Enhancing health and wellness through the science of food lies at the heart of a career as a nutritionist. Graduates of accredited bachelor's and certificate programs in nutrition enjoy a wide range of career opportunities, from becoming a licensed nutritionist or dietitian working one-on-one with patients, to working with larger communities as a public health professional, health educator, or food service manager for a major institution. Those students who go on to earn master’s degrees in nutrition will gain access to higher-paying positions.
The following is a rankings list of 25 accredited schools and master’s programs in nutrition. Aspiring nutritionists and dietitians should also look into their state licensure requirements when selecting their online master’s degree programs.
2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Master's in Nutrition Degrees
The 25 schools below offer top online master’s degrees in nutrition based on return on investment (ROI). Sixteen of these schools have ROIs that exceed the national average of $440,700. We calculated ROI amounts by estimating accumulated earnings 10 years after graduation and factoring in student loans. Our ROI rankings consider both income and debt so students can assess how profitable a degree may be in the future. From this list, Central Michigan University takes the top spot with an ROI of $583,200 and has an annual tuition of $10,192.
ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.
Best Master's Degrees in Nutrition Rankings Details
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant (MI)
Median Salary: $59,124
Annual Tuition: $10,192
Median Debt: $20,500
Central Michigan University (CMU) offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics degree with thesis, internship, and coursework options. This program requires 31-37 credits, with classes offered in six condensed eight-week terms per year. Students in all tracks learn about macronutrients, micronutrients, advanced nutritional assessment, research methods and biostatistics,... nutritional epidemiology, and more. Students completing internship and coursework options must complete a capstone course.
CMU students access online courses using the Blackboard system. Students who have completed a nutrition internship in the past seven years may be able to receive credit for the experience. Students have access to the school's financial aid offerings and the Scholarship Universe aggregator. CMU participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program to support military-affiliated students and offers tuition savings for military-affiliated students and their families. CMU also offers active-duty military service members and veterans the option to count military training and work experience as class credit.
Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications and supporting materials online, including three letters of recommendation and an essay about professional goals. Services available to online students include free Microsoft 365 software, free online cloud storage, math and writing assistance, and the online student ally system for peer support.
Cost per Credit: $637
Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,715
Arizona State University
Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
Median Salary: $56,641
Annual Tuition: $10,845
Median Debt: $22,783
Arizona State University (ASU) offers two options for graduate students in nutrition: Master of Science in Nutritional Science (Dietetics) and a Master of Science in Medical Nutrition. Both online programs require 30 credit hours for completion and are focused on practical application for those already working in the medical field. Students can expect to take classes such as Statistics... in Research, Pediatric Nutrition, Food and Nutrition Across the Lifespan, and Nutrigenomics.
Students complete their coursework through Canvas, a centralized learning management system that allows them to access syllabi, course work, grades, and participate in discussion forums with fellow classmates. For those studying nutrition, multiple scholarships are available. Those pursuing the nutritional science degree can also transfer up to 12 credit hours from another accredited program with the approval of the program director. ASU’s ongoing partnerships with the medical community provide students access to networking opportunities with Mayo Clinic, Banner Health, HonorHealth, Dignity Health, and more.
Prospective students can apply online. The nutritional science M.S. offers multiple start dates each year. Online students can take advantage of online tutoring, professional development services, online library access, free online storage, disability resources, and 24/7 technical support.
Graduate Online Enrollment: 9,021
Median Salary: $56,776
Annual Tuition: $10,650
Median Debt: $43,180
Immaculata University (IU) offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition Education and Counseling degree that can be completed on either a full- or part-time basis. This 30-credit program instructs students in human development, interpersonal relations, nutrition in the life cycle, health counseling, principles of nutrition education, and more. The program culminates in a capstone... course prior to graduation. Immaculata University is a Catholic institution that welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.
Students at IU access courses through the Moodle learning management system. IU’s financial aid office can assist with applications for grants, loans, and scholarships. Military-affiliated students at IU have access to support specifically at the graduate level, as well as military-specific tuition assistance. The Career and Professional Development office provides students with resources and information for gaining employment after graduation, along with contacts in the alumni network.
Interested applicants can submit their application and required documentation through the school's website. Online students at IU have access to a faculty advisor, academic planning, writing and math assistance, online library resources, and more.
Cost per Credit: $710
Graduate Online Enrollment: 129
Bowling Green State University-Main Campus
Bowling Green (OH)
Median Salary: $52,107
Annual Tuition: $8,900
Median Debt: $25,124
Bowling Green State University (BGSU) offers an online Master’s of Food and Nutrition degree. This degree program requires 39-40 credits and can be completed in two years on a full-time basis, or up to six years on a part-time basis. Courses cover clinical nutrition, micronutrients, macronutrients, weight management, public health, psychology, microbiology, and more. Aspects of... the program can be tailored to the student's career goals. The degree culminates in a thesis, project, or comprehensive exam.
