Online Master’s in Nutrition

By Derick de Souza

Updated March 15, 2024

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Online master’s in nutrition programs are designed to prepare professionals to practice the science of nutrition and dietetics at advanced levels and to pursue doctoral studies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated job growth for nutritionists or dietitians is projected to be 7% from 2021 to 2031[1]. A student who graduates with an online master’s in nutrition can expect to work as a regulatory compliance manager, food scientist, hospital nutritional educator, dietician, nutritionist or as a college professor.

Online Master’s in Nutrition

Find the Best Master’s in
Nutrition Online Programs

There are many institutions across the U.S. that provide a master’s degree in nutrition. Therefore, it is essential that when one is selecting a school, it is done by scrutinizing factors such asaccreditation, quality of professors, geographical location and courses offered. Our team at FBD has evaluated many programs and colleges from across the world and made a list of the best master’s in nutrition online degrees: *

Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
North Carolina State University at Raleigh 2101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695 $9,095 85%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from an Online Master’s
Degree in Nutrition

The online master’s in nutrition program usually takes two years to complete. It can be either online or offline and requires about 30-45 credit hours. The online format provides flexibility regarding the schedule of classes and can be taken  in asynchronous or synchronous formats. The coursework is designed so that one can advance their knowledge in human nutrition, dietetics, and physiology. An accredited graduate nutrition program can help students advance their career in nutrition and related fields.

Nutritionists are in high demand to offer prevention and treatment solutions for different health conditions. A master’s in nutrition opens the door to many opportunities, including nutrition counseling, nutrition education, health consultation, food regulation and policy-making.

Curriculum and

The nutrition master’s online is typically a 30-credit-hour program designed to prepare nutrition professionals to practice the subject at advanced level positions and pursue Ph.D. studies. The curriculum is oriented toward developing research skills, providing the latest information about food and nutrition and helping one critically analyze data.

Generally, most master’s programs in nutrition require students to complete some prior coursework. Some prerequisites may include an introduction to chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, nutrition in the life cycle, an introduction to research in nutrition, community nutrition and nutritional biochemistry. Most programs in the U.S. offering this degree do not require the submission of a thesis.

Most of the curriculum of this program is related to courses about food and human body nutrition. One can find that the coursework differs from institution to institution. However, some of the standard courses in nutrition found across curriculums include:

Global Population Health

This course examines how to improve global health outcomes through services, research, and education. It takes a population-based perspective that allows students to understand the interplay of factors leading to health implications in local and global communities. 

Health and Nutrition Ethics

This course is essential for understanding  the complex issues involved in nutrition, such as informed consent in planning diets and the use of feeding tubes. Students will analyze the health, economic, societal, and environmental costs and their implications in the context of the global food supply. 

Human Physiology

This course analyzes the science of how the human body functions in disease and health. It looks at the different types of human physiology such as pathophysiology and cell physiology. Understanding the normal processes within humans and integrating theories and methods in human physiology is a requirement for the student of nutrition. 


This course explores the life-sustaining chemical reactions in different organisms, especially humans. Here students will study the chemical reactions in the body’s cells that convert food into energy. This includes understanding the specific proteins in the body that control various chemical reactions of metabolism. 

Nutrition Theory

Many theories of nutrition help students understand why or why not to choose certain food items. In this course, they will learn various theoretical frameworks of nutrition education such as interventions, health belief models and the theory of reasoned action.

Some additional courses that students will find across several curriculums include:

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Human Performance
  • Public Health Nutrition Programs
  • Research Methods
  • Nutritional Biochemistry
  • Nutrition and Food Safety
  • Advanced Vitamin and Mineral Metabolism
  • Metabolism of Energy Nutrients
  • Biostatistics
  • Maternal and Infant Nutrition

To understand more about coursework in graduate degrees, refer to the guide to master’s programs

Learning Outcomes and
Skills Gained

This program helps to strengthen one’s understanding of human nutrition. Students will acquire in-depth knowledge of the various pathways of significant nutrients and their role in maintaining health. Through the coursework, students can utilize nutrition tools and research to make informed recommendations to their clients. 

