Thank you for your interest in the Department of Nutrition's (NUTR) application process.

The University of North Carolina’s Department of Nutrition at UNC-Chapel Hill provides nutrition training to undergraduate and graduate students who are studying to be physicians, educators, public health advisors, dietitians, nurses, nutritionists, policy makers or any other careers that require knowledge of nutrition and the role it plays in health and society.

The Department of Nutrition is the only such academic department in the United States that is a member of both a school of public health and a school of medicine. This dual role expands the base of expertise available to our department; extends to every nutrition student the opportunity to take courses in public health and medicine; increases the variety and caliber of students who may take a nutrition course; and affirms our commitment to the importance of studying nutrition as it relates to the physical health of human beings.

Our Degrees

The Department of Nutrition offers four unique degree programs.

Select to learn about our Bachelor of Science in Public Health Nutrition (BSPH)

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) prepares students for graduate study in nutrition, medicine, pharmacy, or dentistry or for entry-level positions in public health and/or dietetics that do not require a registered dietitian. It also allows students to participate in nutrition research projects or explore other related areas of interest and combines the study of the biochemical, behavioral, food and nutrition sciences. For current BSPH Nutrition students, the Department of Nutrition also offers an accelerated BSPH-MS Program for which students apply during their senior year and complete their MS within one year of graduation from the BSPH Program.

Sanjay Gadi

– Sanjay Gadi, class of 2018

“The BSPH Nutrition program at Gillings represented a wealth of diverse focuses and resources all uniquely available through a single degree program. I enjoyed studying an intriguing combination of nutritional biochemistry and public health, offering me the opportunity to explore human health and disease from the cellular to societal levels. In addition, the program provided me the structure and the resources to pursue a senior honors thesis in which I developed the skills to design and execute my own project. As I enter my next chapter at Harvard Medical School to pursue my MD degree, the perspectives I have gained and the skills I have built will help me become a more knowledgeable and compassionate care provider.”

Application Details
BSPH Student Handbook (PDF)


Select to learn about our Master of Public Health with Nutrition Concentration (MPH) and Master of Public Health/Registered Dietitian (MPH/RD) Program

The Master of Public Health (MPH) with Nutrition Concentration and Master of Public Health/Registered Dietition (MPH/RD) programs prepare students to improve the health and well-being of communities and individuals through proper nutrition. In addition to an integrated, interdisciplinary MPH Core, the program offers students a strong grounding in the science and practice of public health nutrition and planning, implementing and evaluating nutrition programs and services. A series of field experiences augments classroom learning. Additionally, for those in the MPH-RD Program, completion of the registered dietitian component prepares students to pass the dietetic registration (RD) exam.

Jeff Walker

– Jeff Walker, class of 2017

“When I joined the MPH-RD program at UNC I wanted to learn about nutrition at the community level. The faculty taught classes across the spectrum from molecular to global and the internships provided opportunities to see potential jobs firsthand. By the time I finished my advanced field experience with Carolina for Kibera in Kenya, I was excited and well prepared. So prepared that I was offered an innovative job that didn’t even exist when I became a Tar Heel!”

Master of Public Health with Nutrition Concentration
Master of Public Health/Registered Dietitian
MPH-RD Student Handbook (PDF)
MPH with Nutrition Concentration Handbook (PDF)


Select to learn about our Master of Science in Nutrition (MS)

The Master of Science in Nutrition (MS) is for students who wish to increase their knowledge of nutrition science and to acquire skills in laboratory and population-based nutrition research. This degree prepares students for careers in research and industry, as well as those considering the pursuit of a doctoral degree or eventually attending medical or another professional school. Admission to the MS Program in Nutrition is largely based on identifying a match between an applicant and a faculty member of similar research interests. Applicants may search our faculty based on research areas here.

For current BSPH Nutrition students, the Department of Nutrition also offers an accelerated BSPH-MS Program for which students apply during their senior year and complete their MS within one year of graduation from the BSPH Program.

