Best Online Master’s in Nutrition Programs

Nutrition is a scientific discipline that explores how various nutrients in food (such as vitamins, fats and minerals) impact the health of humans, animals, plants and other organisms. Students who enroll in collegiate nutrition programs take courses in food science, organic chemistry and other STEM subjects. They also learn about the importance of diet, or eating habits based on food availability and palatability. Many careers in nutrition ― including registered dietitians and nutritionists ― are attainable with a bachelor’s degree. Graduates can further build their skill set and increase their career standing by earning a master’s in nutrition online.

Nutritionists work in a cutting-edge, fast-growing field. Experts project jobs in nutrition to grow 16% through 2024.

Online nutrition master’s programs are generally designed specifically for established professionals or students who have earned an undergraduate degree in a nutrition-related field. Internships and/or residencies are a key aspect of many nutrition master’s programs; others will require a research-based thesis or capstone project. Some programs will only accept applicants with one or two years of experience as a registered dietitian or nutritionist; programs with no work experience requirement are usually designed to prepare students to sit for state-issued licensure exams after graduation.

Learn more about what you can do with an online master’s in nutrition and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN NUTRITION PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

The best online master’s in nutrition programs are designed to build on the fundamentals of undergraduate studies by introducing more complex concepts and theories related to diet, nutrition and health. Many programs also enable students to gain supervised, hands-on training through an internship, practicum course or residency. Students with specific career goals can also pursue a degree specialization in areas like obesity and eating disorders, health education or sports nutrition.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN NUTRITION WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s in nutrition programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar learning. Most program platforms allow students to access course materials, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors any time of day (or night) from the comfort of their home computer. Current technology also enables them to study while on the move using a laptop, tablet, smartphone or other Wi-Fi-compatible device. Although internships and other supervised courses must be completed onsite, students can usually work with school officials to arrange opportunities close to home. This convenient format is ideal for students who must balance their schoolwork with other commitments, such as employment or childcare.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN NUTRITION?

Nutrition master’s graduates leave school qualified for most entry-level jobs in their field, as well as some managerial positions normally reserved for candidates who have earned an advanced degree. Those who earn a degree specialization are often sought for niche roles in their field of interest. It’s important to note that certain job titles, including registered dietitians and nutritionists, often require candidates to pass a licensure exam in the state where they plan to work. Graduates of online nutrition master’s programs are well-equipped to sit for these exams if they have not done so prior to their enrollment.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN NUTRITION PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online nutrition master’s programs in the United States. If you are considering pursuing a master’s in nutrition online, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 North Carolina State University at Raleigh 83.67 3/5 71% Raleigh, NC

NCSU at Raleigh offers a masters in nutrition online as a non-thesis degree with a focus on applied study and field experience. Students may choose an emphasis in either human nutrition or animal feed science. The degree requires the completion of 36 credit hours, including core, professional science, and elective courses. Curriculum provides a broad overview of graduate-level nutrition science, as well as the management and communication skills needed in a professional setting in this field.

Students may choose to pursue the professional science master's (PSM) designation in conjunction with earning the master of nutrition; this track includes emphasis options in human nutrition, food, and bioprocessing or animal feed science. Courses are accessed through the university’s Wolfware system, supported by virtual enrollment counselors, academic advisors, and program coordinators. Technical help is available during regular business hours through email, phone, or in-person at the campus Help Desk. All online study tracks include up to six credits of a directed practicum or internship to gain field experience in the major.

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2 University of Nebraska-Lincoln 67.55 3/5 65% Lincoln, NE

UNL offers an online master's in nutrition for registered dieticians who are looking to put advanced evidence-based skills into practice in nutrition and health sciences professions. The degree features a specialization in dietetics. Graduates are prepared for advanced positions within community health organizations, wellness consulting groups, private practices, and more.

