Human Nutrition

Major: Human Nutrition
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours:
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 30.1901
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:

About the Program

The human nutrition major is designed to provide the didactic coursework necessary to prepare students to address the nutrition needs of individuals or groups, through prevention or management of illness or chronic disease. This major also encompasses nutrition science, the application of the principles of biochemistry, physiology, and biology to human nutritional needs. The major includes two tracks; the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) track leading to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), and the Nutrition Sciences track leading to application in research or industry. Applicants to the program should indicate to which track they are applying.

Current research in human nutrition includes: the prevention of obesity and diabetes across the lifespan; community engagement to improve healthful food access, availability, and exposure in school and clinic-based settings; nutrition misinformation in the areas of diabetes, oncology and weight control; and effectiveness of nutrition education (particularly by the use of multimedia) on health and eating habits.

Current research in nutrition science includes: dopamine-mediated mechanisms of food intake regulation in humans and its impact on metabolic homeostasis, especially as it applies to obesity, eating disorders and aging; the relationship between human exposure to pesticides and oxidative stress by measuring biomarkers of oxidative stress in biological fluids and DNA damage in human cells; identifying potential unique food safety risks for minority racial/ethnic and low income populations; and, understanding whether novel dietary interventions can influence bone-regulating hormones, bone mineral density, pro-inflammatory cytokines and energy metabolism. 

Graduate study in human nutrition is offered on both a full-time and part-time basis. Students are admitted only in the Fall or Winter terms. Students in the DPD track are required to complete a comprehensive exam at the end of the first year of study, and have the option to complete a research thesis. Students in the Nutrition Sciences track are required to complete a research thesis. In addition to the core curriculum, students select specialty courses relating to their major, as well as electives.

Visit the College's MS in Human Nutrition web page for more information.

Program Prerequisites

The Human Nutrition program builds on a fundamental background in human behavior, written communication, and the sciences of biology, chemistry, physiology and nutrition.

Applicants may apply to the program at any point in time while completing prerequisites. However, if they are accepted, all prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of B or better before students may enroll in the program.  

  •     1 year English composition and/or literature
  •     1 semester general biology with lab to include cells and genetics
  •     2 semesters general chemistry with lab, OR, 1 semester  general chemistry with lab AND 1 semester organic chemistry with lab
  •     1 semester upper-level (300-400 level) biochemistry 
  •     1 semester human physiology, OR, 2 semesters anatomy & physiology with lab
  •     1 semester general psychology
  •     1 semester statistics
  •     1 semester nutrition

In addition, students completing the DPD track will be required to complete the following 2 courses either before entry to the program or while completing the degree program in order to receive a DPD verification statement.

  •     1 semester basic food preparation (DPD track only)
  •     1 semester quantity foods (DPD track only)

Degree Requirements - Nutrition Sciences Track

Students are required to complete 21.0 credits of CORE courses and then select 24.0 credits of electives chosen from courses currently offered in Biology, Nutrition, Food Science, Environmental Science or Public Health after consulting with their advisor. Those students choosing the thesis option substitute 6 credits of research for two elective courses. Those students choosing the non-thesis option are required to pass a comprehensive exam before being granted their MS.

DPD Track:

FDSC 506Food Composition & Behavior3.0
NFS 510Profession of Dietetics3.0
NFS 525Nutritional Assessment Through the Life Cycle3.0
NFS 530Macronutrient Metabolism3.0
NFS 531Micronutrient Metabolism3.0
NFS 543Medical Nutrition Therapy I3.0
NFS 544Medical Nutrition Therapy II3.0
NFS 545Nutrition in Critical Care3.0
NFS 546World Nutrition3.0
NFS 550Foodservice Systems Management3.0
NFS 601Research Methods3.0
NFS 630Nutrition Counseling3.0
NFS 690Community Nutrition3.0
NFS 849Readings in Therapeutic Nutrition3.0
Total Credits45.0

Nutrition Sciences Track:

