Published March 2018
Welcome to our ranking of 2018’s most affordable online master’s in nutritional science programs for food fanatics seeking clinical leadership jobs. Web-based graduate schools are increasingly delivering nutrition courses with 24/7 access for certified NDTRs or RDs to deepen their healthy eating strategies.
According to Today’s Dietitian, 49 percent of nutrition professionals have furthered their schooling beyond a bachelor’s. Finishing online dietitian training can provide a competitive edge for client-facing careers in hospitals, public health departments, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, schools, and more.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting faster-than-average growth of 15 percent for 9,900 new nutritional science jobs by 2026. Labeled America’s 73rd best job by the U.S. News & World Report, dietetics rewards graduates with opportunities to prevent diseases like diabetes, cancer, and hypertension.
Preparing for National Nutrition Month this March motivated our staff to use the U.S. Department of Education’s NCES College Navigator tool and find discounted online dietetics degrees. We tailored the search for public and private nonprofit graduate schools providing advanced nutritional science degrees. After checking the box for “Only find schools that offer these selections as distance education,” we turned up 33 results. Each online college was double checked for quality academics with regional accreditation recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Next, our money-saving team arranged the master’s in dietetics online schools from highest to lowest average in-state graduate tuition for 2016-17. Below are the 20 cheapest online nutrition degree offerings that made our cut with mean prices under $13,000!
Ranking Low-Cost Online Graduate Nutrition Programs
20. The Sage Colleges
Online M.S. in Applied Nutrition
Annual Tuition: $12,240
Known for its CDPHP Nutrition Lecture Series, the School of Health Sciences at The Sage Colleges, Forbes’ 355th best private university, confers 6,007 credits yearly in 13 programs headed by Dr. Kathleen Kelly. The Online M.S. in Applied Nutrition immerses Sage Gators into a 30-credit, adult-friendly curriculum focused on dietetics research. Three tracks exist for nutrition bachelor’s majors, non-majors, and Dietetic Internship (DI) students with minimum 3.0 GPAs. The ACEND-accredited School boasts 100 percent placement at facilities like VA Hudson Valley and St. Joseph’s Health.
19. Central Michigan University
Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Online
Annual Tuition: $12,232
Linked to 133,838 LinkedIn alums, Central Michigan University houses 18 post-grad programs in the ACEND-accredited College of Education & Human Services as America’s 150th top public school on Niche. Since 1998, the Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Online has trained Registered Dietitians in 2.5 years full-time. Chaired by Dr. Rochelle Heuberger, the 31-37 credit curriculum has PhD faculty delivering synchronous courses like macronutrients and nutritional epidemiology with an average cohort size of 18 before the master’s thesis or capstone internship.
18. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Online Food and Nutrition Master of Science
Annual Tuition: $11,592
Ranked 208th nationally by the U.S. News & World Report, the College of Health and Human Services in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Zink Hall is celebrating its 50th year of placing majors at 200+ clinical partners, including Hershey Medical Center and the FDA. Directed by Dr. Rita Johnson, RDN, the Online Food and Nutrition Master of Science admits fall cohorts into two career-oriented tracks: Administration and Education. The 36-credit, 16-month program has a February 1st deadline for selective admission into courses like vitamins and food sustainability with optional ACEND-accredited internships.
17. University of Arizona
Professional Science Master’s in Applied Nutrition Online
Annual Tuition: $11,372
Home to a USDA-inspected Food Product and Safety Lab, the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at the University of Arizona, the world’s 161st best institution according to Times Higher Education, gives over $700,000 in yearly financial aid to 3,657 Wildcats total. Leading to a PSM degree, the affordable online master’s in nutritional science emphasizes practical application of dietetic therapy in healthcare. The 30-unit, 18-month curriculum organized by Kayle Skorupski, RDN-AP, integrates coursework like body composition with 270 practicum hours and non-thesis capstone projects.
16. Northwestern Health Sciences University
Online Master of Health Science (MHS) in Applied Clinical Nutrition
Annual Tuition: $10,976
Established by John B. Wolfe in 1941, Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington serves 864 post-grads and over 65,000 patients as a private, COAM-accredited institution that’s ranked fifth for most focused biomedical sciences programs on College Factual. Led by Dr. Maria Boosalis, the Online Master of Health Science (MHS) in Applied Clinical Nutrition is split into two specializations for Wellness and Human Performance or Nutrition Intervention in Health and Disease. Although it won’t fulfill nutritionist licensure, the 30-credit, part-time program furthers healthcare providers’ evidence-based methods with few campus trips.
