An aging population, public demand for improved quality of food, and a thirst for knowledge of ingredients set the scene for plenty of well-paying roles in the field of nutrition. Whether you want to become a registered dietitian or just have an affinity for food science, a master's in nutrition and dietetics is your first stop. Graduate education is set to become a prerequisite, so we've organized the Top 20 Best Master's in Nutrition and Dietetics 2020 so you have the power to succeed.
Top 20 Best Master's in Nutrition and Dietetics 2020
Everybody eats. Eating options inherently vary by culture, religion, region, and personal tastes. With such varied options, many people can be bombarded and end up making poor and costly decisions. A master's degree in nutrition and dietetics makes you an expert on the science behind what we eat and how food choices affect the health and wellness of people.
Food-related diseases are rampant in America. Thirty million people suffer from diabetes, while 40% of the adult population struggles with obesity. Choosing the right food and diet can help combat these diseases. Registered dietitians work with people, whether through an agency or as an individual consultant, by providing medical nutrition therapy or just a general education about how to eat healthily.
Students with a master's degree in nutrition and dietetics take on roles such as nutritionists, food chemists, public health planners, educators, and more. These roles are in high demand, as people are becoming far more aware of what it means to make smart food choices and are constantly changing their diets and eating habits.
As a professional in the field, it's your job to understand the impact these diets have on health and wellness and to make this knowledge and understanding widespread so you can positively impact people's eating habits and lives. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 11% growth rate for these jobs, which is much faster than alternative industries, by 2028. By 2024, the minimum requirement to become a registered dietician (RD) will be to have a master's degree, so there's never been a better time to achieve this educational milestone!
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 Top 20 Best Master's in Nutrition and Dietetics 2020 for 2019!
#20. University of Illinois at Chicago – Chicago, IL
M.S. in Nutrition
Net Price: $13,704/26,560
If you're someone who has an interest in public health and nutrition but has a degree in another field, this program can help bridge the gap from undergraduate to graduate without having to backtrack. The MS in Nutrition prepares students at the University of Illinois at Chicago to become leaders in various clinical roles, like chief dieticians, nutrition specialists, instructors, and researchers. UIC has a hands-on teaching garden, introducing theories of nutrition from a farm-fresh standpoint. The degree is part of a coordinated program, designed to help new-comers to experience supervised practice and master's-level coursework that will prepare them for the Registered Dietitians' Exam. What is taught in this unique classroom experience serves as a proven framework for successful graduates, especially when considering that 100% of UIC students pass the RD exam within a year of graduating.
#19. University of Mississippi – University, MS
Coordinated Program in Dietetics
Net Price: $8,300/23,564
As part of the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, the University of Mississippi offers a Master of Science in Food and Nutrition Services through a Coordinated Program in Dietetics. Like most programs, you can expect elements of graduate-level coursework and supervised practice at Ole Miss. The supervised practice requirement calls for 1,325 hours within a local facility and takes place over a year. Depending on your chosen area of concentration–Child & Adolescent Nutrition, Food Service Administration, and Sport Nutrition are your options –the scope of your supervised practice will shift. Concentrations are competitive, and openings come as rotation sites become available. This practice takes place in the second year of study, while the initial year focuses on graduate-level coursework. Two semesters are dedicated strictly to courses on nutrition, including Advanced Nutrition, Advanced Food Service Management, and Foundations in Child and Nutrition Management. The remainder of the 36 credits needed to complete the program can be in either electives or supervised practice.
#18. North Dakota State University – Fargo, ND
Masters in Dietetics
Net Price: $8,666/20,692
North Dakota State University offers the exciting opportunity to complete a master's in dietetics online. In tandem with lessons from other universities, this program involves nine core credit hours, between 21 and 24 elective hours, and a thesis. Statistics, Current Trends, and Research Methods are the three components of the required core courses. Electives allow a better chance for students to hone in on their particular areas of interest, with options like Diabetes Medical Nutrition Therapy, Food Culture, Grant writing for the Professional, International Nutrition and World Hunger, and topics related to obesity and pediatrics. This program offers the flexibility of both remote work and elective options so you can mold the education that works best for you on your own time.
