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The doctoral program in medical nutrition science typically requires approximately 45-60 total credit hours of graduate course work 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 course work 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 requirement 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 course work 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.

Here's a summary of possible credit hours required in this program:

  • 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.
Please note: students may be accepted on a provisional admission basis if some requirements have not yet been met at the time of application.

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 over all course work and to provide an oral defense of their dissertation research project.

Curriculum Outline
Students entering the 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 recommendations of the students’ academic advisory committee. See a detailed list of courses

DN 895 Advanced Macronutrients and Integrated Metabolism 3
DN 896 Advanced Micronutrients and Integrated Metabolism 3
DN 900 Techniques in Nutrition Research 3
DN 901 Graduate Seminar in Nutrition 1
DN 990 Doctoral Research 12-14
DN 999 Dissertation 1-6
GSMC 856 Introduction to Research Ethics (or equivalent) 1
BIOS 720 Analysis of Variance 3
BIOS 730 Applied Linear Regression 3
Electives Varies
Recommended courses  
DN 980 Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics in Health and Disease 3
BIOS 740 Applied Multivariate Methods 3
CLS 742 Scientific Writing 1

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.

Last modified: Sep 07, 2018

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.