Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Nutrition Ph.D.

Food Science & Nutrition
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, 225 Food Science and Nutrition Building, 1334 Eckles Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55108 (612-624-6753; fax: 612-625-5272)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 50
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Nutrition is the study of how nutrients, both essential and nonessential, affect health and all life processes. Consequently, nutrition is an extremely broad field that encompasses physiology, biochemistry, education, public health, and public policy. The nutrition graduate program is interdisciplinary. Advisers and financial support may come from any of the departments or schools in which nutrition graduate faculty reside, including the Department of Food Science and Nutrition (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences); Division of Epidemiology (School of Public Health); Departments of Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry, Lab Medicine and Pathology, and Family Medicine and Community Health (Medical School); Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies (College of Education and Human Development); Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (University of Minnesota Duluth); University of Minnesota Extension; Hormel Institute (Austin, MN.); V.A. Medical Center and Park Nicollet Institute (Minneapolis, MN.). Three subspecialty areas are offered in the doctoral degree program: human nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, and public health nutrition. Thesis work may be conducted locally or internationally in the laboratory, clinic, or field. Students may spend a maximum of 8 years in the program.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
Applicants to the program need a bachelor's degree in any field or its international equivalent, along with demonstrated research ability such as a MS degree or publications.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
A strong foundation in the biological and physical sciences is required. This background includes college mathematics, the equivalent of one semester of general chemistry, organic chemistry, general biology, biochemistry, physiology, and statistics. For the doctoral program, additional prerequisite courses include calculus and physics. If there is evidence that the applicant has a good background in the sciences, some of the prerequisites can be met after admission. The PhD program also requires the following nutrition courses, or equivalents, which may be completed after admission to the program: Principles of Nutrition (FSCN 1112), Life Cycle Nutrition (FSCN 3612), and Human Nutrition (FSCN 4612).
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
14 credits are required in the major.
12 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 2 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
PhD students are expected to obtain teaching experience through assisting with course instruction three times. Teaching experience is subject to the policies of the advisor's department or division. Thesis work may be conducted in the laboratory, clinic, or field, either locally or internationally.
Required Coursework
Orientation Course
NUTR 8621 - Presentation Skills (1.0 cr)
Core Courses
NUTR 5625 - Nutritional Biochemistry (3.0 cr)
NUTR 5626 - Nutritional Physiology (3.0 cr)
NUTR 5622 - Vitamin and Mineral Biochemistry (3.0 cr)
NUTR 5624 - Nutrition and Genetics (2.0 cr)
Advanced Topics Courses
All students must take Nutr 8620.
NUTR 8620 - Advances in Nutrition (2.0 cr)
Outside Coursework
All doctoral students must complete a minimum of 12 credits of outside coursework. Students must take one graduate level statistics course,one graduate level research methods course, and any other graduate level course to meet the 12 credit minimum.
Statistics Course
Take at least one statistics course from the following list. A different graduate level statistics course can be substituted with advisor approval.
PUBH 6450 - Biostatistics I (4.0 cr)
or PUBH 6451 - Biostatistics II (4.0 cr)
or PUBH 6414 - Biostatistical Literacy (3.0 cr)
or STAT 5021 - Statistical Analysis (4.0 cr)
Research Methods Course
Take one or more courses totaling at least two credits of research methods coursework from this list, or graduate-level methods coursework from another field with advisor approval.
ANSC 5091 - Research Proposals: From Ideas to Strategic Plans (3.0 cr)
or NURS 8173 - Principles and Methods of Implementing Research (3.0 cr)
or PUBH 6341 - Epidemiologic Methods I (3.0 cr)
or PUBH 6617 {Inactive} (3.0 cr)
or PUBH 6803 - Conducting a Systematic Literature Review (3.0 cr)
or PUBH 6806 - Principles of Public Health Research (2.0 cr)
Additional Outside Coursework
Other courses may be from any field, but must be at the 5000 or 8000 level. Exceptions: 6000 level courses from Public Health are allowed.
Doctoral Thesis Credits
Take at least 24 credits of the following:
NUTR 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
More program views..
View college catalog(s):
· College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

