Best Online Master’s in Nutrition Programs

Passionate about healthy living? Nutrition science studies the dietary benefits — and drawbacks — of the foods we consume every day, as well as related areas like human physiology and exercise.

Experts project jobs in nutrition to grow 16% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average. We’ve ranked the top online master’s degrees in nutrition to get you started on a path toward a successful career in this cutting-edge scientific field.

Choosing a Program

Will this program teach me the skills I need to secure a job?

A master’s degree in nutrition provides the skills and knowledge necessary for students to pursue work for state or local governments or in nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, or other areas. The bulk of courses in these programs emphasize scientific disciplines like food science, organic chemistry and human anatomy. Students also learn communication and organizational skills necessary for working with patients and other professionals, such as doctors, nurses, product coordinators, and researchers.

Is an internship or thesis required?

Some online master’s in nutrition degrees require internships, practicums, a thesis, or non-thesis research to graduate. Every program is different, but all of these requirements are designed to prepare students for the job market by allowing them to work directly with health, fitness, and dietetic professionals, or to further research subjects like nutrition science, sports nutrition, clinical nutrition, or community nutrition, among others.

Do I need to be a registered dietitian to pursue this degree?

Many programs are designed specifically for registered dietitians or students who’ve completed equivalent college-level coursework, such as those who hold an undergraduate degree in a nutrition-related field. Some programs require a minimum amount of experience working as a registered dietitian—generally two years. Not all programs require students be registered dietitians, but some do, and others may reserve specific internship options for those who are, so it’s important to be aware what category your chosen program falls into before applying.

Will this program work with my schedule?

Online master’s in nutrition programs are designed for students who wish to continue working, whether they’re already in a related field or not. Many programs offer asynchronous course schedules, so students can choose to work on assignments whenever is most convenient. With today’s technological advances, master’s in nutrition students have more options than ever to access coursework online, whether it be on mobile devices, tablets, or personal computers. Most programs can be completed within two years.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

North Carolina State University

 2/574.98%Raleigh, NC

campus_north_carolina_state_university

The Master of Nutrition at NCSUR is a non-thesis degree that totals 36 credit hours, six of which are obtained through a direct practicum or internship. Emphasis options include human nutrition, food science, food or bioprocessing. Courses incorporate nine credits of professional skills development that qualify students for the Professional Science Masters (PSM) designation. Upon completion, students have a broad, yet fundamental understanding of nutritional science and its corresponding fields.

NC State uses two learning management systems, Moodle and WolfWare Classic, the latter developed at NC State. The combination of both course management systems allows course content to be entirely web-based and also increases the level of interaction between students, classmates and instructors. Although most online coursework can be completed asynchronously, Blackboard Collaborate is used for synchronous elements, while assignments, homework, tests and quizzes are done through WebAssign, a software tool.

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2

Northeastern University Global Network

 5/5N/ABoston, MA

campus_northeastern_university

NUGU's Master of Science in Applied Nutrition offers students who hold an undergraduate degree in a nutrition-related field the option to choose one of the four following specializations: Obesity and Eating Disorders, Nutrition Education, Nutrition and Fitness and Business and Entrepreneurship in Nutrition. Students learn the skills needed to succeed professionally as a nutritionist through the program’s practicum, which has them working directly with professional fitness, dietician and health specialists.

All of NUGU's online course content and materials, such as assignments, discussions, lectures and more, are conveyed on a weekly basis using the online learning management system Blackboard. With professionally experienced faculty members conducting highly interactive discussion threads throughout the week, distance courses equal their traditional counterparts. Students often use the Blackboard Collaborate software to work together on group activities and projects. Exams and assessments are done fully online as well. While instructors expect students to complete their coursework within a set time frame, most will not require students to log in to the virtual classroom at specific times during the week.

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3

Logan University

 2/5N/AChesterfield, MO

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LU is offering a Master of Science in Nutrition and Human Performance program entirely online. Students can attend year-round by taking three 15-week long terms each year, resulting in completion of the program within just two and a half years, but can take up five years from the date of matriculation if necessary. The program is designed to teach individuals to apply nutrition to human performance through lifestyle recommendations for day-to-day living, based on analysis and research. Graduates are also prepared to sit for independent certification exams at regional facilities in proximity to distance students.

