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 Dietitian (RD) designation, many of them begin looking at what’s next. Advanced programs in food science and nutrition studies provide an additional layer of understanding that dietitians can use to expand job opportunities and increase income. By earning a nutritionist degree online, students can access all the material they need while simultaneously gaining experience in an entry-level dietetics job.
Nutrition Degree Online Programs Methodology
We reviewed over 100 accredited colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator and reputable online sources that offered affordable online nutrition degree programs. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: accreditation (regional and national), institution and/or program rankings with U.S. News and World Report, and affordable graduate tuition and fees less than $25,000 per year. We then ranked our findings according to raw affordability.
Below are the resulting selections for our top 30 nutrition degree online programs for 2020.
Ranking the Best Online Nutrition Degree Programs
#30 – University of New England
Online Master’s in Applied Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,334
If you’re seeking how to become a nutritionist, the online master’s in applied nutrition at University of New England is a good first step. This affordable and highly ranked program offers 100% online classes and optional focus areas for professionals looking to advance their career trajectory – good news for individuals who have been out of school for a while. Admission to this program requires no GRE. If you’re looking for an online master’s in nutrition and flexibility in choosing areas of focus, University of New England offers various options. Some of the focus areas include nutrition and disease prevention, obesity and health promotion, and sustainable nutrition. There is also an option to customize the degree, adding to the flexibility of the program. In addition to quality online programs, UNE ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 246th best national university in the country.
#29 – Pennsylvania State University
Online Master of Professional Studies in Nutritional Sciences
University Park, Pennsylvania
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,186
The nutritionist degree program at Pennsylvania State University is offered online and designed to help prepare you for evidence-based advanced practice. Focusing on critical thinking and interactive technology to engage the learning process, Penn State’s master’s in nutritional sciences is as engaging as the coursework and faculty leading the courses. Some of the courses offered include advanced nutrient metabolism, advanced clinical nutrition, leadership concepts and application for the nutrition profession, and research methods. Applying to the program requires a bachelor’s degree form a regionally accredited U.S. institution with a solid GPA of at least 3.0. Penn State ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 57th best national university in the country.
#28 – Central Michigan University
Online Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics
Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,150
Central Michigan University’s online nutrition degree provides advanced training in nutritional sciences for both new and experienced professionals. By completing 31-37 credits, students earn an online master’s in nutrition and dietetics. There are several completion options, which add to the flexibility of the program. Options include completing a thesis, an internship, or coursework only. All classes are delivered online and explore nutrition topics like advanced nutritional assessment, research methods and biostatistics, and seminar on nutrition. In addition to the school’s accreditation and quality coursework, CMU ranks with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the latest rankings include #240 in best national universities.
#27 – University of Massachusetts
Online Master’s in Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,209
The accredited and affordable nutrition degree online program at University of Massachusetts Amherst takes two years of part-time study to complete. Upon completion, graduates typically find employment in areas like community health and nutrition, corporate wellness, fitness and wellness centers, food safety, nutrition project management, or nutrition policy and advocacy work. The program is 100% online, which means there is no residency requirement or visits on campus. Also, the program adheres to a non-thesis track, adding to its convenience and flexibility. Courses cover a number of advanced nutrition topics like advanced nutrition and metabolism, methods in nutrition research, and vitamins and minerals.
#26 – Colorado State University
Online Master’s in Food Science and Nutrition
Fort Collins, Colorado
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,871
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 Plains 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 dietitians, and CSU recommends that students plan to spend 9-12 hours a week on each three-credit course. Also, CSU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report and is fully accredited.
#25 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Online Master’s in Food and Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,744
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 dietitians, 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. In addition to offering quality nutrition programs, Indiana University of Pennsylvania ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.
#24 – Arizona State University
Online Master’s in Nutritional Science (Dietetics)
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,608
Earning a nutritionist degree at Arizona State University can be done completely online. In fact, the master’s in dietetics is designed for registered dietitian nutritionists looking to advance their career without having to quit their day job to go back to school. A total of 10 classes are required, which can be taken online. Classes run 7.5 weeks in length and cover a variety of advanced nutrition topics. These courses include ethics and policy of American diets, evidenced-based nutrition, pediatric nutrition, research methods, and statistics in research. ASU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 117th best national university. The institution and its programs are fully accredited and highly affordable, especially for in-state residents.