View future requirement(s):
· Fall 2022
· Fall 2020

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NUTR 8621 - Presentation Skills
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Orientation to nutrition graduate program. Presenting scientific seminars, using electronic presentation programs/equipment. prereq: dept consent
NUTR 5625 - Nutritional Biochemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Overview of biochemical molecules and pathways important in nutritional events. prereq: BIOC 3021 or instr consent
NUTR 5626 - Nutritional Physiology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Whole body macronutrient metabolism as it relates to etiology of metabolic diseases. Signaling between tissues to control homeostasis. How dysregulation of crosstalk can lead to metabolic diseases. How diet, exercise, or starvation impact metabolism. Regulation of food intake and energy expenditure. Designing/analyzing/interpreting research data. prereq: NUTR 5625
NUTR 5622 - Vitamin and Mineral Biochemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Nutritional, biochemical, and physiological aspects of vitamins and essential minerals in human and experimental-animal models. prereq: BioC 3021, Phsl 3051, FSCN 4612
NUTR 5624 - Nutrition and Genetics
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Overview of gene-diet interactions and relevant technologies used to study such interactions. Nutrigenomics, epigenetics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics. Examples of gene-diet interactions, implications. Current issues. Prerequisites: Courses in Nutritional Biochemistry (e.g., NUTR 5625), and Vitamin and Mineral Biochemistry (e.g., NUTR 5622), or consent of instructor
NUTR 8620 - Advances in Nutrition
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Recent research or special topics (e.g., obesity, vitamin biochemistry, nutrition education).
PUBH 6450 - Biostatistics I
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Descriptive statistics. Gaussian probability models, point/interval estimation for means/proportions. Hypothesis testing, including t, chi-square, and nonparametric tests. Simple regression/correlation. ANOVA. Health science applications using output from statistical packages. prereq: [College-level algebra, health sciences grad student] or instr consent
PUBH 6451 - Biostatistics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Two-way ANOVA, interactions, repeated measures, general linear models. Logistic regression for cohort and case-control studies. Loglinear models, contingency tables, Poisson regression, survival data, Kaplan-Meier methods, proportional hazards models. prereq: [PubH 6450 with grade of at least B, health sciences grad student] or instr consent
PUBH 6414 - Biostatistical Literacy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Develop ability to read/interpret statistical results in primary literature. Minimal calculation. No formal training in any statistical programming software. Biostatistical Literacy will cover the fundamental concepts of study design, descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, odds ratios, relative risks, adjusted models in multiple linear, logistic and Poisson regression, and survival analysis. The focus will be when to use a given method and how to interpret the results, not the actual computation or computer programming to obtain results from raw data. prereq: MPH or certificate student or environmental health or instr consent
STAT 5021 - Statistical Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Intensive introduction to statistical methods for graduate students needing statistics as a research technique. prereq: college algebra or instr consent; credit will not be granted if credit has been received for STAT 3011
ANSC 5091 - Research Proposals: From Ideas to Strategic Plans
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
You have a great research idea, now what? How do you turn your idea into a proposal? It has been said paraphrasing Edison, that innovation is one percent inspiration, ninety-nice percent perspiration. In this course, we will start with and inspiring idea and sweat our way to develop a research proposal. The students will go through a step-by-step process that starts choosing and defining a research idea, then proceeding to do literature reviews and to the development of hypothesis, aims, objectives and a research strategy. The aim of this course is to provide students with tools to understand the structure of scientific reports and proposals, literature searches and basic data interpretation. The student will learn about different research approaches and how to achieve consistency in their research projects. We will guide students in how to begin and develop a written research proposal that will satisfy the requirements of their advisers, institution and funding organizations. prereq: There are no prerequisites, however, having taken ANSC 3011 Statistics for Animal Science is desirable.
NURS 8173 - Principles and Methods of Implementing Research
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Nurs 8173/SAPh 8173
Typically offered: Every Spring
Integrates scientific, statistical, and practical aspects of research. Inter-relationships among design, sample selections, subject access, human subjects requirements, instrument selection and evaluation, data management, analyses plans, grant writing, and research career issues. Field experiences required. prereq: 8114 or other 8xxx grad research methods course, 2 grad stat courses;
PUBH 6341 - Epidemiologic Methods I
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: PubH 6320PubH /6341
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to epidemiologic concepts and methods: (1) Study design (randomized trials and observational studies); (2) Measures of exposure-disease association; (3) Casual inference and bias; (4) Confounding and effect modification.
PUBH 6803 - Conducting a Systematic Literature Review
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: OPT No Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Project-based class to develop systematic review skills for evidence-based practice. Draws from AHRQ and Cochrane systematic review methodology; supported by examples from the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center. Use for master?s thesis, dissertation, or to support research proposals. Prereq: research study design or epidemiology.
PUBH 6806 - Principles of Public Health Research
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Evaluation of public health research literature and planning for independent research projects. Formulation of research question, research design, sampling techniques, use of research concepts, and data analysis. Data collection techniques, including questionnaires, interviews, and data analysis. prereq: Pub hlth or grad or professional school student or instr consent
NUTR 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required