Nutrition Major

Nutrition explores how nutrients and the foods from which they are derived aid the body in growth and development and in maintaining health and wellness. With the national and international concern for the effects of food and nutrition on health and wellness as well as disease, there are many career opportunities for the graduates of this program. 

Nutrition has been a major at the University of Minnesota since 1917. The Nutrition undergraduate major is currently offered by the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) through the Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FScN). There are three tracks in the major: Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), Nutritional Science and Nutrition Studies. Coursework depends on the followed track. However, all students will follow essentially the same coursework plan for the first 60 credits in the major.

All Nutrition students must choose one of the four tracks in the Nutrition major. Please work with your advisor to help you plan the route for you.

Please see the University Catalog for degree requirements, and visit the University Honors Program for more information on studying with honors.


Click to expand the available Major tracks below

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Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Subplan

After 60 credits, students may apply for the DPD sub-plan which is required for students interested in becoming a Registered Dietitian. Upon completion of this program, students will be eligible to apply for a Dietetic Internship.

Learn More About the DPD Program

Nutritional Science Subplan

After 60 credits, students may apply for the Nutritional Science sub-plan which is for students preparing for professional or graduate programs, such as: Physician Assistant (PA), Pharmacy, Medicine, Dentistry, Nutrition Research, etc. See a Sample Plan here. 

It covers in-depth studies of the advanced math and science courses required for various professional programs and their corresponding entrance exams (such as the MCAT or GRE). Students in this option should begin early exploration of admission requirements for the post-baccalaureate programs in which they are interested to determine specific admission requirements, which may need to be met. In general, a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is recommended for admission. This track does not meet all of the academic requirements to become a Registered Dietitian.

To assist in your post-baccalaureate academic planning, see our Resources for Pre-Health Science Nutrition Students page.

In addition to meeting with your advisor, please use the degree requirements in the University Catalog to plan your degree.

Nutritional Science students who decide not to go onto a professional program or graduate school would be eligible for many of the same job opportunities mentioned on the Nutrition Studies subplan or on the Jobs and Opportunities page. In addition, Nutritional Science students would be eligible to work in research laboratories, food and nutrition industries, or experimental stations. You should work closely with your advisor when deciding on your coursework plan.

Nutrition Studies Subplan

Students may opt into the Nutrition Studies sub-plan at any time and complete a self-designed area of emphasis. 

The Nutrition Studies track is for students who have a strong interest in nutrition but do not want to become a Registered Dietitian (DPD track) or do not want to take the additional science requirements for the Nutritional Science track. Students who choose to follow this track will have more flexibility in coursework choices. This track does not meet all of the academic requirements to become a Registered Dietitian.

Please see the University Catalog for degree requirements and the Nutrition Studies track requirements. Note: these requirements are for students with a bulletin year of fall 2014 or later. If your APAS has an older bulletin year, please contact your advisor to learn more about your requirements.

This track offers 24-30 completely free elective credits. While students can choose any classes to fulfill these 24-30 credits, it would be wise to choose courses that would be helpful for future job opportunities. Additionally, these credits can be applied to an undergraduate minor. Available minors and their curriculum can be found on the University Catalog. Students should work closely with their adviser to discuss future career goals in order to determine what classes to elect for the coursework plan. For more explanation about these career options and other career paths for Nutrition graduates, please see the Jobs and Opportunities page.

The types of professional programs that this track can be used to prepare for include health sciences such as medical, dental, pharmacy and Physician Assistant programs. This track can also be used to prepare for a career in laboratory research. However, note that professional school entrance requirements may vary considerably from the courses in the Nutritional Science Track. Some schools require science courses like anatomy, genetics, lab medicine and pathology, etc., while other schools want coursework heavy in psychology. It is important to research the requirements of post-baccalaureate programs and work with your adviser to fit these courses into your curriculum.

Nutrition Minor

The Department of Food Science and Nutrition offers a minor in Nutrition. The requirements are as follows:

  • Program Type: Undergraduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2013
  • Required credits in this minor: 14 to 16

The nutrition minor gives students a basic understanding of human nutritional needs through three required core courses. Based on the elective courses chosen, students then have the ability to focus in a specific area, such as metabolism or foods.

Required Minor Courses

FSCN 1112 - Principles of Nutrition (3.0 cr)
FSCN 3612 - Life Cycle Nutrition (3.0 cr)
FSCN 4612 - Advanced Human Nutrition (4.0 cr)

Take 2 or more course(s) from the following

FSCN 3614 - Nutrition Education and Counseling (3.0 cr)
FSCN 3615 - Sociocultural Aspects of Food, Nutrition, and Health [GP] (3.0 cr)
FSCN 4613 - Experimental Nutrition (2.0 cr)
FSCN 4614 - Community Nutrition [SOCS, DSJ] (3.0 cr)
FSCN 4621 - Nutrition and Metabolism (4.0 cr)
FSCN 1102 - Food: Safety, Risks, and Technology [CIV] (3.0 cr)
FSCN 3102 - Introduction to Food Science (3.0 cr)
FSCN 5601 - Management of Eating Disorders (3.0 cr)

Please Note: Some courses may have prerequisites that do not count towards the 14-16 credits.
Declare a CFANS Minor here.

Major Coordinator

Daniel D. Gallaher
[email protected] 

Academic Advisor

Robin Perez
[email protected]

Sarah Lindholm
[email protected] 

Michelle Overtoom
[email protected]