15 Most Affordable Master’s in Nutrition

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Published on March 28, 2019 · Updated on July 19, 2022

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Are you ready for a fulfilling career educating and promoting a healthy lifestyle? Our 15 Most Affordable Master’s in Nutrition will give you a variety of options for an affordable degree program.

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Diet and nutrition are commonly understood to be closely linked to long-term health and disease prevention. As the country’s population ages, trained professionals who can advocate, teach and mentor about the crucial role food plays in our lives are invaluable. These professionals also promote and educate on the impact of obesity - a national health epidemic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for dietitians and nutritionists will grow 15 percent by 2026.

With a Master’s degree, you can also work above and beyond the level of dietitian or nutritionist. A Master’s degree will open opportunities for work in policy-changing nutritional research or as a leader in a wide variety of healthcare settings. Some may choose to set up their own private practice as a consultant. Eating disorder counseling, pediatric nutrition, and sports nutrition are all possible career fields. Depending on your specific area of interest, you may even choose to work in the field of nutrition as a writer - creating recipes, magazines or a cookbook dedicated to the benefits of healthy eating.

The average income for a registered dietitian with only a bachelor’s degree in 2017 was $59,410. With a master’s degree, your career and income opportunities will broaden. In 2017, the high-end salary in this field was $79,480. It depends on your specialty area - certified diabetes educators, for instance, have an average annual income of $65,000. Many of the programs below offer preparation for registered certification. Several have a dual program in dietetics. Whatever path you choose, if you are deeply invested in the quality and longevity of people’s lives through nutrition, one of the below Master’s in Nutrition programs will prepare you for a fulfilling and rewarding career without an exorbitant price tag.

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Here are the 15 Most Affordable Master's in Nutrition for 2020!

#15. University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

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UConn awards scholarships to graduate students in the Nutritional Sciences program.
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At the University of Connecticut, students enrolled in the Master of Science in Nutritional Science will find a wide variety of research and learning experiences to take advantage of. The MS in Nutritional Science program brings in the expertise and research of UConn’s many health-related departments, research activities, and laboratory centers. Graduate students in the program can benefit from UConn’s Health Center, the Department of Sports, Leisure, and Exercise Sciences, the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences and the School of Pharmacy. The Nutrition Department at UConn specializes in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Human Nutrition and Metabolism, and Community Nutrition.

The MS in Nutritional Sciences program offers both a thesis and non-thesis option. Non-thesis students tend to have prior experience in the field of nutrition. Students in either option must pass a two-part examination process. The program requires a minimum of 30 credits. The core curriculum includes classes such as Concepts of Nutrition, Macronutrient Metabolism, Vitamins and Minerals and Food Colloids and Nanotechnology. Prior to entering the program, students must take courses in physiology, biochemistry and basic nutrition. The Department of Nutrition has an active student body with a variety of clubs and groups to participate in, including the UConn Nutrition Club.

School's Average Net Price: $ 18,699


#14. Dominican University

River Forest, IL

Master of Science in Nutrition

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The university is just 15 minutes outside of Chicago, in a forested, suburban setting.
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The Master of Science in Nutrition program at Dominican University is a minimum 30-credit-hour program. Students may opt to add the Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway to their degree at an additional six credits of on-site job experience. The ISPP allows students to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam. Many ISPP opportunities at DU work directly with underserved populations. All students will take courses in Counseling and Health Communication, Food, Health and Social Justice, and Advanced Clinical Nutrition. DU’s Nutrition Department encourages students to take elective courses in closely related subjects such as Medical Spanish, Principles of Sports Nutrition, and Smart Tools and Technology.

Admission to the program requires that students have completed the ACEND-Accredited Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics coursework and supply the DPD verification statement or Declaration of Intent statement. Other requirements include transcripts from prior institutions, a personal statement explaining the applicant’s suitability and preparedness for the program, GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, and a 3.00 minimum GPA. U.S. News and World Report rank DU fifth on the Midwest’s Best Value Schools.

School's Average Net Price: $18,250


#13. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

Master of Science in Human Nutrition

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The Department of Nutrition at OSU is comprised of 16 faculty members, recognized internationally for their work in nutritional research.

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Graduate students enrolled in Ohio State University’s Master of Science in Human Nutrition can take part in OSU’s many nutrition-focused research groups and outreach programs. OSU is a leader in addressing food security and human nutrition. With the Food Innovation Center and the Russell Klein Nutrition Research Symposium, students are connected to advancements and cutting edge research in human nutrition. The program is a minimum of 30 credit hours, including five core courses in subjects such as nutrition, metabolism, introduction to research, and research methods. Students also take three classes in research methods, and ten credits in elective courses. All students complete a six-credit thesis.

