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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.

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Essential Information

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.

Education Prerequisites

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.

Program Coursework

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
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Metabolism
  • Kinesiology
  • Statistics

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:

  • Nutritionist
  • Food scientist
  • Secondary educator
  • Registered dietician

Continuing Education

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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Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety

Popular Schools

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