Online Master’s in Nutrition Programs 2021

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Nutrition specialists help individuals live healthy, independent, and productive lives. They advise people on how to lower risks for various diseases and improve their immune systems through proper diet. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nutrition practitioners earn $63,090 in median annual salary. They garner much more than the national median income of $41,950.

Nutritionists can also look forward to ample opportunities for career growth and advancement. The BLS projects jobs in this sector to grow 8%, much faster than the 4% projected growth for all workers.

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Our program rankings can help prospective students choose the best online nutrition degree for them. We cover career outlooks for nutrition degree jobs, common courses for master’s in nutrition programs, and scholarship opportunities.

Best Programs for Nutrition

? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
Rank School Avg Net Price ? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
1 North Dakota State University $5570
2 Texas Tech University $5400
3 University of Southern Mississippi $7549
4 Central Michigan University $12232
5 Bowling Green State University $7632
6 University of Nebraska-Lincoln $7134
7 Texas Woman's University $4522
8 North Carolina State University at Raleigh $8088
9 South Dakota State University $7516
10 Framingham State University $1675

Master's in Nutrition Questions

  • Is a master's degree in nutrition worth it?

    Yes, especially in terms of higher income potential and the BLS’ projection of faster-than-average growth for jobs in the sector.

  • Do nutritionists make good money?

    Yes. The BLS reports a $63,090 median salary for nutritionists, higher than the median salary of $41,950 for all workers.

  • What kinds of jobs can I get with a master's in nutrition?

    Career paths for practitioners with a master’s degree in nutrition include health and wellness consultants, nutrition counselors, food technologists, and nutrition educators.

  • What's the difference between a nutritionist and a dietician?

    Nutritionists typically work with healthy individuals in settings such as health and wellness centers. Dieticians work with healthy and sick clients, often in hospitals and nursing homes.

Why Get a Degree in Nutrition?

In most states, a master’s degree in nutrition meets the educational requirement to become a licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Advanced education and training in this field opens career opportunities in diverse professional settings. RDNs work in hospitals, private clinics, academia, and for clinical research firms.

According to BLS data, master’s-trained professionals typically earn higher median salaries than bachelor’s or associate degree-holders. Students earning an online nutrition degree usually pay less for their education since they do not incur on-campus living expenses. Online graduates enjoy the same professional benefits as on-campus enrollees since they receive the same instruction and training.

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How Much Does a Nutrition Degree Cost?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 2018-19 graduate tuition and fees averaged $12,171 at public in-state schools. Graduate candidates at nonprofit private institutions paid an average of $27,776. Students pursuing a postgraduate on-campus or online nutrition degree can expect program costs close to these average amounts.

Fellowships and grants, many with teaching or research duties, help lower the cost of postgraduate education. Online enrollees should note that some institutions charge out-of-state online learners the same tuition as in-state students. The difference between resident and nonresident tuition can significantly lower the cost of a master’s degree in nutrition. Online students should find out whether a prospective college or university offers this discount.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

The calculation tool below can help applicants compare attendance costs for different schools and between an on-campus and online nutrition degree. Students can usually find much of the required information from a school’s website. Online enrollees should find out whether a school or program charges a technology fee for off-campus students.

College Affordability Calculator

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Nutrition Majors Make?

As stated briefly above, a master’s degree in nutrition often qualifies degree-holders for greater responsibilities and higher salaries. The industry and state also greatly influence nutrition degree jobs’ earning potential.

The top employers for nutrition professionals include hospitals, outpatient care centers, and skilled nursing care facilities.The top employers for a particular field often offer more opportunities for career growth and advancement. The highest-paying industries for nutritionists and dietitians include the federal executive branch, home healthcare providers, and outpatient care centers. Professionals in these sectors garner $77,580, $73,460, and $70,650, respectively.

The states that pay professionals in this arena the highest median salaries include California, Alaska, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Nutritionists there make $81,070, $78,350, $72,810, and $72,750, respectively. The District of Columbia actually pays the third highest salary for nutritionists and dieticians after California and Alaska, at $73,150.

