Applications for graduate study in Nutritional Sciences, whether combined with the RD training program or not, are reviewed holistically and assessed by a faculty admissions committee. The committee considers each applicant’s academic record, academic skills, relevant professional work and/or volunteer experience, overcoming adversity or disadvantage in achieving educational goals, and motivation and fit with Nutritional Sciences. Admission to the Nutritional Sciences Program and the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (RD training program) is competitive. To be considered for admission, the following requirements and prerequisites must be satisfied.

To apply, see the How to Apply.

Applicant Requirements | International Applicants | Prerequisite Guidelines

Degree and RD Training Program Applicant Requirements

  • Degree: Bachelor’s degree; may be in any field. If the required prerequisite courses listed below were not included in your degree program, they may be completed at any college or university, including community colleges, prior to admission.
    • Please note that for autumn 2020 and 2021, we are only accepting applications for our PhD program from students who are currently enrolled in our master’s programs.
  • Prerequisite coursework: You must complete the following courses before entering to the program. A minimum of 1 quarter or 1 semester is required except where noted.

    Please see the prerequisite guidelines section below for examples of appropriate courses at UW and tips for identifying comparable courses at other institutions.

    • Nutrition (should be complete at the time of application)
    • General Chemistry
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Biochemistry (2 quarters or 1 semester)
    • Physiology

    Applicants to the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD) must also complete the following GCPD prerequisites:

    • Psychology
    • Microbiology
    • Food Science (with lab)
    • Management of Nutrition Services
    • If admitted to the GCPD, these additional requirements must be completed before enrolling:
      • National Background Check
      • ServSafe Manager Certificate

      Applicants who have completed a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and received a Verification Statement from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) have satisfied the GCPD prerequisite courses, including management of nutrition services.

    If prerequisite courses were completed more than 10 years before entering the program, the following courses must be retaken: human nutrition, biochemistry, human physiology, microbiology (GCPD applicants), management in nutrition services (GCPD applicants), and food science with lab (GCPD applicants). For these GCPD prerequisites, appropriate professional use of each course may suffice as meeting the prerequisite.

  • GPA: A cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater for the final 90 quarter credits or 60 semester hours completed is an expectation for the UW Graduate School. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may still be considered if their overall application has exceptional strengths.
  • GRE (general exam): GRE test scores are required. Quantitative, verbal, and writing skills provide an important foundation for the requirements you will complete in our program. As part of a holistic review process, GRE scores are considered to provide insight into your preparation in these areas. Although there is no minimum score requirement, the review committee typically looks for scores above the 40th percentile to demonstrate readiness for the rigor and pace of the program coursework, particularly biostatistics and epidemiology which presume strong quantitative preparation. If your scores are lower or you feel they do not accurately portray your quantitative skills, you are encouraged to list relevant coursework and other evidence of your quantitative preparation where indicated on the Nutritional Sciences Application form.  FAQs about the GRE

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

In addition to the requirements for admission listed above, international applicants are required to submit:

  • TOEFL Scores (or other required English Proficiency Exam Score): International applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting official scores from one of the exams listed below. Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application is submitted. The minimum required scores are:
    • 92 on the TOEFL iBT
    • 580 on the TOEFL pBT (paper-based)
  • Evidence of Financial Ability: International students can visit The Graduate School International Admissions website for more information on the financial ability requirement.

Prerequisite Guidelines

Transcript Evaluations: Due to the high number of inquiries we receive, we are not able to do transcript evaluations for prospective applicants. Please refer to the table below for guidelines to assist you in determining which courses you have satisfied or still need to complete.

The following table provides guidelines to assist you in identifying courses to satisfy the prerequisites for our programs.

Examples of courses available at the University of Washington and other schools are provided as a reference. Comparable courses may be taken from other colleges or universities including community colleges.

Applicants in Washington State: You can use the UW Equivalency Guide to find classes at local community colleges that are equivalent to the recommended courses at the University of Washington.

Prerequisites for All Applicants to the MS, MPH, or PhD in Nutritional Sciences
Prerequisite Guidelines for Selecting Appropriate Courses Examples of Courses that Satisfy the Prerequisites


1 Quarter or Semester

A general nutrition course that covers the science of human nutrition, including nutrients, nutritional needs across the lifespan, health behaviors, and prevention of chronic disease. Sample Course at UW
* NUTR 200 Nutrition for Today (formerly NUTR 300)

Sample Online Course
* NUTR 200 Nutrition for Today (UW Professional & Continuing Education)

General Chemistry

1 Quarter or Semester

Should cover atomic nature of matter, stoichiometry, acids and bases, chemical equilibrium, and gas laws. Lab not required. Sample Course at UW
CHEM 142 General Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

1 Quarter or Semester

Should include introduction to structure, nomenclature, properties, and reactions of the main functional families of organic compounds. Stereochemistry and spectroscopy. Lab not required. Sample Courses at UW
CHEM 223 Organic Chemistry – Short Program
* CHEM 237 Organic Chemistry
* CHEM 335 Honors Organic Chemistry


2 Quarters or 1 Semester

Should provide a survey of basic principles of biochemistry and molecular biology, emphasizing broad understanding of chemical events in living systems in terms of metabolism and structure-function relationships of biologically important molecules. Lab not required. Sample Courses at UW
* BIOC 405 Introduction to Biochemistry and BIOC 406 Introduction to Biochemistry

Sample Online Courses
* CHEM 1005 Medical Biochemistry (University of New England)
* MCELLBI X105 Introductory Biochemistry (UC Berkeley Extension)


1 Quarter or Semester *

Should cover human physiology, metabolism and energetics, structure and function of biomolecules, and cell and organ structure and function.

*Note: A number of institutions divide this content into two or more parts (such as “Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2”). If this is the case at your college or university, the expectation is that you complete both parts. Lab not required, unless it is a standard component of the physiology course at your institution. (Example: “Survey of Physiology & Physiology Lab”)
Sample Courses at UW
* BIOL 118 Survey of Physiology and BIOL 119 Elementary Physiology Laboratory

Sample Courses at Other Colleges
* Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II (North Seattle College; also similar courses at other community colleges)

Sample Online Course
* PHSL 1010 Physiology Lecture and Lab (University of New England)
Additional Prerequisites for Applicants to the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD)
Prerequisite Guidelines for Selecting Appropriate Courses Examples of Courses that Satisfy the Prerequisites


1 Quarter or Semester

Introductory psychology course covering major areas of psychological science including human social behavior, personality, psychological disorders and treatment, learning, human development, biological influences, and research methods. Sample Course at UW
PSYCH 101 Introduction to Psychology


1 Quarter or Semester

Acquaints students with microorganisms and their activities including microbial cell structure and function, metabolism, and the role of microorganisms in disease. Lab not required. Sample Course at UW
MICROM 301 General Microbiology

Food Science

1 Quarter or Semester

Covers the scientific principles behind food composition, processing, preparation, safety, quality and culinary techniques with emphasis on sensory evaluation. Lab required. Recommended Online Course
NUTR 441 Food & Culinary Science (UW Professional & Continuing Education; next offered Summer 2020)

Management of Nutrition Services

1 Quarter or Semester


Includes management and business theories and principles required to deliver programs and services. Course includes content related to quality management of food and nutrition services.

Sample Online Courses
* NUTR 6600 Management in Dietetics (East Carolina University)
*NHM 372 Intro to Food Service Management (University of Alabama)
* FNDH 560 Management in Dietetics (Kansas State University; may require prerequisites)