Concentrations & Focus Areas

The Nutritional Sciences department offers one optional concentration. The Dietetics concentration is available in the MPH, MS or PhD programs.  In addition, the Nutritional Sciences department offers two focus areas which include Sustainable Food Systems and Maternal and Child Nutrition within the MPH program.

Dietetics Concentration

The mission of the University of Michigan School of Public Health Nutritional Sciences degree with the Dietetics concentration is to provide an organized program of graduate study and advanced training for practice in the community, clinical, research, academic or private sector settings through the provision of graduate degrees in human nutrition. Dietetics coursework can accompany the MPH, MS or PhD degree programs.

The program meets and exceeds the minimal academic requirements for professional dietitians. Verified completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), and the Dietetic Internship (DI) make graduates eligible to be credentialed as Registered Dietitians (RD).

Through the advanced training via MPH, MS or PhD degree in Nutritional Sciences, graduates gain leadership, critical thinking, and effective communication skills to disseminate accurate nutrition knowledge and promote the role nutrition plays in the treatment and prevention of disease, as well as in the promotion of well-being.

Students must complete the academic requirements as specified by the Commission on Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) to be registered dietitian eligible. The following table lists the undergraduate courses required to be RD eligible.
Pre-requisite Notes
Calculus 1 semester
Inorganic/general chemistry 1 semester, lab not required
Organic chemistry 1 semester, lab not required
Biochemistry  1 semester 
Human Physiology or Anatomy and Physiology 1 semester of either but must be human 
Microbiology 1 semester
English 1 semester
Any psychology, anthropology or sociology course 1 semester

The University of Michigan Didactic Program in Dietetics provides a curriculum which is based upon the foundation knowledge requirements and learning outcomes specified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The program is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics through December 2015. For additional information, please review the U-M SPH DPD Handbook.

For all students interested in the dietetics program, a transcript evaluation will be completed by the DPD director. The evaluation will provide the basis for identifying an individualized plan of coursework to meet both graduate program and dietetic requirements. In-person, telephone, and e-mail personal advising is encouraged for all prospective students. Contact Susan Aaronson with questions.

Upon completion of required coursework and the awarded graduate degree, students are issued a Verification Statement, signifying that all DPD and graduate degree requirements have been met and students are eligible to apply for dietetic internships.

Sustainable Food Systems Focus Area

The focus are in Sustainable Food Systems will provide students with both an understanding of the fundamental linkages between modern food systems and human nutrition, as well as the opportunity to explore specific topics in greater depth including sustainable food production, global food insecurity, domestic and international food policy, food waste, One Health and the food system, sustainable diets, social justice and equity in the food system, and many others. The curriculum for this interdisciplinary focus area draws on the expertise of faculty from many different units across campus in recognition of the increasing demand in the professional marketplace for interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners who are equipped to analyze and address the complex challenges of sustainable food production and global food and nutrition security.

Sustainable Food Systems (SFS)
Course Number Credits Course Name
NUTR 555 3 Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems
NUTR 644 3 Global Food Systems Policy
NUTR 633* 3 Evaluation of Global Nutrition Programs
Select 3-4 credits from the following†:
ARCH 509 3 Food and the City
ARTDES 500 3 Sustainable Food System Design
EEB 498 3 The Ecology of Agroecosystems
NRE 501 4 Food Systems: Implications of Unequal Access
UP 525 3 Food Systems Planning
NRE 639 1 Future Scenarios for Global Food

*Students taking NUTR 633 to fulfill the requirement for the focus area in Sustainable Food Systems should tailor their semester-long project in this class to focus on food systems.

†Students may identify other food systems related courses offered throughout the University in a given academic term, and with approval from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, take these courses to fulfill their elective requirement for the focus area in Sustainable Food Systems. Many of the elective courses listed above are not offered every year.

Maternal and Child Nutrition Focus Area

The Maternal and Child Nutrition focus area aims to provide graduate students the fundamental knowledge to understanding the integral role of nutrition in maternal and child health. Students will have the opportunity to explore specific topics including family and women's health, epigenetics, developmental origins of health and disease, toxicology, and reproductive health and endocrinology.

Maternal and Child Nutrition (MCN)
Course Number  Credits Course Name
Select three from the following:
NUTR 540 2 Maternal and Child Nutrition
EHS/NUTR 660 2 Environmental Epigenetics and Public Health
NUTR 510 3 Nutrition in the Life Cycle
NUTR 677 2 Physical Growth and Maturation
Select two from the following†:
EHS 622 2 Mechanisms of Developmental Toxicology
EHS 623 2 Mechanisms of Reproductive Toxicology
EPID 550 3 Reproductive Epidemiology
EPID 673 3 Epidemiology of Developmental Origins of Health & Disease (DOHaD)
HBHE 603 3 Population Change – Gender, Family, & Fertility in Africa and Asia
HBHE 614 3-4 Women's Health and the Timing of Reproduction
HBHE 629 3 Families and Health
SOC 595 3 Families and Inequality
PHYSIOL 510 4 Principles of Systems and Integrative Physiology
PHYSIOL 541 4 Mammalian Reproductive Endocrinology

†At least one of the courses selected must be a 3 or 4 credit course.