Master of Public Health Degree in Nutritional Sciences

2-year program | 60 Credit Hours | Summer Internship

The two-year Master of Public Health in Nutritional Sciences degree is intended for students who wish to pursue careers in the field of human nutrition in a wide range of clinical, community, advocacy, research, policy and governmental settings. The degree requires a summer public health internship and offers one optional dietetics concentration with additional requirements as a path to the Registered Dietitian credential.

Applicants to the Nutritional Sciences MPH program should have a strong interest in science and health, an undergraduate degree in a field of basic or applied science, and, at a minimum, should have taken courses in biology, physiology, general and organic chemistry, and biochemistry.

Degree Options

In addition to the Dietetics concentration, the Nutritional Sciences department offers two focus areas which include Sustainable Food Systems and Maternal and Child Nutrition within the MPH program.

Sustainable Food Systems Focus Area

The focus area 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. The curriculum for this interdisciplinary focus area draws on the expertise of faculty from many different units across the University of Michigan campus in recognition of the increasing demand in the professional marketplace for interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners.

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

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

Certificates and Volunteer Work

MPH students can earn graduate certificates across the University.  MPH students have had interest in the following certificates: Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN) and Sustainable Food Systems Graduate Certificate.

MPH students also have the opportunity to volunteer and work with organizations throughout Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit, and other southeast Michigan communities.

Program Curriculum and Prerequisites

As part of their master’s in nutritional sciences, MPH students will acquire advanced knowledge and understanding about public health nutrition topics including:

  • The biochemistry of cellular nutrition.
  • The application of nutritional sciences to individuals, groups, and populations.
  • Factors that affect accessibility, adequacy, and safety of the food supply system (production, processing, distribution, and consumption) and the relationship to community food systems assessment and analysis.
  • The relationships between food intake, nutrition, contaminant exposure, and biological and chemical hazards.
  • Federal, regional, state, and local government structures and processes involved in the development of public policy, legislation, regulations, and delivery of services that affect food intake, nutritional status, and population health.

During the MPH program’s first and second years, students complete required public health core courses and nutritional sciences core courses, however, MPH students have flexibility within their schedule to take classes outside of the Nutritional Sciences department if they choose to do so.   

MPH students are encouraged to take classes in other graduate school programs across  campus.  Every semester, Nutritional Sciences students take classes at the Ross School of Business, School of Social Work, School for Environment and Sustainability, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and others.  This provides an opportunity to engage with students and faculty from other disciplines.  

NOTE: Dietetics students will complete an additional 17 credits to fulfill the requirements for the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), otherwise known as the path to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).  Learn more.

SPH Core Curriculum
Course Number Credits Course Name Term
BIOSTAT 521 3 Applied Biostatistics F
PUBHLTH 507 2 Social Determinants of Health F
PUBHLTH 512 3 Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health W
PUBHLTH 513 3 Public Health Systems, Policy and Management W
PUBHLTH 514 2 Public Health Sciences and the Environment W
NS Core Requirements
Course Number Credits Course Name Term
BIOSTAT 522 3 Biostatistical Analysis for Health-Related Studies W
NUTR 620 3 Multivariate Analysis of Nutrition-related Studies W
NUTR 600 2 Capstone, Professional Development in NS F
NUTR 630 3 Principles of Nutritional Science F
NUTR 631 3 Metabolism of Vitamins and Minerals W
NUTR 639 3 Pathophysiology of Obesity W
NUTR 640 3 Nutritional Assessment F
NUTR 688 1 Nutrition Seminar (year-long course)  
NUTR 642 3 Community Nutrition F

NUTR 642 is recommended for all MPH students, but it is required for the Didactic Program in Dietetics.

We recommend this because a major project in NUTR 642 is conducting a mock community needs assessment which is relevant to anyone considering community public health work.

Sample Schedules


The Department of Nutritional Sciences has strong relationships with a variety of sites for students to choose from when starting their summer internship search.  Each summer there are several students who are successful in securing global public health internships or opportunities outside of the state of Michigan.  All internships are public health focused with a nutrition component.  (Examples include: Google, MDining, Food Gatherers, Project Health Schools, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Community Health and Social Services, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Henry Ford Hospital, Farmers Markets, Washtenaw County Health Department, and UM Athletics.)     


      • Inorganic/general chemistry* 1 semester, lab not required
      • Organic chemistry 1 semester, lab not required
      • Biochemistry 1 semester
      • Human Physiology (1 semester that includes digestion and endocrine) or Anatomy and Physiology (1 semester of each but must be human and include digestion and endocrine), lab not required

*AP high school classes are accepted based on AP final exam score

How to Apply

Applications for the Nutritional Sciences MPH program are processed through SOPHAS. Visit our ‘Applications & Deadlines’ page to start the application process.