Required Courses18.0
Nutritional Assessment Through the Life Cycle
Research Methods
Methods of Nutrition Research
Special Topics
Electives (27 credits chosen from the following; must be approved by thesis advisor or committee)27.0
Biochemistry I
Biochemistry Laboratory I
Biology of Neuron Function
Neurobiology of Disease
Biochemistry of Metabolism
Biochemistry Laboratory II
Behavioral Genetics
Biochemistry of Major Diseases
Food Composition & Behavior
Food Microbiology
Food Microbiology Laboratory
Microbiology & Chemistry of Food Safety I
Nutritional Impact of Food Processing Methods
Food Chemistry
Food Analysis
Functional Foods
Microbiology & Chemistry of Food Safety II
Sensory Evaluation of Food
Macronutrient Metabolism
Micronutrient Metabolism
World Nutrition
Nutrition and Exercise Physiology
Advanced Nutritional Chemistry I
Advanced Nutritional Chemistry II
Community Nutrition
Topics in Metabolic Nutrition
Topics in Community Nutrition
Weight and Eating Disorders
Foundations of Biostatistics
Foundations in Research Methods
Intermediate Biostatistics
Interpretation of Data
Measurement Theory in Healthcare
Total Credits45.0

Degree Requirements  - Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Track

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) provides the coursework that is required to become a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RD/RDN). Dietetics is the practical application of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease. Dietetics is an exciting and challenging profession because there are many diseases that are related to nutrition, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

The Drexel University Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) provides classroom training for students who want to become Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists (RD/RDN). Our Didactic Program in Dietetics is accredited by the Accreditation Council For Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 S. Riverside Plaza
Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606
800-877-1600 x5400

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, most of whom are Registered Dietitians (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN).

To become an RD/RDN, students must complete a:

  • Minimum of a bachelor's degree with course work approved by ACEND. Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, community nutrition, nutrition counseling, basic and quantity food preparation, foodservice systems management and medical nutrition therapy.
  • An accredited, supervised practice program, also called a dietetic internship (DI), at health-care facilities, community agencies and in foodservice operations. The internship must provide a minimum of 1200 hours of hands-on training.
  • Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

Students who already have a bachelor's degree and want to become an RD/RDN, may complete coursework approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) at the master's degree level. Drexel University was one of the first universities in the country to offer the DPD program on the graduate level. In 2022, all newly credentialed RD/RDN will be required to have a graduate degree.

The MS in Human Nutrition with the DPD option is a full- or part-time program with courses offered in the evening. The program is 45.0 credits with a written comprehensive exam and may be completed in 18 months to two years with full-time study. Students who enroll part time typically complete the program in three to four years. After completing the MS in Human Nutrition, students participating in this program will also receive a Verification Statement which shows successful completion of the DPD and allows them to apply for an accredited supervised practice experience (dietetic internship).

Required Courses
FDSC 506Food Composition & Behavior3.0
NFS 510Profession of Dietetics3.0
NFS 525Nutritional Assessment Through the Life Cycle3.0
NFS 530Macronutrient Metabolism3.0
NFS 531Micronutrient Metabolism3.0
NFS 543Medical Nutrition Therapy I3.0
NFS 544Medical Nutrition Therapy II3.0
NFS 545Nutrition in Critical Care3.0
NFS 546World Nutrition3.0
NFS 601Research Methods3.0
NFS 630Nutrition Counseling3.0
NFS 550Foodservice Systems Management3.0
NFS 690Community Nutrition3.0
NFS 849Readings in Therapeutic Nutrition3.0
Total Credits45.0