The program admits only once per year for the fall term, with admission applications due December 1st. Admission requirements include three letters of recommendation, GRE test scores, a statement of intent, transcripts from all previous institutions, and a CV. Graduate students receive financial support to showcase their original research with the Graduate Student Professional Travel Award. The MS in Human Nutrition tuition may also be covered by the College of Education and Human Ecology’s Graduate Associate positions.

School's Average Net Price: $18,042


#12. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, AL

MS in Nutrition Sciences, Dietitian Education Program

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UAB’s Department of Nutrition has a 75-year history of educating future researchers and practitioners of nutrition and dietetics.
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With coursework that is entirely online, the Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences Program is a flexible graduate school option for working adults looking to strengthen their knowledge and career prospects. The MS in Nutrition Sciences also prepares its students to take the Registered National Dietitican exam through the Dietitian Education Program. The MS-DEP offers specialized studies in lifestyle and community wellness, diabetes practice, and translation research in obesity or cancer. While all courses are online, students complete the practicum portion of the dietitian education program at an approved location convenient for the student.

The total program is 58 credit hours, with 24 of those within the DEP. In the first year, students will take preparatory courses in Principles of Food Science and Menu Planning, Advanced Medical Nutrition, and Nutritional Biochemistry. There are 23 primary faculty members for the MS in Nutritional Sciences program at UAB. Among them, many have one state and national teaching awards, and the chair of the department is also the director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at UAB.

School's Average Net Price: $17,016


#11. University of Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

Master of Science in Nutrition

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The Department of Food Science and Nutrition has an active and engaged research community, offering graduate seminars at least twice per month.

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Students enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s Master of Science in Nutrition can typically expect the program to last two years or four semesters. The program requires a minimum of 30 credits, where students take 14 credits in Nutrition, six credits of supporting courses outside the major, and ten credits of elective work. Core coursework includes class such as Nutritional Biochemistry, Nutritional Physiology, Vitamin and Mineral Biochemistry, and Nutrition and Genetics. Students select either a thesis or project option to complete their degrees. Students who opt for the project must take an additional ten credits of coursework or independent study. All students will participate in classroom teaching at least twice over the course of the degree program.

Requirements for admission to the program include GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, unofficial transcripts, a CV, and both a personal and diversity statement. Once a student is accepted into the program, they must meet with a faculty advisor for full admission into the program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for Fall, Spring and Summer terms. The department strongly encourages applicants to apply at least nine months prior to the term of enrollment.

School's Average Net Price: $16,808


#10. Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Master of Science in Human Nutrition

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Michigan State University is home to AgBioResearch, which researches and studies many topics such as nutrition and disease, food waste, and animal agriculture.
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The Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Michigan State University is a 30-credit-hour program that combines a rigorous blend of research, coursework, and a thesis/non-thesis option. The program is designed to give students a strong foundation in nutrition sciences that is complemented by coursework in other disciplines such as biochemistry, physiology, and epidemiology. Core coursework includes Advanced Biochemical Nutrition, and Nutrition Policies and Programs. Students can opt to defend and oral and written thesis. Students completing a project will take a culminating examination.

The program admits in the fall, spring and summer terms. Admission to the program is competitive. The program requires GRE scores, letters of recommendation, all transcripts from previous institutions, and a statement of purpose. The department highly recommends that prospective students familiarize themselves with the faculty’s areas of interest and expertise. Students who can demonstrate clarity as to what area they intend to focus on are more likely to be granted admission to the program.

School's Average Net Price: $16,684


#9. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign houses several state-of-the-art research facilities.

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At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Master of Science in Nutritional Science majors engage in learning and applied research to become leaders and educators in the field. Upon graduation, they will have gained the skills and knowledge to address the complex issues of biochemistry and metabolism in human nutrition. The program is 32 credit hours for the thesis or non-thesis option. Core coursework consists of six credits of Biochemical Nutrition, Community Nutrition, Regulation of Metabolism, and Grantsmanship and Ethics. The non-thesis option requires a final examination. Students also take elective courses to supplement their knowledge in physiology, immunology, endocrinology, psychology and agricultural economics. Students may engage in up to four credits of independent study while in the program.

Applicants to the program are strongly encouraged to communicate with faculty members who have research interests similar to the prospective student. Faculty members select a student for research assistantships, thereby securing the student’s financial support through the program. In addition to this important step, prospective students must submit a formal application with letters of recommendation, GRE scores, a personal statement, transcripts, and a CV.

