Top 35 Nutrition Degree Programs

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There are many types of nutritionists, as we have described in these pages. Licensed nutritionists, non-licensed nutritionists, holistic nutritionists, sports nutritionists, public health nutritionists, oncology nutritionists…the list can go on and on. Becoming a nutritionist requires some type of education, either at the certificate, undergraduate or graduate level. The level of education you receive as a would-be nutritionist depends upon your ultimate goal, whether you desire any type of certification, and what your state laws required. [In this piece, when we talk about “nutritionists,” we are referring to those who are not registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) or registered dietitians (RD)].

We have already ranked the best registered dietitian schools (link), and the best online nutrition and dietetic degrees (link). But what about degrees that are strictly for those who want to be nutritionists, not registered dietitians? Here, we will rank the top 35 nutrition degrees, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. If your goal is to become any type of nutritionist, you can search for the best education options here.

How We Ranked the Top 35 Nutrition Degree Programs 

Students who are seeking the best nutrition degree program, whether undergraduate or graduate, might feel lost and wondering where to begin. We have narrowed down the choices for you to the top 35 nutrition degree programs, based on a few factors. 


We have pre-selected these nutrition degree programs, so that you can be sure that the programs listed below have each been accredited or approved. Accreditation may be of an institution or of a program. Approval means that a group, such as the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), has endorsed the program.  Examples of the accreditations and approvals you will see on this list are:

Institutional Accreditation

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WASC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

Programmatic Accreditation or Approval

  • American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
  • Accreditation Council for Nutrition Professional Education (ACNPE)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)
  • National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP)

Leads to Certification 

Most of the programs listed below can lead to a nutritional certification by a professional certification agency. There are far too many nutritional certifications to list here, but examples of certifications that are associated with the programs listed below include:

  • Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS)
  • Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) of the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB)
  • Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC)
  • Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN) of the Holistic Nutrition Certification Board of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP)
  • Certified Nutrition Professional (CNP) of the Holistic Nutrition Certification Board of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP)
  • AFPA Holistic Nutritionist of the American Fitness Professional Association 
  • AFPA Sports Nutrition Specialist of the American Fitness Professional Association
  • Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM, CFPP) of the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals (ANFP)
  • Certified Health and Wellness Coach (CHWC) of the National Board of Medical Education
  • Certified Nutrition Coach of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM-CNC)
  • School Nutrition Specialist (SNS)
  • National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) of the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC)


Our list of the top 35 nutrition degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels includes programs of all types. Some of the programs listed below are offered completely online. Some are strictly on campus programs. Others are hybrid programs, with some coursework taken in person, and some coursework given online. Flexibility is important to students today, and colleges and universities that have recognized this often offer the top programs. 

The schools listed below are in alphabetical order by state, and not in any particular ranking order. Without further ado, we now present the Top 35 Nutrition Degree Programs in the United States as of 2024.



Sonoran’s MS in Clinical Nutrition is a fully online program that prepares graduates to work as advanced nutritionist and to take the Clinical Nutrition Specialist (CNS) exam.  This 54-credit degree program can be completed in 21 months.



Bastyr’s master’s degree program fulfills the requirements for Clinical Nutrition Specialist (CNS) certification. The hybrid program can be completed in two years, full-time. It focuses on the relationship of whole foods to holistic health. Graduates will also qualify as nutrition professionals under California code. The program also meets national standards for Health and Wellness Coaching. A bachelor’s degree and prerequisites are necessary for admission.


Merrit’s AS in Dietetic Technology is ACEND-accredited and prepares students to become Dietetic Technicians. The AS in Nutrition and Dietetics for Transfer is designed for students who plan to transfer to a California State University institution to prepare for a career in nutrition and dietetics. An optional Dietary Manager certificate is also available, that can prepare graduates to apply for certification as a Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) and Certified Food Protection Professional (CFFP).

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Department of Nutrition, Davis, CA

UC Davis’ BS in Nutrition Science examines how food can help people live healthier, longer lives. Graduates can go on to pursue further graduate study, or work in community nutrition, public health, research, business and industry, and more. 


WESTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY, Department of Health Promotion & Exercise Sciences, Danbury, CT

WCSU’s MS in Human Nutrition invites students with bachelor’s degrees in any field to apply, as long as they complete prerequisites. The 38-credit program can be completed in two years. A thesis or project may be selected at the conclusion of the program. Students who wish to sit for the CNS exam may complete a self-driven clinical practicum to fulfill the test requirements.


THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE, College of Health Sciences, Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition, Newark, DE

Students in UD’s MSHN program may choose a thesis or non-thesis option. Applicants to the program may have a bachelor’s degree in any area providing that they fulfill prerequisites. GRE scores are also required for admission. Many certifications are available to graduates who wish to seek them.