Jennifer Lyu

– Jennifer Lyu, Class of 2018

“The MS Nutrition program offers an excellent opportunity to truly delve deeper into the realm of research. As a student in the BSPH-MS program, I was able to expand my senior honors thesis into a Master’s thesis that focused on nutrition education among patients with type 1 diabetes in Beijing, China. The MS program specifically allowed me to enroll in courses that prepared me with the necessary skills and knowledge that were applicable to my research. It also provided me the privilege to collaborate with extraordinary faculty who are truly passionate about public health research and who genuinely support student learning and achievement. As I begin my next adventure exploring research at Boston Children’s Hospital, I am excited to apply the experiences and skills I have learned from this program and I will always be so grateful to have been a part of the Gillings community.”

Application Details
MS Student Handbook (PDF)


Select to learn about our Doctor of Philosophy in Nutrition (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) develops students’ research and teaching skills through coursework, research, practice opportunities and preliminary doctoral examinations. Together, these experiences prepare graduates for careers in scientific research or teaching at universities, in federal or state agencies, and in industry or private research institutions. Students may minor in other fields, such as epidemiology. Doctoral program opportunities are available at the UNC Chapel Hill campus and the Nutrition Research Institute (NRI). Prospective doctoral students should do the following:

  • Complete a Program Information Request (this link will open in a new tab).
  • Identify faculty members within the Department whose research matches your interests. Admission to the PhD Program in Nutrition is largely based on identifying a match between an applicant and a faculty member of similar research interests who is willing to provide funding for the student. Applicants may search our faculty based on research areas here.
  • After completing the Program Information Request above, Jonathan Earnest, Academic Coordinator, will be in touch to assist you in connecting with potential faculty advisors.
Loneke Blackman Carr

– Loneke Blackman Carr, Class of 2017

“My doctoral training in the Department of Nutrition has prepared me to conduct rigorous and meaningful science to address the most challenging public health problems. As a graduate, now applying the various skills and methods learned, it is clear that my training was tailored to provide me an advanced and practical education. Presently, I am a Postdoctoral Associate focused on the connections between religion, health and race. The Department of Nutrition and the Gillings School of Global Public Health have prepared me well to address obesity health disparities in underserved and under researched communities.”

Application Details
PhD Student Handbook (PDF)


Visit Us

Please attend one of our events:

If you are interested in visiting the Department of Nutrition, please contact our academic coordinator, Jonathan Earnest, at earnestj@email.unc.edu. To explore campus tour opportunities, visit this site  or email uncvisitorscenter@unc.edu.


Check out our Gillings Program Search (GPS) for prospective students. The GPS provides a search option for our School’s degree and non-degree programs, as well as the ability to drill down to an overview of each program’s quick facts and related information about how to apply. Begin the application process: click link(s) below to view the requirements and procedures that apply to you. See our tuition and fees page for related information.


Expand All Details

Undergraduate Program Show Details

Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH Residential)

The Department of Nutrition is one of the top-ranked Nutrition Departments in the country and our Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) program is one of the best pre-med programs nation-wide. This program introduces undergraduate students to the science of nutrition in health and disease, and to social and behavioral aspects of eating in the context of public and individual health. The curriculum offers a wide range of courses covering the biochemical, epidemiological and behavioral aspects of human nutrition and the related diseases. The Nutrition BSPH program prepares students for graduate study in public health and biomedical sciences. including nutrition, medicine, pharmacy or dentistry, or for entry-level positions in public health or dietetics. It requires all students to participate in nutrition research, with possibility to develop and defend Honors Thesis.

Master of Public Health (MPH) Programs Show Details

Master of Public Health in Nutrition (MPH Residential)

The Nutrition concentration focuses on nutrition science, as well as on behavior change, communication, counseling and the effects of dietary culture on the individual and within the community.

As a student in the Nutrition concentration, you will gain skills to:

  • Assess the scientific evidence for nutritional guidelines and recommendations.
  • Evaluate how social, cultural, environmental and community factors affect dietary intake and nutrition-related outcomes in individuals, families and communities.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in writing evidence-based, nutrition-related professional and consumer communications using a variety of media platforms.
  • Practice in compliance with current federal regulations and state statutes related to public health nutrition programs.
Master of Public Health in Nutrition with Registered Dietitian (MPH-RD Residential)

The Master of Public Health (MPH) in Nutrition was the first degree offered by the Department of Nutrition. Since the first three students received their MPH degrees in 1951, the program has grown to 28 residential students per year. Beginning in 2018, The Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the first in the country to be an ACEND®-accredited Future Education Model program. The program is recognized throughout the United States for the excellence of its training in public health nutrition.