A combination of the Canvas course management system and Blackboard learning management system are used by LU to house, maintain and deliver all online content, which is accessed by traditional and distance students alike. Students work asynchronously, thoughtfully responding to their classmates’ and instructor’s posts throughout each week of the individual courses. Instructors offer helpful and critical feedback and also prompt class discussion topics.

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4

New York Chiropractic College

 4/5N/ASeneca Falls, NY

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NYCC offers an online Master of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition that focuses on the effect macro or whole foods have on health. By examining preventative and therapeutic measures through an evidence-based approach, students learn to better address health concerns and issues. This rather interdisciplinary program readies its graduates to enter the workforce and actively contribute to the fields of counseling, research and consulting. Although applicants are not required to have a background in science, it is recommended as the MSACN program meets the didactic requirements needed to sit for several important national certification exams. Courses are 15-weeks long and are available each trimester, enabling students to finish the 36-credit hour program in as little as two years.

NYCC uses the Desire2Learn course management system to deliver online coursework in conjunction with synchronous elements via Webinars and video conferencing. This virtual classroom platform provides access to announcements, homework, grades, projects, schedules and surveys any time of day. Instructors set due dates and deadlines for assignments and tests, allowing students to complete them asynchronously. Live, synchronous interactions will be stipulated in course syllabi. NYCC professors strive to create personal online learning experience by instigating dynamic online discussion threads and sharing their own professional experiences.

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5

Canisius College

 5/567.91%Buffalo, NY

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Canisius’s School of Education offers an online Master’s in Applied Nutrition with a specialization in either Obesity and Eating Disorders or Fitness and Sports Nutrition. Designed for working professionals, the theory-based program can be completed in as little as one year depending on the pace students set for themselves. Typically, applicants are either registered dietitians or have completed the equivalent college-level coursework. Totaling 33 credits, the program is structured into eight-week long terms that begin in the fall, spring and summer.

By logging in to their MyCanisius portal, students gain complete access to the virtual classroom hosted by the Angel learning management system. Through web-conferencing platforms, students will be able to collaborate together and communicate effectively with their instructors. Since each course is personally created by the instructor, specific requirements may vary. Only twelve students will be enrolled in a single course at any time. Every 3 credit class will typically require 135 hours of work, even though they last fewer than the traditional 15-week semester course.

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6

Loma Linda University

 4/5N/ALoma Linda, CA

LLU’s entirely online Master of Science in Nutrition Care Management offered through the School of Allied Health designed for Registered Dietitians (RDs) who already have at least two years experience. Emphases in management and nutrition that cater to the career fields of foodservice systems management, medical nutrition therapy and nutrition care management are available. Most students take two courses per term, thereby finishing between two and five years. All enrolled students have a mentor supervise their progress in the course and, eventually, students' efforts to join the working world. Communication between students and mentors primarily takes place via email or phone. This mentor will also help the student select appropriate topics for papers, assignments and projects that cater to that individual’s desired career field, as well as evaluate the student’s capstone project.

After the two-day on-campus orientation, classes are taught entirely online, using LLU WebMail and the Canvas course management system. Video conferencing via Zoom or Skype allow for live lectures and conferences, while discussion threads facilitate deeper dialogues between students, peers and instructors. Weekly reflective blogs and journals are completed in addition to assignments, group activities, case studies and projects. Field work in students’ locales are supervised by a mentor, while instructor-guided labs may also be incorporated into a course.

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7

Auburn University

 2/570.86%Auburn University, AL

Auburn University offers one of the best online nutrition programs in the country. Their non-thesis Master of Nutrition degree prepares students for a variety of careers in nutrition and health professions. Students supplement their learning of fundamental nutrition principles with an emphasis on nutrition science, clinical nutrition, sports nutrition, or community nutrition. Assignments and lecture videos are delivered through the Canvas Instructure learning management system, and asynchronous scheduling allows students to view them according to their schedules. Exams are either given as take-home tests or proctored at a location convenient for the student. Students interact with other students and faculty through online discussion boards, simulating face-to-face learning.