Students at BGSU access their online coursework through the Canvas learning management system. Online students have access to the school's financial aid office for help with grants, loans, and scholarships. Military specialists at BGSU are available to work with military-affiliated students. Students also have access to the school's Career Services office for help with future career planning.
Interested applicants can apply and submit any related materials online — these include college transcripts and GRE scores. Services available to distance learners include academic advising and peer tutoring.
Graduate Online Enrollment: 827
The Sage Colleges
Median Salary: $52,107
Annual Tuition: $14,100
Median Debt: $30,571
The Sage Colleges offer an online Master of Science in Applied Nutrition degree and a combined Master of Science in Applied Nutrition/Dietetic Internship program. The M.S. emphasizes how to evaluate nutrition research, assess program effectiveness, and implement critical thinking and analytical skills. Students can choose to study on a full-time or part-time basis. The program is... 30 credits long for students with a bachelor's degree in nutrition and 33 credits for all others. The core curriculum includes classes in nutrition programs and interventions, weight management, and research methods. Students also complete a self-directed thesis project. The combined internship program consists of 45 credits: 24 in core internship courses and 21 credits to complete the degree. Registered dietitians can transfer up to 9 credits into this program.
The program is fully online for students with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, but students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree in a different field must complete some undergraduate nutrition courses in person. The career planning office offers consultations along with online resources like Handshake, where students can search for job postings and alumni connections.
To apply, students submit an online application, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a short essay about their career goals. Resources for online students include online tutoring and library access.
Cost per Credit: $705
Graduate Online Enrollment: 304
Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus
Indiana (PA) (and 2 others)
Median Salary: $51,750
Annual Tuition: $16,011
Median Debt: $33,872
Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) offers an online Master of Science in Food and Nutrition degree, with options including a general degree or a concentration in administration or education. All program tracks can be completed in a total of 16 months, and all give students the option to write a thesis. The core curriculum covers research methods, macronutrients, micronutrients,... and the importance of vitamins, proteins, and water.
IUP delivers online courses through the D2L or Moodle learning management systems. Online students can access the financial aid office for help with loans, grants, and scholarships. Military-affiliated students have access to the Military and Veterans Resource Center. The IUP Career and Professional Development Center gives assistance with resume preparation, job searching, and alumni connections.
Interested applicants can submit their applications online along with undergraduate transcripts, a statement of academic goals, and two letters of recommendation. Students in this program have access to academic advising services, IT support, an online writing center, disability services, and more.
Cost per Credit: $593
Graduate Online Enrollment: 334
Texas Woman's University
Median Salary: $50,515
Annual Tuition: $20,691
Median Debt: $25,570
Texas Woman's University (TWU) offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition program that requires 30 credits and can be completed in less than a year. Students are provided with instruction in areas including human nutrition in disease, metabolism, eating behaviors and disorders, functional foods, advanced nutritional care, medical nutrition therapy in pediatrics, food safety,... nutrition and exercise, and more. Students have the option to complete a thesis or internship.
Students at TWU access courses through the Canvas learning management system. Students are automatically considered for loans and grants through TWU's financial aid office when they apply for a FAFSA, but they should still search for relevant scholarships. TWU has been named a military-friendly school for the past 10 years. Online students also have access to TWU's Career Connections Center, which offers virtual career counseling.
Graduate students are encouraged to apply and submit any necessary documents online. Services for online students at TWU include career counseling, library resources, disability services, and more.
Cost per Credit: $690
Accreditation: SACS COC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,406
Utah State University
Median Salary: $48,432
Annual Tuition: $10,496
Median Debt: $16,776
Utah State University (USU) offers an online Master of Dietetics Administration degree that instructs students in nutrition program administration, advanced management in dietetics, current issues in dietetics, leadership, nutrition science, and more. Students typically take this 18-credit program typically on a part-time basis over three semesters. For consideration, applicants... must either be registered dieticians or have completed a USU Distance Dietetics Internship in the previous six years.
USU students use the Canvas learning management system to access course materials. USU accepts transfer credits, and online students have access to the financial aid office for assistance with loans, grants, and scholarships. Military-affiliated students have access to the Veterans Resource Office. The school's Career Services office provides virtual services and career coaching appointments.
Applicants can complete their applications and submit related materials online. Online students have access to student success webinars, academic support, career services, student clubs/organizations, disability services, online library resources, IT support, online tutoring, an online writing center, and more. Online students who are based in Utah can also access study spaces, testing services, and other resources at the USU campus closest to them.
