Program Overview

The Nutrition Science Ph.D. (NS Ph.D.) program provides the highest degree for nutrition science professionals, preparing graduates for research careers in academia, non-governmental organizations (business and non-profit), allied health fields, and public service at all levels of national government. Nutrition Science focuses on the physiological and biological aspects of foods and nutrients and their absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion; and seeks to identify effective strategies to improve the dietary intake among individuals and sub-groups (i.e., older adults, children) to prevent and treat disease, improving health and promoting successful aging. The NS Ph.D. curriculum provides students with the graduate-level training required to become effective scientific practitioners with the capacity to conduct independent research in nutrition and health-related outcomes, in both applied and academic settings. Students’ capacity to conduct research is developed through a combination of rigorous curriculum and active faculty mentoring, designed to bring students to the intellectual forefront of their discipline. The NS Ph.D. faculty consists of nationally prominent nutrition scientists with the following expertise:

  • Nutrition education, nutrition counselling, and qualitative research studies diet and health outcomes (Sandra Baker, EdD, RD)
  • Phytochemicals and their role in prevention and reduction of age- and nutrition-related diseases (Sheau Ching Chai, Ph.D. RD)
  • Dietary fiber, nutritional assessment and nutrition-related diseases (Richard Fang, Ph.D., RD)
  • Gerontological diet, nutrition, ad health outcomes (Marie F. Kuczmarski, Ph.D., RD)
  • Eating disorders in emerging adults; psychological outcomes of interventions to control body weight; eating and health-related behaviors (Carly Pacanowski, Ph.D. RD)
  • Behavioral weight management interventions in pediatric and adult populations; basic feeding studies manipulating diet (Shannon Robson, Ph.D., MPH, RD)
  • Public health nutrition, vitamin D and bone mineral metabolism (Alisha Rovner Ph.D.)
  • Infant and child feeding practices, cultural competency, global health/nutrition, immigrant health/nutrition (Kelebogile Setiloane, Ph.D.)
  • Early childhood nutrition, diet composition and energy balance in healthy individuals and in those with chronic disease (Jillian Trabulsi, Ph.D. RD)

The NS Ph.D. is a 48-credit program designed to be completed in four years and includes:

  • 15 credits of nutrition courses;
  • 15 credits of research design/methodology, quantitative and qualitative statistics courses;
  • 3 credits of elective coursework;
  • 6 credits of independent research;
  • A qualifying examination; and
  • 9 credits of dissertation research.

Competitive graduate assistantships are available for full-time students. Part-time study options are also available for committed professionals.

Please contact the Nutrition Science Ph.D. program director Jillian Trabulsi ( for more information.