Courses in Nutrition

The best online nutrition degrees typically follow the same curriculum as an on-campus program, comprising foundation courses and specialization coursework. Common specialization areas in a master’s degree in nutrition include sports nutrition, functional nutrition and herbal therapy, and community nutrition.

A master’s degree in nutrition comprises 30-36 credits, usually completed over two years. After completing required core coursework, many programs allow students to enroll in elective classes supporting their career and educational objectives. Many schools with a master’s degree in nutrition offer the three courses described below.

Students explore the characteristics and interrelationships of micronutrients in terms of biochemistry, genetics, physiology, and nutrition. Learners study how structure and function relates to the metabolic requirements of cellular organisms and its response to the environment. Knowledge gained from this course enables graduates to accurately assess the micronutrient needs of clients with varying health conditions.

This class covers how to apply assessment methods to determine the nutritional condition of children and adults in clinical or community settings. Participants practice converting measurements to indices to monitor the growth and development of individuals across the lifespan under varying physical and health conditions.

The course demonstrates the role of biochemical testing in the diagnosis and management of metabolic disorders, including diabetes and Gaucher’s disease. Enrollees study how nutrients such as carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins function in the human body. Degree-seekers examine the biochemical mechanisms that impact the assimilation of macronutrients. The class covers different analytical techniques commonly used in food biochemistry.

Certifications and Licensure for Nutrition

Licensure requirements for dietitians and nutritionists vary, with some states not requiring licensure at all. Several professional organizations administer industry-recognized certifications in specific practice areas. Certifications present the holder as a skilled practitioner and often qualifies them for leadership positions in their specialization area.

Certified Clinical Nutritionist

The Clinical Nutrition Certification Board administers the CCN credential to master’s-trained nutritionists. Applicants without a master’s degree in nutrition must complete the PostGraduate Studies in Clinical Nutrition (PGSCN) program before taking the CCN exam. The board offers the PGSCN program online.

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Certified Nutritional Specialist

Applicants for the CNS credential must hold an accredited master’s degree in nutrition or a related field. They must also show completion of 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and pass the Board of Certification for Nutrition Specialists’ credentialing exam. A CNS must apply for recertification every five years.

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Registered Dietitian

The program welcomes applications from graduates of a master’s program with Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accreditation. Applicants with this educational background must show completion of at least 1,000 internship or experiential learning hours.

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Scholarships for Nutrition

Many schools support graduate enrollees with grants and fellowships, some of which require teaching or research responsibilities. Students pursuing an on-campus or online nutrition degree can explore other financial aid programs. Professional organizations, state and federal agencies, and private nonprofit groups with ties to the health and wellness industry may offer support.

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing an ACEND-accredited nutrition and dietetics program can apply for the scholarship. The program accepts applications from part-time and full-time enrollees.

    Amount: $500-$10,000

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  • American Society for Nutrition Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Partnering with Herbalife Nutrition, ASN welcomes applications from postgraduate students pursuing a degree in clinical health science. Applicants must hold an active ASN membership.

    Amount: $5,000

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  • Elizabeth and Sherman Asche Memorial Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a healthcare-related degree can apply for the scholarship. The Association of American Indian Affairs administers the program and requires applicants to prove Tribal membership and show a minimum 2.5 GPA.

    Amount: $1,000

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Online Master’s in Nutrition Programs 2021

See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. North Dakota State University

    Fargo, ND



    North Dakota State University offers distance learners a Master of Science in Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science: Leadership in Physical Education and Sport Option. The program is designed for professionals who work in physical education and other teaching-related positions who wish to expand their skill set and offer more comprehensive instruction. Through the online Blackboard learning system, students engage with their fellow classmates and professors in chat room sessions, discussion boards and collaborative assignments. Students can complete tasks on their own timeline and work around their current employment schedules, provided they keep up with the necessary scheduled deadlines. Courses in the curriculum closely examine health-related case studies and the best modern practices for physical education instruction in K -12 and university settings. At NDSU, master's students take required courses such as Sport in American Society, Supervision and Management, Governance in Sports and Legal Liability in HPER. Prospective students should have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher. NDSU prefers that incoming students have a degree in a kinesiology-related field such as physical education, coaching or sports management.