#23 – SUNY Oneonta
Online Master’s in Dietetics
Oneonta, New York
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,497
SUNY Oneonta’s master’s in dietetics stands out from the other programs and is designed to prepare students to become nutritionists. While other graduate programs only admit registered dietitians, 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 1,220-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 dietitian preceptors in their local area.
#22 – University of Wisconsin
Online Master’s in Clinical Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,180
For students seeking a nutritionist degree available online, University of Wisconsin offers an online master’s in clinical nutrition. This 30-credit degree program requires no campus visits and is ideal for people with a strong background in nutrition. Curriculum prepares graduate students for careers as leaders in clinical nutrition and dietetics. As indicated above, all classes are delivered online. Courses cover topics like advanced nutrition assessment, human energy metabolism, micronutrients human psychology and disease, and nutrition informatics. This program is designed to complete in four semesters of full-time enrollment. However, part-time students may take their time and work at their own pace toward earning the degree. UW-Madison ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 46th best national university.
#21 – University of North Dakota
Online Master’s in Nutrition
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,058
One of the most affordable online nutrition degree programs on our list is the online master’s in nutrition from University of North Dakota. UND’s well-established and fully accredited online nutrition program helps students advance their careers in nutrition by preparing them with advanced skills. This 30-credit program requires no GRE for admission and takes two years to complete. Additionally, students have the option of earning a specialization in one of two areas: nutrition education and counseling, or nutrition science. Whichever specialization is selected, core classes stay the same. Students explore topics like macronutrients, micronutrients, nutrition education and program planning, and research methods in nutrition. UND ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 263rd best national university and 128th top public school.
#20 – University of Texas
Online Master’s in Nutritional Sciences
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,998
University of Texas prepares students learning how to become a nutritionist with a quality education through the online master’s in nutritional sciences. This 100% online graduate program offers rigor and the same quality curriculum as the on-campus graduate program. However, students complete their coursework and classes online. In addition to the convenience of online classes, the program offers two concentrations designed for students to tailor their degree to align with personal or career goals. These concentrations include biochemical and functional nutrition and health promotion and disease prevention. University of Texas ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 48th best national university.
#19 – North Carolina State University
Online Master’s in Nutrition
Raleigh, North Carolina
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,673
A nutritionist degree from North Carolina State University requires no thesis and follows a hybrid model. NC State University’s master’s in nutrition degree offers a serious step up for students who are focused on 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. NC State is among the top-ranked public institutions. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks NCSU #84 in best national universities.
#18 – Auburn University
Online Master’s in Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,504
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 nutrition degree. 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 community health and sports nutrition. Auburn offers quality programs and accredited degrees. In addition, the school is also ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.
#17 – Kansas State University
Online Master’s in Dietetics
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,277
At Kansas State University, earning a nutrition degree online prepares you for a career as a registered dietitian. Students enrolled in the Global Campus program complete 36 credits of which are entirely online. The program is offered through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. As stated, courses are delivered online. These courses include environmental scanning and analysis of current issues in dietetics, introduction to statistical methods for the sciences, and research in health sciences. KSU also ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, recent rankings include #162 in best national universities.
#16 – University of Georgia
Online Master’s in Foods, Nutrition, Community Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,168
For individuals seeking a bachelor degree in nutrition and dietetics online, University of Georgia has options. The online master’s in foods, nutrition, and community nutrition is designed for working professionals and those who wish to expand their knowledge of the nutrition field. By completing a minimum of 30 credits and a final capstone project, students earn a master’s in nutrition. Courses are delivered entirely online with classes taught by the same professors who instruct on campus. Admission to the program requires an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation. University of Georgia also ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 50th best national university.
