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A recent survey by the International Food Information Council suggests that a majority of Americans are interested in healthy food options. This interest drives demand for skilled nutritionists, dieticians, and wellness consultants across the country. If you are interested in a nutrition job, earning a bachelor's degree makes a great first step.

After looking at five of the best online bachelor's programs in nutrition, keep reading to uncover additional details about the degree, including common courses, admission requirements, and potential career paths.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Nutritional Sciences Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 5:

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Rank School Location
1 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
2 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
3 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
4 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
5 Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI

Opportunities abound in the field of nutrition sciences. Graduates with an online bachelor's may develop community health programs, conduct research studies, or work with specific populations at risk for nutrition-related health problems. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nutritionists and dieticians earn a median annual salary of $60,370, with the highest earners working on diagnosis and treatment.

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2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Nutritional Sciences Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

Based in Tuscaloosa, UA offers a bachelor of science in food and nutrition that prepares students to combine scientific knowledge with the ability to provide nutrition information and education to clients. The degree represents the first step toward becoming a registered dietician, with classes supporting the relationship between human health and food. The Bama by Distance online program also allows learning flexibility for full-time workers.

One of only a handful of distance-learning degrees in the U.S. accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, this program features required courses like community nutrition and nutrition counseling. The curriculum also includes science classes, such as introduction to chemistry and microbiology.

The University of Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition
School Status: Public
Tuition: $375 per credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: Currently waived due to COVID-19

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

2

Arizona State University-Skysong

Scottsdale, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 14%

ASU Online's bachelor's in food and nutrition entrepreneurship program prepares students to tackle food industry challenges such as inventory management, labeling, and e-commerce preparation. Program participants combine evidence-based science with human nutrition topics, while also adding business and research skills. Upon graduation, students may opt for industry careers or focus on building their own consulting practices. Graduates qualify for jobs like certified health education specialist, food scientist, restaurant manager, and community health worker.

The well-rounded curriculum covers many topics, such as nutrition management and leadership, management of food service systems, community and nutrition, and retail food operations. Located in Tempe, ASU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship
School Status: Public
Tuition: $571 per credit (in-state); $666 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT (minimum 1120 for Arizona residents or 1180 for nonresidents) or ACT (minimum 22 for Arizona residents or 24 for nonresidents)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

3

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

The bachelor's degree in nutrition and health offered through K-State Online prepares students to educate others about developing and maintaining healthy eating habits and behaviors. Graduates qualify for careers revolving around nutritional research, education, and community program development. The program also prepares students for advanced education, including physician assistant or nursing training or health information management preparation.

The program consists of general requirements and professional studies coursework. General requirement classes cover areas like communications, biological sciences, physical sciences, and humanities. The professional studies classes focus on basic nutrition, pharmacology in athletic training, administration of healthcare organizations, and clinical nutrition. Students may also customize the program to fit their career goals by adding courses covering personal wellness, allergies and intolerances, nutrition for athletes, and healthcare organization administration.

The Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation to K-State.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Nutrition and Health Bachelor's Degree
School Status: Public
Tuition: $403 per credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.25 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT (1060 or higher) or ACT (21 or higher)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

4

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

The University of Arizona offers an online bachelor's in nutritional sciences that helps students examine the impact of nutrition and food on health and disease. Program topics focus on nutritional biology and metabolism, food science and safety, nutritional assessments, and therapeutic diets. Student participants specialize in either dietetics or nutrition.

The dietetics focus prepares learners for registered dietician careers. Courses include lifecycle nutrition, foundations in medical nutrition therapy, and community nutrition. The nutrition emphasis opens doors to food science and nutritional biochemistry careers or paves the way for advanced studies in the biological, nursing, and medical fields. Main courses include sports nutrition, diet genes and disease, and experiential learning in nutritional sciences.

This program is one of only a few accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. UofA is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences
School Status: Public
Tuition: $525 per credit
Credit Requirements: 129 credits
Program Length: 4 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

5

Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

EMU's bachelor of science in dietetics focuses on teaching evidence-based skills and abilities. The experienced faculty brings field knowledge to instruction, providing students with the tools needed to apply theoretical ideas and knowledge to real-world issues. Program graduates obtain skills and understanding about food and principles of nutrition research, gaining the knowledge required to practice as entry-level dietitians in areas of clinical, community, and food-service dietetics.

In addition to general education requirements, the program's major class requirements cover topics like food and culture, integrative medicine, and community nutrition. Out-of-state online learners pay in-state tuition rates. EMU, located in Ypsilanti, is regionally accredited by Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Dietetics
School Status: Public
Tuition: $395 per credit
Credit Requirements: 124 credits
Program Length: 4 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: Currently waived due to COVID-19

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Online Bachelor's in Nutritional Sciences Program Overview

The primary goal of an undergraduate nutrition program is to develop students' knowledge of the relationship between nutrition and human health. To accomplish this, colleges require instruction in a variety of subjects. In addition to general education, you can expect to encounter courses in biology and chemistry, the human body, public health, and research methods.

Beyond the degree's overarching goal, program-specific outcomes and curriculum components vary. For example, not every degree prepares graduates to become registered dieticians. Individuals interested in obtaining this credential should seek out a program with a built-in dietetic internship requirement or look at a dietician degree online.