The degree encompasses 36 credit hours, including core courses, electives, and a thesis or culminating paper or project of a student’s choice during their final semester. The master of science (MS) in nutrition and health sciences: dietetics also requires successful completion of a final comprehensive oral exam. Curriculum is designed to provide a well-rounded view of nutrition, and incorporates topics such as wellness, dietetic research, and healthcare and public policy. The program is offered as part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA) initiative, which is an 11-school consortium of universities offering graduate programs online. The university offers the same student services to online and on-campus students, including library access, academic advising, and technical support.

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3 Colorado State University-Fort Collins 66.32 3/5 63% Fort Collins, CO

Colorado State-Fort Collins offers an online nutrition master's degree through the Great Plains IDEA initiative that provides students with online access to instruction and mentorship at eight area universities. The degree comprises 37 credit hours, including required and elective courses, on top of a thesis or non-thesis culminating research project.

The MS in food science and nutrition is designed to combine elements of human behavior, biomedical sciences, and management to prepare students to work in the dietetics profession. Courses are delivered by experienced faculty and staff at each of the school’s campuses, included in the Great Plains IDEA program. eLearning students may access online enrollment counseling, academic advising, and supplemental web-based learning materials through the virtual classroom. Each course lasts for one semester; graduate nutrition students may enroll in online coursework during the fall, spring, or summer terms.

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4 Stony Brook University 63.92 3/5 70% Stony Brook, NY

Stony Brook offers an online nutrition master's degree program through the nutrition division of its Department of Family, Population, and Preventive Medicine. The 36-credit MS in nutrition is offered in conjunction with the advanced certificate in nutrition, encompassing an additional 15 course credits. The program is ideal for both working professionals in healthcare and medicine, as well as post-baccalaureate students looking to enter such a field.

Curriculum prepares graduates for work in clinical and industrial settings, ranging from pharmaceutical/supplement development to nutrition coaching, though the program does not lead to certification as a registered dietician or nutritionist. Courses are accessed through Blackboard. Online student support services include orientation courses, technical assistance via live chat, academic advising, and more. Distance students may also access course registration, online bill-pay services, view class schedules, and more through the SOLAR student portal and the SOLAR mobile app. All students must complete a culminating project course during the final semester of the degree; they may choose to complete a research paper or continuous quality improvement research project to fulfill this requirement.

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5 East Carolina University 63.73 3/5 58% Greenville, NC

ECU offers a master's degree in nutrition online as well as a post-baccalaureate dietetic internship program through its Department of Nutrition Science and College of Human Ecology. The MS in nutrition and the dietetic internship may be combined and completed in two years of full-time study. The MS degree encompasses 33 credit hours, including core, research and concentration courses. Though students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option for the degree, only the non-thesis option can be completed entirely online.

The degree requires completion of a practicum experience. Students in the dietetic internship program must complete three practicum courses in addition to other supervised practice-based coursework in clinical nutrition, foodservice management, and community nutrition. Courses may be delivered synchronously or asynchronously through an online learning management system. ECU’s Office of Continuing Studies offers student support resources for distance learning, including enrollment counseling, academic advising, and financial aid assistance.

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6 Canisius College 59.62 3/5 68% Buffalo, NY

Canisius College offers an online nutrition master's program with a specialization in obesity and eating disorders or fitness and sports nutrition. The MS in applied nutrition does not lead to licensure as a registered dietician, but applicants submitting current registered dietitian licensure or prior graduate-level college credits toward licensure along with additional admissions materials may be preferred for entry into the program.

Curriculum is designed to combine evaluation, research, leadership, and management skills needed in a professional nutrition or dietetic setting. The program consists of 33 total credit hours in core and specialty courses, including a nutrition seminar and master’s project, or thesis. Full-time students may complete the online program in as little as one year. Canisius offers an entire website dedicated to readiness for online learning. Distance students may access graduate orientation courses, online tutorials and the writing center, a help desk, and more through the online support portal.

