About the Program
Programs & Degrees
What degrees/programs do you offer?
The Nutritional Sciences Program offers a Master’s of Science Program (MS), a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition Program (MPH), and a Doctorate Program (PhD). Additionally, the graduate program offers a Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD) that provides the coursework and supervised practice required to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). Training in the application of nutritional sciences to dietetic practice is provided through didactic, clinical, and community experiences.
What courses are offered in the graduate program?
The curriculum is based on strong foundations in biological sciences, clinical nutrition, nutrition education, and nutrition research. Students receive a broad exposure to classroom, clinical, and research settings and benefit from the University’s interdisciplinary approach.
What kind of jobs are available for Nutritional Sciences graduates?
Students pursue jobs in nutrition research; clinical dietetics (neonatal, pediatrics, adult); local, state, and U.S. government funded nutrition programs; home health care; food and supplement industry; consulting practice (business, private); corporate wellness; and sports performance. Median annual earnings of dietitians and nutritionists were $57,910 in 2015. Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook for more information about a career in nutrition and dietetics.
Graduates of the program work in the Center for Public Health Nutrition (Research Coordinators), the Hunger Intervention Program (Program Manager), Washington Physicians Health Program (Research and Communications Coordinator), Highline Medical Center (On-Call Dietitian), and Harborview Medical Center (Meal Host Program Coordinator), to name a few examples.
Does the University of Washington offer an undergraduate degree in Nutrition?
We offer an undergraduate minor in nutritional sciences, but we do not have an undergraduate major in nutritional sciences. If you are interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree with a major in nutrition in the Seattle area, Bastyr University and Seattle Pacific University offer degrees.
Do you offer a distance learning program?
No, we do not; our graduate program is a full-time day program on the main UW campus. There are universities that offer distance learning programs and they are listed on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
What will it cost to attend the University of Washington’s graduate program in Nutritional Sciences?
Tuition and fees are established by the University of Washington. See the Residency website for more information on residency classification. Though financial assistance through the Nutritional Sciences office is limited, students who have already been accepted to the program may be eligible for scholarships or other financial assistance. International students, however, must show proof of financial ability before the University of Washington Graduate Admissions office will accept their application.
Do you fund your graduate students with teaching positions, fellowships, etc.?
Current master’s and doctoral students are eligible to apply for several teaching assistantships and scholarships offered by the Nutritional Sciences Program. There are a limited number of competitively awarded research assistantships that are typically awarded to the top PhD applicants to provide support during the first year of studies while they work to identify a faculty advisor and pursue options for continued funding. Our students are also eligible to apply for and have been successful in obtaining support from training grants and fellowships offered within the School of Public Health and the University of Washington, including several training grants in Maternal and Child Health. Additionally, our students have been successful in obtaining scholarships from outside organizations such as the Washington State Dietetic Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Funding opportunities are publicized to all enrolled students as they become available each year. Please see the Funding Resources for more information.
I am applying for the MPH in the interdisciplinary program of Nutrition with the GCPD. I am wondering about the work load. Would I be able to continue working part time? How many days/week are classes?
A full-time load is 10 credits; MPH students usually do around 15, which means 15 hours of class-time during the week. If you estimate at least 2 hours of outside work per hour of in-class work, you will have a full schedule.
A lot of our students DO work part time, but holding down a full-time job and completing a masters is difficult, if it’s even possible.
Graduate Program Admission
How recent do my GRE scores need to be?
According to the GRE testing service, scores are good for five years. If your scores will be older than this by the application deadline, please plan on re-taking them in time for them to reach the Graduate School by then. This can take up to a month. For more information about GRE testing scores, visit the GRE website.
Can I waive or substitute another exam (such as the MCAT) for the GRE?
The GRE is required by the Program and is an important factor the admissions review process. The only exemption our admissions committee allows is for applicants holding doctoral-level degrees (PhD, JD, MD, etc) from an accredited institution in the U.S. No other waivers are permitted.
I have all my application materials ready, but my GRE tests aren’t scheduled until next month. What should I do?