Nutrition is recognized as one of the most important environmental determinants of health throughout the life cycle. It is a key factor in successful pregnancy outcomes, in the physical and mental development of infants and children, and in promoting health throughout the lifespan. Current research stresses nutrition and diet as critical factors in prevention and treatment of most chronic disease, including obesity, heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis. The safety, quality, quantity, and distribution of local, national and world food supplies are major public policy issues.

Other Master’s (MHA, MS, MSCR, MSEE, MSPH) Program Show Details

Master of Science (MS Residential)

The MS degree in Nutrition is offered to those students who wish to increase their knowledge of nutrition science and to acquire skills in laboratory and population-based research. This degree will be useful for students interested in nutrition research or a career in industry, as well as for students considering pursuit of a doctoral degree in medicine or in other areas of public health and biomedical sciences. MS students will perform advanced research in nutrition and take graduate nutrition courses that will provide the information and experience needed to help them choose their career path. Additionally, for those students who are uncertain about whether they wish to enter the Department’s Doctoral program, the MS program offers an excellent opportunity to determine whether a more advanced degree would be appropriate. In summary, the MS program in Nutrition provides students the opportunity to explore nutrition at an advanced level.

Doctoral Program Show Details

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD Residential)

Students develop research and teaching skills in nutrition through coursework, doctoral research, practice opportunities, and preliminary doctoral examinations to prepare them for careers in scientific research or teaching at universities, federal or state agencies, industry or private research institutions. Students may minor in other fields, such as Epidemiology.

Certificate Programs Show Details

Graduate Certificate in Global Health (CGH Residential)

The purpose of the Graduate Certificate in Global Health is to provide current graduate students with a comprehensive understanding of global health conditions, needs, and solutions that cross borders in both developing and industrialized countries and regions. The Certificate complements students’ departmental requirements by offering courses and seminars that will prepare them to work in changing environments and with diverse populations, enabling them to respond competently to the challenges inherent to a career in global health.  Students will learn to identify and analyze the factors that generate disparities in health status, health resources, and access to health information and services, particularly for ethnic minorities and other marginalized and vulnerable population groups. In conferring a Global Health Certificate, the School of Public Health acknowledges students’ capability and capacity to perform as public health professionals with a global perspective, with collaborative and cross-cultural sensitivity and skills. Residential certificate programs are available to students currently enrolled in a residential graduate degree program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Graduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Communication (CIHC Residential)

Provides current degree-seeking residential UNC graduate students with specialized training in health communication. Courses are designed to build expertise for applied practice, academic, and research settings. IHC faculty represent 6 disciplines and conduct research on e-health, message tailoring, risk communication, health decision-making, dissemination, media effects, usability of electronic medical information, and health marketing. Residential certificate programs are available to students currently enrolled in a residential graduate degree program at UNC Gillings.

Graduate Certificate in Public Health Informatics (CPHI Residential)

This 12-credit hour specialized educational option prepares graduates for a variety of public health informatician roles. Combining the existing strength of the SPH curriculum and the informatics curriculum at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS), it will offer focused education with emphasis on public health information systems, information management and manipulation as well as evidence-based public health policy. The PHI certificate is envisioned as complementary to a graduate degree from SPH. Residential certificate programs are available to students currently enrolled in a residential graduate degree program at UNC Gillings.

Graduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Disparities (CIHD Residential)

Provides training that supports a long-term and sustained public health effort toward addressing and ultimately eliminating public health disparities experienced by African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders, compared to the U.S. as a whole. Students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Certificate Program will gain a synthesis of knowledge across a variety of disciplines and an expanded depth of the nature and causality of health disparities and then translate knowledge into effective action within the U.S. and across the globe. This residential certificate program is available to current degree-seeking residential UNC system affiliate graduate students and professional learners enrolled in the Part-Time Classroom Studies program through the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.


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