Graduate Academic Programs

Doctoral Degree Program (PhD)


Description of Program

The Ph.D. program in Nutrition focuses on public health nutrition issues, preparing graduates to teach and conduct scholarly inquiry or undertake careers in policy or industry within a number of contemporary areas in nutrition, including nutrition and applied health sciences; rigor, reproducibility, and transparency; community-based participatory research; randomized controlled trials; nutrition diagnostics; international nutrition; and implementation science. The program includes opportunities for experiential components including internships in industry or policy.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nutrition

 Common Ph.D. Degree Requirements

  • A minimum of 90 graduate-level credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree is required.
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.
  • A minimum grade of C is required in each course used to satisfy the minor and elective requirements of the course prescription.
  • A minimum grade of B is required in each course used to satisfy the major and research skills requirement of the course prescription.

 Required Components for the Ph.D. Degree in Nutrition

 All Ph.D. in Nutrition degree students in the School of Public Health-Bloomington are required to complete the following:

  •  Public Health Foundations Requirement. All School of Public Health graduate students should complete the Public Health Foundations online course prior to registering for their first semester courses. Complete details and registration information for this course can be found at the following website:

 Major Area of Study – (30 credits minimum)

A minimum of 30 credits to acquire knowledge in Nutrition - the major area of study. These courses must be taken within the School of Public Health-Bloomington. No substitutions or transfer equivalency will be allowed for the following courses:

  •  SPH-N 730 Advanced Nutrition I (3 cr.) New
  • SPH-N 732 Advanced Nutrition II (3 cr.) New

 The following courses should be taken within the School of Public Health-Bloomington, or transferred from previous graduate work contingent upon approval of the Advisory Committee.

 Courses transferred from previous graduate work outside the School of Public Health Bloomington, if within the major area of study, can be used to fulfill the major areas of study requirement, contingent upon the approval of the Advisory Committee, the Executive Associate Dean of SPH IU Bloomington, and the Indiana University Graduate School.

  •  SPH-E 680 Nutritional Epidemiology (3 cr.) Current
  • SPH-N 649 Nutritional Assessment Techniques (3 cr.) New
  • SPH-N 537 Pathways Beyond Academia (1 cr.) New
  • SPH-N 617 Communication of Nutrition Science to Diverse Audiences (3 cr.) New
  • SPH-N 700 Methods for Research in Nutrition (3 cr.) New
  • SPH-N 701 Special Topics in Nutrition (3 cr.) New
  • SPH-N 702 Food and Nutrition Policy and Regulations (3 cr.) New
  • Additional major coursework prescribed by the doctoral advisory committee (5 cr.)

 Research Skills (13 credits minimum)

The following courses must be taken within the School of Public Health-Bloomington. No substitutions and transfer equivalency will be allowed for the following courses.

  •  SPH-N 690 Research, Rigor, Reproducibility and Transparency (3 cr.) New
  • SPH-N 794 Doctoral Seminar in Nutrition (a minimum 4 cr., 1 cr per semester) New
  • SPH-B 703 Acquiring External Funds for Research (3 cr.) Current

 A minimum of 3 credits of additional coursework providing required skills to conduct research in nutrition:

  •  SPH-B 650 Quantitative Methods I for Public Health Research (3 cr.) Current
  • SPH-B 702 Advanced Evaluation Research in Public Health (3 cr.) Current
  • SPH-H 750 Qualitative Research Methods (3 cr.) Current
  • Or other courses as prescribed by the doctoral advisory committee

 Minor Area of Study (9 credits minimum)

A minimum of 9 credits of coursework in a designated area outside the nutrition area (e.g., Health Behavior, Biostatistics/Epidemiology, Kinesiology, Anthropology of Food)

 Electives (0 to 18 credits)

Elective credits may range between 0 and 18. An optional second minor may be taken in lieu of elective credit hours.

 Suggested elective:

  • SPH-H 710 Pedagogy in Health Behavior (3 cr.) (for students interested in teaching)

 Doctoral Qualifying Exam

Each Ph.D. degree student in nutrition science must pass a doctoral qualifying exam that assesses the extent to which the student has attained the program’s required competencies. The qualifying exam includes a standardized written portion and an individualized oral portion administrated by the student’s advisory committee. The student must be satisfactory in both portions to pass the qualifying exam.

 Dissertation (20 – 30 credits)

  •  SPH-N 799 PhD Dissertation

Special Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to develop skills by participating in research activities supervised by faculty members or in collaboration with other graduate students. Through funded graduate assistantship (GA) appointments, doctoral students may also have the opportunities to work with our external industry partners and to acquire essential skills and experience in teaching. Students are strongly encouraged to publish research in professional journals and present it at national conferences.


Most graduates pursue careers in higher education as professors and researchers while some complete postdoctoral fellowships. Others pursue research or executive careers in governmental agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or in state and local health departments, nonprofit health agencies, or industry.

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