
Net Price: $31,449
Cornell is a highly-recognizable research university that was ranked No. 10 in Biological Sciences for its Master's program by US News. Cornell has the country's largest human-nutrition focused faculty, which provides ample opportunity to learn from the most knowledgable minds in the field. The Master of Science in Nutritional Science requires 15 credits per semester, including 30 core and 30 electives. Students can further customize the experience by enrolling in tracks such as Dietetics, Human Nutrition Evidence for Policy Making, Global Food Systems of Health, or the Individualized track. The final analysis before graduation is the research-based thesis. Upon full completion, graduates will be able to explore job opportunities through the program-specific assistance for job placement. Job opportunities for graduates cover the full scope of settings including academia, industry, government, non-profits, and global organizations. Cornell has some bright minds on their list of alumni, including Bill Nye, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Mae Jemison, and Superman himself, Christopher Reeve!
#8. University of Washington – Seattle Campus – Seattle, WA
MS in Nutritional Sciences with the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD)
Net Price: $9,443
The Master's in Nutritional Science at the University of Washington prepares students to become entry-level registered dietitians. The full program, known as the Graduate Coordinated Program, is part of the School of Public Health. The curriculum combines coursework and practice experience that prepares students to become registered dietitians. An overwhelming majority of students in this program go on to take the credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of graduating. The class sizes remain small, averaging about 12-14 students per class, which lends to the program's exemplary hands-on education. Global Ranking of Academic Subjects ranks the University of Washington at the No. 7 spot in the world for Public Health.
#7. Rutgers University – New Brunswick, NJ
Master of Science Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences
Net Price: $16,016
Rutgers University in New Brunswick offers a range of Nutritional Science Master's degrees. The dietetics option is intended specifically for students whose aim is to become a Registered Dietitian. The other two programs concentrate on Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology or Community and Applied Nutrition. Regardless of your education track, prerequisites for the program include one year of general chemistry with laboratory experience, one year of organic chemistry, one semester of biochemistry, and at least 12 additional advanced level credits. Rutgers also look for students who scored a 304 or above on the GRE. All students will also partake in mandatory courses such as Nutrition: A Biochemical and Physiological Basis, Nutrition Seminar, and an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP). The New Jersey-based college is within reach of opportunities in New York City.
#6. North Carolina State University at Raleigh – Raleigh, NC
MS in Nutrition
Net Price: $13,442
North Carolina State University offers an MS in Nutrition at the Raleigh campus. The program is outlined to accommodate all continuing-education students interested in a range of Nutrition studies. The Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Science provides research experience so that students have the opportunity to create a graduating thesis. The program topics cover Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Department of Animal Science, Department of Youth, Family and Community Sciences, and Prestage Department of Poultry Science. Admission into this program is regarded with high standards. The council considers applicants with a Bachelor's of Science, 3.0 grade point average, and top percentile GRE scores. NCU has a big sports presence, particularly basketball. Tarheel alumni include Russel Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and actor Zack Galifianakis.
#5. Ohio State University-Main Campus – Columbus, OH
Master of Science in Human Nutrition
Net Price: $18,042
Accreditation: HLC, ACEND
When it opened in 1862, Ohio State University was the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. All students completing the Master of Science in Human Nutrition program take part in the Ohio State University research-focused program in Human Nutrition. The coursework aims to examine nutritional health problems and the role of nutrients in the body through a series of science-based coursework. Students learn to understand relationships between diet and disease, plan intervention programs, the significance of bioactive dietary compounds, behavioral nutrition, and more. Many students move into roles as clinical researchers, lab technicians, and fitness or nutrition specialists when they complete their degree. There is a breadth of academic opportunities through the Food Innovation Center for students to hone their skill and prepare to turn it into a career. Notable Ohio State alumni include Olympic medalist Jesse Owens and the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
#4. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities – Minneapolis, MN
Master of Science in Nutrition
Net Price: $16,808
Ranked as one of 2019's Best Colleges, this urban campus provides a rewarding Master of Science in Nutrition. The program is set up to include 14 graduate-level Nutrition courses, 10 thesis credits, or 10 independent study credits. Some classes that Nutrition students can expect are Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology, Vitamin and Mineral Biochem, along with Nutrition and Genetics. It's also required to take one graduate-level statistics course. To finish up the degree, students will be required to complete an oral presentation and submit a full Master's Thesis project. The University of Minnesota sits between the Twin Cities, providing ample post-graduate career opportunities. Some successful Minnesota alumni include Minnesota Women's Basketball Coach Marie Whalen Greve and folk singer Bob Dylan.
#3. Purdue University-Main Campus – West Lafayette, IN
Nutrition Science, MS
Net Price: $12,117
Like many other research universities, Purdue University opened in 1869 thanks to a land and money donation by John Purdue. As the origin-story of the school suggests, research is at the core of the Nutrition Science Masters degree. Faculty from 10 different departments at Purdue, plus professionals at Indiana University School of Medicine, work to provide a network of professors and mentors for Nutrition students. Each student will choose from an emphasis in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Human and Clinical Nutrition, Animal Health, Growth and Development, or Public Health and Education. The completion of the course is marked by a thesis presented to the graduate committee members. The success of Purdue students has been proven time and again. Faculty members won the World Food Prize in both 2007 and 2009. The university is also notable for churning out astronauts such as Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and Jerry Ross who all studied here before rocketing to outer space.
#2. Texas A&M University – College Station, TX
Master of Science in Nutrition
Net Price: $19,554
Texas A&M University combines core courses and extensive extracurricular opportunity for students to earn their Master of Science in Nutrition. The core curriculum covers Nutrition, Biochemistry, Physiology, and Statistics, in addition to the Nutrition Seminar requirement.
There is plenty of opportunities to get more involved by participating in nationally-held competitions, which many A&M students have won. Food and Science Technology students put their education to the test and proved their merit by winning second place at the South Central Area College Bowl Competition, while other students have earned attention for identifying a potential therapeutic target for diabetes. Incoming students have the same opportunity to impact their community thanks to the Texas A&M AgriLife land-grant system, which funds much of the school's research. The powerhouse school was ranked No. 2 by U.S. News and World Report in the Biological/Agricultural category.
#1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, IL
Master of Science in Human Nutrition
Net Price: $16,638
The top spot in our list of Best Master's in Nutrition goes to the University of Illinois. The U.S. News & World Report ranked it at No. 13 in Public Universities and No. 46 in National Universities. The Master of Science in Human Nutrition is particularly strong, affording graduate students the opportunity to conduct and apply research to determine the impact of diet on human health. Lab work, alongside highly-specialized faculty, enables students to navigate research in nutrition education, dietetics, disease prevention and treatment, as well as general health and wellness. Each individual can opt for the thesis or non-thesis option. If you forego a thesis, you'll replace it with an internship. Some high-profile figures have graduated from the University of Illinois such as Hugh Hefner, Nick Offerman, and Dick Butkus.