The Master of Nutrition program operates on a semester schedule and requires 33 credit hours, including five credits of non-thesis research. It generally takes a year to a year and a half to complete the 12 classes. The prerequisites include inorganic/general chemistry, organic chemistry, general biology, anatomy and physiology, and basic nutrition at the undergraduate level; a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75; and the GRE General Test. Up to six semester credit hours can be transferred from another graduate program.

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8

University of Kansas

 3/560%Lawrence, KS

The Master of Science in Dietetics at the University of Kansas is designed to increase professional opportunities for Registered Dieticians, or those who have completed a registry-eligible credential, by preparing students for evidence-based advanced practice. This program is offered through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, and the classes are taught by various universities involved in the alliance. Students have the opportunity to learn about community nutrition, healthcare administration, and food science, among other topics. There is also an opportunity to earn a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration or a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership by enrolling in specific elective courses.

The program offers thesis and non-thesis options; both require 36 credit hours. Students must complete 10 courses: three core classes and seven elective classes. The thesis option also requires six credit hours devoted to writing a formal thesis on a research project, while the non-thesis degree includes two extra elective classes and a final written and oral examination. In addition to the mandatory credentials, a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for the last 60 credits of undergraduate study. As with all nutrition programs online, the duration of this program varies between students, but students taking two courses a semester will finish the program in approximately three years.

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9

The Sage Colleges

 4/558.51%Troy, NY

The Sage College’s School of Health Sciences offers a Master of Science in Applied Nutrition online that totals 30-33 credits depending on which of the two possible online tracks students choose. Designed for students who are registered dietitians or who hold an undergraduate degree in a nutrition-related field, the program focuses on research, public health perspectives, nutrition communications and epidemiology. A Sage Dietetic Internship is available for online students as well, however it does not lead to the registered dietitian licensure.

The Sage Colleges uses Moodle as its primary online course delivery mechanism. In addition to using Sage College email accounts, all assignments, readings, coursework, discussions, quizzes and exams are delivered through the web-based Moodle platform. Instructors communicate with their students by utilizing asynchronous discussion board threads, synchronous instant messaging and email all within the virtual classroom setting.

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10

Central Michigan University

 3/555.54%Mount Pleasant, MI

Students who enroll in the fully online Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics program at CMU have the option to choose from three course plans: a thesis, an internship or a coursework option. Although students do not have to be registered dietitians to enroll in the program, the internship option is reserved for individuals who have completed an ADA (American Dietetics Association) approved internship.

Completion of the program typically results in employment at non-clinical setting, as students acquire cutting-edge training designed for inexperienced and experienced nutritionists alike. The program is formatted to take two years, and although some students choose to take only one course at a time, program requirements must be completed with seven years of starting. Registered dietitians who did not earn graduate credit for their internship have the opportunity to earn credits by examination (CBE).

CMU opts to use the leading online learning management system Blackboard. On this web-based platform students and faculty can fully access and actively participate in the virtual classroom. Weekly online chat sessions for each course specific to the online MSND program are mandatory for students to attend and require the use of a microphone headset with a computer.

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11

Adelphi University

 5/5N/AGarden City, NY

The College of Nursing and Health at AU offers a completely online Master of Science in Nutrition program. Intended for busy individuals who wish to continue working while furthering their studies at night and on the weekends, the program is structured in small bite-sized portions that can be completed in students’ free time, making them active participants in their own learning. The program emphasizes acquiring the skills and understanding necessary to actively influence emerging nutritional practices.

Adelphi University uses a variety of forward-thinking technology to deliver its online course content. Students can asynchronously access all course materials through the learning management system Moodle, while taking advantage of the Adobe Connect, Google Real Time or Skype web-conferencing softwares for synchronous interaction. Lectures are delivered via the video platform Panopto or over podcasts, assessments are conducted through Respondus and students interact with each other through online journals, blogs and discussion boards.

