Graduate Programs

Graduate students can enroll in a graduate program within the NHS department or as part of the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program (INP)

Graduate studies in nutrition and health sciences prepares students to conduct and apply research to determine how diet and exercise impacts human health. Our graduates pursue careers in health care, industry, academia, and governmental agencies.

Preference for admission, assistantships, scholarships and fellowships is given to applicants who apply by February 15 for the fall semester (6 months before the fall semester starts). Graduate assistantships for research and teaching are available for the upcoming fall semester on a competitive basis.

The Department of Nutrition & Health Sciences offers Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Applicants interested in Biochemical & Molecular Nutrition at the M.S. or Ph.D. level should consider applying for the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program (INP), which requires a separate application. It generally takes about 2 years to complete an M.S. program and four years to complete at Ph.D. program.  

More information about our graduate programs can be found here. Most of our M.S. programs have several options which include Option I (research thesis, 30 credits), Option II (non-thesis and requires a minor, 36 credits), and Option III (non-thesis and does not require a minor, 36 credits). Applicants primarily interested in research training and careers that focus on research should apply for M.S. Option I or Ph.D. (90 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, including master’s degree coursework). Applicants primarily interested in the applied areas of nutrition and health sciences should apply for M.S. Option II or III or Ph.D. in Health Sciences.

Our most popular programs include:

Online:

  • M.S. Online in Dietetics is for individuals who are already Registered Dietitians (Option III, non-thesis). Dr. Virginia Chaidez serves as the graduate advisor for all students after admission. Prior to admission, any questions should be directed to diane.nelson@unl.edu.

On-Campus:

Our on-campus graduate programs require that you identify at least one graduate faculty member who is willing to serve as your graduate advisor, who is the faculty member who will assist you in developing your graduate program of study and supervise your thesis research (Option I) or dissertation research, and/or oversee any special projects (Option II and III). The decision to accept new graduate students ultimately rests with each individual graduate faculty member. Therefore, potential applicants must communicate with individual graduate faculty by providing them with compelling reasons why they should consider your application and serve as your graduate advisor by explaining your volunteer, professional, and research experience as well as your passion and interest in their areas of research.

To learn about each graduate faculty member’s areas of research, teaching and other interests, search for them under the various areas in the department of nutrition and health sciences and the interdepartmental nutrition program, read about them in the faculty directory, and search for them on PubMed or Google Scholar.

Pre-requisites for Admission

We do admit students without preferred pre-requisites. However, preference for admission includes completion of undergraduate courses documented on your transcripts in general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, human physiology, human anatomy, and advanced nutrition. Discuss any potential course deficiencies with your selected graduate advisor prior to admission. Admission pre-requisites and requirements include:

  • Applicants should have a bachelor's degree in biochemistry, biology, dietetics, exercise science, food science, health education, hospitality/restaurant management, nutrition science, or other major related to their desired area of study.
  • Applicants should have specific prerequisite courses on their transcripts related to their desired area of study. Deficiencies in specific courses, as judged by the Graduate Admissions Committee, will be indicated on an applicant's admission letter and will thus be the basis for "provisional" acceptance. "Provisional" status will be changed to "full graduate standing" after the specified course(s) have been completed and a grade of B or higher is achieved.
  • Applicants not having a relevant bachelor's degree are welcome to apply, but should take prerequisite courses related to their desired area of study BEFORE applying.
  • Grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Preferred minimum GRE scores: 145 Verbal; 150 Quantitative; 3.0 Analytical (writing).
  • Required minimum TOEFL score (International students only): 550 paper; 79 internet; or 6.5 IELTS. 

