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Center for Human Nutrition

Doctoral Program

The doctoral program in human nutrition (PhD or ScD) is designed to train professionals to identify, understand, and solve, through scientific methods, problems of public health importance in human nutrition. Graduates are expected to assume leadership roles in academia, government, industry, or other private-sector enterprises. They will be expected to advance knowledge in human nutrition through research, and advocate the application of such knowledge through public health policies and programs.

The doctoral program has five goals, which relate to the specific competencies expected of graduates. Graduates should

  • understand the biochemical, molecular, epidemiological, and behavioral fundamentals of human nutritional science 
  • comprehend the complex interrelationships between food-and-nutrition and health-and-disease in diverse populations
  • master quantitative and qualitative analytic skills required to understand, critically evaluate, and conduct nutrition research
  • be able to integrate ethical principles and standards into the conduct of human research
  • develop the professional skills necessary to communicate effectively.

PhD/ScD Course Requirements

Students are expected to take a minimum of six terms and 84 credits of coursework to satisfy the educational requirements, pass both written and oral comprehensive exams, and successfully complete a thesis research project. Students must also complete the School residency requirement for doctoral programs: four consecutive terms of full-time study.

Of the 84 coursework credits, about 50 course credits are in four core-content areas common to the academic work of all doctoral students in this track—metabolism, research methods, nutrition and health, and professional skills—and 34 credits are electives and special studies. The exact choices of elective coursework, special studies, and thesis research will vary depending on specific choices made by each student in conjunction with their advisor, as well as on the student's unique career goals and research interests.

For more information, see the Program for Human Nutrition in the Department of International Health.

Graduate Programs
Graduate seminar