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7 Framingham State University 59.21 3/5 52% Framingham, MA

Framingham’s unique masters in nutrition online is a combined effort through its College of Education and Department of Nutrition. The master of education (MEd) features both a concentration in nutrition education and a specialization in nutrition education specialist (NES).

Curriculum encompasses a minimum of 10 courses in education core, nutrition core, and specialized electives. Students can choose at least three graduate-level electives from topics including nutrition science, health and wellness, management, and more. The culminating experience for all students is a timed comprehensive exam that is taken online. Applicants must have at least one year of professional experience in nutrition or a related field. Courses are accessed through Blackboard, which offers a variety of student support resources including academic advising, tech support, and a mobile app. Upon acceptance, distance students are granted admission into the program on a rolling basis throughout the year, though not all classes are offered each semester.

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8 North Dakota State University-Main Campus 55.44 3/5 53% Fargo, ND

NDSU offers an online master's in nutrition with an emphasis in leadership in physical education and sport. The MS in health, nutrition, and exercise science in this specialty is designed to enhance the quality and practice of sport programs for physical educators, coaches, and other health advocates.

Curriculum includes 30 credit hours in required core courses, and the choice of a practicum, master’s paper, or master’s thesis as the culminating experience. Students are assigned a graduate advisor to help focus their individual plan of study. They may customize their coursework, if approved by their student advisor and program coordinators. The majority of coursework is developed around a collaborative project-based model that uses case studies and online action groups to complete assignments. Courses are accessed through Blackboard, supported by a wide variety of online learning resources including a help desk, live chat boards, individual counseling and more.

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9 Central Michigan University 55.08 3/5 57% Mount Pleasant, MI

Central Michigan offers an online nutrition master's degree through its innovative Global Campus. The MS in nutrition and dietetics is available in a thesis, internship, or coursework option, to suit each student’s academic and professional goals. Curriculum encompasses 31-37 credit hours, depending on the plan of study. Though individual course requirements vary depending on the study track the student has selected, all students must complete a nutrition seminar course and an independent study project or thesis to conclude the degree.

Applicants must be registered dieticians or eligible for dietician registration according to the prerequisites set forth by the Didactic Program in Dietetics by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Commission on Accreditation/Approval for Dietetics Education. Courses are delivered through Blackboard, primarily asynchronously, with the support of online bookstore and library access, test proctoring, and tech support. CMU’s dedicated Online Learning Resource Center offers a wealth of virtual tools, such as orientation videos, technical requirements for distance learning, and online study tips.

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10 SUNY Oneonta 53.18 3/5 67% Oneonta, NY

SUNY Oneonta offers a master's degree in nutrition online in combination with a dietetic internship program that leads to eligibility to become a registered dietician. The non-thesis MS in nutrition and dietetics and dietetic internship program emphasizes community nutrition and health intervention initiatives and research. The program encompasses 36 total credits across three consecutive semesters, including 1,220 hours of supervised clinical practice to satisfy the internship requirement.

Supervised practice hours are concluded by completion of a service learning project during the final term. The combined MS degree/dietetic internship program is designed to be more inclusive than traditional graduate nutrition degrees; applicants for the SUNY Oneonta program are not required to be registered dieticians at the time of application. Students may complete the program in as few as 12 months. Courses are delivered through a variety of Blackboard-powered learning management platforms. SUNY’s Help Desk offers student support resources including tech assistance, online orientation, and training services and a mobile app for distance learners.

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11 Auburn University 53.03 3/5 68% Auburn University, AL

Auburn University’s online nutrition master's program is a non-thesis program with optional emphases in nutrition science, clinical nutrition, sports nutrition, and community nutrition. The 33-hour MS in nutrition combines online coursework and proctored exams held at a site near the student’s physical location. Curriculum focuses on non-thesis research, including a research seminar and culminating project. Students may select from a variety of elective courses tailored to their concentration area, including workforce education, food laws and regulations, and biomedical engineering.

