Graduate Study

PhD Curriculum

Requirements listed below apply to students entering the PhD program beginning in autumn 2018.

Note: We are accepting applications to our PhD program only from students currently enrolled in our master’s programs. Suspending admissions to outside applicants allows us the opportunity to review and revise our curriculum and improve student opportunities.

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: 32 credits

NUTR 500Food Systems Seminar1
NUTR 512United States Food Systems Policy3
NUTR 513Food and Society: Exploring Eating Behaviors in a Social, Environmental, and Policy Context2
NUTR 514Sustainable Food Systems for Population Health3
NUTR 520Nutrition and Metabolism I4
NUTR 521Nutrition and Metabolism II4
NUTR 526Maternal and Pediatric Nutrition3
NUTR 531Public Health Nutrition6
NUTR 562Nutrition and Chronic Disease4
Additional 500-level NUTR credits2

Other Requirements: 43-47 credits

Other Sciences to address specific interests22
EPIEpidemiology (EPI 511 or EPI 512 and EPI 513)4-8
BIOSTBiostatistics (500-level)8
Research Methods (from EPI 517, EPI 519, EPI 548, EPI 549)8
HSERV 579Structural Racism and Public Health1

Dissertation: 27 credits

NUTR 800Doctoral Dissertation27

GCPD Requirements

PhD students enrolled in RDN training through the GCPD will also need to complete the following courses:

  • Nutrition Education Principles & Practice (NUTR 536, 2 credits)
  • Foundations of Dietetics (NUTR 558, 1 credit)
  • Nutritional Counseling for Chronic Disease (NUTR 560, 2 credits)
  • Nutrition in Acute Care (NUTR 563, 4 credits)
  • Orientation to Clinical Dietetics (NUTR 559, 3 credits)
  • Practice Experience (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 Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health Program (FSNH) for all FSNH 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.