Cost per Credit: $500
Graduate Online Enrollment: 994
Median Salary: $48,600
Annual Tuition: $20,340
Median Debt: $21,711
SUNY Oneonta offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics degree. This full-time, three-semester program instructs students in applied health statistics, nutrition-focused physical assessment, advanced nutrition therapy, current issues in dietetics, nutrition in the community, and more. Throughout the course of the program, students complete 1,220 hours of supervised... experiential learning. Upon successful completion of the program, students are prepared to sit for the Registration Exam for Dietitians.
Students access online courses through the Blackboard learning management system. Courses may have both synchronous and asynchronous components. SUNY Oneonta provides merit- and need-based scholarships to eligible graduate students. Some transfer credits may be accepted for prior experience. Military-affiliated students have access to the school's Veterans Benefits Certifying Official (VCO) to assist with tuition assistance, academic counseling, and more. Graduates become part of the wide-reaching SUNY alumni network.
Interested applicants must apply by mail; the admissions office will accept an initial PDF of the application packet but only if it’s followed by a hard copy. Services available to online students at SUNY Oneonta include academic advising, career planning, and more.
Cost per Credit: $565
Graduate Online Enrollment: 348
Median Salary: $52,107
Annual Tuition: $32,616
Median Debt: $51,250
American University offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition Education degree that pairs nutrition science with behavior change theories, equipping students with the skills and knowledge needed to be effective teachers. The can be completed in 20 months and requires 24 credits of core courses, with six credits of electives. Coursework covers nutrition epidemiology and research... methods, lifecycle nutrition, behavior change in health promotion, and sports nutrition. The program seeks to prepare students for certification as nutritionists after graduation.
Courses are conducted asynchronously using Blackboard. Coursework includes assignments from instructors and discussion boards for participation. Students have the option to transfer up to six hours of graduate work that applies directly to the degree. American provides a merit-based scholarship especially for students in this program, and also claims that 93% of its graduates are employed within six months of graduation.
To apply, prospective students submit an online application. Resources for online students include library services, tutoring services, technical support, and a writing lab.
Cost per Credit: $1,812
Graduate Online Enrollment: 476
University of Bridgeport
Median Salary: $50,231
Annual Tuition: $15,525
Median Debt: $36,317
The University of Bridgeport offers students an online Master of Science in Nutrition degree. This full-time degree program requires six terms of study, with two courses taken each term. Most students complete the program in 28 months. Students must take a unique capstone course, entitled The Virtual Clinic, which provides 255 hours of supervised experience credit that can be used... toward a Certified Nutrition Specialist credential from the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists. Students take a comprehensive exam three to four months after completing all coursework.
Students at Bridgeport access their courses through the Canvas learning management system. Courses may include synchronous and asynchronous aspects. Online students have access to Bridgeport's Student Financial Services office. The university participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and was awarded the Military Order of the Purple Heart in recognition of its support of military students and their families. Online students also have access to career development services to help them plan a career path and prepare for job interviews.
Applicants can submit their applications and any related documentation online. Services for online students at Bridgeport include academic advising, IT support, e-tutoring, and more.
Cost per Credit: $675
Graduate Online Enrollment: 452
University of North Florida
Median Salary: $48,667
Annual Tuition: $14,391
Median Debt: $27,625
The Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics online program at the University of North Florida (UNF) offers a choice of four concentrations: dietetics professional studies, global health, health care informatics, and nutritional sciences. The program seeks to create professionals who can apply advanced nutrition practices in clinical or community-based settings. At least 35... credits are required for program completion, including core courses, major courses, and individual requirements for each concentration. The concentrations require a field experience or independent research project, along with a capstone or thesis course.
Coursework is completed online through Canvas. Classes are primarily asynchronous, but assignments have set due dates and some courses may require synchronous virtual learning. If a class requires a virtual meeting, the course schedule will make this clear. UNF accepts state tuition waivers to cover the cost of tuition and fees for state employees, veterans, senior citizens, and more categories.
To apply, students submit an online application, undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, and a letter of intent. A variety of resources are available for online students, such as academic advising, technical support, and tutoring.
Cost per Credit: $800
Accreditation: SACS COC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 541
Ball State University
Median Salary: $46,833
Annual Tuition: $12,234
Median Debt: $20,500
Ball State University’s online Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics is a 36-credit program with both thesis and non-thesis options. Students in the program learn about epidemiology, statistical methods, vitamins and minerals, macronutrients, nutrition for exercise and sport, food policy, renal nutrition, pediatric and geriatric nutrition, and more. Students can choose full-... and part-time tracks and may take just one class at a time if they prefer. Students opting to write a thesis will take two more research classes and two fewer electives than non-thesis students.
