Ph.D. in Nutrition

Nutrition graduate program

Pursue nutrition research focused on improving human health.

   Request Info about OSU Grad School

The Ph.D. in Nutrition is designed to prepare you for a professional career in nutrition through a combination of coursework and research.

If you’re in interested in human nutrition, you are encouraged to add elective courses in epidemiology or exercise science.

If you’re interested in molecular nutrition, you are encouraged to add courses in molecular and cell biology and advanced courses in biochemistry and biophysics.


Prerequisite courses

All entering Ph.D. students are expected to have proficiency in human nutrition (equivalent to NUTR 417 & 418), biochemistry (equivalent to BB 450 & 451) and physiology.  

Exercise physiology can substitute for one quarter of the two-quarter course in human physiology. If you do not have proficiency (minimal competence) in one or more of these courses, these courses will be added to the program of study.


Nutrition doctoral curriculum

The OSU Graduate School requires a minimum of 108 credits beyond the B.S. for the Ph.D.

Time limit for completion of the Ph.D. degree is governed by the Graduate School. The critical element is the time between the successful completion of the oral preliminary examination and the final oral examination of the dissertation. This time cannot be more than five years. The oral preliminary exam is to be successfully completed before entering the third year in the program.


Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the Ph.D. degree in Nutrition, students will demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and scholarship
    Identify and conduct original research and scholarship in the field of nutrition.
  • Communication
    Effectively communicate in their field of study.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
    Think critically, creatively and solve problems in their field of study.
  • Ethical Conduct
    Conduct research in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • Professional Development
    Demonstrate attributes of professional development consistent with the expectation within their field of study.
Minimal Competence 400-500 (*Slash) Courses:
Course # Title Credits
*NUTR 517, 518 Human Nutrition Science (or equivalent) 8
*BB 550, 551 General Biochemistry (or equivalent) 6
*IB 531, 532 Human Physiology (or equivalent) 7
    Total: 21


Core Curriculum: All courses are required
Course # Title Credits
NUTR 550 Nutritional Status 4
NUTR 603 Dissertation 36 or more
NUTR 607 Seminar (3 quarters) 3
NUTR 617 Advances in macronutrient metabolism 3
NUTR 618 Advances in micronutrient metabolism 3
GRAD 520 Responsible conduct for research 1
  Graduate Level Statistics
(For example, St 511-512 Methods in statistical analysis; H524 Health data analysis, or other statistics courses, as determined by the student’s graduate committee)
Required public health courses
H 523 Foundations of Public Health 4
Total: 59-62
Core Curriculum Electives: Select at least 2 NUTR 699 courses from the list below.
Course # Title Credits
NUTR 699 Special Topics in Nutrition Research (2 courses, 3 credits each) 6

Special topics courses include:
Bone Physiology, offered odd years (Winter)
Neuroendocrine Regulation of Energy Metabolism, offered even years (Winter)
Advances in Metabolic Disease, odd years (Spring)
Advances in Cancer Research, offered even years (Spring)

Courses recommended for students focusing on molecular nutrition
Course # Title Credits
MCB 554 Genome Organization, Structure and Maintenance 4
MCB 555 Genome Expression and Regulation 4
BB 590-592 Biochemistry (3 courses) 9
BB 654 Proteins  3
Electives recommended for students focusing on human nutrition
Course # Title Credits
NUTR 514 Health Benefits of Functional Foods 3
NUTR 535 Nutrition and Exercise 3
H 526 Epidemiology Methods 3
H 577 Dietary Interventions in Public Health  3
H 591 Selected Topics: Public Health Surveillance 3

Additional graduate level courses may be added to the student’s program of study. Such courses will be determined by the major professor and the student’s Graduate Committee.
A minimum of 108 credits is required to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. in Nutrition.

Ph.D. Curriculum Schedule

Year 1

  • Select major advisor by the end of the 1st year in the NGP
  • Form a Graduate Committee & meet with the Graduate Committee by the end of the 1st year
  • Submit the Ph.D. Program of Study to the Graduate School before completing 4 quarters of graduate coursework at OSU
  • Begin core curriculum in the NGP
  • Complete Graduate Teaching Assistantships during the 1st year in the program.
  • Initiate Ph.D. Dissertation Research (NUTR 603)
  • Attend Seminars (NUTR 607)/Symposia/Journal Clubs

Year 2

  • Complete core curriculum and elective courses in the area of emphasis
  • Continue Ph.D. dissertation research (NUTR 603)
  • Attend Seminars/Symposia/Journal Clubs/National or Regional meetings
  • Give at least 1 professional oral presentation in NUTR 607 or at a national or regional scientific meeting
  • Complete the NGP Oral Preliminary Examination before entering the 3rd year

 Years 3 - 6

  • Continue dissertation research (NUTR 603)
  • Attend Seminars (NUTR 607)/Symposia/Journal Clubs/National or regional
  • Give at least 3 professional oral presentations in NUTR 607 or at a national or regional scientific meeting.
  • Prepare and Defend Ph.D. Dissertation (NUTR 603)

We’re here to help

We’re happy to connect with you by email, phone or virtual meetings.


For questions about the application process and requirements, contact College of Health graduate admissions.


To discuss curriculum and research, contact program director David Dallas, Ph.D.