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Ph.D. in Medical Nutrition Science

Research in nutrition, student in lab (photo)

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching institution serving as a center for learning, scholarship and creative endeavor. A major strength of KU's medical nutrition science program is the opportunity for clinical and translational research.

This program emphasizes training in the core sciences of nutrition, biochemistry, biostatistics and the most advanced research methodology.

The doctorate in medical nutrition science is one of many academic programs in the School of Health Professions at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Located in beautiful Kansas City, Kansas, the KU Medical Center campus also includes the schools of Medicine and Nursing. KU Medical Center joins The University of Kansas Health System to form the region's top academic health center.

The mission of this alliance among health care professions is to create a modern environment for instruction, research, and service, and to provide these services across multiple constituencies at local, regional and national levels.

Academic objectives

  • To graduate students capable of conducting research using appropriate research methods, ethical procedures and statistical analysis.

  • To graduate students with advanced knowledge in the nutritional sciences and who contribute to the growing body of knowledge in the medical nutrition science arena.

  • To graduate students who demonstrate professional attributes such as advocacy, critical thinking, flexibility, time management, and work ethic within various organization cultures.

  • To enrich the scholarly and collegial culture of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at KU Medical Center.

researchers Radel and Carlson with baby formula bottles

What type of students enter this program?

The doctoral program in medical nutrition science targets students with degrees in nutrition or biological sciences. Students may enroll with a bachelor's degree or master's degree. Selection of students for the program will be on a competitive basis.

Students who enroll in the doctoral program are not eligible to become registered dietitians (RDs) unless they have met all the prerequisites of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and have completed a dietetic internship. Please see the KU dietetic internship graduate certificate program for more information.

For questions regarding this program, please contact Susan Carlson, Ph.D., program director, at or 913-588-5359 (711 TTY).

Advantages of KU's doctorate in medical nutrition science

KU Medical Center is part of the University of Kansas, the largest higher education institution in the state of Kansas. The Kansas City metropolitan area is populated with two million widely diverse and ethnic populations and offers potential collaborations with major medical industries, research facilities, two medical schools, schools of dentistry and osteopathy.

KU maintains nationally and internationally recognized research programs to advance health sciences. Health-related research flourishes in a setting that includes strong basic and applied investigations of life processes, inquiries into the normal functions of the human body, mechanisms of disease processes, model health care programs for the prevention of disease, and the maintenance of health and quality of life.

The KU Department of Dietetics and Nutrition research program conforms to these guidelines with major studies in omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in maternal and infant populations, obesity, cancer, bone metabolism and food security. See: more details about departmental research.

KU Medical Center provides high quality patient-centered health care and health-related services and strives to be a leader in the development and implementation of model programs that provide the greatest diversity of proven health care services for the citizens of Kansas, the region and the nation.

The KU Department of Dietetics and Nutrition provides dietetics services to diabetes, cystic fibrosis, feeding disorder and metabolic clinics, family practice, telemedicine and public venues as requested.

Employment Opportunities.
Graduates from KU's doctorate in medical nutrition science program are employable by public and private universities and academic health centers as teachers and researchers.

Appointments may be found for graduates at research hospitals and institutions, as nutrition consultants for industry and governmental agencies, and some may even become self-employed to provide consulting services to public and professional venues.

KU's doctoral degree program in medical nutrition science does not provide eligibility for professional licensing for employment. As a research program, credentialing for health care practice does not apply to this program.

Last modified: Oct 13, 2020

Students may enter this program during the fall or spring semester.

Application deadlines:

  • Fall semester entry: February 1
  • Spring semester entry: September 1

Learn about this program

Program overview

Eligibility and requirements

How to apply

Tuition and fees


Student handbook

Opportunities are available for graduate assistantships, faculty research, travel awards, etc. Learn more.