#15 – University of Kansas
Online Master’s in Dietetics and Nutrition
Kansas City, Kansas
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,045
The Great Plains IDEA program is a consortium that includes University of Kansas. This school offers online nutrition degrees that prepare students seeking how to become a nutritionist. Through the 36-credit hour online master’s in dietetics and nutrition, students take online classes and earn their master’s degree. Required courses include topics like current issues and trends in nutrition, methods of research, micronutrients in human nutrition, and principles of statistics. Several available elective courses allow students to tailor their degree to align with career goals and meet personal interests. The University of Kansas, in addition to being accredited, ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, recent rankings include #130 in best national universities and #116 in best value schools.
#14 – Iowa State University
Online Master’s in Dietetics
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,990
Iowa State University offers nutritionist degree programs for those seeking online options. The online master’s in dietetics is a 36-credit graduate degree designed to prepare students for advanced level careers or to pursue doctoral study. Due to the rigorous preparation, admission requirements are stringent. Applicants must hold the credential of Registered Dietitian (RD) or be RD-eligible. Also, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and two or more years of nutrition or dietetic-related work experience. Online courses cover a variety of advanced nutrition topics. These courses include current issues and trends, obesity across the lifespan, research methods, and statistics. In addition to offering quality programming, Iowa State ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 121st best national university.
#13 – The University of Alabama
Online Master’s in Human Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,780
The University of Alabama offers an accredited and affordable online nutrition degree that consists of 30 credits and is customizable. The master’s in human nutrition online degree program allows students to customize their education through specialized tracks. These tracks are designed for RDs but can be completed by individuals with bachelor’s degrees who have completed prerequisites or a dietetics internship. Students may choose one of three tracks, including clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and generalist. All courses are delivered online and cover advanced nutrition topics like advanced vitamin and mineral metabolism, biostatistics, maternal and infant nutrition, and metabolism of energy nutrients. University of Alabama also ranks among major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.
#12 – University of Memphis
Online Master’s in Nutrition Science
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,746
The nutrition degree online program at University of Memphis provides individuals with the opportunity to pursue interests in areas of nutrition in health and disease, development and aging, and athletic performance. Applicants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with coursework in relevant areas of biological studies, chemistry, and nutrition. GPA and GRE scores are also important in helping the admission board with their selection process. Once admitted, students take a series of online courses that prepare them for advanced nutrition careers or PhD or MD graduate programs. University of Memphis is a fully accredited public institution. Also, the school ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Recent 2020 rankings include #272 in best national universities and #135 in top public schools.
#11 – Logan University
Online Master’s in Nutrition and Human Performance
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,000
Logan University offers an accredited and online nutritionist degree designed for individuals seeking advanced nutrition expertise. The online master’s in nutrition and human performance is brought to students by world-class faculty and entirely online. Courses cover advanced nutrition topics such as health education concepts and theories, health policy, media and public health, nutrition science, and statistics. While there is no GRE necessary for admission, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution and have at least a 2.5 GPA. According to U.S. News and World Report, Logan University has received recognition as a health professional school.
#10 – Bowling Green State University
Online Master’s in Nutrition Sciences
Bowling Green, Ohio
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,831
If you’re searching how to become a nutritionist, you are likely planning to go back to school and obtain a graduate degree like the online master’s in nutrition sciences at Bowling Green State University. There are few distance learning programs that offer both extreme flexibility and academic rigor, but BGSU’s master’s program 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 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. In addition to Bowling Green’s top programming, the school ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.
#9 – Mississippi State University
Online Master’s in Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion
Mississippi State, Mississippi
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,910
If you hold a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics online, the next natural step is to acquire a master’s degree in nutrition like the one offered at Mississippi State University. The program is fully online and designed to develop practitioners with the skills and competencies necessary to work and advocate for health promotion programs. Graduates of the program have gone on to secure employment with the Center for Disease Control, schools and universities, and the World Health Organization. The core master’s program also serves as the foundation to become a Certified Health Education Specialist. By taking online courses, you will earn your master’s in food science and nutrition from MSU. In addition to offering accredited and affordable programs, Mississippi State also offers a solid reputation. Rankings with U.S. News and World Report include #211 in best national universities and #101 in top public schools.
