What is a Human Nutrition Degree?

A Human Nutrition degree is an academic program focused on the scientific study of how nutrients in food impact human health and well-being. It encompasses a wide range of topics related to nutrition science, including the roles of macronutrients (such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and micronutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) in the body, nutrient metabolism, dietary requirements at different life stages, and the relationship between diet and disease prevention. Through coursework and hands-on experiences, students gain a deep understanding of the physiological, biochemical, and behavioral aspects of human nutrition.

In a Human Nutrition degree program, students learn how to assess individuals’ nutritional needs, develop dietary plans, and promote healthy eating habits to optimize health outcomes. They study topics such as nutritional epidemiology, food safety, dietary guidelines and recommendations, and the cultural and socioeconomic factors influencing dietary habits. Additionally, students may explore specialized areas within human nutrition, such as sports nutrition, community nutrition, or nutrition and aging, depending on their interests and career goals.

Whether providing individualized nutrition counseling, conducting research on dietary interventions, developing public health programs, or ensuring food safety and quality, professionals with a Human Nutrition degree play an important role in promoting health and preventing disease through evidence-based nutrition practices.

Program Options

Program options within a Human Nutrition degree typically include undergraduate and graduate-level programs, each offering unique educational opportunities and pathways for specialization:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition: Undergraduate programs in Human Nutrition provide a comprehensive education in the fundamentals of nutrition science, dietetics, and food science. These programs typically last four years and include coursework in areas such as biochemistry, physiology, food composition, nutrition assessment, and dietary counseling. Students may also have the opportunity to complete internships or practicums to gain hands-on experience in nutrition-related settings.
  • Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition: Master’s programs in Human Nutrition offer advanced coursework and research opportunities for students seeking to deepen their knowledge and expertise in specific areas of nutrition science. These programs may include concentrations or tracks in areas such as clinical nutrition, public health nutrition, sports nutrition, or nutritional biochemistry. Students may conduct original research and complete a thesis or capstone project under the guidance of faculty mentors.
  • Dietetic Internship Programs: Dietetic internship programs provide supervised practice experiences for students completing their education to become registered dietitians (RDs). These programs typically include rotations in clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and food service management settings, allowing students to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world healthcare environments under the guidance of experienced professionals.
  • Postgraduate Certificate Programs: Postgraduate certificate programs in Human Nutrition are designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field and wish to specialize in specific areas of nutrition practice. These programs offer focused coursework and practical training in areas such as pediatric nutrition, geriatric nutrition, or sports nutrition, providing additional credentials and expertise for career advancement or specialization.

Skills You’ll Learn

In a Human Nutrition degree program, students develop a wide range of skills essential for understanding and promoting health through nutrition. These skills include:

  • Nutritional Assessment: The ability to evaluate individuals’ dietary intake, nutritional status, and health history using various assessment methods such as dietary recalls, food frequency questionnaires, and anthropometric measurements.
  • Nutrition Education and Counseling: Effective communication skills to educate and empower individuals and communities about healthy eating habits, dietary guidelines, and nutrition-related behaviors to improve overall health and well-being.
  • Menu Planning and Meal Management: Knowledge of nutrition principles, food composition, and culinary techniques to develop balanced and nutritious meal plans for individuals or groups, considering factors such as dietary preferences, cultural influences, and special dietary needs.
  • Research and Critical Thinking: The ability to critically evaluate scientific literature, research findings, and nutrition-related information to make evidence-based decisions and recommendations in clinical practice, public health programs, or research projects.
  • Food Safety and Sanitation: Understanding of food safety principles, sanitation practices, and regulatory guidelines to ensure the safe handling, storage, and preparation of food in various settings such as food service facilities, community nutrition programs, or research labs.
  • Public Health Nutrition: Knowledge of public health principles, epidemiology, and health promotion strategies to address nutrition-related issues at the population level, such as food insecurity, malnutrition, obesity, and chronic disease prevention.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Collaboration with healthcare professionals, educators, policymakers, and community stakeholders to develop and implement nutrition interventions, programs, and policies that promote health equity and address social determinants of health.
  • Professional Ethics and Advocacy: Adherence to ethical standards and professional guidelines in nutrition practice, including confidentiality, informed consent, and respect for cultural diversity. Advocacy for policies and initiatives that support access to nutritious food, nutrition education, and health equity for all individuals and communities.

What Can You Do with a Human Nutrition Degree?

With a Human Nutrition degree, individuals can pursue various career paths in fields related to nutrition, health promotion, and wellness. Here are some potential career options:

  • Registered Dietitian (RD): Graduates of Human Nutrition programs can become registered dietitians after completing a dietetic internship and passing the national registration examination. As RDs, they work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and community settings, assessing individuals’ nutritional needs, developing personalized diet plans, and providing nutrition counseling to promote health and manage medical conditions.
  • Nutrition Educator: Some Human Nutrition graduates work as nutrition educators, developing and delivering educational programs on healthy eating habits, disease prevention, and nutrition management. They may work in schools, community health centers, public health departments, or corporate wellness programs, providing nutrition education and outreach initiatives to individuals and groups.
  • Public Health Nutritionist: Public Health Nutritionists work to improve population health outcomes by addressing nutrition-related issues at the community or population level. They may develop and implement public health programs, policies, and interventions to promote healthy eating habits, prevent chronic diseases, and reduce health disparities within communities.
  • Nutrition Researcher: Some Human Nutrition professionals pursue careers in research, conducting studies to advance knowledge and understanding of nutrition science, dietary interventions, and their impact on health outcomes. They may work in academic institutions, research organizations, government agencies, or private sector companies, contributing to the evidence base for nutrition practice and policy.
  • Food Industry Specialist: Human Nutrition graduates may work in the food industry, applying their knowledge of nutrition science and food composition to develop and market nutritious food products. They may work in product development, quality assurance, food labeling, or regulatory compliance roles within food manufacturing companies or food service establishments.
  • Wellness Coach or Consultant: Wellness coaches or consultants provide personalized guidance and support to individuals seeking to improve their health and well-being through lifestyle modifications, including nutrition, exercise, stress management, and sleep hygiene. They may work independently or as part of wellness programs, fitness centers, or corporate wellness initiatives, helping clients set and achieve their health goals.
  • Nutrition Policy Analyst: Some Human Nutrition professionals work in policy and advocacy roles, analyzing nutrition-related policies and legislation, and advocating for changes to improve access to nutritious food, nutrition education, and health equity. They may work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, or international organizations focused on nutrition and public health.


See which schools are the most and least expensive.

Read about Tuition