The master’s program in nutrition teaches the strategic skills needed to execute health promotion, strategic planning, nutritional counseling and nutritional education. There are skills that students can develop from this degree, including the ability to:

  • Advocate for the different provisions of nutrition and food services in the development of public policy;
  • Implement, evaluate, and plan nutritional education programs that cater to specific audiences;
  • Analyze the impact of various economic and cultural issues on dietetic practices and client needs;
  • Plan, design, and implement individualized and appropriate nutritional therapy for the client;
  • Assess nutrition and plan diets, prepare foods, and promote the consumption of foods to meet the nutritional demands of healthy people throughout one’s life cycle;
  • Evaluate the nutritional status of an individual by using proper clinical assessment methods and strategies and interpret the information on food science that is appropriate to the needs of customers;
  • Explain the role of nutrients and food in preventing disease and optimize of human health.

Types of Master’s Degrees
Nutrition Students Can Obtain

By completing an online master’s in nutrition program, students will open doors to a wide range of career options after gaining the necessary work experiences in the industry. Most nutrition programs prepare students for further studies such as a Ph.D. or job roles like medical nutrition therapist, community nutritionist or clinical nutritionist. There are many degrees in nutrition in the U.S.; however, at the graduate level, the online MS in nutrition is typically the most common. Others include a master of arts in nutrition and a master of business administration in nutrition. 

Master of Science or MS in Nutrition

This program is designed to prepare graduates for the field of human or animal nutrition. Upon completion of the program, graduates will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to efficiently communicate scientific information and be successful in non-profit or industry sectors. 

Master of Arts or MA in Nutrition

This program educates students about food and nutrition at different stages of development. It includes growing the ingredients, distribution, production and how they impact public health. It deepens the nutritional knowledge that students have with advanced training, education and research. However, this program may not be helpful in becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist. 

Master of Business Administration or MBA in Nutrition

This very rare degree combines the specialized field of human nutrition with executive business skills that are necessary for advanced leadership roles. It is one of the most sought-after degrees, but very few colleges offer this program.

Areas of Specialization for
Nutrition Students

Specializations focus on a particular area of study and includes specific coursework that goes beyond their major requirements. Specialized degrees may enable more career benefits along with higher salaries. Such concentrations help students develop  a deeper understanding of one’s needs, interests, and goals. Some specializations that online master’s degree in nutrition students can take up include:

Area of SpecializationDescriptionCareer Options
Clinician NutritionThis concentration helps one learn about how nutrients in food units are kept, processed, and discarded by one’s body. The students also explore how eating affects one’s overall well-being. It also involves finding solutions to challenges during clinical nutrition research.Various roles as a clinical nutritionist, management dietetics, nutrition research scientist, nutrition product manager and nutrition sales executive.
DietitianIn this specialization, one learns how to provide information and specialist services for diabetes, osteoporosis, pediatrics and renal diseases. It includes developing knowledge of modified diets, participating in research and educating clients and groups about good nutritional habits.Various roles as clinical dietitians, community dietitians, food service dietitians, neonatal dietitians and gerontological dietitians.
Nutrition and PolicyThis concentration focuses on the formulation and implementation of nutritional policies and the changes in the issues that the global population faces today. This includes diabetes and osteoporosis, among others. It also includes topics about different dietary patterns, chronic diseases, and other emerging challenges. Work in local, state, and federal agencies, health advocates and policymakers, community groups, schools and childcare facilities.
Nutrition and ExerciseThis specialty explores the relationship between diet and exercise and how to balance nutrition to achieve optimal health. This concentration includes learning about strengthening bones and muscles, reducing health risks, increasing longevity, managing chronic health conditions and disabilities.Various roles as sports nutritionists, fitness nutritionists, metabolic specialists and fitness trainers.
Nutrition and Human PerformanceThis specialization helps one understand the nutritional factors impacting physical performance in non-competitive and competitive settings. Students acquire a comprehensive knowledge of how nutrients fuel the body, contribute to the disease process and learn about the psychophysiological components of nutrition.Various roles as a worksite health promoter, health promotion program coordinator, disease prevention activist and health and wellness specialist.