Nutrition Sciences Faculty

Joan Rosen Bloch, PhD, CRNP (University of Pennsylvania). Associate Professor. Maternal and infant health outcomes with a particular focus on racial and ethnic perinatal health disparities.
Joseph Boullata, PharmD, RPh, BCSNP, FASPEN (University of Maryland). Clinical Professor. Nutrition-medication interactions; vitamin D metabolism; nutrition support.
Charlene Compher, PhD, RD, CNSC, LDN, FADA, FASPEN (Drexel University) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Robin M. Danowski, MS, RD, LDN. Instructor. Renal Nutrition
Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, FAND (Drexel University) Director, Center for Nutrition and Performance. Clinical Assistant Professor. Energy expenditure;sports nutrition
Franceso De Luca, MD (Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Angelo Del Parigi, MD (University of Bari, Italy) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Jonathan Deutsch, PhD (New York University). Professor. Social and cultural aspects of food, culinary education, culinary improvisation, recipe and product development; food sustainability.
Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, MSN, BSN, CNSC (New York University, School of Education, Division of Nursing). Associate Professor. Nutrition and surgical recovery to improve the care of older adults undergoing surgery; nutrition assessment, inflammation, and health outcomes.
Garrison L. Draper, MSc, CSCS, USAW, ISPAS (Edith Cowan Univerity, Perth, WA) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting instructor
Susan Ettinger, PhD, RD, DABN, CDN (Columbia University) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Debi Page Ferrarello, RN, MSN, MS, IBCLC, RLC (Jefferson University, Arcadia University). Instructor. Human lactation
Andrea Judge, MPH, IBCLC, RLC (University of North Carolina). Clinical Instructor. Human lactation
Joseph Kehayias, PhD (Indiana University). Professor. Body composition analyses; measurement of sarcopenia; osteoporosis; energy expenditure.
Tanya V.E. Kral, PhD (Pennsylvania State University) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Jake Lahne, PhD (University of Vermont). Assistant Professor. Sensory perception and preference in foods; flavor chemistry and sensory properties of alcoholic beverages; artisan, traditional, and local foods; consumer food choice and taste; cooking practice and food agency
Beth L. Leonberg, MS, MA, RD (Colorado State University, Rowan University) Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics . Instructor. Pediatric nutrition.
Rachelle Lessen, MS, RD, IBCLC, LDN (Arcadia University). Instructor. Human lactation
Michael Lowe, PhD (Boston College). Professor. Prevention and treatment of eating disorders and obesity; effects of appetitive responsiveness and dietary restraint on eating regulation; psychobiology of obesity-proneness; empirical foundations of unconscious processes.
Janell L. Mensinger, PhD (City University of New York). Associate Teaching Professor. Behavioral health promotion strategies, treating obesity, clinical research methods, statistics. Body perception, obesity and eating disorders.
Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD (Arizona State University). Assistant Professor. The development and evaluation of modifications in the natural environment to promote healthier living; farm to table school initiatives;
Juan Muniz, PhD (Oregon State University) Director, Nutrition Biochemistry Laboratory. Assistant Research Professor. Food microbiology; community-based research to assess pesticide levels in homes; prevention of health effects of pesticides for indigenous farmworkers.
Jennifer Nasser, PhD, RD, FTOS (Rutgers University). Associate Professor. Dopamine-mediated mechanisms of food intake regulation in humans and its impact on metabolic homeostasis, especially as it applies to obesity, eating disorders and aging.
Margaret O'Neil, PT, PhD, MPH (MCP Hahnemann University; Duke University; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Associate Professor. Measurement of and interventions to improve physical activity and fitness levels and promote participation in children and youth with who are overweight/obese and those with physical disabilities (especially cerebral palsy).
Irene E. Olsen, PhD, RD, LDN (Tufts University) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Jennifer Quinlan, PhD (North Carolina State University). Associate Professor. Food microbiology; microbiological quality and safety of produce, dairy and meat products in markets in high vs. low socioeconomics areas, Bacillus and Clostridium spores in food processing.
Sobhana Ranjan, PhD, RD (University of Delhi, India) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Barry Ritz, PhD (Drexel University) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Patricia A. Shewokis, PhD (University of Georgia). Professor. Roles of cognition and motor function during motor skill learning; role of information feedback frequency on the memory of motor skills, noninvasive neural imaging techniques of functional near infrared spectroscopy(fNIR) and electroencephalograpy (EEG) and methodology and research design.
Sinclair A. Smith, MS, DSc (Boston University) Chair, Health Sciences. Professor. The use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and near infrared spectroscopy to non-invasively study neuromuscular metabolism in humans; creatine supplementation on mitochondrial respiration; weight training studies.
Deeptha Sukuman, PhD (Rutgers University). Assistant Professor. Vitamin D and magnesium and bone mineral density; obesity and bone mineral density.
Alison Ventura, PhD (Pennsylvania State University) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor. Factors that contribute to the development of eating behaviors and dietary preferences during infancy and early childhood.
Stella Lucia Volpe, PhD, RD, LDN, FACSM (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) Chair, Nutrition Sciences. Professor. Prevention of obesity and diabetes across the lifespan; mineral metabolism and exercise; energy balance; sports nutrition.

Emeritus Faculty

Donna H. Mueller, PhD (Temple University) Registered Dietitian, Nutrition and Foods. Associate Professor Emeritus. Clinical nutrition; pediatric nutrition; nutrition in pulmonary diseases, especially cystic fibrosis; nutrition in developmental delay; dental nutrition; dietetic education and professional development.
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