Bachelors In

Nutrition Science Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.
on July 21, 2020

Why We Love It

  • $58,410
    Potential Avg. Salary*
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook

* Salary & growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at for 29-1031 Dietitians and nutritionists 11/2021. Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

In recent years, an increased focus on health among the general population has created significant demand for nutritional coaches and advisers. In a bachelor of science in nutrition science program, you’ll gain the knowledge needed to succeed in a nutrition science career as a dietitian or nutritionist. You may work with individuals looking to lose weight, or with those looking to use food to manage disease.

What is a Degree in Nutrition Science?

Nutrition science is the study of how what we eat impacts out overall health. Disease management, weight loss, and mental health are all things that come into play where nutrition is concerned, and a nutrition science program will teach you how dietary choices impact these areas of health. Students study topics in biology, physiology, and psychology; learn about nutritional needs of different age groups and different health conditions; and take administrative courses that provide preparation for healthcare leadership roles.

Graduates of nutrition science programs find careers in many different types of positions. Some work in gyms or health centers and teach people how to design diets that will lead to weight loss. Some work for hospitals or medical centers, teaching patients how to develop meals given new health-related dietary restrictions. Some work for holistic health organizations, teaching people how to manage health and disease with diet. Others work for the USDA and similar organizations focused on providing public health education.

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What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Nutrition Science?

  • Normal Nutrition Through the Lifecycle
  • Food Science
  • Energy, Metabolism, and Obesity
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition and Disease
  • Nutritional Genomics
  • Nutrition and Physical Fitness
  • Human Physiology

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Nutrition Science?

In recent years, public awareness of the importance of healthy eating has increased, and this increased awareness is expected to create more demand for individuals to fill nutrition science roles in the coming decade. Graduates should be able to find work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, for nonprofit and holistic-health organizations, or for government agencies—like the USDA—focused on nutrition education. Some may also open their own private practices offering nutritional counseling.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Nutrition Science will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online Nutrition Science Degree

Online nutrition science is a popular choice for college students particularly adults working in the medical field or other related fields who seek career change. Programs usually include courses related to business and entrepreneurship. It is also common to study other types of degrees as associate or master’s degree for students who already have a bachelor degree in a related field.

What Can You Do With a Nutrition Science Degree?

Nutrition science is a branch of science that focuses on the body metabolism and the effect of the diet on the physiological responses of the body. Nutrients can be classified into macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, fats and proteins while micronutrients include minerals and vitamins. Human bodies need certain quantities and balance of these nutrients to maintain the healthy normal status. These quantities are determined based on activity, health condition and body mass index. The awareness about the importance of healthy nutrition has increased significantly over the last decades which increased the demand for nutrition scientists

What does a nutrition science student learn?

Nutrition science is a field of study related to the medical and biological field. It is actually considered a medical profession in many countries. Nutrition scientists should have the knowledge about the functions of various nutrients, physiological functions of the body and the effect of diseases on the nutrient requirements. The following list shows the courses commonly offered in nutrient science programs:

  1. Chemistry: this is a basic science for nutrition as all foods can be viewed as chemical components and the effects of foods differ dramatically based on the chemical structure. For example, cellulose and starch are both carbohydrates that differ only in one bond making one of them edible while the other not.
  2. Biochemistry: this course introduces the chemistry of biological systems including metabolism which is particularly important for the field of nutrition. It explains the break-down and building of nutritional components in the body.
  3. Human anatomy and physiology: these are fundamental courses that introduce the normal structure and functioning of the human body.
  4. Bacteriology: studying the bacterial cell and its activity is also important to nutrition. Some types of bacteria can cause food poising while other types are essential for the normal digestion of food.
  5. Dietetics: it is the scientific understanding of food components and their effect on health.
  6. Clinical nutrition: it refers to the use of dietetics for treatment or management of diseases or health conditions as obesity, diabetes, liver diseases or high cholesterol levels.
  7. Economics: although it may seem unrelated, having some knowledge in economics may be relevant to determine the available nutrition choices in various countries. Nutritionists should consider the difference between developed countries, developing countries and countries suffering from crisis as wars or drought.
  8. Mathematics: basic mathematical knowledge is required for calculation and optimization of nutrient needs that may include several contributing factors.

Now I have the nutrition science degree…where can I work after graduating?

The demand for nutritionists is increasing in various countries with the growth of the awareness regarding healthy nutrition. This is particularly important in developed countries with high living standards. Nutritionists also play important role in countries suffering from crisis where malnutrition can be devastating particularly to children. The following career options are commonly available to nutrition science graduates:

  1. Nutritionist: the role of this job is to provide scientific based advice related to the nutrition of people who care about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Nutritional therapist: this is similar to the role of nutritionist but it is more common in hospitals or other healthcare institutes where nutritional intervention is needed for treatment and management of diseases.
  3. Medical sales representative: graduates of nutrition science can work in marketing of products related to nutrition as supplements, vitamins or medicines related to digestion.
  4. International aid workers: nutritionists are commonly part of teams providing aid to countries suffering from crisis as civil wars, epidemics or droughts.
  5. Food technologists: they are the key players in the process of developing new food products. They are involved in the selection of raw materials, auditing suppliers, dealing with complaints, and management of product cost among other tasks.
  6. Animal nutritionist: this job is vital to maintaining the health of animals either pets or livestock animals.
  7. Other related jobs: catering manager, chef, health service manager, herbalist, personal trainer and product development scientist.

Should I choose a nutrition science degree?

Nutrition science is attractive field of study to many students around the world taking into consideration the high demand for this type of jobs. Working as a nutritionist requires developing a group of important skills:

  1. Team working skills: nutritionists commonly work as part of healthcare team and they should coordinate effectively with other members of the team.
  2. Increased attention and care to healthy lifestyle and quality of life.
  3. Communication skills: you should be able to explain effectively and clearly to your clients or patients the recommended diet and nutrition components.
  4. Ability to inspire and motivate others: many people lack adequate attention to healthy lifestyle and nutritionists, particularly working in public health, should be able to overcome this problem.
  5. Business skills: if you intent to work as a freelancer or start your own business then you should have the business skills to manage it effectively.

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Best Jobs for Nutrition Science Degrees

Nutrition science degree graduates go on to work as dietetic technicians, dietitians, nutritionists, and nutrition educators in a variety of industries. Some work in healthcare, some work for government agencies, some work in the private or non-profit sectors, some work in health and fitness, and some open their own private practices and work as health and nutrition consultants to individual clients.

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Get a Dietetic Technician Associate’s Degree First

To jumpstart your career in the field of nutrition sciences, you may want to consider first pursuing a dietetic technician associate’s degree. Requiring only two years of education on average, a dietetic technician associate’s degree can help you find work as an assistant to a dietitian, earning professional experience and an income sooner. Then, you can move on to earn a bachelor’s degree and become a full nutritionist or dietitian, and the associate’s degree credits may transfer to reduce the required workload.

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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