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Nutritional Sciences Program

PhD in Nutritional Science

Students first undertake coursework covering the fundamental areas of study and the core knowledge areas. Students then develop their dissertation project. A general and a final examination are required to complete the degree.

Learning Objectives: Upon satisfactory completion of a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, graduates will be able to:

  1. Meet the competencies established by the School of Public Health for all MS and PhD students;
  2. Meet the core competencies established by the Nutritional Sciences Program for all Nutritional Sciences students;
  3. Apply knowledge of human nutrient requirements and their relationship to metabolic pathways and physiological function to the design of research, teaching, and policy proposals;
  4. Select appropriate methods to perform an in depth assessment of the nutritional status of individuals and groups as part of a planning process that takes into consideration the planned outcomes, uses of the assessment and resource limitations;
  5. Justify the importance of nutritional sciences in terms of how nutritional factors across the lifespan affect etiology, incidence, and prevalence of major diseases, quality of life, and productivity at work and school in the population;
  6. Critically examine the process, rationale and issues related to establishing nutrient requirements and dietary guidance for the population;
  7. Apply conceptual models of evidence-based approaches to promoting nutritional health;
  8. Construct testable hypotheses, develop appropriate study designs, and conduct research, which will significantly expand knowledge of nutritional sciences;
  9. Disseminate research findings through oral presentations and peer reviewed journals;
  10. Develop and prepare proposals for procuring research funding; and
  11. Develop and provide instruction in a higher education academic setting, demonstrating use of evidence-based pedagogical principals.

PhD Degree Requirements in Nutritional Sciences


Required Nutrition Courses: 32 credits

NUTR 500

Graduate Seminar (A,W,Sp)

3 credits

NUTR 520

Nutrition & Metabolism I (A)

3 credits

NUTR 521

Nutrition & Metabolism II (W)

3 credits

NUTR 522

Nutrition & Metabolism III (Sp)

3 credits


Nutrition Research Design (A, 1st Year)

1 credit


Nutrition Research Design (A, 2nd Year)

2 credits

NUTR 531

Public Health Nutrition (W)

4 credits

NUTR 562

Nutrition & Chronic Disease (Sp)

4 credits


Additional 500-level Nutrition courses

9 credits

Other requirements: 44-56 credits


Other Sciences (related to specific interests)

24 credits

  Epidemiology (EPI 511 or EPI 512/513)* 4-8 credits



8-12 credits


Research Methods

8-12 credits

Dissertation Credits: minimum 27 credits

NUTR 800

Dissertation (A,W,Sp,S)

27 credits

TOTAL credit requirements: 103-115


GCPD Requirements

PhD students enrolled in the RD training program (GCPD) will need to complete the following courses:

  • GCPD Seminar (NUTR 561A)
  • Food Safety and Health (NUTR 545; Track 1 only)
  • Nutrition Education Principles and Practice (NUTR 536)
  • Nutrition Counseling (NUTR 560)
  • Management in Nutrition Services (NUTR 564; Track 1 only)
  • Nutrition and Acute Care (NUTR 563)
  • Orientation to Clinical Practice (NUTR 559)

The timing of PhD student course and internship requirements will be coordinated on a case by case basis to accommodate their dissertation research projects.

Useful Links

Graduate School Home Page
Doctoral Degree Info
Academic Calendar
Link to Time Schedule
Proposal for Independent Study Registration (NUTR 537, 600, 700, 800) (aka "Goldenrod")
Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Grants and Funding Information Service
Statistical Consulting Services
School of Public Health

Updated May 8, 2014


Please join us for a weekly seminar series that will examine sustainability and nutrition security as it pertains to food, nutrition, and health including topics such as global sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions, agroecology, food systems, and climate change. The seminar is open to all UW faculty, staff, and students.  Seminar Schedule



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