#17. Stony Brook University – Stony Brook, NY
Master of Science in Nutrition
Net Price: $9,257/26,767
If you like the idea of an online Master of Science in Nutrition, you have another option to consider. Stony Brook University created this online program with a focus on teaching students how to treat and prevent disease by applying advanced nutrition principles. Students can choose to concentrate in Advanced Nutrition Therapy, Integrative Nutrition Therapy, Sustainable Food Systems, or a more generalized track. Regardless of your concentration, Macronutrients and Functional Nutrition, Advanced Communication and Counseling, and Research Methods in Nutrition are core requirements. Since it's held online, you're able to choose from a full-time (six credits per semester) or part-time (three credits per semester) course of study.
#16. University of Missouri – Columbia, MO
MS in Nutritional Science
Net Price: $9,787/26,506
The Master of Science in Nutrition from the University of Missouri is designed as a graduate-level degree program that provides the core training and knowledge as outlined by the Graduate Nutrition Committee of the American Society for Nutrition. There are five areas of concentration that can be chosen: Human/Clinical Nutrition, Public Health Nutrition, Behavioral Science, Food Science, or Biochemistry/Cell Physiology. Although the program does not specifically lead the way to become a registered dietitian, students will get plenty of hands-on experience through lab work, seminar presentations, research grant writing, and other necessary skills to become a skilled researcher. The University of Missouri makes chronic disease in the US a focus of the research. Studying very specific elements of human nutrition helps to provide a framework for a better understanding of widespread illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases. In the end, students will get the chance to defend a thesis before a committee based on the research they carried out.
#15. Texas A & M University-College Station, TX
Master of Science in Nutrition
Net Price: $11,234/36,606
Texas A&M has a robust Department of Nutrition and Food Science with a wide variety of ways to expand your education. The core of the Master of Science in Nutrition covers topics in nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, and statistics. There is also a mandatory seminar every semester. To gain hands-on experience, there are also required seminars and research hours. The Food Diversity Innovation Program and over a dozen active research professionals are available to students to help fulfill these requirements. This program can be especially attractive to students interested in religious and cultural regulations around food like kosher and halal regulations.
#14. Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ
Master of Science Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences
Net Price: $11,234/36,606
Rutgers University helps you to customize your Master of Science with three Nutritional concentrations: Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology, Community and Applied Nutrition, or Dietetics. What it looks for in students is a strong apt inclination for research and willingness to advance both intellectually and professionally. It's also necessary for applicants to have completed several credits of chemistry, biochemistry, and 12 additional advanced science credits. Once admitted, you can enter into the Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology or the Applied and Community Nutrition Option. The curriculum will vary depending on your concentration, except for some core courses: A Biochemical and Physiological Basis, Statistics, and Seminar. All students are also required to present an original thesis based on supervised research.
#13. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, MN
Master of Science in Nutrition
Net Price: $14,417/26,603
The Master of Science in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota is very focused on research and scientific principles related to nutrition. In the first semester, students will both hone and share their presentation skills in a one-credit course before moving into more advanced lessons. Nutritional Biochemistry, Biostatistics, Nutrition and Genetics, and Research Methods are some course examples. The concluding semester calls for a master's thesis, which is outlined in the Graduate School website. Alternatively, students may choose "Plan B," which requires project credits throughout the program. To help bolster the degree, six elective credits can be taken in a supporting topic.
#12. Tufts University – Boston, MA
Master of Science in Nutrition + Didactic Program in Dietetics
Net Price: $51,288/51,288
Tufts University joins Simmons College to create a Didactic Program in Dietetics alongside a Master of Science in Nutrition. The two-year program prepares students for a dietetic internship. Surprisingly, there are no prerequisites to begin the program, allowing for virtually any prospective student to work toward becoming a registered dietitian. Certain subjects are required courses through Simmons, including Nutrient Metabolism, Advanced Food Science, Food Production and Service Systems, plus two social sciences courses. Top Tufts staff are considered some of the most influential in the nation. Irwin Rosenberg, for example, worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to work on a nutrition project that helped put Tufts on the nutrition map.
