Admission, Prerequisites and Advisers
The interdisciplinary Nutrition Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota draws on faculty, courses, and facilities University-wide. With this approach we offer you the opportunity to tailor a program to your specific interests, using the resources of departments from several University schools and colleges.
Departments or divisions that participate in the Nutrition Graduate Program:
- Food Science and Nutrition (College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)
- Epidemiology (School of Public Health)
- Kinesiology and Leisure Studies (College of Education and Human Development)
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (School of Medicine/College of Biological Sciences
- Department of Medicine (School of Medicine)
- Family Medicine and Community Health (School of Medicine)
- Psychiatry (School of Medicine)
- Surgery (School of Medicine)
- Hormel Institute
Faculty members bring sponsored grants from the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Veterans Administration, and various food/health industries and commodity groups. Nutrition research opportunities are available in many areas, including dietary fiber, cancer, cardiovascular disease, maternal and child nutrition, phytochemicals, antioxidants, energy metabolism, exercise and nutrition, obesity and nutrition education.
Although administrative services for the Nutrition Graduate Program are provided by the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS) and the Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FScN), policies and procedures are established by the entire Nutrition graduate faculty and Graduate School.
The Nutrition Graduate Program offers both Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. In addition there is a dietetic internship program for graduate students (U of M–TEP DI Program) which provides the professional experience needed to become a registered dietitian. Further information is in later sections.
Nutrition is a biological science. Consequently, it is expected that entering students will have a similar science background to students entering any other graduate biology program.
The following courses are prerequisites for the Nutrition program:
- General chemistry
- Organic chemistry
- Introductory biology
- FScN 1112, Principles of Nutrition *
- FScN 3612, Lifecycle Nutrition *
- FScN 4612, Advanced Human Nutrition *
*Completion of nutrition courses before admission is highly recommended, but they may be taken after beginning the program. Students fulfill the requirements for nutrition prerequisite courses by taking the courses for credit on an A-F basis and receiving a grade of "B" or better. Students with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition will generally have taken the equivalent of these three courses and will not have to retake them. However, if the DGS determines that a student is lacking in these courses, the student may be required to take them during their graduate program.
After review of your application by the Graduate Studies Committee, applicants that meet the basic admissions criteria are notified they are “admissible” to the program. In order to be formally admitted, admissible applicants must acquire a faculty adviser. The adviser’s role is to assist their graduate students in planning coursework and supervising their research projects.
Applicants that are found admissible are not automatically assigned an adviser. If you are admissible, your name is added to a list of applicants looking for an adviser which is circulated to graduate faculty. Faculty interested in advising you will contact you directly to discuss their interest and any availability of financial support. Additionally, if you have one or two specific faculty members with whom you would like to work, you should contact them directly to discuss your background and goals. However, please limit your contact to the few faculty members whose work truly interests you. Note that faculty are happy to hear from applicants who share their research interests, but they may not be in a position to accept new students at this time.
If a faculty member offers to advise you without financial support and you agree to those terms, you must not expect that graduate program funding will become available to you at some later date. Instead, you should seek to secure independent funding for the full duration of your graduate studies.
Advisers and funding are limited, and not guaranteed to all applicants deemed admissible. There is no separate application to be completed for assistantships, or list of current advisee openings or faculty with funding, as these vary according to term and faculty member.
Generally, admission to the Ph.D. program is reserved for students who have already received the M.S. degree and display evidence of high academic achievement as determined by faculty evaluating the student for admission. Exceptionally strong students without the M.S. degree are occasionally considered for direct admission to the doctoral program. However, most students without the M.S. degree are admitted into the Master’s program. Students who are currently enrolled in the Master’s program may bypass the M.S. degree and apply for Change of Status to the Ph.D. program if they have the support of their adviser and several conditions are met.
Following is the criteria for admission to the Ph.D. program without the M.S. degree:
For new applicants
Student must have a 3.5 GPA and other evidence of high academic achievement as determined by the presiding graduate studies/executive committee. Successful applicants will generally have had some undergraduate research experience with publications or abstracts at national meetings.
For current MS students
Student must apply for Change of Status (see below) after having made sufficient progress toward their research objective/M.S. degree (usually at least 15 credits) in addition to having a high GPA (at least a 3.5).
Change of Status
To apply for Change of Status see: https://www.grad.umn.edu/admissions/cos.
There is a $75 application fee. The applicant creates a new username and fills out a new application entering information in the required (starred) fields, a personal statement explaining the reasons the applicant seeks to change status to the PhD and a description of his or her research experience. The department also requires a letter from the adviser summarizing evidence of a student’s aptitude and ability to do research and indicating that he/she will advise the student in the PhD. Other letters of recommendation can be submitted but they are not required for the application to be reviewed. After the application is reviewed by members of the Nutrition Graduate program faculty, the applicant is notified of the result. This process may take up to six weeks.