15. Stony Brook University
MS Program in Nutrition Online
Annual Tuition: $10,870
At Stony Brook University on Long Island, the LCME-accredited College of Medicine was placed 59th nationally by the U.S. News & World Report for teaching 522 post-grads across 18 departments with a 5:1 student-faculty ratio. The MS Program in Nutrition Online utilizes Blackboard to complete the 36-credit, two-year curriculum with an optional Post-Professional PA Certificate or 38-week Dietetic Internship. Coordinated by Dr. Josephine Connolly-Schoonen, the master’s in nutrition online offers concentrations in Advanced Nutrition Therapy & Critical Care, Sustainable Food Systems, and Integrative Nutrition.
14. Logan University
Online Master of Science in Nutrition and Human Performance
Annual Tuition: $9,900
Endowed for $26.4 million, Logan University is a private, HLC-accredited chiropractic college that’s produced 15,773 alumni since its 1935 founding in the St. Louis suburbs and been ranked third by The Financial Times. The Online Master of Science in Nutrition and Human Performance has 15-week trimesters on Canvas to earn CCN or CISSN certification. Offered with a Dual Doctor of Chiropractic option, the 36-credit, non-GRE curriculum organized by Dr. Theresa Loomis lets Logan Leopards specialize in Sports & Fitness Nutrition, Nutritional Wellness, and Health Education & Promotion.
13. Kansas State University
M.S. Nutrition, Dietetics and Sensory Sciences Online
Annual Tuition: $9,670
Hosting the Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition, the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University has 125 years of experience and 80+ faculty to train 400 post-grads across seven departments. Besides the on-campus MPH in Nutrition, there’s an M.S. Nutrition, Dietetics and Sensory Sciences Online via Canvas for students with minimum 295 GRE scores. Coordinated by Karla Girard, an Excellence in Distance Academic Advising Award winner, the 30-35 credit degree culminates courses like micronutrient metabolism with a master’s report or thesis.
12. Colorado State University
Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Food Science and Nutrition
Annual Tuition: $9,628
Partnering with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA), the College of Health & Human Services at Colorado State University, America’s 65th best master’s institution in Washington Monthly, offers 16 graduate programs with over $450,000 in yearly funds like the Marian Adams Graduate Fellowship. Headed by Dr. Jeffrey Miller, the Online M.S. in Food Science and Nutrition admits exclusively Registered Dietitians until February 1st for advanced disease management training. The 37-credit, thesis or non-thesis curriculum spans courses from quantitative research analysis to world hunger.
11. University of Kansas Medical Center
Master’s Degree Program in Dietetics and Nutrition Online
Annual Tuition: $9,480
Ranked for America’s 49th best primary care on the U.S. News & World Report, the University of Kansas Medical Center is a public, 773-bed Level I Trauma hospital with ANCC Magnet designation that’s serving over 298,000 patients and 2,150 Jayhawks with $67 million NIH funding. The School of Health Professions is another Great Plains IDEA member with a Master’s Degree Program in Dietetics and Nutrition Online for credentialed RDs. Chaired by Dr. Jeannine Goetz, the 36-credit, two-year Blackboard curriculum requires a thesis or comprehensive exam after tough 800-level courses like Phytochemicals.
10. Auburn University
Online Master of Science in Nutrition
Annual Tuition: $9,072
Named a “Best Southeastern College” with the 17th happiest students on The Princeton Review, Auburn University houses five graduate degrees and cutting-edge centers like the Hunger Solutions Institute in its ACEND-accredited College of Human Sciences. On Canvas, post-bachelor’s students with minimum 3.0 GPAs access lecture videos for the cheap 36-credit, four-term Online Master of Science in Nutrition. Directed by Dr. Ramesh Jeganathan, the M.S. has prerequisites like Organic Chemistry before specializations in Nutrition Science, Sports Nutrition, Community Nutrition, and Clinical Nutrition.
9. University of Western States
MS Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine Online
Annual Tuition: $8,253
Opened as the Marsh School and Cure in 1904, the University of Western States is the United States’ first private, NWCCU-accredited chiropractic school to receive HRSA research grants while training 915 post-grads. Starting each April and October, the MS Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine Online is a 52-credit, five-quarter program focused on the science of whole-person wellness. Headed by Daniel Redwood, DC, the affordable online master’s offers a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach track with courses from detoxification to energy production.
8. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Online Master of Nutrition
Annual Tuition: $8,088
Accepting 44 percent of applicants as “Stewards of the Future,” the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at North Carolina State University, America’s 137th best institution in Times Higher Education, has 12 departments conferring 25 graduate programs. The Online Master of Nutrition overseen by Dr. Jonathan Allen considers $75 applications until June 25th, November 25, and March 25th yearly from scientific bachelor’s holders. Featuring emphases in Human Nutrition or Feed Science, the 36-credit, non-thesis curriculum has synchronous and asynchronous components with six credits of practicum.