School's Average Net Price: $16,638


#8. Rutgers University

New Brunswick, NJ

Master of Science Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences

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Graduate students in the MS Nutritional Programs at Rutgers are encouraged to apply for teaching and graduate assistantships by January 1st for the upcoming academic year.
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With several different specialization options, the Master of Science Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University spans a wide spectrum of the nutritional sciences field. Degree options are Dietetics, Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology, and Community and Applied Nutrition. Selecting which option depends on whether you intend to pursue a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences, work in a clinical setting, or pursue a career path as a registered dietitian. The program is 30 credit hours and requires a six credit master’s thesis. All students take Nutrition: A Biochemical and Physiological Basis, Nutrition Seminar and Statistics. Courses vary based on the student’s selected specialization. Over 30 faculty members with research and teaching expertise in nutrition, dietetics, biochemistry, education, and human development  make up the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Faculty members deliver seminars sharing their own recent research every semester.

Admissions criteria to all of the options in the MS in Nutritional Sciences program include three letters of recommendation, a minimum 304 GRE score, transcripts from all previous institutions, and an undergraduate GPA average of a B. Students must also have taken one year of general chemistry and one year of organic chemistry in addition to at least 12 credits in the sciences (physics, calculus, nutrition or food science).

School's Average Net Price: $16,016


#7. University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

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Graduate research in the Nutritional Sciences Department at UA has made important contributions to reducing health disparities and addressing obesity in low-income populations.
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The Master of Science in Nutritional Science program at the University of Arizona has an interdisciplinary curriculum. The program aims to give its student a broad enough education that they may are able to connect complex nutrition problems to issues in other disciplines. The Nutritional Sciences Department at UA has two central areas of research, which involve topics such as bioactive compounds and the relationship between body metabolism and human behavior. Students may also elect to specialize in subjects such as immunology and obesity. If the student hasn’t yet decided on their area of focus, the first semester allows them time to meet with faculty during laboratory rotations.

The MS in Nutritional Science requires a minimum of 30 credits to graduate. Courses include Statistics for Applied Nutritional Sciences, Communicating Nutrition and Health, Metabolism and Energetics, and Micronutrients. All students complete a six-credit thesis. Throughout the program, students are supported by their selected advisor, a teaching assistantship stipend, and medical insurance. The program admits once per year for the fall term. Applications are due January 3rd.

School's Average Net Price: $15,758


#6. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition

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The University of Florida offers competitive fellowships to promising graduate students.
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At the University of Florida, students in the Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition can elect to focus on food science or nutritional sciences. Both tracks require a minimum of 30 credits. Both tracks can be completed in two to two and a half years. Students in the food science track take courses in food processing and engineering, food microbiology, and food chemistry. The nutritional sciences track emphasizes subjects such as clinical nutrition and dietetics, supplement studies, and molecular and cellular nutrition. The program offers credit for study-abroad. Recent study abroad opportunities focused on food and agriculture in Italy, Spain, and France. The Food Science and Human Nutrition department has over 30 faculty members. Research interests of faculty members cover a broad spectrum of topics including the sensory perception of foods, early detection of pathogens in food, and sports nutrition.

Admission to the program is on a rolling basis, with start dates in the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. Required applications include transcripts from all previous institutions, a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a statement describing educational objectives and career goals. Admissions decisions are generally made within three weeks of receipt. For students interested in a Teaching or Research Assistantship, it’s highly recommended that applications are submitted by January 15th for the following fall semester. The Food Science and Human Nutrition Department offers these opportunities based on merit and a strong interest in research relevant to the faculty’s work. Students selected for an assistantship receive both a stipend and tuition waiver.

School's Average Net Price: $15,283


#5. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Raleigh, NC

Master of Science in Nutrition

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The Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences at NC-Raleigh receives a wide variety of scholarship funds to support its students.
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North Carolina State University at Raleigh’s Master of Science in Nutrition offers its graduate students a diverse learning experience that is balanced among several disciplines. Students can opt to study within the departments of animal science, food and bioprocessing or youth family and community science. The thesis option is a total of 30 credits. With the non-thesis option, students will complete a total of 36 credits. Coursework in the program is frequently offered in an online, distance learning format. All students in the MS Nutrition program are required to take Principles of Biochemistry, Regulation of Metabolism, and elective courses from other programs. Most students will complete the degree in one and a half to two years.

As part of the admissions process, students pursuing the thesis option should indicate their area of research interest. Prospective students are encouraged to contact faculty members prior to admission with similar research interests. The MS in Nutrition requires that incoming graduate students have a science-related BA degree, clearly showing coursework in biology and organic chemistry. Applicants also submit transcripts, a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE scores above the 30th percentile in all categories, and a statement of purpose.