#8 – University of Southern Mississippi
Online Master’s in Nutrition and Food Systems
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,896
The University of Southern Mississippi understands the needs of online learners better 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, the online nutrition degree¬–master’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. The master’s program is affordable and ideal for working students.
#7 – University of Central Missouri
Online Master’s in Nutrition – Clinical Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,439
Wondering how to become a nutritionist? University of Central Missouri offers a master’s in clinical nutrition that can be completed entirely online. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the program is designed to prepare entry level nutritionists to be lifelong learners in the field. The program also prepares students to apply nutrition knowledge when analyzing exercise metabolism and human performance. Also, if you’re interested in pursuing a specialization in sports nutrition, as opposed to clinical nutrition, the degree program has an optional pathway. University of Central Missouri ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 78th best regional university in the Midwest.
#6 – Liberty University
Online Master of Public Health in Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,400
Liberty University, a top-ranked Christian college, offers a unique nutrition degree online. The online MPH or Master of Public Health in Nutrition degree program consists of 42 credits and takes 1.5 years, on average, to complete. The online MPH nutrition degree is designed to prepare students to become leaders in the competitive industry of public health. Since Liberty is a Christian institution, coursework and curriculum emphasizes biblical principles and approaches. Courses are delivered online and taught by Liberty University faculty. These courses cover topics like diabetes, obesity, and eating disorders; performance nutrition for the physically active; and principles of nutrition. Applicants must have a regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 or higher GPA to be considered for admission in good standing.
#5 – North Dakota State University
Online Master’s in Dietetics
Fargo, North Dakota
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,751
Looking for a nutritionist degree that can be completed online? North Dakota State University offers a master’s in dietetics – ideal for those who have completed a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics online. The master’s in dietetics program, offered through the College of Human Sciences and Education at NDSU, prepares students for work as leaders in the nutrition and public health industry. Online courses are taught by faculty from NDSU as well as several other universities that are members of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA). NDSU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, current rankings include #281 in best national universities and #140 in top public schools. NDSU also ranks among the top most affordable nutrition degree online best value institutions.
#4 – University of Nebraska
Online Master’s in Nutrition and Health Sciences
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,575
Registered dietitians and students who are eligible to take the registration examination can apply to this M.S. in nutrition and health sciences program, which takes the study of nutrition to an “advanced level.” Moving beyond the basics of human anatomy and wellness, UNL’s affordable nutrition degree online program focuses on food service management, healthcare, and research methods. 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. degree in nutrition online 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. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Nebraska #139 in best national universities.
#3 – East Carolina University
Online Master’s in Nutrition
Greenville, North Carolina
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,535
For those seeking how to become a nutritionist, East Carolina University’s graduate nutrition program has options to explore. 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. In addition to quality education, ECU ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 228th best national university. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #42 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.
#2 – Texas Woman’s University
Online Master’s in Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,497
Texas Woman’s University offers an online nutrition degree for those who have completed a bachelor degree in nutrition and dietetics online or through a brick-and-mortar classroom. In as little as 12 months, students may earn a master’s in nutrition entirely online. The program has two completion pathways: you can complete a thesis or coursework only. Some of the required courses available online cover topics like eating behaviors and eating disorders, functional foods, human nutrition in disease, nutrition and human metabolism, and seminar in nutrition. For the thesis option, a total of 30 credits are required. Texas Woman’s ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. These rankings include #293-#381 in best national universities and #200 in top performers on social mobility.
#1 – University of Central Arkansas
Online Master’s in Nutrition
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,539
University of Central Arkansas prepares students in their pursuits of how to become a nutritionist through their online master’s in nutrition degree. The program may be completed entirely online and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree, official transcripts, minimum GPA of 3.00, and GRE scores of at least 300 (150 verbal and 150 quantitative). Also recommended is work experience in a nutrition-related area. As indicated, the program is delivered online and courses cover advanced nutrition topics. These topics include current findings in food, current issues in family and consumer sciences, and statistical methods in family and consumer sciences. In addition to being a top-ranked institution by U.S. News and World Report, University of Central Arkansas offers the #1 most affordable nutrition degree online.
This concludes our list of top 30 nutrition degree online programs of 2020.
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