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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) through the masters in nutritional science program?

No.   To become an RDN, a student must complete an accredited dietetics curriculum and 1,200 hours of supervised practice experience, and then pass the national Registration Examination for Dietitians Nutritionists.  Only the master’s in nutritional science, dietetics emphasis is accredited by The Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The graduate program in nutritional science (nutritional science emphasis) is not accredited by ACEND.  To find a list of accredited graduate programs (called coordinated master’s programs or CMP’s) that will qualify you to become an RDN at the graduate level please go to:    Click on “only programs that result in a graduate degree”

What types of jobs are available with a master’s degree in food science or nutritional science?

Students with a degree in food science typically work in the food industry as product development scientists and technical specialists.  They may work in government or industry regulator positions.   Graduates also experience a good acceptance rates into PhD programs.

Students with an MS degree in nutritional science who already hold the RDN credential work in the field of dietetics.  Typically, students with an MS in nutritional science who are not RDN’s continue their education in either professional school (MD, PA, DDS, etc.) or earn a doctoral degree; others might work in industry, or in governmental nutrition programs. 

Does the department provide funding to graduate students?

Due to limited resources, we cannot guarantee funding for all students.  However, the department tries to fund students when possible, either through stipends (a set level of funding) or hourly wages.  Students will be notified upon acceptance into the program if they will receive financial assistance.  Financial assistance is limited to 6 semesters, with Spring and Summer terms together counting as one semester.  Students may also be funded by their major professor’s external or other internal funding if available.  Students may also apply for department, university, or professional society scholarships.

What are the prerequisites?

The prerequisites are listed under “program requirements.”  Students who have a bachelor’s degree not related to nutrition or food science can be accepted but will likely need to complete several undergraduate courses prior to beginning the graduate program.  Those undergraduate courses will be identified on a case by case basis by the potential advisor and graduate coordinator.

How long do the programs take to complete?

The curriculum and research projects are designed to be completed in about 2 years.  Students are strongly encouraged to work on their graduate program full time.  Students who do not work on their degree full time will require longer than 2 years.  University policy allows students up to 5 years to complete their master’s degree. 

Is a thesis required for the master’s in food science and nutritional science (nutritional science emphasis?


How is my thesis topic determined?

The student works with a faculty advisor to develop a thesis topic. 

What if I already have a research project in mind?

Research projects are generally focused on a faculty’s area of expertise and available funding.  Students may be able to pursue their own project if the research falls within the area of expertise of the faculty member and funding is available.  Your project would also be considered if your project is funded by an employer in a related industry.   

How can I strengthen my application?

It is important to meet the GPA, GRE and TOEFL (if required) minimum criteria.  It is also strongly recommended that the applicant meet with a potential advisor and determine if s/he is willing and able to accept a new graduate student.  Students who have not identified a potential advisor are less likely to be accepted.  Finally, students with a related undergraduate degree will likely take priority over students who have an unrelated degree. 

Does BYU offer a PhD or post-doctoral program?

The department does not currently offer either a PhD or post-doctoral experience in either food science or nutritional science.

Does the department have an international nutrition emphasis?

The department does not have a focus in international nutrition.  Students could take a few classes from other departments that would provide some exposure to international issues; however, students seeking a strong international nutrition education are encouraged to apply elsewhere. 

Does the department have a sports nutrition emphasis?

The department offers research experiences related to nutrient and energy metabolism during exercise and some graduate level courses; however, we currently do not offer courses or experiences in sports nutrition counseling. 

Does your program accept students provisionally?

No.  We only consider and accept students who meet all the qualifications at the time of application.