SEMINOLE STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA, Department of Health Sciences, Healthcare Programs, Sanford, FL

The AA in Nutritional Sciences Pathway at Seminole State is designed for students who intend to transfer to an upper division public college or university in Florida to further their studies. The 60-credit program can be completed in two years, and fulfills prerequisites for many bachelor’s degree nutrition programs. 


UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, Honolulu, HI

This MS program offers concentrations in nutritional biochemistry, nutritional epidemiology, diet and cancer, obesity, mineral nutrition and toxicology, dietary and functional fiber, and community and international nutrition. Graduates may pursue research or academic positions and may seek a variety of nutrition certifications.


WESTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, School of Education and Human Services, Department of Kinesiology, Macomb, IL

WIU’s BS in Nutrition and Foodservice Management degree prepares students to work in nutrition services and the foodservices industry. Instruction in nutritional care and education, as well as the planning and provision of food services, life-span nutrition and wellness, and development of food products, will be studied. 


KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY, Global Campus, Manhattan, KS

K-State’s online master’s program in food science emphasizes food chemistry, food safety, food microbiology and food engineering. The program consists of 34 credit hours. Those who have completed prerequisites in biology, physics, microbiology, organic and biochemistry, calculus and statistics and live in the US or Canada may apply. No GRE is necessary to apply to this program. Graduates are eligible for a variety of certifications.



The MSNIH program at Maryland University of Integrative Health is one of only two programs in the US accredited by ACNPE. Two concentrations are available: 48 credits in Human Clinical Nutrition, and 58 credits in Herbal Medicine. The degree can be finished in two to four years. Graduates may sit for the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) exam if they complete the MUIH Nutrition Internship Program. Graduates may also seek certification as a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN), Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), and Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN).


NORTH SHORE COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Division of Career & Technical Education and Business, Danvers, MA

The AS in NSD at North Shore Community College is designed to prepare students to work as Diet Technicians. Diet Technicians may work independently as nutrition consultants, as research assistants, or with a Registered Dietitian. The program totals 60 credits and can be completed in two years, full-time.


WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Detroit, MI

Wayne State’s BA in Nutrition and Food Science is designed for those who are interested in non-technical nutrition and food science careers, such as food service management, customer relations, and sales. The BS program is intended for those interested in the more technical, science-based careers, like research, teaching, and work in public health. Many nutritional certifications are open to graduates of this program as well.


UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, St. Paul, MN

The University of Minnesota’s interdisciplinary nutrition graduate program offers students options that include a thesis or a project. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any field and complete prerequisites. Graduates have gone on to pursue research and academic positions, and many certifications are also available to graduates of this program. 


UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI, College of Education and Human Sciences, School of Kinesiology and Nutrition, Hattiesburg, MS

This fully online program allows graduates to pursue careers in food service, child nutrition program management, food and nutrition services management, and community nutrition. The program culminates in a capstone research project. A variety of nutrition, food management and food safety certifications are available to graduates. 


SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY, College of Education, Health & Human Studies, Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition & Recreation, Cape Girardeau, MO

SEMO’s MS in Nutrition and Exercise Science is an on campus program, and no GRE scores are required for admission into the program. Coursework focuses on lifestyle disease prevention, exercise physiology, metabolism and research. The program is 39 credit hours in length. If a thesis is completed, an internship is not required. If applied research is chosen in lieu of a thesis, an internship must be completed, along with a comprehensive exam, prior to graduation. Many nutrition and fitness certifications are possible for graduates holding this degree, some after a required internship is completed.


MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY, Department of Health and Human Development, Bozeman, VT

MSU’s program focuses on understanding what determines physical activity and energy expenditure, exercise metabolism and nutrition, and adaptive exercise. Those entering the program should have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, nutrition or a related field, or be prepared to take prerequisite coursework. A variety of nutrition and fitness certifications are possible for graduates of this program.


UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN, College of Education and Human Services, Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Lincoln, NE

Specializations in UNL’s MS program are available in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Community Nutrition and Health Promotion, and Nutrition and Exercise. GRE scores may be required for admittance into some of these programs. A bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a closely related field is necessary for admission. Certifications of many types are possible for graduates of this program.

New Jersey


GCU’s MA in Integrative Health studies how nutrition, stress, energy and mind-body connections affect the health of the whole person. The program is 36 credits and can be completed in one to two years. Admissions are accepted to this innovative, unique graduate program year-round. 