#11. University of Georgia – Athens, GA
M.S. Thesis in Nutrition
Net Price: $11,818/30,392
The final stage of most graduate programs involves a thesis, and you can attain this crucial component of your degree at the University of Georgia. Designed as a preparatory degree for those interested in moving on to doctoral-level studies, students get the chance to conduct a deep dive into a specialized area of study with the end-goal of presenting it before a committee. Some specializations include Clinical and Community Nutrition, Food Industry, Government, and Basic Science. There are still a required 30 credit hours for program completion, including courses such as Optimal Nutrition for the Life Span, Research Methodology, Metabolic Disorders, and one particularly interesting course titled "We Are What We Eat."
#10. The Ohio State University – Columbus, OH
Graduate Coordinated Medical Dietetics Program
Net Price: $10,592/29,696
Students of The Ohio State University's Graduate Coordinated Medical Dietetics Program are equipped with informed nutritional practices and a scientific basis so they may be able to work with agencies or communities to treat and prevent disease through diet. The Ohio State blends existing knowledge of nutrients with unfolding research to create proactive nutrition professionals. Students also commonly carry on through the educational ranks and move into doctorate-level degrees or medical school. To be able to prepare students for these next steps, coursework is research-heavy. A total of nine credit hours in research methods and six credit hours for the thesis are required. There are plenty of academic opportunities at local centers to give students a hands-on approach to their education.
#9. The Ohio State University-Main Campus – Columbus, OH
Master of Science in Human Nutrition
Net Price: $10,592/29,696
Opposed to the Medical Dietetics Program, you can also set your sights The Ohio State University's Master of Science in Human Nutrition. This major, which takes place on the main campus, is dedicated to research in the scope of diet and nutrition. Since the focus is on human nutrition, you'll explore how nutrients work in our bodies and how proper diet can result in improved health and wellness. Like the university's other programs in this field, lessons touch on both proven facts as well as theories that are still being explored. The exact course of study will depend on your interests. For example, past students have chosen to explore research topics related to dietary intake and disease, food security, behavioral nutrition, and more. The degree can lead the way to a doctorate program, or open doors for roles as clinical researchers or nutritionists, laboratory technicians, fitness specialists, and others.
#8. The University of Texas at Austin – Austin, TX
Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences
Net Price: $11,742/22,564
The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from The University of Texas at Austin is formulated through a three-pronged approach: mentor, student, and program content. These three elements are all interconnected and essential for master's level research and thesis formulation. UT-Austin itself is nationally recognized as an influential research university, and supervisors are available to all students to help them zero-in on their chosen topic for research studies. UT Austin emphasizes the importance of finding a mentor as the first step in choosing a thesis focus topic. Thesis topics should always be something that's of interest to the student. Some examples of topics include Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Nutrient Function, Nutrition and Cancer, Child and Community Nutrition, and Obesity.
#7. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC
Master of Public Health/Registered Dietitian (RD) Program
Net Price: $9,005/34,588
Nutrition is an integral aspect of health and wellness in people and communities, and few have had this understanding longer than the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This program has been available since 1951, and recently set another industry precedent by becoming an ACEND-accredited program. The length of the program is a standard two years, during which you'll explore public health through coursework and internships. It also offers plenty of research, stressing the importance of disease treatment and prevention through proper diet. This program does meet the criteria as a prerequisite for the Registered Dietitian Exam. Overall, the program is exceptionally well-rounded, allowing graduates to choose the path that best suits individual interests.
