Human Nutrition MS

Major: Human Nutrition
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits:
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 30.1901
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:

About the Program

The Master of Science in Human Nutrition is designed to provide the didactic coursework necessary to prepare students to address the nutrition needs of individuals or groups through the 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 in their essay/personal statement.

Didactic Program in Dietetics Plus Partner Dietetic Internship Track

The DPD track is accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Students who enter the MS in Human Nutrition planning to become an RDN are automatically admitted to one of our ACEND-accredited partner dietetic internships. Students complete the didactic (classroom) portion of their training at Drexel, followed by their supervised practice (internship) with one of our partners. Partners include Yale New Haven Hospital Dietetic Internship, University of Maryland Medical Center Dietetic Internship, Virginia Commonwealth University Dietetic Internship and Tulane University Dietetic Internship. The degree is completed full-time in one academic year (12 months; 9.0-12.0 credits per term). Students are admitted only in the fall term. All students complete a capstone project in their final term.

Nutrition Sciences Track

The Nutrition Sciences track prepares students for entry into doctoral-level study in nutrition or other health care disciplines (eg. medicine) or employment in industry. The degree focuses on nutrition research and requires completion of a thesis. In addition to the core curriculum, students select specialty courses relating to their major as well as electives. Completion of the track requires two academic years.

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; diet and cancer survivorship; and dietary intake of participants of home-delivered therapeutic meals.

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; identifying potential unique food safety risks for minoritized, 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. 

Mission, Goals and Outcome Measures

Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions Department of Nutrition Sciences Didactic Program in Dietetics integrates a foundation in nutrition sciences with courses in the social sciences to provide the knowledge, skills and professional values needed to prepare students to become entry-level registered dietitian/nutritionists. 

Goal #1: To provide quality didactic instruction and learning experiences to prepare graduates to be accepted into dietetic internships or to work in the field of dietetics.

  • Objective #1: At least 90 percent of program graduates apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective #2: Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least 90 percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective #3: Graduates of the DPD will rate ten aspects of their didactic and learning experiences an average of "4" or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5=excellent.
  • Objective #4: At least 80 percent of students complete the program within 18 months (150 percent of the planned program length).

Goal #2: To prepare graduates to become competent entry-level dietitians.

  • Objective #1: The program's one-year pass rate on the CDR credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionists is at least 90 percent.
  • Objective #2: Internship directors or employers of graduates of the DPD will rate ten aspects of the student's preparation for internship an average of "4" or better, on a scale of 1=poor to 5=excellent within 12 months of graduation.

Goal #3: To increase diversity in the profession by facilitating the success of students from underrepresented groups.

  • Objective #1: At least 20 percent of students will be from underrepresented groups.

Additional Information

Visit the College's MS in Human Nutrition webpage 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 and physiology with lab
  •     1 semester of general psychology
  •     1 semester of statistics
  •     1 semester of nutrition

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.

Program Requirements

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
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
Community Nutrition
Topics in Metabolic Nutrition
Topics in Community Nutrition
Weight and Eating Disorders
Foundations in Quantitative Research
Foundations of Biostatistics
Intermediate Statistics in Health I
Interpretation of Data
Measurement Theory in Healthcare
Total Credits45.0

Sample Plan of Study - Nutrition Sciences Track

First Year
NFS 6023.0NFS 5253.0NFS 6013.0
NFS Elective3.0NFS Electives6.0NFS T6803.0
FDSC Elective3.0  
 9 9 6
Second Year
NFS 9972.0NFS 9972.0NFS 9972.0
NFS Electives6.0NFS Electives6.0NFS Elective3.0
 8 8 5
Total Credits 45

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 coursework 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 1000 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 primarily in the evening. The program is 45.0 credits with a written comprehensive exam and may be completed in 12-21 months. Students who enroll part-time typically complete the program in two to three 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).

Program Requirements

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 550Foodservice Systems Management3.0
NFS 601Research Methods3.0
NFS 630Nutrition Counseling3.0
NFS 660Capstone Project in Nutrition and Dietetics3.0
NFS 690Community Nutrition3.0
Total Credits45.0

Sample Plan of Study, Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Track

Full Time Plan of Study

First Year
FDSC 5063.0NFS 5253.0NFS 5443.0NFS 5453.0
NFS 5103.0NFS 5313.0NFS 5463.0NFS 5503.0
NFS 5263.0NFS 5433.0NFS 6303.0NFS 6603.0
NFS 5303.0NFS 6013.0NFS 6903.0 
 12 12 12 9
Total Credits 45

Part-Time Plan of Study

First Year (Part-Time)
NFS 5263.0NFS 5253.0NFS 5463.0NFS 5433.0
NFS 5303.0NFS 5313.0NFS 6903.0NFS 5503.0
 6 6 6 6
Second Year (Part-Time)
FDSC 5063.0NFS 5453.0NFS 5103.0NFS 6603.0
NFS 5443.0NFS 6013.0NFS 6303.0 
 6 6 6 3
Total Credits 45

Second Year Summer is less than the 4.5-credit minimum required (considered half-time status) of graduate programs to be considered financial aid eligible. As a result, aid will not be disbursed to students this term.

Human Nutrition Faculty

Nyree Dardarian, EdD, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, FAND (East Tennessee State University) Director, Center for Nutrition & Performance. Clinical Assistant Professor. Energy expenditure; sports nutrition
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). Professor. Nutrition and surgical recovery to improve the care of older adults undergoing surgery; nutrition assessment, inflammation, and health outcomes.
Beth L. Leonberg, DHSc, MS, MA, RDN, CSP, FAND, LDN (Drexel 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
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. Implementation of methods to maximize nutrient density of food provided in community food services.
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.
Deeptha Sukumar, PhD (Rutgers University). Associate Professor. Vitamin D and magnesium and bone mineral density; obesity and bone mineral density.

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.
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