Students at Ball State access their online courses using the Canvas learning management system. Courses are asynchronous. Up to nine graduate transfer credits may be accepted toward program requirements. Online students have access to the school's financial aid office, and Indiana residents demonstrating financial need may qualify for Adult Student Grants. Military-affiliated students have access to the school's Veterans Affairs staff.
Interested applicants can submit their applications and undergraduate transcripts online. Prospective students must have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 for their bachelor’s degree. Services available to online students at Ball State include online student orientation, peer mentoring, career planning services, academic support services, IT support, and more.
Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,252
Median Salary: $48,823
Annual Tuition: $1,500
Median Debt: $41,835
Benedectine University offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness (thesis or non-thesis track) and Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics (internship and professional practice experience). Students can complete the nutrition and wellness degree in two and a half years (taking one class at a time), and nutrition and dietetics students can finish in two years... if they take two courses at a time instead of one. Nutrition and wellness students learn about health risk assessment, motivation, nutrition in sports and fitness, and more. The nutrition and dietetics program is intended for dietetic interns, and coursework covers health and wellness research planning, entrepreneurship, professional practice in dietetics, and more. Although Benedectine University is a Catholic institution, students of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome.
Students at Benedectine use the D2L learning management system. Online students have access to the office of financial aid. Benedectine University participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and may accept military training and experience as course credit. Students have access to career development services.
Applicants can submit their applications and required information online. Distance learners have access to academic advising, IT support, student success mentors, and more.
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,333
University of Kansas
Median Salary: $46,589
Annual Tuition: $10,440
Median Debt: $25,000
The University of Kansas (UK) offers an online Master of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition degree with both a thesis and non-thesis option. The program is offered by Great Plains IDEA, a consortium of eight universities that offer joint online programs. This 36-credit program can be completed in two years, but the pacing is flexible. The curriculum includes courses in principles... of statistics, methods of research, macronutrients, micronutrients, food writing for professionals, healthcare administration, nutrition and aging, and more.
Students who choose the non-thesis option can complete the degree completely online, but students thesis-track students need to travel to the UK campus to defend their thesis.
Students at UK access their online courses through the Blackboard learning management system. Students may transfer up to six graduate-level credits into the program. Students can work with the financial aid office at U of K for help financing their education. Qualifying military training may also count for course credit.
Prospective students can submit their applications online, along with undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, and a background check release form. Online students at UK have access to the Center for Online and Distance Learning, IT services, online writing help, library services, tutoring, and more.
Cost per Credit: $580
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,461
Texas Tech University
Median Salary: $48,901
Annual Tuition: $13,518
Median Debt: $23,312
The online Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics at Texas Tech University offers concentrations in nutrition and healthy weight, nutrition and sports, and nutrition in the life cycle. The 33-credit hour online program combines major-specific coursework with electives and has no thesis requirement. The program is structured specifically for registered dietitians or nutritionists... who are looking for a flexible way to advance their education. Courses cover biostatistics in nutrition, pediatric nutrition, diabetes and nutrition management, motivating health behavior, and more.
Students complete their coursework through Blackboard, a centralized learning management system that allows them to access syllabi, coursework, and grades and participate in discussions with classmates. Students can pursue scholarships provided by the Department of Nutrition Sciences especially for students in this program.
Applications for this program are accepted online. Applications are due in late April for the summer semester, in mid-July for the fall semester, and in mid-November for the spring semester. Among others, resources for online students include access to the digital library, career and writing center, online tutoring, and 24/7 technical support.
Accreditation: SACS COC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,533
Appalachian State University
Median Salary: $46,869
Annual Tuition: $17,910
Median Debt: $37,009
Appalachian State University (ASU) offers students an online Master of Science in Nutrition degree with an optional public health nutrition concentration. This 39-credit program is offered on both a full- and part-time basis. Full-time students can expect to complete the program in two years. Students take courses in the role of nutrition in overall health, how nutrition and public... health intersect, and diet and obesity, plus a capstone course. Students not taking the public health nutrition concentration can choose to write a thesis.
ASU delivers online courses through the AsULearn system powered by Moodle. Classes have both synchronous and asynchronous components. Online students can access ASU’s financial aid options, which include scholarships and grants. Active-duty military members, veterans, and dependents may qualify for in-state tuition rates. Online students can use TrailNet (graduate student professional, personal, and academic development resources) and maintain access to ASU's large alumni network after graduation.