Earning an online bachelor's in nutrition prepares graduates for a number of entry-level careers in public and community health, private consulting, patient care, and the food industry. Some professionals decide to continue with master's or doctoral study in pursuit of advanced opportunities, higher education positions, and scientific research jobs.

Common Bachelor's in Nutritional Sciences Degree Courses

Intro to Human Nutrition

The cornerstone of nearly every undergraduate nutrition program, an introductory course in human nutrition provides foundational study of nutrients and their functions. Coursework typically covers personal dietary choices, food systems issues, and digestion and energy balance. Students learn vital concepts for success in future courses.

Intro to Anatomy and Physiology

An introductory course to anatomy and physiology explores the structure and function of various organ systems of the human body. The class may also examine basic disease concepts. This course typically includes a lab component featuring physiology experiments, computer simulations, and dissection demonstrations.

Chemistry

Food is made up of chemical compounds, which makes understanding chemistry a vital skill for nutrition professionals. Undergraduate nutrition degrees may require study of basic chemistry, organic chemistry, and/or biochemistry. These courses cover different scientific principles, laws, and theories. They typically include laboratory components.

Food Service Systems Management

Courses in food service systems management explore systems theory and the skills required to run a successful food service operation. Students gain extensive knowledge of menu planning, sanitation and safety, personnel and financial management, and operation of equipment. Coursework emphasizes customer satisfaction.

Survey of Nutrition Careers

To help students better understand the field and their employment options after graduation, some degree plans include a survey course focusing on nutrition careers. Coursework covers the history of public health, contemporary health issues, and behaviors in the prevention of disease. The class may also discuss other healthcare professions.

Online Bachelor's in Nutritional Sciences Admission Requirements

  • High School Education

    All colleges and universities require prospective undergraduate students to provide proof of high school graduation or GED completion. To ensure adequate college preparation, course transcripts must meet certain curriculum standards, typically with specific requirements in place for math, science, fine arts, foreign language, and social science.

  • Minimum GPA

    Along with a completed high school education, many college admissions policies require a minimum GPA for first-time freshmen applicants. This requirement varies by institution and prospective program. Nutrition programs typically seek applicants with minimum GPAs in the range of 2.0-3.0.

  • Standardized Test Scores

    To better evaluate the academic knowledge and abilities of applicants, many schools require submission of ACT or SAT scores. Admissions policies may or may not specify minimum score requirements, and some schools are test-optional, allowing students to decide whether or not to provide scores at all.

  • Prerequisite Courses

    While prerequisite courses are not incredibly common, you may encounter this requirement if you decide to enroll in a dietetics program. Some degrees require completion of select foundational coursework prior to admission or to beginning the major core. Advisors can evaluate your transcript to determine what, if any, courses need to be completed.

  • Supplemental Materials

    Grades, scores, and transcripts are useful tools for student evaluation, but schools often want to know more than just your numerical likelihood for success. When applying, be prepared to supply additional materials. The most common requirements are personal essays and letters of recommendation from high school teachers and counselors.


Online Bachelor's in Nutritional Sciences Career Paths

Graduates most commonly work as nutritionists and dieticians. Although many people use these terms interchangeably, the requirements to pursue even entry-level positions differ greatly.

To earn the right to practice as a registered dietician, professionals must successfully complete an undergraduate program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), a 1,200-hour dietetic internship, and a national registration examination. Requirements for nutritionists vary by state, but many can practice without licensure or certification.

Other careers available for nutrition graduates include health program coordinator or manager, food scientist, food technologist, and, with additional education and licensure, physician assistant.


Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a degree in nutritional sciences?

An online bachelor's in nutritional sciences prepares you for careers in healthcare, nonprofits, government, and food production and safety. You may find work as a registered dietician, nutritionist, food technologist, or health program coordinator with local governments or nonprofit organizations.

Can I be a nutritionist with a health science degree?

Education and certification requirements for nutritionists vary by state. A health science degree may allow you to work as a non-licensed nutritionist. However, to practice as a registered dietitian, you must complete an ACEND-accredited program, internship, and registration examination. Pathways to licensure are available for graduates of non-nutrition/dietetics bachelor's degrees.

What degree do you need to be a nutrition consultant?

Qualifications for nutrition consultants vary by employer and position requirements. A certificate or associate degree satisfies the minimum education requirements for a number of nutrition consultant positions, but employers often prefer or require candidates to hold a bachelor's. Optional credentialing certification is available from the American Association of Nutritional Consultants.

Are nutritionists in high demand?

Skilled nutrition professionals are in high demand across the country. As social interest in food and wellness continues to increase, this demand is expected to continue. The BLS projects an 11% growth in the employment of dieticians and nutritionists from 2018-2028. This is much faster than the average of all other occupations.

Is nutritionist a good career?

Working as a nutritionist has the potential to be incredibly rewarding. Alongside excellent pay opportunities and faster-than-average job growth, nutritionists get to spend their days proactively improving the lives of others. Diverse opportunities allow nutritionists to work with clients one-on-one; develop community programs; or customize nutrition plans for hospitals, cafeterias, or schools.

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Additional Reading and Resources

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