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Nutritional Sciences Program

Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

See also Minor in Nutritional Sciences Frequently Asked Questions



About the Program:
Programs & Degrees
| Cost & Workload
Graduate Program Admission:
GRE & TOEFL | Previous Degree | Prerequisite Courses | Competition & Strengthening My Application | Applying | Transferring | Further Questions

About the Program

Programs & Degrees

What degrees/programs do you offer?

The Nutritional Sciences Program offers a Master's of Science Program (MS), a Master's in Public Health Nutrition Program (MPH), and a Doctorate Program (PhD). Additionally, the graduate program offers a Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD) which provides the coursework and supervised practice that is required to become a Registered Dietitian® (RD). Training in the application of nutritional sciences to dietetic practice is provided through didactic, clinical, and community experiences.

What courses are offered in the graduate program?

The curriculum is based on strong foundations in biological sciences, clinical nutrition, nutrition education, and nutrition research. Students receive a broad exposure to classroom, clinical, and research settings and benefit from the University's interdisciplinary approach. Please check our Course Listings page for a specific list of program courses.

What kind of jobs are available for Nutritional Sciences graduates?

Students pursue jobs in nutrition research; clinical dietetics (neonatal, pediatrics, adult); local, state, and U.S. government funded nutrition programs; home health care; food and supplement industry, consulting practice (business, private); corporate wellness, and sports performance. Median annual earnings of dietitians and nutritionists were $53,250 in 2010. Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook Online for more information about a career in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Graduates of the program work in The Center for Public Health Nutrition (Research Coordinators), The Hunger Intervention Program(Program Manager), Washington Physicians Health Program (Research and Communications Coordinator), Highline Medical Center (On-Call Dietitian), and Harborview Medical Center (Meal Host Program Coordinator) to name a few examples.

Does the University of Washington offer an undergraduate degree in Nutrition?

We offer an undergraduate minor in nutritional sciences, however we do not have an undergraduate major in nutritional sciences. If you are interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree with a major in nutrition in the Seattle area, Bastyr University offers degrees in Nutrition and Exercise and Wellness. Seattle Pacific University also offers a Food and Nutritional Sciences (Dietetics, Sports and Exercise) degree and an Exercise Science degree.

Do you offer a distance learning program?

No, we do not; our graduate program is a full-time day program on the main UW campus. There are universities that offer distance learning programs. They are listed on the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. AAND says: “Many programs offer one or more courses by distance education and are identified in each list (CPs; DPDs). Because distance education is evolving you will need to contact the individual program to determine current information about coursework available by distance. Currently there are two Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) -accredited distance education DPDs that allow a student to complete all the coursework requirements for becoming a RD. These are at the University of Northern Colorado, Greely and Kansas State University. There is one ACEND - accredited distance education CP at Eastern Michigan University.

Currently, there are three ACEND - accredited DT programs that enable you complete the requirements for becoming a DTR by distance. They are at Pennsylvania State University, Central Arizona College and Cosumnes River College in California.”

Cost & Workload

What will it cost to attend the University of Washington's Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences?

Tuition fees are established by the University of Washington. See the Residency website for more information on residency classification. Though financial assistance through the Nutritional Sciences office is limited, students who have already been accepted to the program may be eligible for scholarships or other financial assistance. International students, however, must show proof of financial ability before the University of Washington Graduate Admissions office will accept their application.

Do you fund your graduate students with teaching positions, fellowships, etc.?

Current master’s and doctoral students are eligible to apply for several teaching assistantships and scholarships offered by the Nutritional Sciences Program. There are a limited number of competitively awarded research assistantships that are typically awarded to the top PhD applicants to provide support during the first year of studies while they work to identify a faculty advisor and pursue options for continued funding. Our students are also eligible to apply for and have been successful in obtaining support from training grants and fellowships offered within the School of Public Health and the University of Washington, including several training grants in Maternal and Child Health. Additionally, our students have been successful in obtaining scholarships from outside organizations such as the Washington State Dietetic Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Funding opportunities are publicized to all enrolled students as they become available each year. Please see the Funding Resources for more information.

I am applying for the MPH in the interdisciplinary program of Nutrition with the GCPD. I am wondering about the work load. Would I be able to continue working part time? How many days/week are classes?

A full-time load is 10 credits; MPH students usually do around 15, which means 15 hours of class-time during the week. If you estimate at least 2 hours of outside work per hour of in-class work, you will have a full schedule.

A lot of our students DO work part time, but holding down a full-time job and completing a masters is difficult, if it's even possible.

Graduate Program Admission


How recent do my GRE scores need to be?

According to the GRE testing service, scores are good for five years. If your scores will be older than this by the application deadline, please plan on re-taking them in time for them to reach the Graduate School by then. This can take up to a month. For more information about GRE testing scores, visit the GRE website.

Can I substitute the MCAT for the GRE?

According to the Grad School, "Applicants holding doctoral level degrees (PhD, JD, MD, etc) from an accredited institution in the U.S. may be exempt from the GRE requirement. This is the only exemption we allow."

I have all my application materials ready, but my GRE's aren't scheduled until next month. What should I do?