  2. Texas Tech University

    Lubbock, TX



    Texas Tech University has an online Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics program. This degree is for students who are currently registered dietitians or nutritionists, are in the middle of a dietetic internship or working toward a Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) verification. Texas Tech prides itself on practice-based learning with specialized elective courses such as eating disorders, geriatric nutrition and maternal health. Graduates typically move on to careers that focus on pediatrics, obesity management, diabetes and patient nutrition support. While the GRE is not required for admission, students should have an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Prospective students should also have a DPD verification statement, proof of acceptance into a dietetic internship program or have registered dietitian credentials. Applications should also include a professional resume and 2 letters of recommendation. Students in this program can apply for a variety of graduate scholarships through the Graduate School with a separate application. Scholarships range from $3,000-$5,000 a year.

  3. University of Southern Mississippi

    Hattiesburg, MS



    The University of Southern Mississippi offers a hybrid Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems. The majority of this degree can be completed online, but distance learners at USM enroll in an on-site dietetic internship while concurrently completing required courses. Students can choose between an emphasis in Dietetic Practice or Management of Child Nutrition Programs. For graduation, students need to finish 33-36 credit hours, including courses such as Biostatistics and Community Health, in addition to the internship and a final project or thesis. Applications must include 3 letters of recommendation, official transcripts from all universities attended, GRE scores, application fee and immunization records. Competitive applicants for USM have a 3.0 GPA or higher in their undergraduate coursework. At USM, all students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of their location, at $479.12 per credit hour. Master's students can apply for financial assistance and dietetic scholarships through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and the USM Foundation.

  4. Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant, MI



    Online students can pursue a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics online through the Global Campus at Central Michigan University. Students choose from three coursework options: thesis, internship or coursework. For graduation, distance learners complete 31-37 credits, at $596 per credit, in about 2 years. Required courses for this program, regardless of track, include Research Methods and Biostatistics, Macronutrients, Micronutrients and the Seminar in Nutrition. Incoming students should have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework. Competitive applications include 3 letters of recommendation from former professors or professionals in the nutrition and dietetics field. Additionally, prospective students must submit a 2-3 page essay outlining their career goals and qualifications for the program at CMU. Incoming students may be eligible to transfer up to 15 credit hours by way of Credit by Examination or for previously earned credits at accredited colleges or universities. Distance learners in the CMU Global Campus have access to counseling services, Career Development Center resources, financial aid assistance and academic advising.

  5. Bowling Green State University

    Bowling Green, OH



    Bowling Green State University offers a Master of Food and Nutrition program for distance learners. Students acquire the skills necessary to be competent health consultants in their communities and provide nutrition-based counseling and therapy for clients. The core curriculum consists of the courses Family and Community Nutrition, Micronutrients, Macronutrients and Advanced Clinical Nutrition. Degree seekers must also choose a minor concentration, with the help of their advisers, that supports their career goals. Master's students choose between completing a final project or writing a traditional thesis at the end of the program for graduation. Courses are 7 weeks in duration. In most cases, students take 1 or 2 classes at a time and complete the degree in 2 years. BGSU offers a flexible schedule with 6 starting dates per calendar year. Applications must include official transcripts, GRE scores and 3 letters of recommendation. Distance learners at BGSU have access to counseling services, resume and job support, tech support and online library access. Graduate students can also find additional networking and career planning resources through BGSU's Multicultural Initiatives for Graduate Student Success program.

