Master of Science Program Student Handbook
The Institute of Human Nutrition is a division of the Postgraduate Education Division of the Faculty of Medicine, one of the units of Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. The Institute offers study programs leading to both the Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Nutrition. With the M.S. degree and professional training, students either go on to further graduate school or into the work force. The Master of Science degree program is designed to be a strong foundation for students who plan to continue toward the Ph.D. or to attend medical, dental or other professional health schools. Students can also take additional training to become dietitians, food technologists, or public health, community or clinical nutritionists. Development of core competencies in professionalism and leadership, in public speaking and professional writing, and in approaches to enable life-long learning, all useful for most professional careers, are emphasized during the program. In addition to students early in their post-baccalaureate training, persons already holding medical, dental or other professional degrees in the health sciences, use the program to augment their prior training and knowledge of nutrition.
To earn the M.S. degree in nutrition, a student must complete a minimum of 33 credits of academic study with a grade average of B- or better, and submit a written Master’s Thesis manuscript approved by the faculty advisor and the Director of the Master's Program and based on a research project meeting program standards. This research work is completed over a twelve-month period of three terms beginning September, January and May. The Summer term beginning in May is devoted to the research project and completion of the Master's Thesis. Any alteration of this plan must be approved by the Director of the Master’s Program. If a student fails a course, they can petition the MS Director to repeat the course once, and still obtain the M.S. degree.
The 33 credits needed for completion of the program include 28 credits of required courses (including 7 credits related to the thesis research) and 5 or more elective credits, including a concentration choice. By the end of the Spring semester, students must have completed at least 30 graduate level credits. Electives are selected by the student with the advice and consent of the student's faculty advisor. Generally, full-time students enroll for 15-19 credits per semester in the Fall and Spring. For full-time students, tuition is set at a flat fee equivalent to the cost of 15 credits for students taking 12-19 credits. Thus, students may complete up to 8 additional graduate credits over the two semesters without incurring additional tuition fees. There is no reduction in the tuition rate for students registering for fewer than 12 credits, which is the minimum required for full-time student status. Tuition for the Summer term is calculated on a per-credit basis and to maintain housing and recusal from repayment of loans, you must register for at least 3 credits in the Summer. You may register for more credits in the Summer with the understanding that Summer tuition is on a per credit basis. For individuals who complete the program as part-time students, tuition is calculated on a per-credit basis. The course work for the standard program is listed on the next page.
Registration for the Fall semester is done during/after orientation, once you have met with your faculty advisor. Registration and other student services can be accessed at: https://ssol.columbia.edu/.
The Registration Adjustment form is needed to register for electives outside the Institute of Human Nutrition courses and for any late registration. This form is available at: REGISTRATION_Adjustment Form
Introduction to Epidemiology for Nutrition - 3 credits
Growth and Development -3 credits
Readings in Human Nutrition -3 credits
Biochemical and Physiological Bases of Nutrition - 3 credits
Special Studies -2 credits
Total credits for required courses, Fall: 14 credits
Students without prior nutrition courses should take the following course:
Overview of Foods in Nutrition - 2-3 credits
Columbia University Electives
Students who have previously taken a nutrition course(s) should take a 2-3 credit Fall elective, which must be a graduate level course, if it is to apply towards the degree. Students must discuss their choice with their academic advisor. A complete list of courses can be found at http://bulletin.columbia.edu.
Biochemical & Physiological Basis of Nutrition II -3 credits
Clinical Nutrition-3 credits
Special Studies-2 credits
One of the following 3 courses is required, based on the selected area of concentration. Students may take other courses in this list as an elective.
Basic Science Concentration Requirement
Molecular Nutrition-3 credits
Epidemiology and Public Health Concentration Requirement
US and International Nutrition Policies and Programs - 3 credits
Clinical Concentration Requirement
Essentials of Nutrition Counseling - 3 credits
Total credits for required courses, Spring: 11 credits
Readings in Clinical Nutrition -3 credits
Obesity: Etiology, Prevention and Treatment
Columbia University Electives
Students may take a 2-3 credit Spring elective, which must be graduate level to apply towards the degree. Students must discuss their choice with their academic advisor. A complete list of courses at Columbia University can be found at http://bulletin.columbia.edu.
Required Course for all students
Thesis Research - 3 credits
- Fall 2017 Master of Science Program application will open December 1. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
- Fall 2017 Nutritional and Metabolic Biology PhD program application is now closed and will reopen in fall 2017.