Nutrition & Fitness Graduate Programs
Nutrition and exercise science graduate programs may award masters and doctorate degrees, as well as graduate certificates at either level. They may also offer courses online or on campus to fit students with a variety of lifestyles and learning needs.
Exercise science and nutrition graduate programs explore the many ways diet and exercise impact health. A few different areas of study within each field may be available. For example, in nutrition graduate programs you could examine nutrition in a clinical context or discuss nutrition education strategies. You might also study the management of large scale nutrition programs or focus on food-related research and engineering.
Or, you could opt to pursue exercise science graduate programs, which focus on the relationship between physical activity and overall wellness. Here, you could study how to help people exercise safely and effectively. What unites these disparate topics is a commitment to keeping people healthy.
Nutrition graduate programs focus on people’s relationships with food. In other words, while food is a big part of nutrition, these programs are person-centric. They emphasize how students could use their nutrition expertise to help individuals and families thrive. Some might focus on helping people develop better dietary and fitness habits, such as in weight management programs. Other programs might examine nutrition in the context of medical treatment, or take a holistic approach and focus on overall wellness.
Nutrition graduate programs may also differ in the types of nutrition practice they concentrate on. These might reflect professional roles one might seek in the field.
Some nutrition graduate programs may go by the name of dietetics. Dietetics could be considered a sub-set of nutrition. Generally speaking, a dietetics program is designed to help student work toward earning the necessary credentials to be a licensed or registered dietitian. Because the credentialing requirements and overall regulations may differ by state, the specific differences between the roles of a dietitian and a nutritionist may vary. If you’re not sure which path you prefer, reach out to the program you’re looking into for more information.
If maintaining your diet is one half of wellness, exercise is the other. Students in exercise science degree programs study the relationship between physical movement and people’s overall health. They may learn about how the human body works, conditioning techniques, and various injuries and their prevention.
Like nutrition graduate programs, exercise science programs may vary in their approach. Each could mirror a different way one might apply expertise in the field. Here are a few examples.
The above examples may not describe every exercise science graduate program offered. Different schools and programs may combine the above, or have unique options not listed here at all. For more information on the different kinds of programs offered, the facilities you might be able to train in, and other relevant details, reach out to the school in question.
Food science graduate programs center on the research and technology behind food in all it stages of production. In other words, unlike nutrition, they’re more interested in studying food in and of itself. Some food science programs, for example, could focus on agriculture. They might discuss the challenges and opportunities inherent in producing the raw materials we need to make food. Others might be more engineering-oriented, centering on the machinery used to produce food, the technology behind food packaging, and similar topics.
Exercise science and nutrition graduate programs may issue degrees and certificate programs at multiple levels. Generally, programs could be broken down to three categories.
Because exercise science and nutrition graduate programs focus on helping people stay healthy, their curricula tend to center on exactly what that looks like in practice. That means taking courses not just about food or exercise, but about how it impacts the body, how the body functions, and identifying different conditions that could impact nutritional and exercise needs.
While the specific curriculum may vary depending on degree level and the type of program you choose to attend, below are some examples of courses you might take in a nutrition or exercise science program.
In addition to classtime, some exercise science and nutrition programs may have a practical component, especially if it’s a program that looks toward clinical application. This could involve field experience, working with patients in a real-world setting under the guidance of experienced professionals. Requirements depend heavily on the level of the degree, the goals of the program, the format, and the individual school, so make sure you contact your selected program for details.
Exercise Science and Nutrition Graduate Programs may be offered in a variety of formats to accommodate the diverse needs of today’s students. Whether you want to dedicate all your time and attention to your studies and research, or need to balance your nutrition graduate program with the needs of your clients, you could choose a program that works for you.
Whether you’re studying nutrition or exercise science, you might pursue a variety of fascinating careers dedicated to helping people get and stay healthy. In many cases, entry level employment may only require a bachelors degree. However, earning a masters degree or higher could help develop more advanced knowledge and may even be preferable to some employers.
Some example career paths nutrition and exercise science students may be interested in are listed below.
These and other related positions may have additional requirements. For example, some states may require nutrition or exercise professionals to hold and maintain certification or licensure. For more information about professional credentials, reach out to your selected school or state board.
Take the first step towards advancing your education by finding exercise science and nutrition graduate programs that match your goals. GradSchools.com can help you get started. Use the menu to select your preferred degree, program format, and even your specialty if that applies to you. Then review the sponsored program listings that match your search. Click on the program names to read more and request info!
[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
Focus on the role of nutrients and food-related compounds in metabolism and human health...
The Department of Biochemistry offers a graduate program leading to the M.Sc. and PhD degrees in Biochemistry and Food Science.
UBC Human Nutrition offers MSC and PHD degrees.
The School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition offers M.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes in the broad fields of basic and applied human nutrition.