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Department of Nutritional Sciences, New Brunswick, NJ

Options for specialization in Rutgers’ BS in NS program include Nutrition, Community Nutrition, Food Service Administration, and Nutrition, Food and Business. A wide range of careers are available to graduates of each concentration, as are many nutritional certifications. 

New York 


Online and on campus students in Nassau’s 63 credit AS in Food and Nutrition program can take advantage of the laboratory on campus which includes facilities necessary for them to prepare and serve meals. A state-of-the-art dietary analysis program also prepares students to work in healthcare facilities. 



ACHS’s programs are offered online. Graduates of the AAS program may sit for the BCHN (Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition) exam of the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board. Bachelor’s degree graduates may also take the BCHN exam. Master’s degree graduates may take the BCHN exam and the CNP (Certified Nutrition Professional) exam as long as they complete the requisite experience.


NUNM’s Master’s in Nutrition enables graduates to seek certification as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialist. The bachelor’s degree programs in nutrition focus on nutrition, natural sciences and social sciences, culminating in a capstone project.

UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN STATES, Department of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Portland, OR

Full-time students can complete the HNFM program in two years, but students may work at their own pace, as long as they complete it in five years. The 43.3 semester credit program focuses on the clinical management of chronic illnesses and conditions through nutrition. Graduates are prepared for a variety of nutritionist positions and certifications.


CEDAR CREST COLLEGE, School of Adult and Graduate Education, Allentown, PA

Cedar Crest’s MHSc online program prepares graduates to work in health promotion and disease prevention and take on nutritional challenges in public health. The program is 36 credits and designed for advanced level application and practice. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree and completion of prerequisites may apply.

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, School of Health and Rehabilitations Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA

University of Pittsburgh’s BS program in Nutrition Science provides students with a foundation for careers in business and industry, food and nutrition management, public policy, and public health. The degree is 120 credits, with 60 credits completed prior to admission and 60 in the program.

WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, College of Health Sciences, Department of Nutrition, West Chester, PA

WCU’s MSCN is a research-focused degree program for those who wish to obtain an advanced degree in community nutrition. It consists of 33 credits and culminates with a capstone paper. The program may be taken full- or part-time. Positions in community nutrition, nutrition services, and business are available to graduates, as are a variety of certifications.



All programs at Huntington are offered totally online. Students may work at their own pace, or at a semester-based pace. Graduates of the bachelor’s degree programs may take the Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) exam, the Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) exam, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN) exam, and Certified Practitioner level exam with the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA). Graduates of the associate degree programs may take the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB) exam.


HILL COLLEGE, Department of Holistic Wellness, Hillsboro, TX

Hill College’s unique program can culminate in an associate degree and/or prepare you to take board exams for the NANP Holistic Nutrition Board, and NBHWC Wellness Coach exam. Classes are offered online and in-person. Whether you are new to the nutrition field or have a background in it, this program can be tailored to fit your needs.


Parker University’s MS in Functional Nutrition is delivered 100% online, and offers an evidence-based program of study focusing on nutritional biochemistry and how it is applied to health maintenance, disease prevention, and disease treatment.

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Health and Human Performance, Houston, TX

The BS in Human Nutrition and Foods has two tracks for those who do not wish to become Registered Dietitians: the Nutrition and Fitness track, and the Nutritional Sciences track. Both provide a foundation for students who want to work in health and fitness fields. The nutritional sciences track also prepares students for careers in research and further graduate study. 

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, School of Human Ecology, College of Natural Sciences, Austin, TX

The MS in Nutritional Sciences at UT Austin can be taken in an on campus or online fashion. Two tracks are available in the program: a one-year track for students who are preparing to go on to medical school, pharmacy school, dental school or physician assistant programs; and a two-year track intended for working professionals in the field who want to further their knowledge. Graduates may sit for the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) exam after completing 1000 hours of supervised practice elsewhere.


BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, College of Life Sciences, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science, Provo, UT

BYU’s BS in Nutritional Science prepares students for careers in research, the nutraceutical industry, community nutrition programs, and the fitness industry. Some opt to go on to graduate school, while others may seek nutritional certifications. Electives may include cell biology and genetics, food science, sports nutrition, and community nutrition.


Students with a bachelor’s degree in any field may apply to RMU’s MSHS-Functional Nutrition program. It studies the use of food as a natural medicine and in disease prevention and health promotion. Graduates may sit for the CNS examination after completing the experience requirement. The online program takes two years to complete


UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences & Animal Sciences Department, Laramie, WY

This flexible, research-based degree program at the University of Wyoming is held on campus. You must complete a graduate thesis or project in a research area, in consultation with a faculty member. Graduates may seek employment in research, food product development, public health and community nutrition, and may also seek various certifications.