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The curriculum of our Ph.D. program provides knowledge of clinical nutrition for interdisciplinary health care environments.

The doctoral program in medical nutrition science typically requires approximately 45-60 total credit hours of graduate coursework beyond the bachelor's degree. For those enrolling with a master's degree in nutrition, approximately 30 graduate hours (700 to 900 level) generally are required.

Prior coursework and the student’s research interests are considered in designing the plan of study. Students in the program must meet the research skills and responsible scholarship requirements of the university, fulfill program course requirements and successfully complete a written comprehensive examination to achieve Ph.D. candidacy. The Ph.D. candidate must submit a written dissertation proposal describing an original research project in some aspect of nutrition research, and defend the proposal in a comprehensive oral exam before beginning the dissertation research. The written dissertation and successful oral defense of the dissertation are required to receive the degree.

The total coursework required depends upon whether the student is accepted to the program from a bachelor's or a master's degree, and it depends upon the area of study of that degree (nutrition, biological sciences or other areas of study). Hours for completion are the ultimate decision of the student's research advisor and research committee.

Possible Credit Hours

  • Core Courses: 36-39 credit hours
  • Electives: 11-14 credit hours
  • Dissertation: minimum 10 credit hours
  • Total hours to completion: ~ 60 credit hours after the bachelor's degree

Degrees earned outside the United States must be evaluated for equivalency. 

Students become doctoral candidates after completing the advanced nutrition courses and passing a qualifying exam in nutrition written by faculty in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition. Students will be required to complete a comprehensive exam overall coursework and to provide an oral defense of their dissertation research project.

Curriculum Outline

Students entering this program with a bachelor's or master's degree in nutrition or other biological sciences must have completed basic core background courses in biochemistry, physiology and nutrition. Course requirements are based on the recommendations of the student's academic advisory committee.


Course #

Course title


DN 895

Advanced Macronutrients and Integrated Metabolism


DN 896

Advanced Micronutrients and Integrated Metabolism


DN 900

Techniques in Nutrition Research


DN 901

Graduate Seminar in Nutrition


DN 990

Doctoral Research


DN 999



GSMC 856

Introduction to Research Ethics (or equivalent)


BIOS 720

Analysis of Variance


BIOS 730

Applied Linear Regression




Recommended courses

Course #

Course title


DN 980

Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics in Health and Disease


BIOS 740

Applied Multivariate Methods


CLS 742

Scientific Writing


Elective courses required by the student’s research committee are dependent upon the student’s area of research concentration. The total elective hours can vary according to needs.

View Course Descriptions

Visit the KU Academic Catalog for full course descriptions for the Ph.D. in Medical Nutrition Science.

Academic Catalog Website

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Requirements

The University of Kansas Medical Center, including the University of Kansas School of Health Professions and this academic program, partners with multiple health systems and health care providers to provide clinical and programmatic experiences for its students. Many of our clinical partners are currently requiring all students to have received the COVID-19 vaccine before their on-site experiences and training may begin. As a result, unvaccinated students could be precluded from participating in these activities, potentially impacting their ability to complete all program requirements. Students with concerns should speak with the clinical coordinator or department chair.

School of Health Professions

Dietetics and Nutrition
KU Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 4013
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-5355 • 711 TTY