7. Bowling Green State University
Master of Food & Nutrition Online
Annual Tuition: $7,632
Ranked 53rd nationally by the Social Mobility Index, Bowling Green State University has a CEPH-accredited College of Health & Human Services with four departments run by Dr. Sue Houston that have produced alumni for the DEA, Lutheran Social Services, TriStar Greenview, and others. The Master of Food & Nutrition Online begins with a one-day Ohio orientation before fast, seven-week eCampus courses. Admitting an average GPA of 3.53, the 39-credit curriculum immerses RDs in topics from weight management to exercise science before a master’s project.
6. University of Southern Mississippi
Online Nutrition and Food Systems (Dietetics Practice) MS
Annual Tuition: $7,549
Sparking 6 percent enrollment growth since 2010 for 2,025 Eagles, the College of Health at the University of Southern Mississippi, Forbes’ 242nd best public school, has $47.5 million in research funding for centers like the Institute of Child Nutrition. Charging cheap in-state tuition for all, the Online Nutrition and Food Systems (Dietetics Practice) MS blends flexible courses with a 1,200-hour, ACEND-accredited internship. The 33-credit program chaired by Dr. Elaine Molaison emphasizes Health Promotion & Education Intervention with preceptors like Forrest General and Aramark Food.
5. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
MS in Nutrition and Health Sciences Online
Annual Tuition: $7,134
Renowned for its NIH-funded Center for the Prevention of Obesity Diseases, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln enrolls one in four post-grads, or 1,236 Cornhuskers, in 63 academic programs recognized by the CWUR for America’s 240th best faculty. Led by Dr. Joel Cramer, the MS in Nutrition and Health Sciences Online welcomes RDs into three specializations for Dietetics, Nutrition & Exercise, or Community Nutrition & Health Promotion on Blackboard. The 30-36 credit curriculum belongs to the Great Plains IDEA for thesis and non-thesis tracks with rolling admission.
4. North Dakota State University
Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Dietetics
Annual Tuition: $5,570
Located in Fargo with the P.N. Haakenson Health Sciences Library, North Dakota State University stands as America’s 106th top public school on the U.S. News & World Report with a College of Health Professions that’s grown to serve 1,995 post-grads since 1902. The Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Dietetics is another Great Plains IDEA member using Blackboard for medical nutrition therapy training. Headed by Dr. Charles Peterson, the 36-credit, two-year curriculum outlines courses like lipid metabolism and healthy aging without a thesis for Registered Dietitians.
3. Texas Tech University
Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Online
Annual Tuition: $5,400
Teaching 2,991 Red Raiders with 104 full-time faculty led by Dr. Linda Hoover, the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University, the United States’ 67th best big school on Niche, hosts the International Center for Food Industry Excellence (ICFIE). Registered Dietitians can pursue the Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Online via Blackboard to develop clinical leadership skills. The 33-credit, non-GRE program culminates with a proctored exam after practice-based electives specialized in Maternal Health, Obesity Management, Eating Disorders, Geriatrics, or Sport Nutrition.
2. East Carolina University
Online MS in Nutrition
Annual Tuition: $4,656
Founded as the Tar Heel State’s first such division in 1967, the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University, the 41st best value in Washington Monthly, currently enrolls 500+ post-graduates in 11 degrees. The Online MS in Nutrition admits RDNs with minimum 3.0 GPAs in Dietetics Foundation courses for flexible, advanced training on Blackboard. Organized with thesis and non-thesis tracks by Dr. Richard Baybutt, the 33-37 credit curriculum covers topics from biostatistics to digestion physiology. ECU also confers the MA in Health Education Online for CHES certification.
1. Texas Woman’s University
M.S. in Nutrition Program Online
Annual Tuition: $4,522
Boasting our list’s cheapest in-state rate as the 41st top national value on WalletHub, Texas Woman’s University has offers post-grad admission into the ACEND-accredited College of Health Sciences. Hosting the Health in Action Camp each July, the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department placed its M.S. program 100 percent online for RDs seeking cost-effective advancement. The 36-credit, non-thesis curriculum coordinated by Dr. Shane Broughton offers courses like foodborne illness with an optional 900-hour School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) internship.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s May 2016 statistics data showed that 61,430 health food experts received a decent average dietitian salary of $59,670, or $28.69 per hour. Investing in graduate school can maximize your nutritionist salary potential with the NCHEC’s Master Certified Health Education Specialist credential too. Get ready for this 165-question, three-hour exam with fewer expenses in these affordable online master’s in nutritional science programs.
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