Applicants can submit their applications and any required documentation online. Enrollees can access community wellness resources, online library services, writing center tutoring, career development, and support from the App State Online Office.
Cost per Credit: $896
Accreditation: SACS COC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 563
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill (NC)
Median Salary: $51,273
Annual Tuition: $35,387
Median Debt: $87,691
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) offers an online Master of Public Health in Nutrition and Master of Public Health/Registered Dietician degrees. These programs can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Students must complete 42 credits to graduate, including 15 credits of M.P.H. core classes covering data analysis and public health solutions. The nutrition... program requires another 15 credits dedicated to the concentration and nine credits for electives. The combined degree program requires another 24 credits in nutrition coursework. Students in both programs have a three-credit practicum and a clinical work experience requirement, which takes place in person in a student’s local community. The M.P.H./RD program aims to prepare students for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam.
Courses mix synchronous and asynchronous elements, such as live virtual classes and self-paced online coursework. UNC students gain access to LinkedIn Premium Career to receive personalized career support.
To apply, students submit an online application, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts. M.P.H./RD applicants must provide proof of eight specific prerequisite courses. Resources for online students include academic support, technical support, and more.
Accreditation: SACS COC
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,242
University of Western States
Median Salary: $45,696
Annual Tuition: $15,720
Median Debt: $45,558
The University of Western States (UWS) offers an online Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine degree, which includes coursework in the principles of functional medicine, evidence-based nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, gastrointestinal imbalances, and sports nutrition. UWS offers flexible pacing, and the program can be completed in six to nine quarters.... Students are required to complete a capstone course in their final semester of study.
Students at UWS access their online courses through the webCampus learning management system. This program offers live lectures, but students can also watch recordings later. Students engage with reading material, talk with peers on discussion boards, and can schedule one-on-one video chats with instructors if necessary. UWS accepts transfer credits earned in the previous seven years. Online students have access to the office of financial aid. UWS participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, supporting military-affiliated students. Students have access to UWS alumni support services after graduation.
The program offers two start dates each year. Applicants can submit their applications and any required materials online. Students taking classes online at UWS have access to online writing tutoring services, academic coaching, disability services, and more.
Cost per Credit: $524
Graduate Online Enrollment: 487
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Median Salary: $41,342
Annual Tuition: $10,620
Median Debt: $14,596
The University of Nebraska - Lincoln offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition and Health Sciences - Dietetics degree. This 36-credit program instructs students in areas including life-stage nutrition, clinical nutrition, principles of human nutrition, nutrition and wellness, micronutrients, nutritional aspects of oncology, and physical activity assessment. Students are required... to complete a formal oral examination at the culmination of their studies.
Students at the University of Nebraska access their online courses through the Canvas learning management system. This program is asynchronous. The University of Nebraska participates in the Great Plains IDEA program, in which several universities come together to offer online courses to military students so they can learn from professors across multiple institutions even as they transfer or deploy. This M.S. is part of Great Plains IDEA. Students also have access to the financial aid office, which can provide Tuition Assistance Program Grants to graduate students in financial need.
Applicants can submit their applications and any related materials online. Students who take classes online have access to library resources, career services, mental health resources, and more.
Cost per Credit: $590
Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,364
Median Salary: $44,971
Annual Tuition: $8,100
Median Debt: $51,000
Logan University offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition and Human Performance degree, with concentration options including sports and fitness nutrition, integrative nutrition and practice, health education and promotion, registered dietitian, and nutritional wellness. Students are instructed in areas including lifestyle guidance, food allergies, evidence-based nutrition,... athletic performance optimization, and more. The program is offered on both a full- and part-time basis. Logan offers three 15-week semesters per year. Some students are able to finish their degree in four semesters, but the program allows students to take up to five years to complete their degree. Students have the option of completing an internship, thesis, or professional course to fulfill graduation requirements.
Students at Logan access courses using the Canvas learning management system. Online students have access to Logan's Office of Financial Aid to learn more about scholarships and tuition payment options. Logan University participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program for military-affiliated students.
Applicants can submit their applications and any required materials online. Online students at Logan have access to online library resources, IT support, free counseling services, online peer tutoring, and more.
Cost per Credit: $450
Graduate Online Enrollment: 557
Median Salary: $40,647
Annual Tuition: $17,365
Median Debt: $34,995
Northeastern University offers an online Master of Science in Applied Nutrition with four possible concentrations: business and entrepreneurship in nutrition, nutrition and fitness, nutrition education, and obesity and nutritional health. This part-time program takes students 12-18 months to complete. Coursework covers the adoption of healthy behaviors, using nutrition to prevent... disease, understanding factors that influence nutritional choices, nutritional research methods, and more.
