Create a healthier community with a master's degree in nutrition

  • Create a healthier community with a master's degree in nutrition

    If you are interested in helping others improve their health and quality of life, you might decide to pursue an advanced degree in Nutrition or Family & Human Ecology. This kind of program can improve your understanding of the science between disease control and diet.

    According to the most recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affected 93.3 million U.S. adults between 2015-2016. This is representative of almost 40 percent of the population. These individuals are more likely to suffer from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and even certain types of cancers. In addition, the medical cost for obese Americans was $1,429 higher than those of a healthy weight. These alarming facts demonstrate the need for effective leaders in the nutritional sciences.

    If you'd like to learn more about earning a master's degree in nutrition, read on to see typical program requirements, a selection of accredited advanced degree programs and career outlooks in nutrition.

    Nutrition program of study

    You might be wondering what subjects you may need to take during a master's program in nutrition. While these course requirements vary from one university to another, there are some core studies that cross over in almost every nutrition advanced degree program.

    Some popular courses you may be required to take during your advanced program in nutrition include, but are not limited to, the following subjects:

    • Exercise science
    • Biostatistics
    • Vitamins and minerals
    • Disease prevention

    There are two popular types of routes for graduate students to take when studying nutrition: holistic nutrition and dietetics. Holistic nutrition typically involves the focus of both holistic and conventional research related to diet to meet the specific needs of clients. The latter involves the scientific application of food and their direct impact on the health and wellness on a broader, less individualized scale.

    Sample nutrition programs

    As a future graduate student of nutritional sciences, you might not know where to start. There are plenty of competitive, accredited programs to choose from. The best way to decide which schools you'd like to apply to is to compare them side by side, picking out pros and cons of each program. Here are some examples of master's degrees in nutrition to get you started:

    The Graduate School at Purdue University's M.S. in Nutrition encourages students to pursue a number of specializations through its interdisciplinary studies. These focuses include:

    • Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition
    • Human and Clinical Nutrition
    • Animal Health, Growth and Development
    • Public Health and Education

    Some programs offer nutrition as a concentration within another degree outside of biology. Although Tufts University hosts the acclaimed Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, they also allow Master of Public Health students to focus on nutrition. This collaborative, hands-on program allows you to study the scientific elements of nutrition while also taking courses that focus on the difficult challenges facing society as a whole.

    If you need a more flexible program, you can pursue an online master's degree. The online M.S. in Nutrition Education at American University can provide you with insightful knowledge on nutrition without the constraints of commuting to a college campus. With an online advanced degree, you can plan your studies around your personal commitments, rather than vice versa.

    Career prospects

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers as dieticians and nutritionists are increasing at a rate of 15 percent through 2026. This represents a demand that is much faster than the average projected rate of increase among U.S. careers.

    There are plenty of careers you can pursue with a master's degree in nutrition. The most popular career you might pursue is as a nutritionist. In this field, you can work in a variety of environments. You might decide to be a pediatric nutritionist, working directly with children's nutrition. Maybe you'd even like to have your own practice. There are dozens of directions you can take when pursuing a career as a nutritionist.

    Other careers you might pursue with a master's degree in nutrition are a weight loss consultant or a health educator in a K-12 or postsecondary setting.

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