Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences [Dept. of Nutritional Sciences]

Graduate Degree Programs

M.S. In Nutritional Sciences

This degree program has two options: nutritional biochemistry and physiology, and community and applied nutrition. The nutritional biochemistry and physiology option focuses on biochemical, physiological, and molecular aspects of nutrition. It mainly serves students who intend to obtain a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences or related fields, and also those seeking additional basic knowledge for jobs in research or teaching. The applied nutrition option provides advanced training for careers in nutrition education or community nutrition. In addition to gaining basic knowledge of nutritional biochemistry, emphasis is placed on clinical and public health aspects of nutrition.

Combined Masters-Dietetic Internship Program with Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (formerly UMDNJ) - You must apply for the "match" at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (formerly UMDNJ) and also to our Master's program: this requires submitting an application for the Dietetic Internship at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (formerly UMDNJ) and also an application for Graduate Study at Rutgers. Both applications must be submitted by the February deadline for submission indicated on the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (formerly UMDNJ) website. The program is designed for a small number of students seeking their dietetic internships who seek advanced coursework and research experience to develop careers related to clinical nutrition. The first semester is spent in the dietetic internship. The next two semesters are dedicated to graduate courses and Master's thesis research. The second half of the dietetic internship is completed in the Spring of the second year, followed by completion of the writing and defense of the Masters thesis in the summer. Thus, the M.S./D.I. program can be completed in two years.

Admission Criteria
A bachelor's degree from an accredited college showing potential for achievement in scholarly activities. The following are prerequisites for admission:

  • 1 year general chemistry with lab
  • 1 year organic chemistry or 1 semester organic chemistry plus 1 semester of biochemistry
  • At least 12 additional credits in advanced (300-400 level) sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, nutrition, or food science)
  • GRE: 304 or above (minimum verbal 153; minimum quantitative 151)
  • TOEFL (if English is a second language): 560 or above (paper-based test); 220 or above (computer-based test); 83 or above (internet-based test; minimum individual test scores:
    writing 22, speaking 23, reading 21, listening 17)
  • GPA: B average or above
  • Three letters of recommendation

Requirements for M.S. Degree
All students must complete the following three core courses: Nutrition: A Biochemical and Physiological Basis (4, 4 credits), Nutrition Seminar (2 credits) and Statistics (3 credits). For the nutritional biochemistry and physiology option, a course in biochemistry (6 credits) and additional courses (for a total of at least 24 course credits) in cell biology, molecular biology, physiology, immunology, etc., are required. For the applied nutrition option, additional courses in clinical nutrition, nutrition education, community nutrition, epidemiology, etc., are taken (up to a total of at least 24 course credits). All students carry out original research under the direction of a member of the graduate program and defend a master's thesis (6 credits). A total of 30 credits is required for the degree. Typical time for completion of all M.S. requirements is two years.

Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences

The doctoral program prepares students for careers conducting original research in nutritional sciences in academic, governmental, health-care, or industrial settings. This degree program has two options: Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology and Applied and Community Nutrition.

Admission Criteria
A bachelor's degree from an accredited college showing potential for achievement in scholarly activities. Prerequisites for admission are the same as those listed above for the M.S. program.

Requirements for Ph.D. Degree
Doctoral candidates are required to take a total of 72 credits: 33 course credits and 39 research credits.

For Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology, students are required to complete Nutrition: A Biochemical and Physiological Basis (4, 4 credits), Nutrition Seminar (1, 2 credits), Statistics (3 credits), Biochemistry (6 credits), Physiology (3-6 credits), Principles of Nutrition Research (3 credits), Topics in Nutrition (1 credit), Nutritional Aspects of Disease (3 credits), and additional relevant courses (up to a total of 33 credits) in consultation with their advisor and the Curriculum Committee.

For Applied and Community Nutrition, students are required to complete Nutrition: A Biochemical and Physiological Basis (4, 4 credits), Nutrition Seminar (1, 2 credits), Community Nutrition (3 credits), Theories, Models, and Concepts in Applied & Community Nutrition (2 credits), Seminar in Nutrition Education (minimum of 2 credits), Statistics through regression (6 credits), and two of the following three courses: Introduction to Applied Nutrition Research (3 credits), Survey Design (3 credits), or Nutrition Epidemiology (3 credits). The students complete additional relevant courses (up to a total of 33 credits) in consultation with their advisor and the Curriculum Committee.

All students must pass a written qualifying exam (usually at the end of their second year of residence in graduate school). This exam covers course work as well as the ability to critically read the literature, interpret experimental data, and design novel experiments. The doctoral thesis involves completion of original research in an area relevant to nutrition, under the guidance of a faculty member. The thesis is presented in a public seminar, defended orally to a committee consisting of members of the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program, and submitted to the Graduate School prior to the award of the Ph.D. degree. Typical time for completion of all doctoral work is five years.

Financial Aid For Graduate Students

Financial assistance in the form of research and teaching assistantships and excellence fellowships is available for our Ph.D. students. Since the number of assistantships varies, students requesting financial aid are encouraged to submit their applications by January 15th. Most doctoral students receive support throughout their studies.  Although we cannot guarantee full financial aid, all of our current continuing doctoral program students receive support.

Teaching Assistants
are responsible for assisting in laboratories associated with undergraduate courses (e.g.) Introductory Foods and Nutrition or Experimental Foods, or teaching recitations (Advanced Readings, Nutrition Counseling and Communications) associated with undergraduate courses. Twenty hours per week are required.

Graduate Assistants
are responsible for research or lab work (20 hours/week) and this can overlap with their own thesis research at the discretion of their advisor.

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