Nutritional Sciences (M.S.)

Nutritional Sciences (M.S.)
UNH Graduate Students Doing Research, Teaching, and Presenting

Why get your master’s degree in nutrition

Earning a master’s degree demonstrates advanced understanding of nutrition science and the role of nutrition in human health. Our curriculum is designed to position students for employment opportunities in a variety of sectors (e.g., community nutrition, public policy, sales, higher education, government or non-profit, media/communications). This program also meets the needs of individuals seeking to increase their academic training for highly-competitive programs (dietetic internships, medical school or other health professions).

Why choose UNH for your degree?

This master’s degree in nutrition places emphasis on active participation in original, hypothesis-driven research of publishable quality and is well-suited to students who anticipate a professional career involving research or discovery. The UNH nutrition program offers state-of-the-art assessment and teaching facilities including a simulation clinic and an applied research laboratory. The curriculum includes experiential learning opportunities to build research, nutrition care, food system and epidemiology skills to give students a strong foundation for work in a variety of clinical, community or research settings, or for further study in graduate or professional schools.

Potential career areas

  • Community nutrition
  • Government agencies
  • Healthcare
  • Higher education
  • Industry
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Public health
  • Research

Phone: (603) 862-1341
Office: Agriculture, Nutrition, & Food Systems, Keener Dairy Research Building, Durham, NH 03824

Request Information

We use text messages to communicate important event and application information (msg and data rates may apply).

  • UNH master's degree student Sophie Kenny
    Diving into Diet and Mental Health
    Sophie Kenny '19, '20G, '22G earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition: nutrition and wellness and a graduate certificate in the didactic program in dietetics from UNH and is now a master’s student in nutritional sciences at the university.
    Learn More
  • UNH Nutritional Sciences Master's Degree Candidate Caitlin Porter
    Work at the Intersection of Nutrition Research and Population Health
    Although born in Ottawa, Canada, Caitlin Porter '20G grew up in New Hampshire, which made her especially eager to return to the state and enroll in UNH’s Nutritional Sciences master’s program after receiving her bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Connecticut.
    Learn More

Curriculum & Requirements

The program is for students who anticipate a professional career involving research or discovery, with a strong background in the basic biology and chemistry of nutrition. This degree may be most appropriate for students who expect to pursue further advanced studies, e.g., additional graduate studies or professional school, after graduation. Graduates of the Master of Science (M.S.) in Nutritional Sciences will be valued in the marketplace as they will have a demonstrated capacity to engage in critical and systems thinking, convey and apply nutrition concepts in clinical, research and community settings, work as individuals and in teams, and identify strategies for lifelong learning. 

In this thesis-based program students gain a comprehensive understanding of nutritional science through their coursework and engagement in research. Emphasis is placed on active participation in original hypothesis-driven research of publishable quality. 

Degree Requirements

The program of study must include a minimum of 30 graduate credits including 6 credit Master's Thesis based on a research project. Courses will be taken to fulfill expected competency requirements in experimental design and analysis and in scientific writing and communication. In consultation with the student’s graduate committee and the area of research specialization, other courses will be taken as appropriate. 

Core Course Requirements

NUTR 899Master's Thesis6
NUTR 960
NUTR 961
Research Methods in Nutritional Science I
and Research Methods in Nutritional Science II 1
ANFS 901Introduction to Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems Graduate Studies 21
ANFS 997Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems Seminar 32
Electives 4
Select a minimum of 8 credits from the following:
NUTR 809Nutritional Epidemiology4
NUTR 810Advanced Diabetes Care2
NUTR 815Advanced Sports Nutrition4
NUTR 820Community Nutrition4
NUTR 830From Seed to Sea: Examining Sustainable Food Systems4
NUTR 850Nutritional Biochemistry4
NUTR 851Nutritional Biochemistry of Micronutrients4
NUTR 855Concepts and Controversies in Weight Management4
NUTR 860Behavioral Nutrition and Counseling4
NUTR 927Nutrition and Gut Microbes in Human Health4

These courses provide students foundational and practical application related to science communication and experimental design and analysis, most students will complete the courses during their first year of studies.


To be taken at the earliest opportunity, typically in the initial fall semester of the graduate program.


All students are required to register and participate in this course (1 credit CR/Fail) for a minimum of 2 credits.


In consultation with their guidance committee, students are required to complete a minimum of 8 additional NUTR graduate credits.

Competency Requirements

A  thesis committee will be appointed early in the program and will consist of at least three members of the graduate faculty; one of these will be the primary mentor. Students will design a program of study in close consultation with their thesis committee, including their academic courses and scientific research project. The student's committee may require certain undergraduate courses as part of the graduate program if additional competencies would be beneficial to the student. No more than 4 credits of NUTR 895 Investigations can apply toward the total credit count.

Additional Requirements

All students in the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Programs are expected to:

  • Present their research in ANFS 997 Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems Seminar at least twice (exclusive of the thesis defense). Students are also encouraged to present at professional conferences and acquire teaching and/or mentoring experience.
  • Serve as a teaching assistant for at least one semester or have at least one significant teaching experience in nutrition. 
  • Defend their research proposal, both in written and oral form.  Approval form must be on file with department.
  • Write and defend an original thesis of publishable quality.