Full-Time and Part-Time

As with most educational degrees, the time required to obtain a master’s in nutrition depends on the number of courses one completes. On average, it takes about two years to complete a master’s degree when completed full-time. However, a part-time program may take more than two years to finish. In some cases, one may be able to complete the program in an accelerated format in less than two years. Here is a quick summary of the timeline to complete the master’s degree in nutrition online:

  • Full-time program: two years to complete the program
  • Part-time program: more than two years to complete the program
  • Accelerated program: less than two years to complete the program

Accelerated Nutrition

An accelerated master’s degree in nutrition allows students to complete the master’s degree in less time than required through a regular program. Applying to graduate programs in the accelerated format is the same as the standard application procedures for a traditional master’s degree. Generally, to accelerate your master’s program, you will need to complete more courses in lesser time. However, it may become overwhelming as the coursework is considered quite cumbersome. Students usually apply for an accelerated program if they have other priorities such as work and saving money on the program. They can accelerate their program by fast-tracking their degree and transferring credits. Some of the colleges provide an online master’s in nutrition program in the U.S., include:

Requirements for Getting into a Master’s
in Nutrition Online Program

When applying for a graduate degree, you will find that there are many requirements you need to be aware of and gather your documentation accordingly. Most colleges require an undergraduate degree in nutrition or related fields. Since master’s programs require you to do advanced coursework, the institution will try to ensure that you have some elemental understanding of subjects like biology and physiology. Therefore, you may need to have prerequisites in those subjects. Some of the standard admission requirements for master’s in nutrition online involve:

  • Application fee and completed form
  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college
  • Admissions essay which describes your professional and educational aspiration
  • Test scores from the Graduate Record Exam or GRE (not required by some schools)
  • Personal statement or statement of purpose
  • Graduate Resume highlighting any experience in nutrition or related fields.

No GRE Master’s in Nutrition
Online Programs

The Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test that is a necessary admissions requirement for many master’s schools in the United States. Due to the pandemic, some schools have made the GRE requirement optional for this year. However, many colleges have waived the requirement for the GRE completely. Some institutions that provide online nutrition master’s degree without needing a GRE include: 

How to Ensure a Master’s in Nutrition
Online Program Is Accredited

Accreditation is the approval of a college, postsecondary school, or programs that meet the standards and policies established by nationally recognized accrediting agencies. It holds the college to the highest academic standards and availability of student resources.

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics leads a multifaceted process to accreditation by legitimizing the master’s in nutrition online provided by colleges across the United States. Such programmatic accreditation increases the value and quality of education provided to students. Some of the regional bodies that accredit graduate programs include:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Two nationally recognized institutes, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education, are resources for finding programs and schools that are accredited.  Both organizations provide comprehensive information about accrediting agencies and programs. To understand more about the accreditation process, refer to the guide to college accreditation.  

Where to Find Free Online Courses for Nutrition
Master’s Students

When students reach the master’s level of education, they may want more in-depth knowledge of the field they are studying. Consider taking advantage of free resources online. Some of the free nutrition courses students can find include:

CourseDescriptionProvided by
Gut Check: Exploring Your MicrobiomeThis course provides a broad overview of the diversity of microbes and their effect on the human body. It dives into the fundamentals of advances in microbiome research methods, data generation and analysis. Different development tools for analyzing complex and large biological data sets are explored here.Coursera
Clinical Nutrition-Evidence-Based PracticeThis course aims to tackle nutrition-related issues due to infectious or chronic diseases and equips one with evidence-based insights and practical knowledge on how solutions can be implemented in different situations.edX
Nutrition: Vitamins and MineralsAfter taking this course, students will understand the various minerals that form the critical structural components of tissue within the human body. Students will also learn how potassium, calcium, chloride and sodium ions are essential to maintaining the correct balance of cells, tissue and fluids.OpenLearn

Ways to Pay for a Master’s
in Nutrition Online

When students are admitted to the online nutrition master’s program, they may wonder how to pay for college. The price of college tuition and other related expenses has increased considerably over the years. Financial aid can help significantly reduce the cost of tuition and other money concerns. Some of these options include:


The Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is an application that asks for personal and family financial details including savings, investments and income.


