Human Nutrition

Major: Human Nutrition
Degree Awarded: Master's of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours:
Co-op Option: None
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.

Mission, Goals, and Outcome Measures

Drexel University's Department of Nutrition Sciences, Nutrition and Dietetics Program integrates a foundation in the nutrition sciences with courses in the social sciences to provide the knowledge, skills, and professional values needed for successful entry into dietetic internships, graduate school, or dietetics employment. The learning environment is structured to allow students and interns to use current technology, to participate in conducting research, and to engage in experiential learning, including co-operative education for undergraduates.

Goal 1

To provide quality didactic instruction and learning experiences to prepare graduates to be accepted into dietetic internships and graduate schools, or work in the field of dietetics.

Objective #1: Eighty percent of graduating BS students and 90% of graduating MS students will apply to an accredited dietetic internship.

Objective #2: Eighty percent of students who apply to dietetic internships or Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPPs) are accepted.

Objective #3: Seventy-five percent of students who apply to graduate school are accepted.

Objective #4: Eighty percent of graduates of the Drexel University ISPP who seek employment will be employed within six months of program completion.

Objective #5: Graduates of the didactic program in dietetics (DPD) will rate 10 aspects of their didactic and learning experiences and average of "4" or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5=excellent.

Objective #6: At least 90% of students will complete the program within 150% of the expected time frame for the program (BS-DPD full-time = 4 years; BS-DPD part-time = 5 to 7 years; Masters of Science [MS]-DPD full-time = 2 years; MS-DPD part-time = 4 years; ISPP full-time = 3 quarters or 1 year; ISPP part-time = 6 quarters or 2 years).

Goal 2

To prepare graduates to become competent entry-level dietitians.

Objective #1: The program's first time pass rate on the entry exam for all tracks (BS-DPD, MS-DPD, and ISPP) will be 80% or higher.

Objective #2: Internship directors of graduates of the DPD will rate 10 aspects of the students' preparation for internship an average "4" or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5=excellent.

Objective #3: Employers of alumni of the ISPP will rate 10 aspects of the employees' preparation for entry-level practice an average of "4" or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5=excellent.

Goal 3

To increase diversity in the profession by recruiting and retaining students from under-represented groups and facilitating their success in the program.

Objective #1: At least 10% of students in all tracks (BS-DPD, MS-DPD and ISPP cumulatively) will be from under-represented groups.

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 of English composition and/or literature
  •     1 semester of general biology with lab to include cells and genetics
  •     2 semesters of general chemistry with lab, OR, 1 semester of general chemistry with lab AND 1 semester of organic chemistry with lab
  •     1 semester biochemistry
  •     1 semester of human physiology, OR, 2 semesters of anatomy & physiology with lab
  •     1 semester of general psychology
  •     1 semester of statistics
  •     1 semester of nutrition

In addition, students completing the DPD track will be required to complete the following two courses either before entry to the program or while completing the degree program to receive a DPD Verification Statement.

  •      1 semester of basic and quantity food preparation (DPD track only), OR 1 semester of basic food preparation and 1 semester quantity food (DPD track only)

Degree Requirements - Nutrition Sciences Track

Students are required to complete 18.0 credits of CORE courses and then select 27.0 credits of electives chosen from courses currently offered in Biology, Nutrition, Food Science, Environmental Science or Public Health after consulting with their advisor.

Required Courses18.0
Nutritional Assessment Through the Life Cycle
Research Methods
Methods of Nutrition Research
Special Topics in NFS
Electives (27 credits chosen from the following; must be approved by thesis advisor or committee)27.0
Biochemistry I
Biochemistry Laboratory I
Biochemistry of Metabolism
Biochemistry Laboratory II
Behavioral Genetics
Biochemistry of Major Diseases
Biology of Neuron Function
Neurobiology of Disease
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

Sample Plan of Study - Nutrition Sciences Track

Term 1Credits
NFS 602Methods of Nutrition Research3.0
NFS Elective3.0
FDSC Elective3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 2
NFS 525Nutritional Assessment Through the Life Cycle3.0
2 NFS Electives6.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 3
NFS 601Research Methods3.0
NFS T680Special Topics in NFS3.0
 Term Credits6.0
Term 4
NFS 997Research2.0
2 NFS Electives6.0
 Term Credits8.0
Term 5
NFS 997Research2.0
2 NFS Electives6.0
 Term Credits8.0
Term 6
NFS 997Research2.0
NFS Elective3.0
 Term Credits5.0
Total Credit: 45.0

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 South Riverside Plaza
Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606
800-877-1600 x5400

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, most of whom are Registered Dietitians (RD) or Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists (RDN). Note that the "RD" and "RDN" credential are the same credential. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics included the "RDN" to reflect that "all registered dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians." In addition, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that adding the word to "nutritionist" to the RD credential allows for a broader notion of wellness.

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.
    • NOTE: As of January 1, 2024, the minimum of a Master's degree will be required to be able to take the RDN exam.
  • 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.

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 that 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 526Lifecycle Nutrition3.0
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
Total Credits45.0

Human Nutrition 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.
Charlene Compher, PhD, RD, CNSC, LDN, FADA, FASPEN (Drexel University) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, FAND (Drexel University) Director, Center for Nutrition & 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.
RoseAnn 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 University, Perth, WA) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting instructor
Susan Ettinger, PhD, RD, DABN, CDN (Columbia University) Courtesy Appointment. Visiting Research Professor.
Susan Fuchs, MS, IBCLC (Drexel University) Director, Human Lactation Certificate Program. Clinical Instructor. Human lactation
Beth L. Leonberg, MS, MA, RDN, CSP, FAND, LDN (Colorado State University, Rowan University) Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics . Associate Clinical Professor. Pediatric nutrition.
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.
Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD (Arizona State University). Associate 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). Visiting 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.
Kavitha Penugonda, PhD (Kansas State University) Manager, Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory. Assistant Clinical Professor. Nutrient bioavailability in foods; nutritional supplements on health
Jennifer Quinlan, PhD (North Carolina State University). 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.
Vicki Schwartz, DCN, RD, LDN, CNSC, FAND (Rutgers University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Clinical nutrition; using standardized patients in nutrition counseling
Sinclair A. Smith, MS, DSc (Boston University) Chair, Health Sciences. Professor. Effects of aging, dehydration, and oral creatine supplementation on skeletal muscle metabolism using phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Anatomy, physiology, and exercise science.
Deeptha Sukumar, PhD (Rutgers University). Associate Professor. Vitamin D and magnesium and bone mineral density; obesity and bone mineral density.
Stella Lucia Volpe, PhD, RD, ACSM-CEP, 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). 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.
  • Schedule of Classes
  • All Course Descriptions
  • Co-op
  • Academic Advising
  • Admissions
  • Tuition & Fees