A typical study plan for full-time students spans four semesters, including a summer term. Courses are accessed through Canvas asynchronously, supported by group chats and instructor/student discussion boards, Powerpoint presentations and more. The degree’s format is designed to mimic the on-campus program, with an emphasis in strengthening additional skills in leadership, consulting, and business. Auburn also offers a non-thesis nutrition program with an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) option, or as an accelerated combined BS/MS program.

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12 Benedictine University 52.37 3/5 53% Lisle, IL

Benedictine University’s masters in nutrition online integrates wellness concepts and training into its broad nutrition science curriculum. Students may choose a concentration in health education or nutrition entrepreneurship. The MS in nutrition and wellness is ideal for candidates holding a bachelor’s degree in life or physical sciences, registered dietitians, and registered nurses.

Most full-time students graduate within 2.5 years. Curriculum is designed to be somewhat modular and adaptable in nature, to serve those with a working knowledge of nutrition who are interested in entering the field of wellness or a related discipline but are lacking the necessary specialty professional skills. The multi-disciplinary approach prepares graduates to apply skills in clinical, public, and community settings. All students must complete a research communication and applied research project to close their foundations requirements. Courses are accessed through Engage, which offers support resources designed around constant communication, including virtual coffee chats, webinars, and weekly virtual office hours held by dedicated program instructors and Benedictine staff.

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13 Kansas State University 52.34 3/5 58% Manhattan, KS

Kansas State’s online master's in nutrition utilizes evidence-based training to prepare graduates for a career practicing dietetics in a healthcare setting. The MS in dietetics is for applicants who are registered dieticians or registration-eligible. The 36-credit program is offered by KSU’s College of Human Ecology. Students may select a thesis or non-thesis program, culminating in either a thesis or additional electives with an oral examination and written examination, respectively.

All students must complete a combination of required and elective courses; typical electives include healthcare administration and food service management. KSU also offers graduate degrees and certificates in food science and food safety and defense. Courses are accessed through Blackboard, which offers a variety of student support resources including academic advising, personal counseling, and a virtual commencement ceremony. Students may choose to select business-oriented electives that can lead to an additional graduate certificate in business administration or organizational leadership through a joint program with the university’s College of Business Administration.

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14 Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science 51.50 3/5 40% North Chicago, IL

Rosalind Franklin offers an online nutrition master's degree through its College of Health Professions. The MS in clinical nutrition focuses in integrating wellness concepts and healthcare industry innovations into traditional dietetics curriculum. Through hands-on clinical experience and research, students build leadership and health education teaching skills at the graduate level. Coursework includes a teaching experience, independent study project, and portfolio evaluation; during the course of the program, students will build a portfolio in five competency areas: nutrition and health promotion knowledge, education, critical thinking and research evaluation, professional communication, and leadership.

In addition to education requirements, applicants must have clinical professional experience in nutrition, dietetics, or a related field to be granted admission into the program. Courses are accessed through D2L Brightspace, supported by faculty and instructors trained specifically in online learning and an exclusive student portal, HelixNet, for medicine and science students. Students accepted into or currently completing a dietetics internship may be eligible to receive a scholarship and waive the tuition deposit for online programs through the College of Health Professions.

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15 University of Kansas 51.00 3/5 64% Lawrence, KS

KU offers an online nutrition master's degree program with a broad scope, designed to incorporate biochemical, clinical, and behavioral nutrition topics. The MS in dietetics and nutrition is available through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) consortium. All students must complete a two-part seminar in dietetics and nutrition as well as courses in scientific writing, biostatistics, and methods of research.

To be admitted into the program, students must be registered dieticians or registration-eligible at the time of enrollment. Students my enroll as part-time or full-time students; those enrolled in the maximum number of courses available per semester, including summer terms, can graduate in two years. Tuition prices are set, per credit, for distance learners and are the same for all schools participating in the IDEA initiative. Courses are accessed through Blackboard, supported by an online writing lab, virtual counseling services, and a dedicated Facebook page for the university’s online master’s program. The online graduate nutrition degree offers three start dates throughout the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

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16 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus 50.50 3/5 58% Bowling Green, OH

BGSU offers a master's degree in nutrition online, combining thesis research in a nutrition major with a minor (cognate) in a related area of the student’s choice. The master of food and nutrition incorporates the study of community nutrition, nutrition science, and medical nutrition therapy. Students may choose a cognate such as counseling, human development, public health, or biology.