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12

Texas Woman’s University

 2/543.94%Denton, TX

TWU’s online Master of Science in Nutrition is intended for individuals interested in expanding their nutritional knowledge, for registered dietitians and for working professionals seeking a master’s. The program totals 36 to 43 semester credit hours that can be completed in as little as two years but must be finished within six years of starting. Students study macro and micro food components and their influences on the human body. A written exit examination is required; students residing more than 100 miles away from Houston should make arrangements with the NFS Department Chair. The final degree requirement is a capstone seminar.

TWU’s online courses are run through the Blackboard platform, which has been a leader in course management systems since the emergence of online education. This interface provides students with the tools necessary to be successful in an online learning environment. The instant collaboration system allows students to work together in real time, and instructors have the ability to post assignments, provide feedback and conduct assessments.

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13

College of Saint Elizabeth

 5/550%Morristown, NJ

The College of Saint Elizabeth's nutrition master's program online allows students with varying experience to focus on new research and technology in the field, evidence-based applications, and entrepreneurial skills. Nutrition programs online are available to those who are a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist or have recently completed an accredited program, those with an undergraduate degree who want an advanced nutrition degree, those with a bachelor's or master's degree in nutrition who want to explore Sports Nutrition and Wellness, and those who want to simultaneously complete the Dietetic Internship Program. Students can choose to pursue a concentration in entrepreneurial nutrition practice or community nutrition and wellness or a Certificate in Sports Nutrition and Wellness. While all core classes and most electives are offered online, some electives are offered as accelerated weekend courses.

The M.S. in Nutrition requires 30 credits on a semester schedule, including five core classes, four to five courses from the concentrations, and a capstone project. For the capstone project, students can choose to create a professional portfolio, develop an action research project, or write a thesis. Prerequisites include introductory and organic chemistry, statistics, human physiology, biochemistry, and advanced nutrition. A minimum GPA of 3.0 for all undergraduate work is the requirement in most cases.

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14

University of Saint Joseph

 5/550.67%West Hartford, CT

Online master’s in nutrition programs at USJ provide the education necessary for those with prior professional experience in nutrition or dietetics to stay up-to-date and knowledgeable on current research and topics in the field. Students work with the faculty to design a curriculum that reflects their future career goals; it can also be modified to assist those with a background in another field of science adapt to the field of nutrition and dietetics.

The 30-credit online nutrition program is completed through 10 science-based semester courses using the Blackboard interface. The courses include two core classes in research methods and independent study, as well as advanced nutrition for those without a B.S. in Nutrition, and eight elective courses ranging from therapy for eating disorders to diabetes and infant nutrition. To stay relevant, the University of Saint Joseph regularly updates the elective options to reflect developments in the field. Students pursuing their nutrition master’s programs online must maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA and a grade of B or better in basic nutrition, biochemistry, and physiology for those without a B.S. in Nutrition; the GRE is not required.

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15

New York Institute of Technology

 5/544.75%Old Westbury, NY

The M.S. in Clinical Nutrition offered at the New York Institute of Technology prepares students for careers in clinical practice, research, or public health through its focus on biomedical and nutrition therapy. It fulfills the academic requirements of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists for Certified Nutrition Specialist credential. The online nutrition program is intended for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, graduates with a B.S. in nutrition, science graduates looking to enter the health profession, or practicing health professionals. The distance learning option utilizes the Blackboard interface and Voicethreads, enabling students from around the world to share their cultural perspectives. In addition, students are invited to participate in the Center for Global Health and work with faculty to develop solutions to global health problems.

Online nutrition programs here require 36 credits, including two semesters of nutrition science core courses, seven clinical core courses, and around five elective courses, as well as a comprehensive exam. The New York Institute of Technology typically requires a minimum GPA of 2.85 and satisfactory achievement in science prerequisites of chemistry, biology/physiology, and nutrition; the GRE may be required in some cases. Up to six graduate-level classes with a grade of B or better can be transferred.