Application for Admission and Deadlines

Application information for the M.S. in Nutrition and Health Sciences or the Ph.D. in Human Sciences with a specialization in Nutrition and Health Sciences is here:   https://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/prospective/programs/Nutrition#apply

Application information for the M.S. or Ph.D. Interdepartmental Nutrition Program with an area of study in Biochemical & Molecular Nutrition is here: https://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/prospective/programs/Nutrition_Interdepartmental

Preference for admission, assistantships, scholarships and fellowships is given to applicants who apply by February 15 for the fall semester (6 months before the fall semester starts). Applications submitted less than 4 months before the start of each semester may experience delays in processing (after April 15 for fall, after September 1 for spring, and after February 15 for summer). If you are planning on submitting a late application, then notify the department of your intention to apply along with the degree and program are you are applying to and the graduate faculty members that you request to consider serving as your graduate advisor (send email to Diane Nelson, diane.nelson@unl.edu).

Application for Assistantships and Fellowships

Graduate assistantships for research and teaching, as well as fellowships and scholarships, are available for the upcoming fall semester. A separate application is required by March 1 and additional information can be found here: https://cehs.unl.edu/nhs/assistantships/  

If you have additional questions after reviewing our website, then please contact our Graduate Coordinator, Diane Nelson, at diane.nelson@unl.edu (email preferred) or (402) 472-3666. Questions about the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program (INP) may also be directed to the INP Graduate Program Chair, Dr. Regis Moreau at rmoreau2@unl.edu.

We hope you will apply and join our graduate program!

Soonkyu Chung, PhD, Chair, Graduate Program in Nutrition and Health Sciences
Regis Moreau, Ph.D., Chair, Interdepartmental Nutrition Graduate Program
Diane Nelson, Graduate Coordinator, diane.nelson@unl.edu
Mary Ann Johnson, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences

The Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences offers graduate degrees within Research Areas and Professional Specializations that are driven by the graduate faculty. At least one of the graduate faculty members listed under the Areas of Study MUST review and accept your application in order for you to be accepted into our graduate program. Therefore, it is expected that you identify at least one (but not more than three) graduate faculty members to work with. All graduate applicants are strongly encouraged to establish contact and communicate with graduate faculty members prior to or during their application process. Please visit the faculty websites for more information. Finding a good fit for the mentor/mentee relationship is important for each graduate student and graduate faculty member.

Master of Science (M.S.)

Major: Nutrition & Health Sciences

Option I (Thesis)

Students preparing for careers in research and scholarly work or in college or university teaching; 30 credit hours

Areas of Study:
Option II (Non-thesis)

Students not intending to pursue a graduate degree beyond the masters level and are interested in the M.S. as a terminal degree; 36 credit hours, including 9-12 hours for a minor

Specialization:
Option III (Non-thesis)

Students not intending to pursue a graduate degree beyond the masters level and are interested in the M.S. as a terminal degree; 36 credit hours, no minor required

Specialization:

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Major: Human Sciences
Specialization: Nutrition & Health Sciences
Unified Doctoral Program in the College of Education and Human Sciences

Areas of Study:

Graduate Committee Chairperson:
Soonkyu Chung portrait picture

Soonkyu Chung Associate Professor

Full Soonkyu Chung bio
Graduate Program Coordinator:
Diane Nelson photo

Diane Nelson Office Associate/Graduate Coordinator

The INP mission is to develop cutting-edge, multidisciplinary education and research programs that integrate animal biology and food to improve human and animal nutrition and health. The INP offers an extensive curriculum and a wide range of research opportunities. Integrating the expertise of three departments allows students greater flexibility in tailoring their research and coursework to their personal and professional interests.

Participating Departments:
Animal Science
Food Science & Technology
Nutrition & Health Sciences

Master of Science (M.S.)

Major: Interdepartmental Nutrition
Option I (Thesis) only

Areas of Study:
  • Animal Science
  • Biochemical & Molecular Nutrition
  • Community Nutrition & Health Promotion
  • Food Science
  • Nutraceuticals

    Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

    Major: Interdepartmental Nutrition

    Areas of Study:
    • Animal Science
    • Biochemical & Molecular Nutrition
    • Community Nutrition & Health Promotion
    • Food Science
    • Nutraceuticals
      Graduate Committee Chairperson:
      Regis Moreau portrait picture

      Regis Moreau Associate Professor

      Full Regis Moreau bio
      Graduate Program Coordinator:
      Diane Nelson photo

      Diane Nelson Office Associate/Graduate Coordinator