PhD Curriculum

You first undertake coursework covering the fundamental areas of study. Selected from among core faculty, your advisor monitors your progress and assists you in mapping out your plan of study beyond the core knowledge areas. During this time, you will choose a dissertation chair and select a research topic that coincides with their interests. A general and a final examination are also required to complete the degree.

The requirements listed below reflect the current curriculum for students beginning the PhD Program in Autumn 2018. The requirements for students entering in previous years are archived for reference: entered Autumn 2017

Learning Objectives

Upon satisfactory completion of a Doctor of Philosophy in Nutritional Sciences, graduates will be able to:

  1. Meet the competencies established by the School of Public Health and the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) for all SPH students.
  2. Meet the core competencies established by the Nutritional Sciences Program for all Nutritional Sciences students:
    • Apply knowledge of human nutrient requirements in relation to genetics, metabolic pathways, and physiological function across the life course.
    • Assess nutritional status of individuals and groups.
    • Appraise how nutritional factors across the lifespan are linked to non-communicable diseases (NCD) and quality of life.
    • Apply evidence-based approaches to improve diet quality and nutritional status.
    • Apply appropriate methodologies to a research question.
    • Explain, critique, and apply the process of public health practice and nutrition policy development.
    • Describe the basic components and determinants of the US food and nutrition systems.
    • Construct testable hypotheses, develop appropriate study designs, and conduct research, which will significantly expand knowledge of nutritional sciences;
    • Disseminate research findings through oral presentations and peer reviewed journals.
    • Develop and prepare proposals for procuring research funding.
    • Develop and provide instruction in a higher education academic setting, demonstrating use of evidence-based pedagogical principals.

PhD Degree Requirements in Nutritional Sciences


Course Name Credits
Required Nutrition Courses: 35 credits
NUTR 500 Graduate Seminar: Current Issues in Nutrition (A) 1
NUTR 513 Food and Society: Exploring Eating Behaviors in a Social, Environmental, and Policy Context (A) 2
NUTR 520 Nutrition and Metabolism I (A) 3
NUTR 521 Nutrition and Metabolism II (W) 3
NUTR 522 Nutrition and Metabolism III (Sp) 3
NUTR 529 Nutrition Research Design 2
NUTR 531 Public Health Nutrition (W) 5
NUTR 562 Nutrition and Chronic Disease (Sp) 4
Additional 500-level Nutrition courses 12
Other requirements: 43-55 credits
Other Sciences (related to specific interests) 22
 EPI Epidemiology (EPI 511 or EPI 512/513) 4-8
 BIOST Biostatistics 8-12
Research Methods 8-12
Undoing Racism in Public Health 1
Dissertation Credits: minimum 27 credits
NUTR 800 Dissertation (A,W,Sp,S) 27

TOTAL credit requirements: 105-117

GCPD Requirements

PhD students enrolled in the RD training program (GCPD) will need to complete the following courses:

  • GCPD Seminar (NUTR 561A, 1 credit)
  • Maternal and Pediatric Nutrition (NUTR 526)
  • Nutrition Education Principles and Practice (NUTR 536)
  • Nutritional Counseling for Chronic Disease (NUTR 560)
  • Nutrition in Acute Care (NUTR 563)
  • Orientation to Clinical Dietetics Practice (NUTR 559)
  • Supervised Practice/Practice Experiences (NUTR 561, 30 credits)

The timing of PhD student course and internship requirements will be coordinated on a case by case basis to accommodate their dissertation research projects.