Curriculum comprises 37-39 credit hours in food and nutrition core and required synthesis courses, plus an additional seminar course and three additional cognate electives. All students must complete thesis research in food and nutrition or a master’s project during their final semester to fulfill core requirements. Eight-week courses within BGSU’s online programs are accessed through Canvas, which offers student support through an assigned academic advisor, online tutoring options, and library access, including a dedicated Distance Education Resource Guide within the BGSU Library database. The university’s eCampus site also offers its own Technology Support Center, with a live chat tech support feature for distance learners.

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17 Texas Woman's University 50.46 3/5 47% Denton, TX

TWU offers online nutrition master's programs for both registered dieticians and those seeking RDN credentials. The MS in nutrition is available with either a thesis or coursework online; the combined master’s/internship program for those seeking licensure as a dietician may require some coursework to be completed through the university’s Denton and Houston campuses.

Curriculum encompasses 30 credit hours for the thesis option and 36 hours for the coursework only option online. The thesis option requires an internship, independent study, or cooperative education course. Both study tracks require completion of a culminating capstone seminar course. Unique coursework explores vegetarianism, women’s health issues, and dietary supplements, among other topics. Full-time students should be able to complete the degree in two years, though they have six years to do so. Courses are accessed through Blackboard and Canvas, with support for distance learners provided through full library access, tutoring, and online training options and personal counseling services. Applicants must meet GRE minimum score and GPA requirements and fulfill all necessary bachelor level prerequisites. Students apply separately to TWU’s Graduate School and nutrition program.

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18 University of Saint Joseph 50.34 4/5 58% West Hartford, CT

USJ’s master's degree in nutrition online is ideal for candidates who have RND credentials and are looking to enhance their career, or science professionals considering entering the field of nutrition. The MS in nutrition does not lead to licensure, however, USJ does offer a separate dietetic internship program on-site through its Connecticut campus. The university also features an online certificate in a health coaching concentration.

Curriculum comprises 30 credit hours in life-stage nutrition, health promotion, nutrition-related diseases and more. Preferred applicants hold a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, though consideration will be given to those without a bachelor’s degree who meet prerequisite coursework. GRE test scores are not required for application. All students must complete an independent study course during their final semester to close core requirements of the degree. Courses are accessed through Blackboard, with additional support provided by a comprehensive online financial aid system and bookstore, as well as extensive tech support. All USJ distance programs are made possible by the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CDLC ).

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19 The Sage Colleges 48.59 3/5 52% Troy, NY

Sage offers an online nutrition master's program through the School of Health Sciences at Russell Sage Online. The MS in applied nutrition is available as a standalone degree for those with a bachelor’s in nutrition or a related field, or as a combined MS/dietetic internship program. Students with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field may also apply, though this study track requires visits to the Troy, NY campus in conjunction with online study.

The 30-credit MS program is rooted in scientific research, exploring topics such as nutritional epidemiology, public health, and communications. Applicants are considered for admission on a rolling basis and may begin the program at any time during the academic year. Enrollment may be part-time or full-time; full-time students will complete a minimum of three to four terms. Russell Sage Online maintains a comprehensive full-service student services resource for distance learners, providing expert advising for enrollment and registration, financial aid, and online student accounts. The Sage College system also offers its own mobile app for both iPhone and Android users.

