Alabama Nutrition & Food Science PhD & Master's Programs
Nutrition and food science graduate programs look at the relationship that people and society have with food. In the case of food science programs, they tend to examine the food industry from production to distribution. They focus on the science behind the way food is formulated and stored.
Nutrition and dietitian programs, meanwhile, discuss the consumers themselves. They focus on the nutritional needs of different types of people, and how social values impact nutrition. And that’s just the beginning!
Programs might be offered at several levels. They might also come in a variety of formats to accommodate different schedules and learning preferences.
Types of Nutrition and Food Science Graduate Programs
Several different types of nutrition and food science graduate programs may be available. Each one could appeal to students with different educational and professional backgrounds. Many programs may be designed to accommodate experienced professionals. Those programs may also lean on that experience to inform the education in each course. However, this may vary. Others may be oriented toward those new to the field, or focus on things like performing research about food and nutrition.
Graduate food and nutrition science degree programs may fall into three essential categories.
- Masters in Nutrition and Food Science: At the masters level, these programs tend to focus on the responsibilities of professionals in the field. Because of this, some programs may ask for professional experience as a prerequisite. Others may instead aim to prepare students for doctoral study. Those may focus on nutrition research practices. Most masters programs in nutrition or food science offer a Master of Science (MS) degree. Some other degree types may be also be available, depending on the program and its focus.
- Nutrition and Food Science Doctorate Programs:
- While some nutrition and food science doctoral programs may focus on application in the field, many focus instead on performing research. These programs may look in detail at research practices specific to that discipline. Other topics of interest might focus on leadership or management skills related to careers in food science and nutrition. The PhD is a relatively common degree to be conferred at this level.
- Graduate Certificate in Nutrition and Food Science: This category may include masters certificates as well as post-masters. Because they are generally shorter than degree programs, they tend to have a narrower focus. Some may choose to pursue certificates for just that reason--to build expertise in a specific skill or topic. Some certificate programs are “credit” programs. That means the coursework may be eligible for transfer toward a compatible degree program at a later date.
Remember that these and other nutrition and food science graduate programs may vary from the above descriptions on a case-by-case basis. Some programs may combine several degree levels, or incorporate different requirements or perspectives. For more information, contact your selected graduate food science and nutrition degree programs.
Earning Graduate Food Science Degrees
Graduate food science degree programs focus on everything from food production through distribution. These programs tend to be more industry-focused, examining the food itself and how it is produced and handled. Food safety graduate programs may also fall under this heading. Some programs may be narrower, and may focus on a particular skill or topic. For example, some might center on food chemistry, while others might look at food technology, or even packaging.
Here's an example of the types of courses you might find in a food science program.
- Food Chemistry
- Food and Industrial Microbiology
- Beverage Science
- Food Packaging
- Flavor Chemistry
- Food Processing
Nutrition Graduate Programs Essentials
Graduate nutrition degree programs, like food science, study food. More specifically, the people eating it. Specifically, nutrition graduate programs examine the nutritional needs of different kinds of people. They also look at the relationship between nutrition and healthcare.
Some nutrition graduate programs may discuss nutrition-related medical conditions. They might also cover nutrition and food practices and beliefs throughout society. Programs may approach these ideas in a few different ways. For example, some nutrition degree programs may focus on healthcare settings, while others might look at nutrition education.
A few example courses you might see in nutrition graduate programs are listed below.
- Nutrition Education
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
- Nutrition Research
- Eating Disorders
- Demographic-Specific Nutrition Courses
Food Science and Nutrition Graduate Programs Potential Formats
Maybe you’re an active professional working full time in a nutrition or food science role. Or you want to dedicate yourself completely to your studies. Either way, the format of your selected nutrition graduate program could have an impact. Luckily, programs may be offered in a variety of formats that could meet your needs.
- Online nutrition graduate programs try to offer a unique element of flexibility. These programs deliver courses digitally through online course modules. Students could access class from home, work, or a library, as long as they have a compatible device and an internet connection. Exclusively online programs may or may not include practical experiences like labs or fieldwork. In some cases, online nutrition or food science programs may have minimal in-person requirements.
- Nutrition and food science graduate schools generally offer courses on a more regular schedule on a physical campus. Many programs try to offer some flexible scheduling options in order to better accommodate busy schedules or full time employment. Studying in a graduate school setting, you may have access to a variety of supportive resources. This could include nutrition clinics, science labs, and hands-on technology that could be used in the field.
- Hybrid food science and nutrition programs try to combine the benefits of the above options. They may offer online study options while being anchored on a graduate-school campus and retaining access to those resources.
Individual programs may vary from the above descriptions. For example, different programs may offer different types of supportive resources and scheduling options. Additionally, not all degree types might be offered in every format. For more information about each program format, visit the relevant program page. Contact your selected school to learn more about how that specific program works.
Food Science and Nutrition Example Career Info
Graduate programs in nutrition or food science may relate to a variety of potential careers. Some nutrition graduate programs are even designed with certain types of positions in mind. As a result, the specific paths of different food science or nutrition graduate students may vary considerably.
In most cases, entry-level employment requires a bachelors degree. However, some employers may express preference for graduate education. A graduate degree may also sometimes be a factor in advancing beyond that level, especially in research.
Here are a few examples of positions those seeking or having earned a graduate degree in nutrition or food science might pursue.
- Dietitians and Nutritionists: $58,920 (2016 median annual salary)i
- Health Educators: $44,390 (2016 median annual salary)ii
- Agricultural and Food Scientists: $60,920 (2016 median annual salary)iii
- Food Scientists and Technologists: $63,950 (2016 median annual salary)iv
For more information about career paths, especially as they relate to certain degrees or programs, reach out to your selected school.
Start Searching for Food Science and Nutrition Graduate Programs
Ready to start your search for graduate schools that offer food science degrees and nutrition degrees? Begin right here with GradSchools.com. You can use the filter to narrow down your options. Just choose your preferred program format and degree type. Then read up on your options! Click on any programs you’re interested in to learn more or get in touch.
[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm [ii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/agricultural-and-food-scientists.htm [iv] bls.gov/oes/current/oes191012.htm
Benedictine UniversityMaster of Science in Nutrition and Wellness
Auburn UniversityNutrition and Food Science
Alabama A & M UniversityDepartment of Food and Animal Sciences
Tuskegee UniversityFood and Nutritional Science
University of AlabamaM.S. in Human Nutrition
University of Missouri - ColumbiaNutritional Sciences Food Science
University of Alabama at BirminghamNutrition