Nutrition Snapshot

Hello, prospective students! Welcome to our brief overview of Nutrition at UNC Gillings.


Students experience hands-on learning in the School’s state-of-the-art Nutrition Kitchen.

Our top-ranked Nutrition Department is  unique: it’s the only one nationwide that sits in both a school of public health and a school of medicine. What does this mean for you? You’ll learn from a broader range of expert faculty, have the opportunity to engage in research about today’s pressing clinical and community nutrition issues and solutions, and study alongside a varied mix of high-caliber student colleagues.

Nutrition at Gillings trains undergraduate and graduate students studying to be physicians, educators, public health advisors, dieticians, nurses, nutritionists, policy makers and any of the other careers that require knowledge of nutrition and its role in health and society.

Interested in finding out more? Visit our full department website

By the numbers

50 full-time or jointly appointed faculty

12 adjunct faculty


  • 38 BSPH
  • 70 MPH
  • 4 MS
  • 51 PhD
Our faculty

All of our faculty are passionate about doing research that makes a difference and training you to become a future leader in nutrition. Areas of special interest include:

  • Behavioral interventions
  • Population trends
  • Physiology and metabolism
  • Public health program development and evaluation
  • The role of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease

Discover more on ReachNC, a web portal with to-the-minute information about our faculty members’ grants, publications, research interests and  networks.

Contact us

For general questions regarding the department, degrees or admissions:

Joanne Lee, Student Services Manager

  • 919.966.7212
The Department of Nutrition received the National Research Council’s top ranking in U.S. doctoral nutrition training programs. We aim to lead the nation in:

  • advancing nutritional solutions to problems in public health.
  • educating the next generation of  leaders in nutrition.
Why I chose UNC
"When I was working in kitchens, the professionals I looked up to in dietetics had all attended UNC Chapel Hill. There was only one clear choice when I decided to come back to graduate school. I chose to follow in the steps of greatness."
Tyrone Hall
MPH 2013

In Nutrition at Gillings, we apply the physiological, biochemical, behavioral, and cultural aspects of nutrition to the health of human populations:

  • Biochemistry division: focuses on advancing our understanding of the mechanisms of nutrient action in human health and disease from a cellular and molecular perspective.
  • Epidemiology division: uses rigorous quantitative methods to determine population trends and relationships that reveal the role of nutrition in health and disease and provide a basis for clinical and public health policy recommendations.
  • Intervention and policy division: creates and tests interventions designed to improve the health of the public through better nutrition; provides feasible options for dissemination and policy.

In North Carolina, across the United States and around the world, our faculty members have active studies, giving our students the chance to work with them to investigate:

  • Obesity and related conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers;
  • The role of nutrition and physical activity in preventing and treating disease in diverse populations;
  • Population trends in diet;
  • Influence of nutrients on the immune response to infectious disease, including gene-nutrient interactions and the development of cancer;
  • Relationships between obesity, environment, infection and diabetes; and
  • Role of agriculture and food systems in increasing food access, improving dietary intake and promoting economic development.


Peggy Bentley (far right), Carla Smith Chamblee Distinguished Professor of Nutrition and Associate Dean of Global Health in the School, talking with students involved with one of her research projects.

Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH). Combines the study of the biomedical, behavioral, food and nutrition sciences.

Master of Public Health (MPH). Provides graduates with a strong background in: the science and practice of public health; the science of human nutrition and food science; and nutrition programs and services. Classroom experience is augmented through concurrent and block field experiences.

Master of Public Health with Registered Dietician Training (MPH-RD). Provides graduates with a strong background in: the science and practice of public health; the science of human nutrition and food science; and nutrition programs and services. Classroom experience is augmented through concurrent and block field experiences. Completion of the MPH with RD component prepares a student for passing the dietetic registration RD exam.

Master of Science in Nutritional Biochemistry (MS). Provides students with increased knowledge in nutrition. Additional skills in laboratory research.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Prepares graduates for leadership. Students conduct original research, culminating in a dissertation that expand the boundaries of nutrition knowledge, theory, and/or methodology. Nutrition covers the continuum from basic nutrition science through improving the health of the public. Doctoral students study the broad spectrum of areas that comprise nutrition, plus receive in-depth training in a single area or specialization. Faculty interests address a range of topics that center on the role of nutrition in disease prevention and healthy development. Research and teaching interests in the department reflect the role of nutrition across the life cycle, basic nutrition science and metabolism, international nutrition, nutritional determinants of disease, impact of nutrition interventions and policies, and the promotion of health and prevention of nutrition-related chronic diseases throughout life.

Where will a degree in Nutrition take you? Our graduate alumni hold senior leadership positions in the U.S. and around the world in:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Government Agencies (i.e. National Institutes of Health, CDC, Food and Drug Administration, Peace Corps, etc.)
  • Nonprofit organizations large and small
  • Exercise and fitness centers
  • State and local health departments
  • Food manufacturers
  • Health-related magazines and websites
  • Hospitals and health systems
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Weight loss clinics
  • Health-related non-profit organizations

Our graduate-level alumni are prepared to take the lead to:

  • Design new clinical or community nutrition programs to improve health, based on the most recent scientific evidence
  • Conduct research to discover new nutrition-related biological pathways that determine human health and disease
  • Work to decrease nutrient deficiencies in high-risk populations
  • Manage nutrition services for health or school systems
  • Advocate for nutrition-related policy changes

Our grads have gone on to make a difference in nutrition locally and globally. Recent alumni positions include:

  • Assistant Professor, Furman University
  • Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky
  • Onsite Wellness Coach, Active Health Management
  • Dietitian, Providence Hospital
  • Health Environment Policy Consultant, Appalachian District Health Department
  • Public Health Nutritionist, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
  • Senior Manager of Quality Assurance, American Diabetes Association
  • Public Health Lab Scientist, Maryland Department of Health and Hygiene

Interested in finding out about our course offerings?

Faculty in nutrition create a welcoming, interactive learning environment in twenty-first century teaching and research facilities. Take a look at our complete course catalog, plus syllabi, to find out more.


Lab technician Felecia Walton working in the Nutrition labs. Our students have access to state-of-the-art research facilities.

Interested in finding out more? Visit our department website.