These financial aids are generally merit-based, but can also be need-based. Students will need to know how to find scholarships based on their specific field of study, qualification, achievement and interest. After they have been admitted to a college, their office of financial aid can provide information about the different scholarship opportunities available at that school. 


Grants can cover students’ educational expenses such as books, library fees, transportation, student housing and research materials. There are many types of grants available to candidates, each tailored to meet their needs. Most of them are need-based and often consider the financial status and background of the student and their family. 

Private Loans

Students can borrow the total cost of attendance, living expenses, tuition and fees using private loans. Interest rates may be variable or fixed, and repayment can be done when one graduates. If students are eligible for personal loans, they need to devise a repayment schedule for when they pay back the loan. There are donors and grants that help students pay off their loans. 

Federal Loans

The U.S. Department of Education can help students take out loans at reduced interest rates, provide loan forgiveness programs and repayment options. It is available to those with financial needs, and it can be in the form of direct, subsidized and unsubsidized loans. 

Scholarships for Master’s in Nutrition
Online Degree

Graduate scholarships are open to individuals enrolled or pursuing a master’s degree from an accredited program. There are many program-specific and niche scholarships where candidates pursuing degrees from a particular field can apply. Some of the online master’s in nutrition scholarships include:

Scholarship Description Amount/AwardApplication Deadline
TYLENOL Future Care ScholarshipTYLENOL awards annual scholarships to meritorious students who pursue careers in healthcare. It is a competitive national-level award. Since it is merit-based, the recipients have a high cumulative GPA, consistent high academic performance and practical experience in the field.$10,000June 30
Herbalife Nutrition ScholarshipAdministered by the American Society for Nutrition Foundation in collaboration with Herbalife Nutrition, the organization supports applicants in research or clinical training and are pursuing an advanced degree in nutrition or related domains. It is directed to those who want to become registered dietitians or RDs.$5,000January
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation ScholarshipThe Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is one of the organizations that provide dietetic scholarships to meritorious students at all levels of academic work. To be considered as an applicant, one must be enrolled in an advanced degree in a U.S. regionally accredited university.$500-$25,000April

Career Opportunities and Salaries
After Graduating

Nutritionists are health professionals who will advise clients on their dietary and wellness regimens. Their treatment focuses on maintaining the client’s health and improving conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Those completing an online master’s in nutrition can expect their future employment to be in the following roles:

  • Food Product Development Scientist
  • Public Health Nutritionist
  • Nutritionist
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialists
  • Nutritional Therapists
  • Health Educators
  • Health Coach
  • Nutrition Writer
  • Nutritional Aide
  • Food Service Associate

Some of these roles are explored in more detail below:

Occupation Job Description Skills RequiredMedian Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2031)
Dietitians and Nutritionists[2]Dietitians and nutritionists can help support and prevent the treatment of health conditions such as autoimmune diseases, obesity and heart diseases. They provide personalized information to clients on how to plan meals and balance one’s blood sugar.Analytical skills, listening skills, organizational skills, problem-solving skills, speaking skills, compassion$61,6507% (as fast as average)
Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers[3]Health educators and community health workers provide training for healthcare stakeholders. They may also collect and analyze data to understand a specific community and improve services and programs. In addition they may educate their clients about the significance of healthcare services.Analytical skills, communication skills, instructional skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills$48,86012% (much faster than average)
Fitness Trainers and Instructors[4]Fitness instructors and trainers work with clients of all ages and different levels of skills. They give them information or resources on lifestyle and nutrition, monitor their progress and adapt programs as needed.Communication skills, customer service skills, listening skills, motivational skills, physical stamina, problem-solving skills$40,70019% (much faster than average)
Exercise Physiologists[5]Exercise physiologists measure oxygen usage, heart rhythm, blood pressure and other important health indicators. They develop exercise programs to improve the health of patients suffering from pulmonary or cardiovascular diseases.

