Traditional MS

Traditional MS

Traditional MS Degree

This in-person program allows students to explore courses covering the complexities, social implications, and nutritional impacts of the food system, chronic disease management, advanced research methods, and community program development.

Fast Facts


Credit Hours


GRE Requirements



Customizable Program Choices

You will take core classes in nutrition and food systems, chronic disease management, advanced community program development, and global food diet, and culture.  Our MS program also allows flexibility in taking elective courses offered through our department and/or from other related disciplines.  In DHN, we offer graduate elective coursework in obesity, food related behaviors, culinary medicine, and more!  Our students also take elective courses from departments such as kinesiology and health promotion, communications, public health, sociology, sustainable agriculture, and others.  Make your graduate degree unique to your interests and professional goals.

Review Course Descriptions

With our traditional thesis-based option, students will work alongside their thesis chair who will guide them through the writing process in order to complete a written thesis as well as an oral defense. The topic of research will be tailored to personal interests and goals, and students will receive the support of their thesis chair every step of the way. Graduate students in this program are eligible for research and teaching assistantships which may offsets some of the tuition costs. Explore the work of our program graduates in the thesis library.

Visit the Thesis Library

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the MS in Nutrition and Food Systems program is selective and competitive.

  • Students must have a relevant undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. A relevant degree includes degrees in nutrition science/dietetics, exercise science, public health, biology, chemistry, nursing, public health, or other health-science related degrees.

    • Alternatively, the applicant may be asked to complete pre-requisite courses such as, nutrition, physiology, or biology courses as deemed necessary by the DHN graduate program admissions committee.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required with conditional admittance considered.
  • The GRE is not required to apply.

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Additional Opportunities

Graduate Research

Our program goal is to provide students with expertise in nutrition and food systems for applying practical and critical thinking skills to address nutrition-related problems in an evolving global society. Together, the student and their thesis chair discuss research interests and develop a thesis proposal, which is approved by the student’s thesis committee (a total of three members). In the last semester of the student’s program of study they will submit their written thesis to their committee, as well as the Graduate School, and defend their work during an oral defense.


Gain both experience and financial assistance with a graduate assistantship. Teaching and research assistantships are available for qualified students on a competitive application basis. Assistantships include a stipend and tuition scholarship. To be considered for an assistantship, applicants must apply to the graduate program by March 1 for admission the following fall semester and October 1 for admission the following spring semester. Each semester, current students must reapply for a graduate assistantship as they are awarded every semester based on performance.

Learn More About the Degree Program and Apply

  • Handbook
  • Explore Courses
  • Apply for the Program

Core Courses (12 Hours Total)

  • Food Systems and Society
  • Chronic Disease Management and Process
  • Advanced Community Program Development
  • Seminar in Nutrition and Food Systems

Guided Electives (6 Hours Total)

  • Thesis Option: for in-person learning

    • Research Methods in Nutrition and Food Systems
    • Regression Analysis and Design of Experiments
  • Non-Thesis Option: for online learning
    • Global Foods, Diet and Culture
    • Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice in Dietetics OR Research Methods in Nutrition and Food Systems

Free Electives (6-12 Hours Total)

  • Based on your interests and professional goals, choose from a wide variety of courses offered in DHN and at the University of Kentucky. Make the program work for YOU.
  • Elective courses can be used to earn a Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition & Culinary Medicine.
  • Elective options available in DHN:
    • Introduction to Culinary Medicine
    • Food Related Behaviors
    • Obesity and Food Insecurity Paradigm: From Cell to Society

Evidence-Based Practice Project Coursework (6 Hours Total)

Course Descriptions

Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum degree requirement to be approved for eligibility for the registration examination for dietitians will change from a bachelor's degree to a graduate degree. This decision was made by the Commission on Dietetic Registration based on the recommendations of the Council on Future Practice Visioning Report (2012). Learn more here.

Connect With Us

Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

204 Funkhouser Building
Lexington, KY 40506


Dr. Dawn Brewer

Director of Graduate Studies

Contact Dr. Dawn Brewer

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Program Admission

Apply for Admission

Contact Information

Dr. Tammy J. Stephenson, PhD, FAND
Department Chair & Professor

202 Funkhouser Building Lexington, KY 40506-0054

+1 (859) 257-3800