Nutritional Sciences (M.S.)

Nutritional Sciences (M.S.)

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Why get your master’s degree in nutritional sciences?

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). Current UNH students considering a master’s degree in nutritional sciences may qualify for our accelerated degree option. This allows students to complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

Why choose UNH for your degree?

This master’s degree in nutritional sciences 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


Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems
University of New Hampshire
Kendall Hall
129 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-2130

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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 study, 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.

  • Thesis-based Option: 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. 
  • Accelerated Master's Admission: The accelerated program is designed for UNH undergraduates who have a demonstrated capacity to engage in upper-level course work and desire hands-on practice and research training for an advanced degree.

Master of Science - Thesis Option 

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. 

1. Core Course Requirements:

  • ANFS 899 Master's Thesis (6 credits)
  • ANFS 901 Introduction to Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems Graduate Studies.
    To be taken at the earliest opportunity, typically in the initial fall semester of the graduate program.
  • ANFS 997 Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems Seminar.
    All students are required to register and participate in this course (1 credit CR/Fail) for a minimum of 2 credits.

2. 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.

3. 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.
  • Defend their research proposal, both in written and oral form.  Approval form must be on file with department.
  • Thesis

Additional Information:

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

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.

Program Requirements

The accelerated path to a M.S. Nutritional Sciences requires a minimum of 34 graduate credits. Qualified students who are admitted under the Accelerated Master's program may complete up to 12 credits at the 800-level during their senior year, earning dual credit toward their B.S. and M.S. degrees.

During the fifth year (Sept-May), enrolled students will complete a minimum of 22 additional credits toward the program requirements. There are five core courses that include a year-long research experience (i.e. NUTR 960 Research Methods in Nutritional Science I and NUTR 961 Research Methods in Nutritional Science II) during the last year of the student's program. Students will be required to earn a B- or better in graduate courses to earn credits toward their degree.

Core Required Courses

NUTR 809Nutritional Epidemiology4
NUTR 850Nutritional Biochemistry4
NUTR 851Nutritional Biochemistry of Micronutrients4
NUTR 855Treatment of Adult Obesity4
NUTR 860Behavioral Nutrition and Counseling4
NUTR 880Critical Issues in Nutrition4
NUTR 960Research Methods in Nutritional Science I4
NUTR 961Research Methods in Nutritional Science II4
ANFS 901Introduction to Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems Graduate Studies 11
ANFS 997Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems Seminar1

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

Master of Science - Thesis Option & Accelerated Option

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


  • Fall:
    • Thesis: Jan. 15 (priority*), Aug. 1 (final)
    • Non- Thesis: April 15 (recommended), Aug. 1 (final)
  • Spring:
    • Thesis: Oct. 15 (final)
    • Non-Thesis: Oct. 15 (final)
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: Please note this program only accepts accelerated master's to the non-thesis option and only accelerated master's are allowed to do a non-thesis option.

*Applications completed by Jan 15 will be given priority consideration for admission and financial support.  Applications completed after Jan. 15 will be considered based on openings and funding.

Note: If you are applying to the Dietetic Internship program please visit that programs specific program of study page as it has different deadline and application requirements.

Application fee: $65 for thesis option; currently enrolled UNH juniors and seniors applying as accelerated masters applicants to the non-thesis option have the fee waived.

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.

Thesis-based applicants: Applicants applying to the thesis-based program are required to submit 3 letters.  At a minimum 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. The third should come from someone relevant to the program you are applying to.

Non-Thesis Applicants: Currently enrolled UNH juniors and seniors applying to the non-thesis option as accelerated masters applicants 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.

Additional Department Requirements

Thesis-based Option

Applicants who apply to the thesis-based program should consult with a Nutrition Program faculty member to discuss their undergraduate coursework and career goals. Competitive applicants typically have completed a rigorous science-based curriculum and have a strong interest in conducting publishable nutrition research.

Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis option is only available to currently enrolled UNH juniors or seniors who are applying as accelerated masters applicants.

At time of application, students must have a 3.2 cumulative grade point average and be currently enrolled in a baccalaureate program at UNH. The following prerequisite coursework (or equivalent) is also required: nutrition, anatomy and physiology (2 semesters), statistics, general chemistry w/lab, organic chemistry w/ lab plus biochemistry (BMCB 501 is acceptable).

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.

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