Compassion, decision-making skills, detail-oriented, interpersonal skills
$47,9409% (faster than average)
Nutrition Writers[6]Nutrition writers keep abreast of the latest research to collect detailed and factual information on nutrition and wellness methdologies. They may also manage a nutrition blog network with articles written by different dieticians and write about a health-related subject that interests a wide range of readers.Communication skills, detail-oriented, verbal skills, writing skills$69,5104% (faster than average)
Epidemiologist[7]Epidemiologists are general public health workers investigating different causes and patterns of injuries and diseases. They are also responsible for planning and directing studies of public health problems and finding other ways to prevent and treat such issues.Communication skills, detail-oriented, critical thinking skills, leadership skills, math skills, statistical skills$78,83026% (as fast as average)

Certifications and Licensing for Online Master’s
Students in Nutrition

Certifications are designated credentials that individuals can earn to verify their legitimacy and competence in performing their job. In the domain of nutrition, many certifications are available. Some of the standard certifications graduates can take up in this field include:

Certified Nutrition Coach Certification

Through this certification, professionals demonstrate their understanding of the different effects of nutritional intake on individual health. They will be able to identify the role of dietary habits in promoting wellness and health and describe factors that influence those nutritional patterns. They will also demonstrate their ability to apply evidence-based principles and methodologies while working with clients. 

American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) Certifications

This certification demonstrates one’s ability to provide practical tips on how to establish healthy eating habits. Those applying for these certifications do strategic counseling and set goals. As professionals, one will also be able to effectively communicate and administer advanced goal-setting methods. 

Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition

This certification demonstrates that individuals have the skills to assert themselves as a viable part of the healthcare delivery system. It involves getting a standardized education, staying updated with the history of nutrition, passing a national board exam and undergoing the credentialing process. It demonstrates one’s passion and commitment to the holistic health industry. 
Graduates with nutrition master’s degrees online can get licensed from their respective state organizations. Licensed nutritionists have credentials from recognized organizations such as the board for certification of nutrition specialists, clinical nutrition certification board and commission on dietetic registration.

Additional Resources for Master’s
Students in Nutrition Degree

Here is a list of various resources students can use to further their graduate studies. Some of these additional resources can be accessed outside the traditional curriculum by joining and following different nutrition-related organizations. Those pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition online can join or refer to the following associations:

Title/Resource Job Description
National Association of Nutrition ProfessionalsThis organization takes pride in the natural chef and holistic nutrition schools. They provide a means to continue education programs and meet high academic standards. One can also become a well-informed leader by joining the holistic nutrition community. 
Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsThis organization was founded to help the government conserve food and make public health and nutrition more efficient during World War I. Its focus is on improving the nutritional well-being of the public while communicating the members’ expertise to accelerate improvements in global health and well-being.
American Nutrition AssociationThe organization develops many resources for its members and educates the general public about nutrition. They have many online and interactive courses developed in collaboration with the Institute for Functional Medicine. Their resources also include certification to become advanced practitioners in nutrition.
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral NutritionASPEN’s mission is to improve health and patient care to advance clinical metabolism and nutrition science and practice. It envisions a system where every patient receives effective, high-quality, safe nutrition care.
American Council on Science and HealthThis organization works on trusted guides in a cultural landscape, providing information about policy and advocacy. They focus on different ways the public and policymakers can practice evidence-based and professional aspects of the field.

FAQs About Master’s in Nutrition
Online Programs

Why should you take a master’s in nutrition degree online?

Studying for an online master’s in nutrition can benefit those who want to complete a degree while managing other personal or professional responsibilities. Those opting for an online program will not only benefit from the flexibility of the coursework but will also save on a tuition cost that is less expensive.

Is there any practical exposure in a master’s coursework?

Is a master in nutrition worth it?

What is the duration of a nutrition master’s?

Is taking up a thesis necessary for master’s of nutrition?

Is it necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition to pursue a master’s?

Can a master’s program help in getting licensed as a nutritionist?

Author Bio:

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.