PhD in Nutritional Sciences


The doctoral program in Nutritional Sciences offers interdisciplinary training to prepare students to meet the needs for expanding the base of new knowledge in nutritional sciences and to apply this knowledge in public health and clinical health care settings. The PhD program is designed to assist students in gaining an advanced understanding of nutrition and metabolism, and of related biological, biochemical, molecular, and behavioral sciences, in acquiring skills in research methods, and in developing timely and original hypotheses in nutritional sciences. Students first undertake coursework covering the fundamental areas of study and the core knowledge areas. Students then develop their dissertation project, an original research endeavor focused on one primary and another secondary core knowledge area. A general and a final examination are required to complete the degree.

Applicants to the PhD program in Nutritional Sciences may also apply for the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD) to incorporate the coursework and supervised practice necessary to sit for the Registered Dietitian Exam while completing the PhD degree.

Likely Careers

The PhD program prepares students for careers in teaching and research in academia, industry, and government.


Evidence of experience related to the broad areas of nutrition, dietetics, public health, or research.

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.

Application Deadline:  Dec. 1 for Autumn Quarter entry


Upon satisfactory completion of a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, graduates will be able to:

  • Meet the competencies established by the School of Public Health for all MS and PhD students;
  • Apply knowledge of human nutrient requirements and their relationship to metabolic pathways and physiological function to the design of research, teaching, and policy proposals;
  • Select appropriate methods to perform an in depth assessment of the nutritional status of individuals and groups as part of a planning process that takes into consideration the planned outcomes, uses of the assessment and resource limitations;
  • Justify the importance of nutritional sciences in terms of how nutritional factors across the lifespan affect etiology, incidence, and prevalence of major diseases, quality of life, and productivity at work and school in the population;
  • Critically examine the process, rationale and issues related to establishing nutrient requirements and dietary guidance for the population;
  • Apply conceptual models of evidence-based approaches to promoting nutritional health;
  • 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; and
  • Develop and provide instruction in a higher education academic setting, demonstrating use of evidence-based pedagogical principals.