  6. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Lincoln, NE



    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a Master of Science in Nutrition and Health Sciences for distance learners. Students choose between specialty areas in Community Nutrition and Health Promotion, Dietetics and Nutrition and Exercise. Nebraska students choose between 3 curriculum tracks: thesis, non-thesis and a course-heavy non-thesis, non-minor track. Degree seekers take a diverse set of practical nutrition courses including Multimedia Applications for Education and Training, Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention, Nutritional Anthropology and Clinical Exercise Physiology. Applications should include GRE scores, 3 letters of recommendation, a personal statement of goals and a professional resume. Transfer credits may be applied toward the degree provided they are less than 10 years old. Distance students complete 30-36 credit hours, depending on the concentration, and an oral comprehensive examination for graduation. Distance learners have access to academic advising, career counseling, library resources and technical support. Nebraska subscribes to a rolling admissions policy, but students should apply by March 15 for Fall and Oct. 15 for Spring to be considered for internal funding and financial assistance.

  7. Texas Woman's University

    Denton, TX



    Texas Woman's University is a coeducational institution that offers a Master of Science in Nutrition. Full-time distance learners can complete this degree in as few as 18 months. Courses are offered in both fully online and hybrid formats. Students taking courses on-campus can do so in Denton or Houston. For graduation, students need to complete 36 credit hours of coursework. While no thesis is required, coursework is aligned with the same curriculum that on-campus students complete in the classroom. TWU offers an internship/master's program track for those who wish to pursue the Registered Dietician credential. Upon graduation, students are prepared to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians and apply for licensure in Texas. Incoming graduate students should have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students who are interested in pursuing an internship while in this program must submit a separate application for either the Master's Dietetic Internship or School Nutrition Specialist Internship, both of which take place in Denton and Houston. TWU graduates often become researchers and developers in the food industry, educators and nutrition consultants for both private practices and marketing companies.

  8. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

    Raleigh, NC



    North Carolina State University at Raleigh offers an online Master of Nutrition degree. Located in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, this is a non-thesis, applied degree program with available concentrations in Human Nutrition and Feed Science. This program helps young professionals pursue careers in nutrition science and related areas. Students must complete 36 credit hours of coursework, including 6 credits of a practicum, internship or approved final project. Students have a significant level of flexibility when choosing their courses in this curriculum, including both core courses and electives. Available elective courses span a wide range of topics including Exercise Nutrition; Vitamin Metabolism; Life Cycle Nutrition; Lactation, Milk, and Nutrition and Advanced Feed Formula. Prospective students should have a Bachelor of Science degree, with a minimum 3.0 GPA, in a science-related area, preferably biology or organic chemistry. Competitive applicants score at or above the 30th percentile in all categories on the GRE.

  9. South Dakota State University

    Brookings, SD



    Online students can take advantage of the Master of Science in Dietetics program at South Dakota State University. As part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA), this 36-credit master's degree pools resources from 9 participating universities in the group. Students prepare for research- and clinical-based careers as nutritionists, researchers, instructors and dietitians. The program is designed for individuals who already hold the registered dietitian credential. Students may choose a thesis track, research paper track or written comprehensive exam track. All students regardless of track must complete 12 core courses and an oral defense with their supervisory committee. Graduate applications should include a resume, GRE scores, personal statement, official transcripts, contact information for references and an application fee. Incoming students should have a 3.0 GPA or higher. To be considered for scholarships through the College of Education and Human Sciences, distance leaners need to submit a scholarship application through the MyState site.

  10. Framingham State University

    Framingham, MA



    Framingham State University offers a Master of Science with a Concentration in Food and Nutrition and Specialization in Food Science and Nutrition Science. Online students in this program study the technical aspects of the food industry, related engineering fields, biotechnologies and relevant health and medical concepts. Distance learners at FSU need to complete a minimum of 10 courses. Incoming students must have the proper undergraduate prerequisite courses including experience in microbiology, biology and biochemistry. Prospective students should have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applications should include 2 letters of recommendation, a personal statement and official GRE scores. Competitive students have minimum GRE scores of 150 in verbal, 150 in math and a 4.0 in writing. Applications are accepted on a rolling admission basis, but students should plan on beginning their coursework in the fall term. Applications are due earlier than usual, by Jan. 1 of the starting year.

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