#6. Purdue University-Main Campus – West Lafayette, IN
Nutritional Sciences, MS
Net Price: $9,992/28,794
There are several areas of concentration to consider when you apply to the Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Purdue University. A couple of solid choices include Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition and Public Health and Education. Regardless of your selected concentration, coursework covers a wide range of nutrition-related topics. The option to explore food lipids, proteins, and toxicology exists in the same curriculum as ingestive behavior and cancer prevention. Once all of the required courses are complete, a final thesis is the last step in the program before you can unveil your knowledge in clinical or research settings.
#5. Arizona State University – Phoenix, AZ
Nutritional Science, MS
Net Price: $10,792/27,372
Arizona State University offers a Master of Science in Nutritional Science on its Phoenix campus. The program provides the opportunity to evolve and sharpen research skills but makes special strides to also teach valuable knowledge of computer literacy, problem-solving skills, and writing. The full course encompasses 30 credit hours, including two required research courses, statistics, and a final project or thesis. Students may also choose an area of concentration and shape the degree to fit their needs through electives. Whether you have an interest in vegetarianism, pediatrics, or obesity prevention, you'll likely be able to sharpen these skills through seminars and bring a competitive edge to the workplace after the program.
#4. University of Washington-Seattle Campus – Seattle, WA
MS in Nutritional Sciences with the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD)
Net Price: $10,974/35,538
The Shanghai-based consultancy, Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, ranked the University of Washington No. 5 on its World's Best School of Public Health list, making it a great option for tomorrow's leaders in this field. The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences joins Dietetics in a coordinated program to create a degree that offers everything you might want: preparation for both clinical and public health sectors, as well as readiness to take the Registered Dietitian Exam. The classes remain small, giving students optimal accessibility to and attention from professors. The main goal of the program is to teach strong research skills and to be able to translate them effectively into a career leading public health programs. Graduates of this program prove the strength of the curriculum with a 100% pass rate of the RD Exam within a year.
#3. University of Wisconsin, Madison – Madison, WI
M.S. in Clinical Nutrition
Net Price: $10,533/34,783
There's no doubt that the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition can create world-class leaders in public health. Late last year (2019), researchers at the University of Madison-Wisconsin discovered an unlikely way to monitor health that's been overlooked for centuries. The findings revealed that by monitoring urine through a toilet, essential elements of human health can be revealed. This is just one example of how this program and its students and affiliates are pushing clinical nutrition and public health to new, unexplored territory. The emphasis of this program is on clinical nutrition, meaning students will learn how to be particularly well-versed in conducting, understanding, and implementing research. Plenty of opportunity lies ahead for strong researchers, and UW's professional development resources make it that much easier to bolster your experience and become even more marketable upon graduation.
#2. North Carolina State University at Raleigh – Raleigh, NC
M.S. in Nutrition
Net Price: $9,058/27,406
There are both thesis and non-thesis tracks of study available to students completing a Master of Science in Nutrition at North Carolina State University at Raleigh. The coursework spans 30 credit hours and works to implement a path of education that is geared for the individual, as there is a maximum of six credit hours that are devoted to independent study. NC State is also one of the most supportive master's programs available. The lengthy student handbook breaks down the necessary elements of a master's thesis with a helpful guide. There are also workshops, tutorials, and online courses that help to bolster your experience and knowledge in the field. With all of these tools and an MS in Nutrition under your belt, you'll be equipped with everything you need to succeed in the field after the program.
#1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, IL
Master of Science in Nutritional Science
Net Price: $15,074/31,194
In comparison with similar programs from other leading institutions, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers an exceptionally strong Master of Science in Nutritional Science. Many of this program's expert faculty work in the field and have recent research studies related to animal nutrition, biochemical and molecular nutrition, food safety, toxicology, and topics related to nutritional science. Last year, the university researchers unveiled studies on the benefits of adequate hydration, potatoes' influence on performance, and the importance of eating home-cooked meals. These researchers are also active professors in the department. As a student under these mentors, you can explore your research interests and use them as a basis for your education. The apparent news-worthiness of this program and its research provides influence and inspiration for aspiring students to enroll and begin their journey to life-changing nutritional research.