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Graduates of nutrition master’s programs online leave school prepared to study nutrition and offer dietary consultation at the professional level. A degree is required for a number of high-level positions in the nutrition industry. Common career paths for master’s degree-holders in nutrition include the following roles:

  • Dietitians and Nutritionists: These professionals use their expertise to help others adopt healthy eating practices and manage diseases stemming from incomplete diet. Some of these professionals meet with patients at clinics and other healthcare facilities to discuss dietary plans and health goals. Others work with schools, adult care facilities and other institutions to promote nutrition at the community level.
  • Health Educators and Community Health Workers: These professionals work with individuals and groups to promote healthy living at the community level. These outreach projects typically incorporate elements of nutrition and diet. Health educators can usually secure employment with a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s credential will help them compete in the job market. Additionally, a Certified Health Education Specialist certificate will be required for some positions.
  • Agricultural and Food Scientists: These specialized professionals study the agricultural origins of food in order to increase efficiency, sustainability and overall food safety. Agricultural and food scientists work in conjunction with farmers, food distributors and consumers, as well as public health agencies, nonprofit organizations and private companies.

The following table shows the median annual salaries for each of the three positions listed above, as well as projected growth rates for that career path over the next eight years.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Dietitians and Nutritionists $56,950 16%
Health Educators and Community Health Workers $42,450 13%
Agricultural and Food Scientists $60,690 5%

Nutrition and diet play an integral role in human health, and the demand for qualified professionals in this field will remain high for years to come. Online master’s in nutrition programs allow students to earn their degree in a timely manner and enter the job market with the skill set needed to enact positive changes at both the individual and community levels.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, the need for financial aid is still a reality for most students. But rest assured, loans aren’t your only option. Explore our collection of financial aid resources or dig into one of the following guides to read more about financing your education.

An Overview of Financial Aid

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options savvy students can use to reduce the total costs of their education.

Understanding the FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first and most crucial step for any student seeking financial aid. Follow our step-by-step guide for answers to frequently asked questions.

Financial Aid for Online College Students

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place and funding opportunities for online students.

Scholarships for Women

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

Scholarships for Single Parents

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for single parents looking for a more secure financial future for their children. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships for these hard-working parents.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Military

Millions in education benefits are available for veterans and active members of the military. Unfortunately, much of this goes unused. Find out if you’re entitled to help with college and start planning for your future.

Best Online Master's in Nutrition Programs of 2015
Rank Name Location
1 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
2 Northeastern University Global Network Boston, MA
3 Canisius College Buffalo, NY
4 The Sage Colleges Troy, NY
5 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
6 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
7 Texas Woman’s University Denton, TX
8 University of Saint Joseph West Hartford, CT
9 New York Institute of Technology Old Westbury, NY
10 University of Bridgeport Bridgeport, CT
11 Logan University Chesterfield, MO
12 Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA
13 New York Chiropractic College Seneca Falls, NY

Methodology

The methodology behind our rankings is grounded in statistical data and a few consistently applied guiding principles. Our 2017 rankings reflect the most recent data compiled from IPEDS and the College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Our goal is to objectively assess relative quality based on academic outcomes, affordability, and the breadth and depth of online learning opportunities. The following criteria was used to make these assessments:

Minimum Requirements

  • Each school must be an accredited public or private, not-for-profit institution.
  • Must offer an online master’s in Nutrition degree program
  • Must submit an annual report to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Ranking Factors

All eligible institutions are ranked on a 100 point scale. A perfect score of 100 is earned by ranking #1 for all ranking factors.

ACADEMIC QUALITY – 50% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Admissions Rate – 25%
  • Enrollment Rates – 15%
  • Retention Rate – 15%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate – 25%
  • Number of Master’s Nutrition Graduates – 20%

AFFORDABILITY – 25% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Average Net Price – 40%
  • Percentage of Enrolled Students Taking Federal Loans – 20%
  • Loan Default Rate – 40%

ONLINE PROGRAMMING – 25% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Percentage of Graduate Programs Offered Online – 40%
  • Graduate School Enrollment – 40%
  • Percentage of Programs Offered at the Graduate level – 20%