Doctor of Philosophy Graduate Program 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 & Physiology and Applied & Community Nutrition.

Admission Criteria

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

  • General chemistry with lab (1 year recommended)
  • 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 Ph.D. Degree

Doctoral candidates are required to take a total of 72 credits: 33 course credits and 39 research credits.

For Nutritional Biochemistry & Physiology, students are required to complete Nutrition: A Biochemical and Physiological Basis (16:709:552, 4 credits; 16:708:553, 4 credits), Nutrition Seminar (16:709:602, 2 credits), Statistics (3 credits), Biochemistry (6 credits), Physiology (3-6 credits), Principles of Nutrition Research (16:709:515, 3 credits), Topics in Nutrition (16:709:620, 1 credit), Nutritional Aspects of Disease (16:709:506, 3 credits), and additional relevant courses (up to a total of 33 credits) in consultation with their advisor and the Curriculum Committee.

For Applied & Community Nutrition, students are required to complete Nutrition: A Biochemical and Physiological Basis (16:709:552, 4 credits; 16:708:553, 4 credits), Nutrition Seminar (16:709:602, 2 credits), Community Nutrition (16:709:521, 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 (16:709:503, 3 credits), Survey Design (3 credits), or Nutrition Epidemiology (16:709:530, 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.