Nutrition Science

Nutrition Science examines how what we eat affects our well-being by determining optimal levels of essential nutrients and other food components, individual foods and food groups, and patterns of intake, across the life cycle and in the context of specific disorders. Those who work in the nutrition field engage in research to expand and refine our understanding of the relationships between diet and health; provide guidance to individuals or groups on healthful eating, and develop and implement education programs and public health policies designed to help people and communities make nutrition-related decisions. Health professionals in many fields need a good understanding of nutrition because of the key role that diet plays in the prevention, development, and/or treatment of most major diseases. Therefore the Nutrition major can be an excellent choice for those interested in a health-related career.

The Nutrition Science degree requires many of the basic components of the physical, life, and social sciences, including chemistry, biology, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, and psychology. *Courses within the major include Introductory Nutrition, Life Cycle Nutrition, Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism, Nutrition and Chronic Disease, Maternal and Infant Nutrition, Public Health Nutrition, Community Nutrition, Cultural Foods, and Exercise Nutrition.

Students have two options within this major:

The Nutrition Science option is designed to fulfill all of the prerequisites for medical school and other health professional programs, such as optometry and physical therapy, which typically require at least one semester of physics and four semesters of chemistry.

The Applied Nutrition option is designed to help students become qualified to consult and/or develop programming or public health initiatives on healthy eating and other health-related activities necessary for improving quality of life and lowering health care costs, and/or to work with agricultural and food industries to help develop approaches associated with meeting these needs. [Note that many of these positions will require certification as a Registered Dietitian for eligibility–which requires further study after graduation– and/or a graduate degree.] The Applied Nutrition option may also be appropriate for students interested in health professional programs that do not require four semesters of chemistry and/or two semesters of physics, such as Physician’s Assistants and Nursing.
Nutrition majors find jobs working in research labs, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and in a wide variety of other healthcare-related positions.

This video has more information about NC State’s Nutrition Science Program and this article, “A Spark for Nutrition Science” highlight’s Dr. Natalie Cooke’s journey to pursuing Nutrition.

A Minor in Nutrition is available:

The Nutrition minor provides knowledge of the principles of nutrition that are needed to formulate balanced diets and to evaluate information and policies concerning foods and dietary practices. A minor in Nutrition would benefit those seeking employment in the food industry, extension service, as a science or health science educator, as well as someone interested in pursuing an advanced degree in a healthcare-related field. Students may select courses to emphasize human or animal nutrition or a combination of both.

The objectives for students pursuing the Nutrition minor are to:
acquire an understanding of the functions of the nutrients in the health of humans and/or animals
to learn to formulate nutritionally balanced diets for humans and/or animals, and
to learn to apply nutritional principles in the evaluation of information and policies concerning foods and dietary practices.

  • Agriculture
  • Life Sciences
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  • Nutrition Theory & Practical Knowledge
  • Analytical Skills
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