You may submit your completed application without your GRE. The GRE scores will come directly to our department approximately 2 to 3 weeks after you have taken your exam, so please plan your exam date so that we can get them by the application deadline. You can find information about the GREs on www.gre.org.
Do you have minimum score requirement on each section of the IBT TOEFL?
See the basic program admission requirements for information on prerequisites.
Do I need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition or Dietetics in order to apply to the graduate program?
No. Our students have very diverse backgrounds, with degrees in archaeology, nursing, nutrition, psychology, biology, and many others. See the basic program admission requirements for more information on prerequisites.
Does my foreign degree qualify me to apply to your Graduate School?
The official assessment and academic preparation of international students must be done by the Graduate School. The evaluation of an overseas degree is based on the following:
- The characteristics of a national system of education in the home country
- The type of institution attended
- The field of study and level of studies completed
- Official accreditation/recognition status of school
Since there are no U.S. federal guidelines on admission, each institution determines its own policy on prior degrees.
At the University of Washington, you must have at least a baccalaureate degree equivalent to a regionally accredited U.S. institution to apply for admission to this Graduate School (3 year degrees do not qualify).
I haven’t finished all my prerequisites. May I take them concurrently in my first year?
We require all prerequisites to be finished BEFORE the program starts. You may still apply with a few prerequisites outstanding, provided that you can finish them before the start of Autumn quarter in late September/early October. If you are accepted yet find you cannot do this, you will be asked to defer enrollment until the next year, during which time you can complete the prerequisites.
Is the graduate program competitive? How many students are accepted?
Each year the program receives approximately 150 applications for the program. On average, we offer acceptance to approximately 30%. Our incoming class size is about 18 – 20 students. These students are comprised of the 14 positions available in the GCPD (MS/GCPD, MPH/GCPD, or PhD/GCPD), as well as some students who choose to pursue a Master’s Degree without becoming a Registered Dietitian and 1 – 2 PhD students.
What are the average GRE and GPAs of the applicants to the graduate program?
The minimum GPA accepted is 3.0; the average GPA for accepted applicants in the last admissions cycle was 3.73. The minimum GRE should be at or above the 50th percentile for both the verbal and quantitative sections and 3.5 or higher on the analytical writing section. The average GRE scores for the accepted applicants in the last admissions cycle were 75.3% on the verbal and 64.4% on the quantitative. Applications are reviewed on the basis of the whole package; one student might have a lower GPA and a very strong overall application and be accepted, while another student might have a high GPA but have weaknesses that preclude acceptance.
What kinds of volunteer opportunities are available?
While we have nothing within the program itself, we recommend prospective students look to food banks, community gardens, hospitals, and long-term care facilities to gain nutrition experience. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics can sometimes provide ideas on volunteering. Food Lifeline offers volunteer opportunities as well as Marra Farms and the Hunger Intervention Program. An internet search may provide more results.
How do I apply?
If I apply both the MS and MPH of Nutritional Sciences, do I need to mail the additional materials separately? Do I need to send the GRE and TOEFL separately?
Applying for both programs is strongly discouraged. One of the qualities that the admissions committee is looking for is focus. Applying to both does not show focus.
Also, the core courses of both the MS and MPH are the same; the difference is what the program concentrates on. So you really need to decide one way or the other; if you are looking for community work, public health, etc., apply for the MPH. If you want to focus more on the clinical aspects of nutrition, then the MS is what you’re looking for.
I’ve submitted my materials online. Do I need to also send them in?
No. If you have submitted your materials, we should have no problem viewing them. If we are missing anything or have problems with what you’ve uploaded, we will contact you directly.
Will credits from my current school transfer to the graduate program?
A student working toward a master’s degree may petition the Dean of the Graduate School for permission to transfer to the University of Washington the equivalent of a maximum of 6 quarter credits of graduate level course work taken at another recognized academic institution. These credits may not have been used to satisfy requirements for another degree. The petition must include a written recommendation for the graduate program coordinator and an official transcript indicating completion of the course work. Transfer credits are not entered on the UW transcript.
Who can I contact with a question?
You should refer all questions to our Graduate Student Services Coordinator, who can assist with general questions about the graduate program, the application process, and information about transcripts or prerequisites.