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Nutritional Sciences Program

Admission Requirements

Applications for graduate study in Nutritional Sciences are reviewed and evaluated by a faculty committee. The committee bases decisions on each applicant’s academic record, applicable test scores, relevant professional work and/or volunteer experience, and motivation and interest in Nutritional Sciences. Admission to the Nutritional Sciences Program is competitive. To be considered for admission, the following requirements and prerequisites must be satisfied.

To apply, see the Application Instructions.

Degree and RD Training Program Applicant Requirements

  • Degree: Bachelor’s degree; may be in any field. If the required prerequisite courses listed below were not included in your degree program, they may be completed at any college or university prior to admission.
    • PhD Applicants: It is expected that most applicants to the PhD program will hold a Master's degree in nutrition or a related discipline. Students can apply to the PhD program without a previous Master's degree, but may be asked to initially enroll as a master's student with the option to petition to switch to the PhD after the first year of studies.
  • Prerequisite coursework: You must complete the following courses before entering to the program. A minimum of 1 quarter or 1 semester is required except where noted. If prerequisite courses were completed more than 10 years before entering the program, human nutrition, biochemistry, and human physiology should be retaken. Please see the prerequisite guidelines section below for examples of appropriate courses at UW and tips for identifying comparable courses at other institutions.
    • Nutrition (should be complete at the time of application)
    • General Chemistry
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Biochemistry (2 quarters or 1 semester)
    • Physiology
    Applicants to the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD) must also complete the following GCPD prerequisites:
    • English
    • Psychology
    • Microbiology
    • Food Science
  • GPA: 3.00 GPA or greater for the final 90 quarter credit hours or 60 semester credit hours completed
  • GRE (general exam) Score: Scores 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. Scores over 5 years old will not be accepted.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

In addition to the requirements for admission listed above, international applicants are required to submit:

  • TOEFL Scores (or other required English Proficiency Exam Score): International applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting official scores from one of the exams listed below. Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application is submitted. The minimum required scores are:
    • 92 on the TOEFL iBT
    • 580 on the TOEFL pBT (paper-based)
    • 7.0 on the IELTS
  • Evidence of Financial Ability International students can visit The Graduate School International Admissions website for more information on the financial ability requirement.


Prerequisite Guidelines

Transcript Evaluations

Due to the high number of inquiries we receive we are not able to do transcript evaluations for prospective applicants. With some exceptions, it should not be difficult for you to determine which courses you have satisfied or need to take at another school. Please refer to the table below for guidelines to assist with identifying appropriate courses.

The following table provides guidelines to assist you in identifying courses to satisfy the prerequisites for our programs.

Examples of courses available at the University of Washington and other schools are provided as a reference. Comparable courses may be taken from other colleges or universities including community colleges.

Applicants in Washington State: You may use the UW Equivalency Guide to find classes at local community colleges that are equivalent to the recommended courses at the University of Washington.

Prerequisites for All Applicants to the MS, MPH, or PhD in Nutritional Sciences
Prerequisite Guidelines for Selecting Appropriate Courses Examples of Courses that Satisfy the Prerequisites



1 Quarter or Semester

A general nutrition course that covers the science of human nutrition including nutrients, nutritional needs across the lifespan, health behaviors, and prevention of chronic disease.

Sample Courses at UW

NUTR 200 Nutrition for Today(Formerly NUTR 300)

Sample Online Courses

NUTR 200 Nutrition for Today - Available through UW Professional & Continuing Education

General Chemistry


1 Quarter or Semester

Course should cover atomic nature of matter, stoichiometry, acids and bases, chemical equilibrium, and gas laws.

Lab not required.

Sample Courses at UW

CHEM 142 General Chemistry

Organic Chemistry


1 Quarter or Semester

Should include introduction to structure, nomenclature, properties, and reactions of the main functional families of organic compounds. Stereochemistry and spectroscopy.

Lab not required.

Sample Courses at UW

CHEM 223 Organic Chemistry Short Program

CHEM 237 Organic Chemistry

CHEM 335 Honors Organic Chemistry



2 Quarters or
1 Semester


Should provide a survey of basic principles of biochemistry and molecular biology, emphasizing broad understanding of chemical events in living systems in terms of metabolism and structure-function relationships of biologically important molecules.

Lab not required.

Sample Courses at UW

BIOCHEM 405, 406 Introduction to Biochemistry

Sample Online Courses

University of New England: Medical Biochemistry

UC Berkeley Extension: MCELLBI X105 Introductory Biochemistry



1 Quarter or Semester *


Course should cover human physiology, metabolism and energetics, structure and function of biomolecules, cell and organ structure and function.

*Note: A number of institutions divide this content into two or more parts (such as "Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2"). If this is the case at your college or university, the expectation is that you complete both parts.

Lab not required, unless it is a standard component of the physiology course at your institution (Example: "Survey of Physiology & Physiology Lab")

Sample Courses at UW

BIOL 118 Survey of Physiology
and BIOL 119 Elementary Physiology Laboratory

Sample Courses at Other Colleges

Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II at North Seattle Community College or other community college.

Sample Online Options
University of New England: Medical Physiology (includes a lab)

Additional Prerequisites for Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics
Only required for GCPD Applicants
Prerequisite Guidelines for Selecting Appropriate Courses Examples of Courses that Satisfy the Prerequisites



1 Quarter or Semester

A basic English course with a composition component. Study and practice of good writing; topics derived from reading and discussing literature.

Sample Courses at UW

ENGL 111 Composition: Literature

ENGL 121 Composition: Social Issues

ENGL 131 Composition: Exposition



1 Quarter or Semester

An introductory psychology course covering major areas of psychological science including human social behavior, personality, psychological disorders and treatment, learning, human development, biological influences, and research methods.

Sample Courses at UW

PSYCH 101 Introduction to Psychology



1 Quarter or Semester

Acquaints students with microorganisms and their activities including microbial cell structure and function, metabolism, and the role of microorganisms in disease.

Lab not required.

Sample Courses at UW

MICRO 301 General Microbiology

Food Science


1 Quarter or Semester

Food Science, studies the scientific principles behind food composition, processing, preparation, safety, quality and culinary techniques with emphasis on sensory evaluation.

Lab required.

Recommended Course: Offered Online at UW

NUTR 441: Food and Culinary Science
Offered online during winter and summer quarter through UW Professional and Continuing Education (UW- PCE).

Updated March 12, 015


Close Up - A Look at the People of SPH: Jennifer Otten

Jennifer Otten, Assistant Professor and expert on food systems, is featured in April's SPH Close Up.  How much food do we throw away?  About one out of every four grocery bags, says food expert Jennifer Otten.  Find out what we can do to reduce our waste: http://ow.ly/LYMcm


Healthy Nutrition: From Farm to Fork
Jamie Bachaus, NSP MPH student, and Jennifer Otten, NSP Assistant Professor, guest authored the March 2015 issue of Elevate Health, the quarterly research digest of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The issue explores the link between public health and food systems and looks at recent evidence on how the US food system impacts such things as food availability, affordability, and quality.
Download the Issue

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



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