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Nutrition Graduate Programs in California with Course Info

There are four schools within the state of California that have nutrition graduate degree programs. Read an overview of these schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

For students who wish to pursue advanced study in nutrition, there are limited options in California. Individuals may choose to earn a master's or a doctoral degree at the graduate level; majors include food science, nutrition, and molecular and biology. Applicants to such programs need to hold undergraduate degrees, preferably in a related field. Such programs often emphasize research projects and may require students to complete a thesis, dissertation, or comprehensive examination prior to graduation.

Below are brief overviews of the four schools offering nutrition programs, as well as a table outlining the program types, tuition costs and school settings.


Chapman University

Located in Orange, Chapman University offers a master's degree program in food science. This program takes about 18 months to complete and focuses on research and the study of innovative food packaging, processing and preservation techniques. Students are required to take 30 credits of coursework in subjects including quality control, food analysis, nutrition and human performance, food engineering, clinical nutrition and food packaging.

Students can gain practical experience through internships with one of the many food-processing companies in the surrounding area. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available; students who opt for the non-thesis option must complete a comprehensive examination. The food science program is also available jointly with a Master of Business Administration program. Food science students can pursue learning opportunities outside of the classroom through involvement with the Chapman University Food Science and Nutrition Student Association.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Food Science
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $22,752*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city

Loma Linda University

This 4-year university, based in Loma Linda, has two master's degree programs and a doctoral program in nutrition. The Master of Public Health program focuses on community nutrition and prepares students for employment in government agencies, community health centers or medical facilities. The curriculum includes coursework in environmental health, public health nutrition, community nutrition interventions, vegetarian diets, phytochemicals and exercise nutrition. Students have the option to complete a coordinated track in dietetics as part of this program.

The Master of Science and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) programs focus on advanced study in nutritional science while placing a special emphasis on research skills. Participants in these programs complete advanced courses such as statistics, epidemiology, public health nutrition and research methods. Students in the DrPH program are also required to write a dissertation based on their research in the field.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Public Health in Nutrition,
    Master of Science in Nutrition,
    Doctor of Public Health in Nutrition
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $24,888*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb

University of California - Berkeley

Located in Berkeley, UC Berkeley's Department of Nutritional Science and Toxicology offers training for aspiring nutrition research scientists. Students may choose from various research areas, such as metabolic regulation; nutritional genetics; vitamins, minerals and hormones; endocrinology and neuroscience; phytochemicals; and metabolism-based diseases.

Students can earn a Master of Science or PhD in Metabolic Biology or a PhD in Molecular Toxicology. The master's degree program takes about two years to complete and the PhD programs take about five years to finish. Students are required to complete 2-3 lab rotations in their first year, depending on the program; PhD students are also required to participate in a teaching internship. Coursework in the nutrition degree programs include organism nutrition and metabolism, statistics in nutrition research, metabolic regulation and molecular toxicology.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Metabolic Biology,
    PhD in Metabolic Biology,
    PhD in Molecular Toxicology
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $12,874 in-state; $27,976 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

University of California - Davis

Found in Davis, this university offers several nutrition graduate program specialties, such as nutrition and development, human and clinical nutrition, nutrition and endocrinology, culture and nutrition, nutrition and aging, animal nutrition and international nutrition, among many others.

Students in the master's degree program choose between two tracks. The first track requires 30 units of graduate coursework and a thesis, with at least 12 units in the major field. The second plan is by petition only. Students in this track are required to complete 36 units of graduate coursework, as well as a comprehensive exam.

Individuals in the PhD program are required to take three core courses, followed by a preliminary examination. After completing the remainder of the required coursework, students who successfully complete the final qualifying examination move on to work on their research full time. One or two areas of specialization are required. Students also have the opportunity to pursue a designated emphasis in international and community nutrition, biotechnology or biophotonics.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nutritional Biology,
    PhD in Nutritional Biology
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $13,107 in-state; $28,209 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Nutrition Graduate Programs Available Graduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)
Chapman University 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Master of Science in Food Science $22,752*
Loma Linda University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Master of Public Health in Nutrition,
Master of Science in Nutrition,
Doctor of Public Health in Nutrition
$24,888*
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, public; midsize city Master of Science in Metabolic Biology,
PhD in Metabolic Biology,
PhD in Molecular Toxicology
$12,874 in-state; $27,976 out-of-state*
University of California - Davis 4-year, public; small city Master of Science in Nutritional Biology,
PhD in Nutritional Biology
$13,107 in-state; $28,209 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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