Online nutrition graduate programs and online exercise science graduate programs could help expand your knowledge of the relationships between food, movement and health, while providing the flexibility to accommodate your career. In online programs, students could pursue a masters degree, doctorate, or graduate certificate in fields like nutrition, exercise science, or even food science.
They might study topics like the management of nutrition-related health conditions, access to food in economically challenged communities, nutrition education, food engineering, fitness, and more.
Online nutrition programs are often designed to accommodate the busy schedules of students who are already working in the field. However, online nutrition programs offer more than just flexibility. In addition to being able to study at home, the office, or on the go, students may have access to video, digital lab spaces, online research libraries, and collaborative learning resources to enhance their overall learning experience.
Online exercise science graduate programs give students a flexible way to learn more about how exercise impacts the body in different scenarios. Interactive resources could support your study of anatomy, biomechanics and exercise physiology. And if you need in-person opportunities (like practicum or internship opportunities), some online programs could help you with that as well. You might spend time on campus or utilize local facilities. Every school is different, so contact preferred programs for more information.
Online nutrition graduate programs and exercise science programs are typically offered online at the master's or certificate levels. Doctorate programs in nutrition or exercise science often require extensive
research and access to campus facilities and faculty. Therefore, they may not be available online.
While many of these programs are designed for students with some level of familiarity with the field—e.g. professional experience and some prior education—some online programs may also accommodate students who are learning about nutrition for the first time. Whichever type of student you are, make sure that the program you choose aligns with your experience as this could impact the curriculum.
Online Nutrition Masters Programs are often practice-oriented, meaning they focus on teaching how to apply nutrition expertise to help people and families every day on the job. Online exercise science masters programs are also typically practice-oriented. They may provide an opportunity for the advanced study of how physical activity impacts the body, and how to encourage physical fitness on a community-wide level.
Each type of masters program typically requires two years of full time study and a bachelors degree. These, and other requirements vary from program to program, so it's best to contact an admission advisor for details.
Online Nutrition Graduate Certificate Programs are not only flexible, but also tend to require less time to complete due to a more concentrated curriculum. They may enable nutrition and exercise science students to pursue expertise in a particular topic relevant to their interests or career—whether it’s physical fitness for a health condition, learning more about a certain nutrition disorder, or something else entirely. Online graduate certificate programs could be offered at the masters level (open to students with a bachelors degree) or post-masters level (aimed at students who have already earned a masters in nutrition or exercise science), making them an accessible option for students with many backgrounds.
Online nutrition graduate programs generally center on people’s relationships with food and how that impacts their overall health. Depending on the type of program you’re pursuing, nutrition could be studied on an individual level, within families, or even in whole communities. As such, the topics discussed in each program—and each course—may vary. For example, students in one program may study how nutritional needs change over time and for different types of people. Others may look at nutrition on a larger scale, discussing access to food in communities with fewer resources and strategies to help those communities become healthier. Still more might emphasize the study of different nutrition-related health conditions or look at the role of nutrition in the management of diseases.
In some cases, online nutrition graduate programs may also align with certain types of nutrition careers. These would emphasize the skills and knowledge one might need in those scenarios, or be designed for students with that type of experience. A few examples are as follows.
Some online nutrition programs may go by another name: online dietetics degree programs. Online dietetics graduate programs are, in some cases, synonymous with nutrition programs. However, often the term dietetics refers to programs designed around the prerequisites for licensure in that state as a dietitian. In that case, online dietician degree programs may be one of two things.
Some states may regulate the usage of the title dietitian vs. nutritionist. As such, online dietetics graduate programs may vary based on the central location of the program and/or where most of the students are located. Because of this, it might be a good idea to look into the prerequisites to practice as a nutritionist or dietitian in your area, as this may impact the type of registered dietitian online program you wish to attend.
While nutrition and dietetics programs focus on how food (and the lack thereof) impacts health, online exercise science graduate programs focus on movement. Like the name implies, exercise science programs typically center on physical activity in general, and in particular the relationship between physical exercise and a person’s overall health. Such programs may explore topics like human anatomy, biomechanics, and exercise physiology. Students may study injury identification, prevention and management. They may also work to develop individualized exercise plans and explore ways to encourage better fitness habits in general.
As with nutrition, different online exercise science degree programs may focus on unique ways the subject may be applied in the field. Listed below are a few examples.
Online food science graduate programs are somewhat diverse, potentially focusing on a wide range of related subjects. Examples include food safety, food engineering, and beverage science, among others. Overall, these programs tend to be focused on the life cycle of food itself, rather than on people’s relationship to it. Online food science graduate programs use scientific rigor to understand the development, manufacturing, and distribution of food and, if possible, to help improve those processes. Example courses include food chemistry, industrial microbiology, and flavor chemistry.
Even if you’re studying online, it’s possible that some nutrition or exercise science graduate programs have components that need to be completed in person. In most cases, these elements are designed to give students the chance for hands-on practice to help contextualize online learning.
In-person elements of online nutrition graduate programs and online exercise science graduate programs may include short campus residencies, laboratory experiences, research presentations and clinical or internship experiences. How these experiences are organized may vary between programs. Also, not every online program has these requirements. For more information about whether your chosen programs require you to complete in-person experiences, what those are, and how they’re organized, contact the program in question.
Entry level employment in nutrition, dietetics or exercise science might be found with a bachelors degree. However, depending on the position in question and what state it’s based in, candidates might need additional qualifications like certification or licensure in order to be considered. Graduate online nutrition degrees could be useful in enhancing a current career, moving into nutrition or exercise science from unrelated areas, or specializing one’s practice.
Here are just a few examples of the paths students might be interested in taking.
Start your search for online nutrition graduate programs or online exercise science graduate programs today! Use the menu to select your preferred online nutrition degree type and concentration, if any. Then read more about what to expect in those kinds of programs and take a look at the sponsored program listings. Click the program names to learn more about a particular listing, and get in touch with them for more info about earning your graduate nutrition degree online!
[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/exercise-physiologists.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/athletic-trainers.htm