Professionals in the nutritional science field often pursue a master's degree to qualify for leadership roles. There is still much to discover about how food impacts the human body, and many master's programs focus on research contribution. Other nutritional sciences master's programs prepare learners to become professors. Professionals can also pursue a nutritional sciences degree to facilitate a career change.
Nutritionists perform vital services for the community, including educating patients about ways to achieve particular health goals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dieticians and nutritionists earned a median income of $61,270 as of May 2019. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 8% between 2019 and 2029. This guide explores career options for professionals with a master's degree in nutritional sciences, along with typical program outcomes, scholarship opportunities, and professional organizations for nutrition students.
Accredited Online College Programs
Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
What Are the Goals of a Nutritional Sciences Degree?
A nutritional sciences degree qualifies holders to obtain state licensure. Each state sets unique requirements for nutritionists, so students should consider attending a school located in the state in which they plan to work.
Curricula vary by school, but most schools list program outcomes on their website. Some nutritional sciences degree programs emphasize research, while others prepare learners to work with patients. Additionally, some curricula cover nutrition for all age groups and dietary preferences. Others focus primarily on one population subgroup. Learners should select a nutritional sciences master's program that aligns with their career goals.
Why Get a Nutritional Sciences Degree?
Earning a graduate degree can lead to personal and professional benefits, such as higher salary potential and increased job satisfaction. The following list highlights five common reasons to pursue a master's degree in nutritional sciences.
- Opportunities in Higher Education
- An advanced nutritional sciences degree may qualify graduates to become professors. However, some colleges and universities require professors to hold a doctorate.
- Personally Beneficial Knowledge
- Master's students in the field learn valuable information about nutrition, which they can apply to their everyday lives.
- Ability to Help Others
- A working knowledge of nutrition can help individuals lead healthy, happy lives. Nutritionists empower individuals and communities with this knowledge.
- Increased Job Prospects
- While dieticians and nutritionists can practice with a bachelor's degree, a master's degree can lead to higher-paying positions and leadership roles.
- Self-Employment Potential
- After building a client base, successful nutritionists often open their own practice. These self-employed professionals set their own rates and business hours.
What Are the Requirements for a Nutritional Sciences Degree?
Nutritional sciences master's programs typically require 30 to 40 credits, which most full-time learners complete in about two years. Coursework typically involves lectures, textbook readings, and projects. Students often develop meal plans, learn how to assess an individual's nutritional needs, and conduct research. Some programs require learners to submit research findings to scholarly journals.
Before enrolling in a program, learners should note the thesis or capstone requirement. Students can review their prospective program's course descriptions and available concentrations to ensure they align with their career goals. For example, students may wish to specialize in an area such as childhood or elderly nutrition.
How Much Will a Nutrition Master's Program Cost?
The most affordable nutrition master's programs cost approximately $9,000 in tuition. In comparison, more expensive degrees can cost more than $50,000. Several factors affect the cost of graduate school, including school type and student state residency.
In-state public schools typically offer the lowest tuition rates, though out-of-state students often pay much higher tuition. Private schools charge all learners the same rates regardless of state residency.
To help fund your master's in nutrition, seek out scholarships, grants, and fellowship opportunities, if available. These forms of financial aid do not require repayment. Loans can also reduce your immediate out-of-pocket costs, but you will need to repay the loan balance plus interest after graduation.
Choosing the Right Nutrition Graduate Program
Whether you plan to study online or on campus, consider the following factors when evaluating different nutrition master's programs:
Regional or national accreditation ensures academic quality, allows you to pursue financial aid, and assures employers that your credentials are valid. You may also want to consider a master's in nutrition with programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council on Nutrition Professional Education.
Depending on the school you select, your master's in nutrition may require a thesis, fieldwork experience, or internship to finish the degree. Choose a program that aligns with your academic priorities.
Graduate schools may or may not require GRE scores. Additionally, while many nutrition graduate programs accept applicants from nonscientific backgrounds, students may need to complete prerequisite courses.
Some nutrition master's programs prepare students for certification opportunities like certified nutrition specialist.
FAQ on Nutritional Science
What can I do with a nutritional sciences degree?
Graduates of nutritional sciences degree programs often become dieticians. These professionals can work for corporations, such as grocery store chains, and in clinical settings.
Is a nutritionist a doctor?
Unlike doctors, nutritionists cannot diagnose or treat diseases with medications and therapies. Nutritionists typically undergo less clinical training and education than doctors.
What is the highest degree in nutrition?
A doctorate in nutrition is the terminal degree in the field. Most doctoral programs require four to six years to complete.
What schooling do you need to become a nutritionist?
According to the BLS, dieticians and nutritionists need a bachelor's degree to earn entry-level positions. These professionals can earn a graduate degree and certifications to improve their job prospects.
Best Master's in Nutritional Sciences Degrees 2022
University of Wisconsin-Madison
|Percent Online Enrollment||
University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to several online graduate programs. Learners with a bachelor's degree in nutrition will be especially interested in the excellent master's in clinical nutrition. The program provides the rigorous education expected from a graduate program using a flexible online format.
Enrollees receive more individualized attention with a 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The curriculum is steeped in advanced theoretical concepts and practices in nutrition. The training learners receive is an important step for career advancement or a doctoral degree in this field and related ones.
Wisconsin students pay a yearly average of $10,728 while those living elsewhere pay $24,054. The financial aid department can explore aid with degree-seekers, and the funding options may include scholarships and grants. Another option are student loans, and about 29% of enrollees use them to finance all or part of their degree.
University of Georgia
|Percent Online Enrollment||
An Athens-based public college, the University of Georgia has a lot to offer. Students can choose from 16 master's degrees available online. The master's in community nutrition is a good option for nutrition learners who want advanced degrees.
Graduate students can use online education's flexibility and adaptability to accomplish longstanding goals. Caretakers, professionals, and other busy enrollees may immediately see how they can balance work, family, and their education. Deep experience providing rigorous degrees that emphasize both quality and flexible learning is a hallmark of this institution.
The admissions rate for this school is 45% on average per year, but expect some variations across programs. The requisite background for entry into a master’s program is usually a bachelor’s degree and other requirements. The department can tell you more about application requirements such as transcripts, interviews, and recommendation letters.
Online College Resources
Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.