Graduate Study

PhD Curriculum

Requirements listed apply for students entering the PhD Program in autumn 2018.

If you entered the program in a different year, refer to the curriculum archives in the Current Students menu.

Note: In autumn 2020 and 2021, we will only accept applications to our PhD program from students currently enrolled in our master’s programs. More

As a PhD student, you first undertake coursework covering the fundamental areas of study. Selected from among core faculty, your adviser 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 PhD program is designed to assist you in:

  • Gaining an advanced understanding of nutrition and metabolism, and related biological, biochemical, molecular, and behavioral sciences
  • Investigating the relationships between diet and disease
  • Acquiring skills in research methods
  • Developing timely and original hypotheses in nutritional sciences

Additionally, the program seeks to meet the substantial state, regional and national need for doctorally-prepared faculty in schools or departments of nutrition and the health sciences and for leadership positions in agencies in which PhD-level nutrition researchers study the relationships between nutrition and health.

Required Nutrition Courses: 35 credits

CourseNameCredits
NUTR 500Graduate Seminar: Current Issues in Nutrition (A)1
NUTR 513Food and Society: Exploring Eating Behaviors in a Social, Environmental, and Policy Context (A)2
NUTR 520Nutrition and Metabolism I (A)3
NUTR 521Nutrition and Metabolism II (W)3
NUTR 522Nutrition and Metabolism III (Sp)3
NUTR 529Nutrition Research Design2
NUTR 531Public Health Nutrition (W)5
NUTR 562Nutrition and Chronic Disease (Sp)4
Additional 500-level nutrition courses12

Other Requirements

Study/DisciplineCourse/DetailCredits
Other sciences related to specific interests22
EPIEpidemiology (EPI 511 or EPI 512/513)4-8
BIOSTBiostatistics8-12
Research Methods8-12
Undoing Racism in Public Health1

Dissertation Credits: Minimum 27 credits

CourseNameCredits
NUTR 800Dissertation (A,W,Sp,S)27

GCPD Requirements

PhD students enrolled in RDN training through the 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.

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.