PhD in Nutrition Program Information and Career Options
Nutrition Ph.D programs prepare students for research, teaching or advanced professional careers. Find out about the practical training typically included, see examples of courses and learn about the state licensing and certification requirements for certain nutrition careers.
Nutrition programs at the Ph.D. level prepare students for advanced work in nutritional science as they study the compounds contained in food and how those compounds affect wellbeing. As with most Ph.D. programs, a bachelor's or master's degree is required to be considered for admission. The type of major and other prerequisites vary by program.
Doctoral students receive some classroom instruction, but the majority of the program's duration involves studying and conducting research. Each school's program varies and students can compare each one to learn about which specializations or practical education opportunities are available at each school. Teaching assistant or research assistant positions are also offered at some schools. To work as a dietitian or nutritionist, individuals must acquire some sort of credentialing as per state standards.
A bachelor's degree is necessary for admission into a nutritional science Ph.D program, however some schools require students to have a master's degree. A degree in nutrition or a related health science is often preferred or required. Programs that don't require a specific degree have certain math and science-based courses as prerequisites.
Majority of the student's time during a nutrition Ph.D program is spent acquiring practical education through student teaching or research opportunities. Nevertheless, students do spend a portion of their learning in the classroom. All students are required to take certain core classes and a specified number of electives. The electives allow students to select classes pertaining to their various interests within the nutrition field. Some common classes include:
- Nutritional epidemiology
- Nutrition and aging
- Community nutrition
- Cellular nutrition
Popular Career Options
Graduates of Ph.D nutrition programs typically find work as advanced professionals, researchers or teachers at the academic level. Some employment choices include:
- Food scientist
- Secondary educator
- Registered dietician
Students that pursue advanced nutritionist or dietitian jobs may need to acquire licensure. Many states mandate that nutritionists and dietitians adhere to licensing, certification or registration regulations. The eligibility requirements for such credentials vary for each state.
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