The Nutritional Sciences Program’s MPH degree provides interdisciplinary training with a strong grounding in the research and evidence-base of public health and nutritional sciences. The Nutritional Sciences faculty is composed of core, interdisciplinary, and clinical faculty who are recognized as national and international experts in the areas of health policy, epidemiology, public health program planning and evaluation, food systems, and maternal and child health.
Through the MPH coursework and hands-on fieldwork and practicum experiences, students achieve competencies established for all MPH graduates by the Council on Education for Public Health, the accrediting body for schools and programs of public health. These foundational competencies include areas such as evidence-based approaches to public health, planning and management to promote health, policy, leadership, and systems thinking. Additionally, the Nutritional Sciences MPH program is a member of the Association of Graduate Programs in Public Health Nutrition which aims to promote excellence in graduate education for public health nutritionists who will design and manage population-based community nutrition programs and services.
Graduates of our MPH program are recognized as strong candidates for positions in a range of community nutrition settings including state and local public health agencies, USDA Extension programs, anti-hunger organizations, and school and worksite wellness programs. Students who pursue the MPH degree in combination with the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (RD training program) or a previously earned RDN credential, are also regarded as highly skilled candidates for dietetics practice and leadership roles in clinical and community practice settings.
Combining Registered Dietitian Training with the MPH Degree
The Nutritional Sciences Program offers a Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD), accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. By pursuing the GCPD in combination with the MPH degree, students complete the courses and clinical and community supervised practice experiences required to attain the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. In addition to a series of core supervised internship rotations in varied dietetics practice settings, MPH/GCPD students complete a seven to ten-week Public Health concentration.
The program’s location in an accredited School of Public Health lends a systems perspective to our curriculum and teaching philosophy and supports strong linkages with state and local public health agencies and programs. Recent PH-concentration/practicum sites include Public Health – Seattle & King County, the Washington State Department of Health, the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, WSU Extension, the Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities, and Seattle Public Schools Nutrition Services. Strong links to UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s Hospital also allows students to benefit from these world-renowned research and teaching facilities while completing the clinical components of the program. Additionally, four Maternal and Child Health traineeships are available for GCPD students or credentialed RDNs.
Culminating Project: Thesis or Capstone
During the first year of study, the Graduate Program Coordinator serves as students’ initial academic adviser and provides guidance in selecting either a thesis or capstone as a culminating project. Master of Public Health students may choose to complete a research-based thesis under the direction of a faculty thesis chair and committee or a practice-based capstone with mentorship from an NSP faculty adviser and a community partner. Examples of Past Projects