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20 University of Southern Mississippi 47.99 3/5 50% Hattiesburg, MS

USM offers a master's in nutrition online in broad dietetics and nutrition concepts that can prepare students to pursue registration as a dietician. The MS in nutrition and food systems includes an emphasis in dietetics practice or management of child nutrition Programs. Core requirements include 12-15 credit hours in research, biostatistics, and applied nutrition, concluded by a thesis or capstone, as well as written and oral examinations.

While the majority of coursework in the dietetics practice program is completed online, this emphasis requires a supervised dietetic internship at an accredited participating facility of the student’s choice. The emphasis in child nutrition programs management is offered entirely online, without the internship but with the same thesis and culminating project requirements. USM offers an optional graduate certificate in child nutrition programs in conjunction with the MS degree in this emphasis. Courses are accessed through Blackboard, supported by online learning resources including electronic library databases, a writing lab and tutoring center, disability accommodations, and full-service tech support.

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21 Adelphi University 47.70 5/5 66% Garden City, NY

Adelphi’s unique online master's in nutrition is designed to provide both a comprehensive understanding of current nutrition concepts and adaptable professional skills for new trends and innovations in the industry. The MS in nutrition is offered through the eCollege at Adelphi’s College of Nursing and Public Health. The 34-credit program explores core concepts of micro- and macro-nutrients, exercise physiology, community nutrition, and more.

The plan of study follows a sequence of 12 courses across two years, including summer terms, and culminates in a practicum and thesis project. Online courses are seven weeks in length, each separated by a one-week break. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and satisfy select nutrition and science prerequisites to be considered for admission into the program. Courses are accessed through Moodle in the eCampus portal. Adelphi’s Web Technologies group also maintains student services such as electronic library access and mobile learning apps through the AU2Go system. The program recently adopted the Google Hangout function, for chatting in real-time with peers and instructors online.

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22 Loma Linda University 46.71 4/5 40% Loma Linda, CA

Loma Linda’s online nutrition master's degree programs are offered through its School of Allied Health Professions. The MS in nutrition and dietetics is for candidates with a bachelor’s degree who are looking to become registered dietitians. Loma Linda also offers a master’s in nutrition care management, for students who are already registered dieticians and seek leadership positions within their professional field.

Additionally, a master of public health in public health nutrition is available. Curriculum in the nutrition and dietetics and nutrition care management master’s programs is online, save for an initial two-day orientation at the Loma Linda campus. The nutrition and dietetics program requires completion of a practicum experience, while the nutrition care management does not. Both programs culminate in either registration-eligible status to sit for the registration exam or a publishable capstone experience. Courses are accessed through Canvas, supported by resources including academic advising, tech support, and electronic library access.

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23 Eastern Michigan University 46.45 3/5 37% Ypsilanti, MI

Eastern Michigan’s online nutrition master's degree program is designed for students looking to explore nutrition, in -depth, from a purely scientific perspective. The MS in human nutrition does not lead to the registered dietitian credential; students seeking eligibility for the registered dietitian credential may opt for EMU’s MS in dietetics.

Curriculum encompasses 30-36 credit hours in core, supporting, and minor (cognate) courses, culminating in a thesis, research, or research writing project. The university also offers an optional extended program for students seeking additional credits or electives, available at an off-campus location or entirely online. Though they must be approved by a program advisor, students have numerous options for satisfying practicum and independent study requirements of the degree. Courses are accessed through Canvas, supported by online learning resources including academic advising, tech support, and program coordinator counseling.

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24 University of Bridgeport 43.85 4/5 32% Bridgeport, CT

University of Bridgeport offers a master's degree in nutrition online with a focus on the innovative concept of “bio-individuality.” The MS in nutrition is unique for its emphasis in functional medicine and the increasing need for preventative disease management. UB features one of the oldest and most advanced nutrition programs in the country, established in 1977. The university also offers combined and dual-degree options, including a DC/MS in nutrition and an ND/MS in nutrition.