Students access courses through the Canvas learning management network. Students who graduated from a Northeastern bachelor’s degree program are automatically considered for the Double Husky Scholarship, which grants a 25% tuition discount. Northeastern participates in several programs to support military-affiliated students and their families, including the Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the Yellow Ribbon Program. Upon graduation, students gain access to a wide alumni network.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but it's important for applicants to check the school's website regularly to learn about priority consideration deadlines. Applicants can submit their applications and any required materials online. Students taking classes online at Northeastern have access to library services, remote career coaching, and more.
Cost per Credit: $755
Graduate Online Enrollment: 152
Eastern Michigan University
Median Salary: $40,040
Annual Tuition: $13,590
Median Debt: $41,000
Eastern Michigan University (EMU) offers several online master’s degree options for students interested in nutrition: a Master of Science in Dietetics with choice of three culminating experiences or a Master of Science in Human Nutrition with the same choice of capstone options. Both programs feature courses on nutrition therapy, food and culture, and vitamins and minerals, but... the dietetics degree is designed for students who intend to take the Registration Examination for Dieticians. This program requires 72-75 credits depending on a student’s choice to write a thesis, take a three-class non-thesis research sequence, or complete a course in biomedical research writing. The human nutrition degree is 30-36 credits long and features the same choice of thesis, non-thesis research, or research writing.
EMU delivers online courses through Canvas, where students can review assignments and lectures and interact with classmates in forums. Program enrollees can pursue scholarships specifically for graduate students, including the University Scholarship that awards academic merit.
Prospective students fill out an online application and can send their college transcripts by email or mail. Human nutrition applicants also submit a personal statement and two letters of recommendation. Admitted students can access the Disability Resource Center for any necessary accommodations, an academic advisor, and virtual library resources.
Graduate Online Enrollment: 624
New York Chiropractic College
Seneca Falls (NY)
Median Salary: $33,281
Annual Tuition: $19,818
Median Debt: $26,562
New York Chiropractic College offers an online Master of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition degree. Students take core classes on science-based approaches to nutrition, whole foods, and nutrition counseling, and they choose from electives in sports nutrition, behavior change, or other specialized areas. This program has two tracks that take either 16 or 24 months to complete... depending on the student’s course load per semester. All 36 credits can be completed online, but students must have completed at least nine credits of biological science study during their undergraduate degree.
Students take courses using the Brightspace learning management system. This application allows them to view course materials, watch lectures, and submit assignments on their own schedules, but they must meet assignment deadlines. NYCC’s Center for Career Development and Professional Success can help enrollees prepare for licensure exams to improve their career prospects.
Interested applicants can apply at any time for any semester, but the school recommends submitting application materials about six to nine months before the desired start date. Applicants must submit a personal statement and transcripts, and then the school will schedule an admissions interview.
Cost per Credit: $734
Graduate Online Enrollment: 177
Maryland University of Integrative Health
Median Salary: $35,060
Annual Tuition: $15,876
Median Debt: $54,666
The Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) offers an online Master of Arts in Integrative Health Studies and a Master of Science in Nutrition of Integrative Health with an optional concentration in community nutritional education, herbal medicine, or human clinical nutrition. The M.A. takes five trimesters to complete at six credits per term, and the M.S. requires 50-58... credits and takes 6-11 trimesters (up to three years) to complete. Both programs include courses on integrative care models and a variety of electives, and students complete a capstone course where they focus on incorporating integrative health practices into their professional practice.
MUIH delivers courses using the Canvas system, where students can review the syllabus, learning materials, and assignments. They work at their own pace but submit weekly assignments on a schedule and engage with instructors and other students asynchronously using discussion forums. MUIH provides scholarships based on need and diversity of background — applicants write an essay about their educational goals and financial needs.
Students can apply at any time. The M.A. program starts in the fall, but students can start the M.S. program in the fall, winter, or spring. Online students can access support services that include technical help, academic advising, success support, tutoring, and library resources.
Graduate Online Enrollment: 732
Meet Professional Nutritionist Kathleen Putnam
Kathleen Putnam has been a professional nutritionist for 20 years, and she has extensive experience in many facets of the nutrition field. She earned a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics from Oregon State University, and a Master of Science in nutrition from Bastyr University. For the past 10 years, she has been in private practice at NutritionWorks Seattle, where she counsels individuals and groups. When she is not meeting with her clients, she teaches nutrition courses at Shoreline Community College.
To learn more about the best online master's in nutrition programs, check out our 2020 rankings. Otherwise, continue reading for advice from nutritionist Kathleen Putnam!
Why did you decide to become a nutritionist?
