If you would like to work as a food scientist or a nutritionist, it's important to complete all of the key courses to earn your Master's in Nutritional Science. A graduate degree in this area of study caters to students who would like to expand their knowledge on nutrition to pursue nutrition careers where they can help to develop educational programs that promoting a healthy lifestyle is the focus.

Resource: 15 Most Affordable Online Master's in Nutritional Science Degree Programs 2016

Upon earning an accredited graduate degree, professionals can pursue careers in settings that range from hospitals to private practice. The key to succeeding in this rewarding field is to prepare yourself for school by reviewing the types of programs that exist and what core curriculum is required. Here are the key courses included in nutrition science graduate programs and what they cover.

Nutrition and Community Health

Students who would like to pursue a career in consultancy or program development through the government will need an advanced knowledge of the connections between poor nutrition and community health. Since community health is directly impacted by the population's access to nutritional foods, it is a key course that is covered in the core curriculum of all Master's in Nutritional Science programs. Most programs have a 3 unit credit requirement but some may have more.

Child Nutrition

Another topic that will be covered by the program is Pediatric Nutrition. Since children have a different metabolic response to chronic disease and vitamins than adults, it is important to emphasize how dietary management strategies in children may be different from the strategies used in adults. This course will cover information on nutrition support, how it is used in acute and chronic illness, and health psychophysiology.

Geriatric Nutrition

The nutritional needs of the elderly are pertinent. With the proper nutrition in geriatric patients, it can delay the effects of aging and the onset of disease. Students who will be working with the geriatric population can benefit from taking specialized curriculum in geriatric nutrition. In a standard Master's in Nutritional Science program, students must complete 3 units on this specialization area with a focus on health span and longevity.

Nutrition and Energy

Yet another key course that would be found in a food sciences type of program is Nutrition and Energy. Metabolism is a huge focus for nutritionists and even sports nutritionists looking to help their clients achieve the highest level of performance possible. Many students will complete a research module and also a seminar pertaining to metabolism and nutrition. Other modules include biochemical bases of nutrition, regulation of energy, macronutrients, clinical nutrition, and research design.

Finding the Best Program

Anyone who is going to return to school after earning a relevant bachelor's degree needs to evaluate all of the nutritional science programs that exist. There is a long list of programs to choose from but prospective graduate students can narrow down their options by first looking at programs accredited by an agency like the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Start by reviewing the schools with approved ACEND programs. Once you have done this, you can narrow down the options based on your preferences. By choosing an accredited school, you will have peace of mind in knowing that you will earn a valued nutritional science degree because all of the core courses will be included in your curriculum.