Curriculum encompasses 41 credit hours in core and prerequisite courses, culminating in a unique immersive capstone experience called the Virtual Clinic. The culminating experience for all students consists of a timed comprehensive exam that is taken online. Candidates must begin the program in fall or spring, according to a predetermined course sequence. Courses are accessed through Blackboard, which offers a variety of student support resources including academic advising, virtual live tutoring, and UB’s own mobile apps.

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25 New York Institute of Technology 39.75 4/5 46% Old Westbury, NY

NYIT offers an online master's nutrition program through its School of Health Professions. The MS in clinical nutrition features a global perspective on community health care, clinical nutrition, and public issues. Coursework explores pharmacology, exercise physiology, obesity, and more through NYIT’s Center for Global Health.

Curriculum comprises 36 credit hours in clinical core, nutrition science core, and electives. All students must complete a thesis and independent study course, as well as a comprehensive exam, to conclude the program. The MS offers students access to dedicated advisors for the duration of their degree. Courses are accessed asynchronously through Blackboard, with support from audio-voice technology, interactive scheduling, and comprehensive tech support. The degree is designed to be adaptable to a wide variety of candidates -- not only those who have prior experience at the bachelor’s level or are already registered dieticians, but also those who are preparing to enter a dietetic internship and/or pursue initial licensure.

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Timeline
18 months to 2 years
Program Costs (when available)
$20,000 to $65,000 for full tuition
Concentrations
Fitness and Sports Nutrition, Obesity and Eating Disorders, Nutrition Education, Business and Entrepreneurship in Nutrition, Food Science, Dietetics, Community Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition, and Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition
Accreditation
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)

Job Placement: Master’s vs Bachelor’s in Nutrition

Millions of previously uninsured Americans now have health coverage thanks to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), and an aging baby boomer population has led to rising demands throughout the healthcare industry. Additionally, the importance of nutrition and balanced diet is currently a major point of emphasis for public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As a result, the field of professional nutrition is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that jobs for registered dietitians and nutritionists are expected to grow by 16% ― or roughly 10,700 positions ― between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the expected growth rate for all industries. A growth rate of 13% is also projected for health educators and community health workers, another popular career pathway for nutrition master’s-holders.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the unemployment rate for all dietitians and nutritionists is 2.9%. However, the BLS notes that unemployment rates tend to vary by degree. The following table uses BLS data to show the unemployment rates associated with different levels of educational attainment.

Educational Attainment Unemployment Rate
Less than a high school diploma 8.0%
High school diploma 5.4%
Some college but no degree 5.0%
Associate degree 3.8%
Bachelor’s degree 2.8%
Master’s degree 2.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earning a Living

In addition to more favorable employment rates, candidates with a master’s in nutrition also enjoy higher earning potential than their counterparts with lesser credentials. BLS data indicates that the median weekly salary for master’s degree-holders is $1,341; by comparison, employees with a bachelor’s degree earn $1,137 per week and associate degree-holders bring in $798 per week. Using data from the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the table below examines the entry-level wage differences between bachelor’s- and master’s-holders in different nutrition-related majors.

Profession Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees with a Bachelor’s Degree Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees with a Master’s Degree Wage Premium for Master’s Graduates
Nutrition $41,500 $49,800 20%
Foods and Nutrition $40,300 $50,100 24%
Dietetics $43,200 $45,300 5%
Food Science $46,500 $55,400 19%
Exercise Physiology $40,600 $43,600 7%
Kinesiology $37,500 $46,200 23%

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

As the table shows, a master’s degree will lead to a higher annual salary in all of these nutrition-related fields. However, it’s also important to note that salaries in the nutrition industry will increase incrementally over the course of their careers. The next table features expected salaries at four different benchmarks for five popular career pathways among master’s in nutrition graduates.