Annual Evaluation

The annual evaluation of graduate students ensures that students receive the mentorship they deserve and are making progress toward completion of their degrees. The annual evaluation of graduate students consists of a collaborative effort between faculty adviser and student to:

  • Complete a self-assessment;
  • Present a professional quality CV suitable for awards, job applications, and internships;
  • Produce a narrative of service or other activities not captured on a CV (if applicable);
  • Develop annual goals.

Additional information can be found in the program graduate handbook, which includes expectations, guidelines, and detailed policies.

Nutrition knowledge-related 

  • Build knowledge and understanding in key content areas of nutritional sciences and public health nutrition issues

Research design and analysis  

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of study designs utilized in nutrition-related research
  • Conduct nutrition-related data analyses 
  • Interpret the results and scientific literature to inform dietary recommendations, public policy, or chronic disease intervention

Scientific method  

  • Demonstrate the ability to design and defend an original, hypothesis-driven project to advance the field of nutritional sciences.

Critical thinking  

  • Integrate scientific evidence and critically evaluate research findings in specific fields related to nutritional sciences.

Communication skills   

  • Disseminate evidence-based information on nutritional sciences and public health
  • Deliver nutrition research findings to multiple scientific audiences (i.e. research conference, academic journal).
  • Incorporate critical feedback in their research and academic work


  • Conduct research in an ethical manner
  • Demonstrate collaboration and leadership skills
  • Master concepts of equity, diversity, and inclusion in different settings (e.g., healthcare, education, community health)

Apply now


  • Fall: May 15
  • Spring: November 15
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Currently enrolled UNH juniors and seniors applying to the accelerated masters option are only required to submit two letters of recommendation. One letter of recommendation should come from a current or past teacher or advisor and one letter of recommendation should come from a non-academic supervisor or mentor.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

Applicants should visit the Nutritional Sciences program website and review the list of faculty in their area of interest. The applicant should contact potential faculty advisors to discuss their interests and determine whether the faculty member(s) may be willing and able to serve as the student’s advisor before applying to the program. See the Nutritional Sciences Faculty List for a current list of faculty.

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

A limited number graduate research assistantships are available on a competitive basis from the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems (ANFS) for highly qualified applicants pursuing one of our thesis-based graduate degree programs. Applicants with strong demonstrated intellectual merit and research experience are encouraged to apply to work with our faculty.

Because funding is limited and competitive, we encourage you to apply early. Funding decisions for the following academic year will commence beginning January 15th.  Assistantships are generally awarded for one academic year (beginning in August) and may be renewed provided that funds are available and the student's academic performance, as well as performance in carrying out the responsibilities of the appointment, is satisfactory.

ANFS offers both teaching and research assistantships for students enrolled in the master’s and doctoral programs. Assistantships at UNH involve 20 hours per week of teaching or research effort during the academic year; students receive a tuition-waiver, a stipend, and the university’s student health plan.  More information related to graduate assistantships at UNH can be found here

We are specifically recruiting talented students to work in the following cutting-edge research programs:

Bigornia Lab

The Bigornia Lab uses epidemiological approaches to identify potential nutritional targets to inform therapies and prevention strategies to modify metabolic risk factors and reduce the burden of chronic disease. Areas of interest include dietary risk factors of overweight and obesity, the roles of inflammation and insulin resistance in vascular dysfunction, dietary fat quality in brain related health, and health disparities.

Contact: Dr. Sherman Bigornia

Human nutrition, cardiometabolic risks, and the gut microbiota

Research in the Dao Lab focuses on human nutrition, obesity and its comorbidities, and the gut microbiota. We use a multi-disciplinary approach to identify biological and psychosocial targets for tailored lifestyle interventions for weight management and healthy eating. A primary focus is on populations that are disproportionately impacted by the obesity epidemic. There are diverse research opportunities for prospective students, ranging from data analysis of the gut microbiome in relation to dietary intake and clinical outcomes, to community-based research to identify lifestyle and psychosocial factors associated with overweight.

Contact: Dr. Carlota Dao

Promoting healthy eating in early childhood

Research in the Mena Lab focuses on child nutrition and promoting healthy lifestyle habits at home and in early care and education (ECE) settings. A primary focus is on children under the age of 6 and families disproportionately impacted by obesity and food insecurity (risk).  We use a socioecological approach to identify targeted approaches for enhancing home-ECE environments to support the development of healthy eating habits in early childhood. There are a variety of research opportunities for prospective students, ranging from data analysis of diet quality in relation to home-ECE concordance of food and nutrition environments and health outcomes, to community-based research to identify home-ECE factors associated with diet quality and chronic disease risk in pediatric populations.  

Contact: Dr. Noereem Mena

Take the Next Step

Undergraduate student on campus
A view of T-Hall on the UNH campus.
A female student at UNH gets help on her resume