I was first attracted to this field because I have always been interested in my own personal nutrition. I was also drawn to the teaching aspect of nutrition, as well as the constant learning. This is a dynamic subject and the data is constantly changing and I knew I would enjoy learning and growing along with the field.
Are there common misconceptions about your profession?
Yes, people commonly think that nutritionists will be judgmental and condescending, and that we will dictate what they can and cannot eat. But we don’t force changes on people; we are here to help people understand why changing their habits is so difficult. Nutritionists are knowledgeable about human behavior and development, and we don’t want to set people up for failure. An eating plan is only successful if it works for the individual person. We help people to make healthy choices in our modern culture, while considering people’s budgets, lifestyle and personal preferences. Nutritionists are the facilitators.
What is a typical day like for you?
Most days, I meet with four or five clients at my practice, Seattle NutritionWorks. Some days I also conduct a one-hour group session. When I am not meeting with clients, I update charts, communicate with therapists and physicians about clients, blog and answer questions on my website. I make time each week to communicate and network with other professionals in the nutrition field. I also teach nutrition courses at local colleges. I currently teach two five-credit classes, although most quarters I only teach one class at a time.
What advice, or words of caution, would you give to a student who is considering studying to become a nutritionist?
If you are considering studying to become a nutritionist, you should first be aware of the time and education commitment. Often, students don’t realize that a bachelor’s degree in nutrition is not enough. Most nutritionist jobs will require you to be a registered dietitian. In order to become a registered dietitian, you will need to complete a yearlong internship after college, and then you will need to pass the national licensing exam. In all, it is a minimum commitment of five years, and you should understand the requirements ahead of time.
In addition to recognizing the level of commitment, I would also recommend that you research the profession and educate yourself about the salary range, as well as the salary range of related fields.
Above all else, don’t be discouraged by things that you hear or read; if it is your passion, you can have success. You will have plenty of opportunities, especially internationally, and your opportunities will probably increase as time goes on. If you love what you do and you have passion for nutrition, you can make money in the field. You might have to supplement your income through teaching or writing, and you might have to be creative to get your foot in the door and gain experience. But if you want to work as a nutritionist, you will find success. There is room for you!
What Do You Need to Get an Online Master's in Nutrition?
Students who enjoy science, working with people, and applying the principles of food and nutrition to health may be interested in pursuing an online master’s degree in nutrition. Many students who’ve earned undergraduate degrees in nutrition or dietetics continue on to earning a master's degree in order to gain advanced knowledge, develop research skills, and enhance their abilities to pursue higher-level, better-paying positions in the field. However, online master’s degree programs are also open to students who’ve earned degrees in other fields, such as nurses and healthcare professionals, who are seeking a more in-depth understanding of nutrition for their current clinical roles or who simply want to gain the scientific knowledge and internship hours to earn a nutrition license.
To enroll in an online master’s degree in nutrition program, students must have a bachelor's degree. Some graduate programs also require that applicants complete prerequisite courses or have relevant work experience. While a master's degree is not required to work as a nutritionist, a graduate degree can help qualify a dietitian for higher-level positions and a higher salary. Through additional coursework and exam preparation, some master's degree programs in nutrition science also prepare students to earn specialized credentials, which are highly desired by employers. The majority of master’s degree programs take two years to complete, assuming students take two to three classes per quarter or semester.
Nutrition majors study every aspect of the food system at the graduate level. Online master's degrees in nutrition include coursework heavily focused on the biological sciences, including metabolic processes, micro and macronutrients, exercise, public health, epidemiology, and food safety. In addition to advanced nutrition courses, online master's programs may focus on nutrition subcategories such as pediatric nutrition, sports nutrition, eating disorders, and nutrition and aging. Other courses teach students about the production of food, how food is marketed to people, and how people get their information about nutrition and make food choices.
There may also be opportunities to explore the social dimension of nutrition and how foods affect people's bodies and minds through courses like psychology of nutrition, nutrition for disease prevention, nutrition for weight control, and childhood or developmental nutrition. Many master's degree programs also incorporate clinical practice, research opportunities, and seminars.
How Important is Accreditation for Online Master's in Nutrition Programs?
Accreditation is a term used to describe the process by which schools and individual degree programs are evaluated for their quality and their ability to provide students with a valuable education. Independent regional and national agencies evaluate institutions of higher education based on a variety of factors and determine whether or not to grant them accreditation. Legitimate accrediting agencies should always be recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). While attending an accredited school or program isn't mandatory, it will help ensure that you receive a high-quality education and that you meet eligibility requirements for federal financial aid. Also, if you wish to transfer your earned credits to another school at some point in the future, it will be important that your credits are from an accredited school or program.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Master's in Nutrition Degrees
How do I choose an online master's in nutrition?
