With diet, exercise, and obesity on the nation’s mind, the field of nutrition has exploded into popularity in the last decade. Dietitians, nutritionists, and personal fitness gurus have become some of the top careers – but where do these experts get their start?
Nutrition departments are growing in number throughout the country. No matter how recent the major, certain colleges have a reputation for educating exceptional nutritionists. But department excellence isn’t the only factor. Cost is also important to factor in. The following are seven excellent schools that offer popular nutrition programs, along with their price tags.
6. New York University: $40,878
NYU is exceptional in many ways. In recent years, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development has joined NYU’s other prestigious schools as one of the top nutrition schools. Undergrads who major in nutrition are expected to get a true liberal arts experience – they must take classes in other NYU departments and schools to round out their education.
The Department of Nutrition, Food, and Public Health offers a concentration in nutrition and dietetics. Not only do students earn a degree in nutrition, but they also gain all the experience necessary to become registered dietitians. Though the focus is on healthy habits and the effects of proper nutrition, students also examine how food is connected to social and cultural experiences.
5. Texas A & M University: $8,419 (residents), $24,919 (non-residents)
At Texas A&M, the nutrition and food science major is part of the Agriculture and Life Sciences department. The department is a new one – it’s only been around since 2005 – but quickly became one of the best programs for its in-depth studies. Students can learn about cell signaling, the effects of nutrition programs, and even food technology.
The goal of the nutrition major at Texas A&M is to educate undergraduates in how food works to promote health. Learning how to teach others healthy habits is another important part of the program. Although research is not one of the biggest focuses within the department, students do have to option to research throughout their four years. Projects are usually designed to look at how health affects different individuals and their conditions.
4. University of California, Davis: $13,877 (residents), $36,755 (non-residents)
The nutrition research programs at the University of California, Davis are some of the best in the world. Undergraduate students can study today’s issues both in the lab and outside, getting hands-on experience with how nutrition shapes real individuals. Nutrition majors study current issues, from weight gain and food safety to food availability around the world.
With a mix of natural sciences, social sciences, and math, UC Davis students develop a well-rounded understanding of what it takes to become a nutritionist. They can choose to specialize in fields such as nutritional biochemistry or community nutrition, and even earn their registered dietitian credential. Graduates go on to careers in public service, education, and the healthcare world.
3. Ohio State University: $10,037 (residents), $25,445 (non-residents)
The College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State offers a number of options for undergraduate students. With four different programs, nutrition majors can both specialize and gather a broad knowledge of physical and biological sciences. Students can create a curriculum that plays to their strengths. Whether you’re amazing at research or dedicated to the public sector, OSU has classes for your nutrition goals.
Nutrition majors at Ohio State have the unique advantage of being attached to one of the top university hospitals. Internships are required for graduation, ensuring that each student leaves with real world experience. Interestingly, many OSU nutrition majors end up attending dental or medical school later on.
2. Virginia Tech: $10,923 (residents), $25,915 (non-residents)
At Virginia Tech, nutrition is nothing without exercise. From their first class, nutrition majors learn about the connection between the two programs, and examine the psychological effects of both. The Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise is dedicated to research – and their primary focus is discovering ways to advance food and nutrition.
Nutrition is one of the most popular majors at Virginia Tech. The more than 900 undergrads spend much of their time conducting research with real people. They study weight management techniques in both children and adults, and conduct behavioral assessments along the way. Nutrition graduates are determined to find solutions for chronic conditions, particularly in overweight individuals.
1. University of Nebraska, Lincoln: $6,480 (residents), $19,230 (non-residents)
The nutrition department at the University of Nebraska is still evolving, yet it’s already one of the most successful undergraduate programs. 95% of dietetics students pass the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics exam on the first try – one of the highest percentages in the country. By graduation, students are prepared for a broad range of careers, from athletic training to pharmaceutical research.
But nutrition majors learn about much more than just human wellness and healthy habits. The University of Nebraska offers classes in culinary science, hospitality management, and even wellness program development. Seniors have the option to complete a post-baccalaureate internship through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well. After combining with the university’s health department, the nutrition program has become both interdisciplinary and widely varied.
- Many nutrition colleges help prepare majors for official nutritionist and dietitian exams. Students who want to become Registered Dietitians should look for schools that certify during senior year.
- A degree in nutrition doesn’t mean you have to deal with diets for the rest of your life. Nutrition graduates often head off to medical school – and take fewer math and science classes as an undergrad.
- Internships are a great way to make connections with established nutritionists. With a school-sponsored program, you can be matched with a professional who specializes in your interests or potential career.