You may submit your completed application without your GRE's. The GRE scores will come directly to our department approximately 2 to 3 weeks after you have taken your exam, so please plan your exam date so that we can get them by the application deadline. You can find information about the GREs on www.gre.org.

Do you have minimum score requirement on each section of the IBT TOEFL?

See the basic program admission requirements for information on prerequisites.

Previous Degree

Do I need to have a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition or Dietetics in order to apply to the graduate program?

No; Our students have very diverse backgrounds, with degrees in archaeology, nursing, nutrition, psychology, biology, and many others. See the basic program admission requirements for more information on prerequisites.

Does my foreign degree qualify me to apply to your Graduate School?

The official assessment and academic preparation of international students must be done by the Graduate School. The evaluation of an overseas degree is based on the following:

  • The characteristics of a national system of education in the home country
  • The type of institution attended
  • The field of study and level of studies completed
  • Official accreditation/recognition status of school

Since there are no U.S. federal guidelines on admission, each institution determines its own policy on prior degrees.

At the University of Washington, you must have at least a baccalaureate degree equivalent to a regionally accredited U.S. institution to apply for admission to this Graduate School (3 year degrees do not qualify).


Prerequisite Courses

I haven’t finished all my prerequisites; may I take them concurrently in my first year?

We require all prerequisites to be finished BEFORE the program starts. You may still apply with a few prerequisites outstanding, provided that you can finish them before the start of Autumn quarter in late September/early October. If you are accepted yet find you cannot do this, you will be asked to defer enrollment until the next year, while you can get them completed.

How Competitive is Admission & Strengthening My Application

Is the graduate program competitive? How many students are accepted?

Each year the program receives approximately 150 applications for the program. On average, we offer acceptance to approximately 30%. On average, our actual incoming class is about 15 - 20 students. These students are comprised of the 12 positions available in the GCPD (MS/GCPD or MPH/GCPD), as well as some students who choose to pursue a Master's Degree without becoming a Registered Dietitian, and 2 - 3 PhD students.

What are the average GRE and GPAs of the applicants to the graduate program?

The minimum GPA accepted is 3.0; the average GPA for accepted applicants in the last admissions cycle was 3.7. The minimum GRE should be at or above the 50th percentile for both the verbal and quantitative sections and 3.5 or higher on the analytical writing section. The average GRE scores for the accepted applicants in the last admissions cycle were 78.5% on the verbal and 65.9% on the quantitative.  Applications are reviewed on the basis of the whole package; one student might have a lower GPA and have a really strong overall application and be accepted, one might have a high GPA but have other weaknesses that preclude acceptance.

What kinds of volunteer opportunities are available?

While we have nothing within the program itself, we recommend prospective students look to food banks, community gardens, hospitals and long term care facilities to gain nutrition experience. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics can sometimes provide ideas on volunteering. Food Lifeline offers volunteer opportunities as well as Marra Farms and the Hunger Intervention Program. An internet search may provide more results.


How do I apply?

Applications can be submitted via the Graduate School on the Web. See the application instructions for detailed information.

If I apply both the MS and MPH of Nutritional Sciences, do I need to mail the additional materials separately? Do I need to send the GRE and TOEFL separately?

Applying for both programs is strongly discouraged. One of the qualities that the admissions committee is looking for is focus. Applying to both does not show focus.

Also, the core courses of both the MS and MPH are the same; the difference is what the program concentrates on. So you really need to decide one way or the other; if you are looking for community work, public health, etc., apply for the MPH. If you want to focus more on the clinical aspects of nutrition, then the MS is what you're looking for.

I've submitted my materials online; do I need to also send them in?

No, if you have submitted your materials we should have no problem viewing them. If we are missing anything or have problems with what you've uploaded, we will contact you directly.


Will credits from my current school transfer to the graduate program?

A student working toward a master's degree may petition the Dean of the Graduate School for permission to transfer to the University of Washington the equivalent of a maximum of 6 quarter credits of graduate level course work taken at another recognized academic institution. These credits may not have been used to satisfy requirements for another degree. The petition must include a written recommendation for the graduate program coordinator and an official transcript indicating completion of the course work. Transfer credits are not entered on the UW transcript.

Further Questions

Who can I contact with a question?

You should refer all initial questions to our Graduate Program Assistant, who can assist with general questions about the graduate program, the application process, and will direct you to an advisor if more specific information about transcripts or prerequisites is desired.


Please join us for our Winter 2015 seminar series that will examine critical issues in global nutrition, such as malnutrition, hidden hunger, and dual burden of disease, focusing on food justice and the right to food both in Seattle–King County and globally. The seminar is open to all UW faculty, staff, and students. Seminar Schedule

Faculty Postions Available The Nutritional Sciences Program and Department of Health Services are accepting applications to fill positions at the rank of Assistant Professor or Associate Professor (WOT). Position Announcement & Application Instructions



NSP   |   305 Raitt Hall  |   Box 353410   |   (206)-543-1730 VOICE   |   (206) 685-1696 FAX   |   nutr@u.washington.edu