When choosing an online program for a master’s degree in nutrition, students should consider factors such as their long-term career goals, desired area of concentration, the program’s faculty credentials, and program graduation rate. Some programs may require short-term campus visits, which may provide valuable opportunities for collaborative clinical practice but could be difficult for distance learning students or those working full-time while in school. Check to see if the program offers opportunities for field experience, clinical work, or other unique aspects, such as the ability to earn credits through an internship or independent project.
What are the prerequisites for an online master's in nutrition?
Applicants to an online master's in nutrition program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. While most schools do not require that a student have a bachelor's degree in nutrition specifically, many schools have expectations of previous coursework in biology, chemistry, physiology, and other natural sciences. If students do not have experience with these subjects, they may be required to complete prerequisite courses prior to admittance. Applicants will need to submit their undergraduate transcripts as part of the application process. Some graduate programs also require that applicants have relevant work experience. While a master's degree is not required to work as a nutritionist, a graduate degree can help qualify you for higher-level positions and a higher salary.
What classes will I take in an online master's in nutrition program?
Nutritionists study every aspect of the food system at the graduate level. In addition to advanced nutrition courses, master's programs may focus on nutrition subcategories such as pediatric nutrition, sports nutrition, eating disorders, and nutrition and aging. Other courses teach students about the production of food, how food is marketed to people, and how people get their information about nutrition and make food choices. Students also study how nutrition affects people's bodies and minds through courses like psychology of nutrition, nutrition for disease prevention, nutrition for weight control, and childhood or developmental nutrition. Many master's degree programs also heavily incorporate clinical practice, research opportunities, and seminars.
Where do nutritionists work?
Individuals with an online master's degree in nutrition may find work in a variety of settings. While a bachelor's degree in nutrition is generally the minimum requirement to become a registered dietitian, a master's degree in the field is required for the certified nutrition specialist (CNS) designation. Additionally, a master's can open up career options in public health, public policy, medicine, and education, among other industries. Online master's degrees in nutrition can also provide students who already hold a bachelor's degree in nutrition with a more advanced understanding of the discipline.
Those who earn an online master's in nutrition and want to pursue work as a nutritionist have multiple career options. They may work as clinical dietitians in hospitals or clinics, providing individualized care to patients. They can also work as community dietitians at non-profit organizations, government agencies, or medical clinics, developing large-scale programs to educate community members about nutritional needs.
How much can you make with a nutrition degree?
As of May 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was reporting a median annual wage of $61,270 for dietitians and nutritionists. The top 10 percent of wage earners in the field of nutrition earned more than $87,360.
Future employment opportunities for dietitians and nutritionists look promising. The need for professionals in this field is projected to grow by 11 percent through the year 2028 due to increasing interest in the role of food and nutrition in preventing disease and promoting health and wellness. Dietitians and nutritionists who have earned advanced master’s or doctoral degrees in nutrition or certification in a specialty area of nutrition may enjoy even higher salaries and better job prospects.
Are there professional organizations for nutritionists?
Once graduates enter the field of nutrition, they may want to continue their education and enhance their career paths by joining a professional organization. Among the many options available are:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals was initially founded in 1917 to help the U.S. government conserve food and improve the public's health and nutrition during World War I. Today, the Academy offers practical resources to more than 100,000 credentialed practitioners who hold undergraduate and advanced degrees in nutrition and dietetics. The organization is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research and education.
American Nutrition Association: The ANA is dedicated to championing the science and practice of personalized nutrition, especially for children. Among their six guiding values is the idea that nutrition is an ecosystem of food growers and providers, scientists, academics, healthcare professionals, policymakers, philanthropists, corporations, and more.
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition: ASPEN promotes patient health through good nutrition and provides its member-professionals with a wealth of resources, guidelines, and best practices on maintaining healthy lifestyles and avoiding common medical conditions. There are also continuing education resources available to help ensure ASPEN's members remain on the leading edge of nutritional science.
American Council on Science and Health: A pro-science consumer advocacy organization, the Council was founded in 1978 by a group of scientists intent on promoting evidence-based science and medicine while debunking junk science and minimizing false health scares. The organization’s mission is to “fight back” against activists who attack the credibility of academic and private sector scientists and undermine the integrity of the scientific enterprise.
National Association for Nutrition Professionals: NANP is a professional business league dedicated to furthering the cause, education, and standards of the holistic nutrition industry. Prospective students who are looking for programs in holistic nutrition, natural cooking, and dietary supplements may want to consult the NANP website for more information.
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