In this ranking, we examine the best value colleges for a nutritionist degree online in 2016.
There is a significant demand for graduate programs in nutrition that are available online. Once students get through a bachelor’s program and earn their Registered Dietician (RD) designation, many of them start to look for what’s next. Advanced programs in food science and nutrition studies provide an additional layer of understanding that dieticians can use to expand their job opportunities and increase their income. By taking a nutritionist degree online, students can access all the material they need while simultaneously building experience in an entry-level dietetics job. That being said, there are a few rare programs available for undergrads – one of which is listed below!
10. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Online MS in Food and Nutrition
The MS in Food and Nutrition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania is about as inclusive as they come. While other online nutritionist degrees restrict entry to students of specific educational backgrounds, IUP provides something for everyone. The online program offers a different set of courses for students who are already registered dieticians, who have an undergraduate degree in nutrition but aren’t RDs, and those with no experience in the field. All online graduate students must complete a one-year dietetic internship, but they can also take classes simultaneously – up to 18 credits – and apply them toward the Food and Nutrition program once they’re done.
9. Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Food Science and Nutrition
The nutritionist degree online at Colorado State University is surprisingly interdisciplinary. Combining instruction in the biomedical sciences, business and management, and human behavior, CSU has crafted a graduate program in Food Science and Nutrition that is versatile and practical. And because it is part of a multi-institution platform known as the Great Plans Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA), students who attend this program actually have access to resources and faculty from eight different universities. That being said, this accredited nutritionist degree online is not for everyone. The rigorous curriculum is primarily intended for registered dieticians, and CSU recommends that students plan to spend 9-12 hours a week on each three-credit course.
8. Kansas State University
Online Nutrition and Health Bachelor’s Degree
At Kansas State University, a top-notch education in nutrition starts at the undergraduate level. Its nutritionist degree online completion program provides a convenient bridge for students with an associate’s diploma who want a career in community health and wellness. Coursework in Nutrient Metabolism, Microbiology, and Energy Balance prepares students for professional work across a variety of health-related industries. Although it is not a requirement, K-State students have the option of applying to the ACEND-accredited Dietetics program, which offers additional training for those who want to become registered dieticians.
7. Bowling Green State University
Online Master of Food and Nutrition
There are few distance learning programs that offer both extreme flexibility and academic rigor, but BGSU’s M.S. in Food and Nutrition does just that. At Bowling Green State, the graduate nutritionist degree online requires students to complete either a master’s project or thesis. Traditional classwork complements a “research core,” which includes study in research methodology and statistics. All students must also select select a minor – or “cognate” – in a subtopic such as public health or human development. And despite attending courses online, M.S. students can nonetheless work closely with highly esteemed faculty members as they pursue their research.
6. University of Southern Mississippi
Online Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems
The University of Southern Mississippi understands the needs of online learners more than most schools, and it promises that students won’t have to “make [their] life revolve around getting to class on time.” USM provides several creative ways for students to stay on track, even without visiting campus. For example, this M.S. in Nutrition and Food Systems offers a weekly lecture on “Special Problems in Nutrition,” which students can attend virtually simply by logging into the online learning platform. And since these lectures occur on Saturday evenings, working students won’t have to worry about schedule conflicts. This affordable online nutritionist degree also includes an emphasis in Management of Child Nutrition and offers relevant electives in topics such as School Community Relations and Food and Nutrition Public Policy.
5. Auburn University
Online Master of Nutrition Program
It’s a common opinion that the best distance education programs are those that adhere as closely as possible to the traditional on-campus coursework. These programs hold online learners to the same high standards as “regular” college students and utilize innovative ways to engage classmates through virtual media. And this is precisely what Auburn University aims to do with its online M.S. in Nutrition. The accredited nutritionist degree online features video lectures, proctored exams, discussion boards, and even live webcasting through the Canvas Instructure learning management system. Students can take all 33 credit-hours online, including electives in specialty topics like Sports Nutrition and Community Health.
4. East Carolina University
Online Master of Science in Nutrition
In East Carolina University’s graduate nutrition program, it’s all about options. Master’s students can choose between thesis and non-thesis degree tracks, customizing their academic experience to include more intensive original research (thesis track) or additional elective coursework and literature reviews (non-thesis). But regardless of concentration, all ECU nutrition students must take a class in research methods and attend an approved seminar course. As one of the most affordable nutritionist online degrees, ECU has rightfully earned a reputation for its accessibility. That being said, its online M.S. in Nutrition is no cake walk; admissions requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from an approved ADA program.
3. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Online Nutrition and Health Sciences: Specialization in Dietetics M.S.
Registered dieticians and students who are eligible to take the registration examination can apply to this M.S. in Dietetics program, which takes the study of nutrition to an “advanced level.” Moving beyond the basics of human anatomy and wellness, UNL’s affordable online nutritionist degree focuses on research concepts, public policy in healthcare, and food service management. Students have the option of completing a 6-credit thesis paper or taking an additional six hours of elective courses. By earning an M.S. in Dietetics from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, students can move into specialty positions in the food service industry, public health, lifestyle consulting, or even work in private practice.
2. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Online Master of Nutrition
North Carolina State University’s Master of Nutrition degree offers a serious step up for students who are serious about their careers. The 36-credit hour program requires all online learners to complete an internship, practicum, or independent project along with their regular coursework. The curriculum also includes a “professional skills component,” which consists of a select number of carefully chosen courses that NCSU developed with the help of actual employers. Emphases in Feed Science as well as Human Nutrition, Food, and Bioprocessing give students concentrated career knowledge that can give them a boost in the job market – and make this one of the best nutrition degrees online today.
1. SUNY Oneonta
Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Nutrition and Dietetics
SUNY Oneonta’s M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics stands out from the other programs on this nutritionist online degree ranking for one very distinct reason. While other graduate programs only admit registered dieticians, this degree program accepts applicants of all educational backgrounds. In fact, this three-semester curriculum qualifies students to take the national RD examination after they graduate, if they so desire. And although online learners can earn their degree in just 12 months, it won’t be an easy journey. The combined Nutrition/Dietetics coursework mandates 36-credit hours of regular classes plus a 1220-hour supervised internship. Even enrolling in SUNY Oneonta’s online degree is a challenge; only 20 spots are available each year, and students must prove that they have access to healthcare facilities and registered dietician preceptors in their local area.
This concludes our ranking of the top 10 values for a nutritionist degree online.
See our methodology page for more information about how we calculated this ranking.
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By CVO Staff