MS in Nutrition & Metabolism

The Master of Science in Nutrition & Metabolism is a 32-credit program that equips students with multidisciplinary knowledge of how food is used for growth and maintenance of optimal health as well as the mechanisms by which it leads to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Coursework provides a sound understanding of molecular, biochemical, and physiological mechanisms that regulate metabolism in health and disease. In addition, students learn scientific methods for carrying out studies of the health effects of nutrition-related exposures in humans.

Emphasis is placed on critical thinking skills and integration of diverse research approaches. Under the guidance of internationally recognized faculty, students complete and defend a research thesis.

This master’s program provides an excellent preparation for PhD programs, medical or dental school, or other professional studies. It also prepares graduates to work as members of research teams in academic, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, industry, and foundation settings, as well as other related careers such as medical writing.

Learning Outcomes

Learning objectives for the MS program include the following:

  • Understand the scientific basis for nutrient requirements.
  • Demonstrate ability to assess relevant scientific literature and synthesize existing knowledge in nutrition and metabolism with new research information.
  • Understand the molecular, cellular, biochemical, physiological, and behavioral mechanisms that influence nutrient utilization, food intake, and energy balance.
  • Understand the mechanistic connections of nutrient status to health and disease.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate your knowledge of the field of nutrition and metabolism through effective presentation and writing skills.

Program Requirements

The Master of Science in Nutrition & Metabolism requires 32 credits, including 28 course credits and 4 research credits. It is possible to complete the degree in one to two calendar years, including completion of the thesis research. The core courses are designed to provide students with the multidisciplinary knowledge needed to pursue a career in the health-related professions or nutrition research.

Required Courses

  • GMS BI 751 A1, Biochemistry/Cell Biology (6 cr)*
  • GMS NU 620 Clinical Nutrition Research (3 cr)
  • GMS NU 700 Nutrition and Metabolism Seminar Class (var cr)
  • GMS NU 709/FC 709 Research Design and Statistical Methods for Biomedical Sciences (3 cr)
  • GMS NU 755 Molecular, Biochemical, and Physiological Basis of Nutrition: Micronutrients and Energy (4 cr)
  • GMS NU 756 Molecular, Biochemical, and Physiological Basis of Nutrition: Metabolism (4 cr)
  • GMS NU 901, 902 Research in Nutrition and Metabolism (var cr)

*Biochemistry is an elective but is a prerequisite for NU 756. The biochemistry requirement may be waived if sufficient equivalent coursework has been previously taken at the time of admission.

Waiving requirements: Students may petition the curriculum committee to waive requirements if they have had equivalent coursework as an undergraduate, although it will not reduce the 32-credit hour requirement for completion of the MS.

Elective Courses

Electives may be selected from the many course offerings in GMS according to individual interests and goals (after consulting with your advisor). Students focusing on nutritional epidemiology should select more advanced courses in epidemiology and biostatistics in consultation with their advisor. Similarly, students focusing on metabolism should select electives in biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics/genomics, and physiology.

The following are examples of electives that students have taken, depending on their interest:

  • GMS BN 777 Basic Neurosciences (3 cr)
  • GMS CI 670 Biostatistics with Computer (4 cr)
  • GMS CI 671 Intermediate Biostatistics with Computer (4 cr)
  • GMS MM 701 Genetics & Epidemiology of Human Disease (2 cr)
  • GMS MM 703 Cancer Biology and Genetics (2 cr)
  • GMS MM 707 Organ System Diseases (2 cr)
  • GMS MS 703 Medical Neurosciences (4 cr)
  • GMS NU 711 Physical Activity & Metabolism (2 cr)
  • GMS NU 804 Directed Study in Nutrition and Metabolism (var cr)
  • GMS PH 730 Human Physiology A: Cellular and Organ Physiology (4 cr)
  • GMS PM 730 Introduction to Medical Pharmacology
  • SAR HS 776 Nutritional Epidemiology (4 cr)


Applicants to the Nutrition & Metabolism master’s program are expected to have completed standard premedical requirements. Details about these prerequisites can be found on our website.

In addition to required coursework, applicants should also submit scores from either the GRE, MCAT, or DAT examinations. Students may request a waiver of the requirement for these tests.