Top Nutrition Graduate Programs

Get info on what to look for when selecting a school with a strong graduate program in nursing. Explore three top-ranked schools with nutrition programs, and check what graduate degrees you could pursue at each school. Schools offering Fitness & Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top Nutrition Graduate Program?

Because your preparation will typically include subjects like biology, chemistry, biochemistry and human physiology, you will want to identify schools that have strong science programs and are affiliated with medical schools or medical institutions. If you also intend to become a registered dietician (RD), you may wish to select schools whose programs have been accredited by the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

Schools with top graduate programs in nutrition are often highly ranked overall. Typically, faculty and staff within these programs have demonstrated leadership and excellence in education or research. They may have been recognized with awards or honors. In addition, alumni of these programs go on to contribute significantly to the field through research or professional endeavors.

What Are Three Top Nutrition Graduate Programs?

University of Washington in Seattle, WA

The University of Washington was ranked 12th by U.S. News & World Report in 2019 for best medical schools: research. Students interested in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences must be admitted to both the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program and the UW Graduate School.

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs in nutritional science are administered through UW's School of Public Health. Preparation includes background in basic nutrition, chemistry and organic chemistry, biochemistry and human physiology. Graduate nutrition curricula develop strong foundations in biology, nutrition education, clinical nutrition and nutrition research. Graduate students pursuing nutritional science degrees at UW have access to UW's medical school and the UW Medical Center, a teaching and research facility.

A Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics is open to graduate students admitted to the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences. This highly selective program is targeted to students who wish to become registered dieticians.

Graduate degrees offered include:

  • Master of Science in Nutritional Science
  • Master of Public Health in Nutritional Science
  • Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nutritional Science

University of Illinois at Chicago in Chicago, IL

The University of Illinois at Chicago is a public institution resulting from the 1982 consolidation of two University of Illinois campuses, the Medical Center campus and the Chicago Circle campus. Its medical school was ranked 50th among research medical schools and 48th among best medical schools: primary care in 2019 by U.S. News & World Report.

UIC's Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, housed within the College of Applied Health Sciences, offers both master and doctoral degrees. The department offers graduate programs accredited and approved by the American Dietetic Association for aspiring registered dieticians. The program places a strong emphasis on medical nutrition. Graduate options include: 1) a coordinated master's degree program with a selection of three tracks, for students planning to become registered dieticians; 2) a master's program for registered dieticians or individuals planning to advance to a doctoral program; and 3) a doctoral program with three possible interdisciplinary tracks.

The Integrated Pathophysiology, Nutrition and Health Promotion track - which emphasizes study in nutrition, exercise, metabolism, obesity and inflammation - may be best suited for doctoral candidates interested in nutrition.

The graduate degrees offered include:

  • Master of Science in Nutrition Science (Coordinated Program)
  • Master of Science in Nutrition Science (Traditional Program)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology and Nutrition

University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC

UNC-CH earned multiple high rankings in 2019 from U.S. News & World Report, including 23rd in the nation for its medical school's research and 1st for best medical schools in primary care.

The UNC-CH Nutrition Department is the only such department in the U.S. that is a member of both a school of public health and a school of medicine. It offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. A Coordinated MPH-RD program prepares students for public health careers with a strong emphasis on nutritional science. It meets ADA certification requirements.

The M.S. in Nutritional Biochemistry prepares candidates for laboratory work in nutrition or further academic advancement. The Ph.D. degree permits exploration of a range of research interests, including nutrition intervention and policy, nutrition epidemiology or nutritional biochemistry.

Graduate degrees include:

  • Master of Public Health with Registered Dietician Training
  • Master of Science with Nutritional Biochemistry Concentration
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nutrition

Ten Other Top Graduate Nutrition Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Cornell University4-year, PrivateIthaca, NY$30,000
Andrews University4-year, PrivateBerrien Springs, MI$27,000
New York University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY$45,000
Boston University4-year, PrivateBoston, MA$53,000
University of Tennessee4-year, PublicKnoxville, TN$13,000
Oklahoma State University4-year, PublicStillwater, OK$8,000
Oregon State University4-year, PublicCorvallis, OR$14,000
University of Texas4-year, PublicAustin, TX$12,000
Loyola University Chicago4-year, PrivateChicago, IL$19,000
University of Kansas4-year, PublicLawrence, KS$11,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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