Profession Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Nutritionist $40,627 $45,867 $45,197 $52,901
Dietitian $46,616 $53,229 $55,587 $58,217
Community Health Worker $32,085 $39,670 $69,435 $78,925
Health Educator $39,103 $43,909 $50,074 $59,410
Food Scientist $54,099 $65,756 $72,952 $78,619
Exercise Physiologist $40,173 $40,880 $44,358 $69,767

Among the five careers listed in the table, food scientists earn the highest salaries at each career benchmark and also enjoyed a 45% gain between the entry-level and late-career marks. However,
Exercise physiologists boast the highest career salary increase ― 74% by the late-career mark. Health educators ranked second for career earnings increase at 51%.

Career Opportunities

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. Dietitians and nutritionists must receive licensure in most states.

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.

Exercise Physiologists: These healthcare professionals assist patients with chronic injuries by helping them adopt positive exercise and fitness routines. They use each patient’s medical history as a starting point, and monitor their vital signs throughout the treatment process to ensure they remain healthy and safe.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth Licensure Requirements
Dietitians and Nutritionists $43,840 16% Most states require registered dietitians and nutritionists to pass a licensure exam.
Health Educators and Community Health Workers $57,910 13% Some employers require educators to receive a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential and take continuing education courses..
Agricultural and Food Scientists $62,470 5% Usually none, although some states require soil scientists to earn certification.
Exercise Physiologists $47,010 11% Only one state (Louisiana) requires formal licensure, but many states have pending legislation that, if passed, would require exercise physiologists to be licensed.

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to nutrition is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for diet and nutrition professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Founded in 1917, the AND is an advocacy-driven organization that today represents more than 100,000 dietitians, technicians and other professionals in the field of nutrition and dietetics. The website features a wealth of health-related resources aimed at specific demographics like women, children and the elderly.
  • National Health and Exercise Science Association: Listed as a ‘proactive health community’, the NHESA is an organization that strives to promote healthy habits and lifestyles throughout the country. The NHESA Health Promotion in Action 2020 initiative is part of the Obama administration’s Healthy People 2020 initiative. Membership in the organization is free for students.
  • National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition: NOBIDAN is a networking organization aimed at promoting careers in health and nutrition for African-American men and women. Members gain access to a wide range of benefits, including the NOBIDAN mentorship program, student scholarships, free webinars and an online newsletter.

Despite the relative affordability of master’s in nutrition online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

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 you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several 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, as well as the different funding opportunities available to 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 college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Learn more about these financial opportunities for web-based learners.

Commercial Links

MASTER OF PUBLIC HEALTH

The Master of Public Health (or MPH) degree program focuses on the laws and policies guiding current medical and healthcare practices, both domestically and internationally. Learn about this exciting academic path with our comprehensive online degree guide.

MASTER’S IN COUNSELING

A master’s degree is required for most professional counselors who work in areas like marriage, mental health and school counseling. Learn about degree programs and licensure requirements for counselors with our comprehensive guide.

MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK

A Master of Social Work (or MSW) degree is designed for students who plan to pursue leadership roles in social work. Learn about this degree pathway and read our list of the country’s top 20 online MSW programs.

Non-commercial Links

HEALTHCARE CAREERS

Our comprehensive guide covers a wide range of jobs in professional healthcare, from nurses and physicians to health information technicians and administrative personnel at hospitals and clinics. Learn more about the educational and professional requirements for different healthcare careers.

STUDENT’S GUIDE TO NUTRITION

Balancing schoolwork with exercise and a healthy diet can be challenging for many of today’s students. Our guide to student nutrition features tips and strategies for eating and living healthy while pursuing a college degree.

Best Online Master's in Nutrition Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
2 Northeastern University Global Network Boston, MA
3 Logan University Chesterfield, MO
4 New York Chiropractic College Seneca Falls, NY
5 Canisius College Buffalo, NY
6 Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA
7 Auburn University Auburn University, AL
8 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
9 The Sage Colleges Troy, NY
10 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
11 Adelphia University Garden City, NY
12 Texas Woman's University Denton, TX
13 College of Saint Elizabeth Morristown, NJ
14 University of Saint Joseph West Hartford, CT
15 New York Institute of Technology Old Westbury, NY

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