Human nutrition students in a laboratory

About the program

The Master of Science in Human Nutrition (MSHN) program at University of Delaware emphasizes advanced knowledge of core nutrition principles and prepares students for advanced practice, research, and leadership roles. The focus of the MSHN is nutritional science, and the application of biochemistry, physiology, and biology principles to human nutrition in health and disease. Areas of emphasis include research and projects related to prevention or treatment of disease; nutrition in infancy, childhood, and aging; community nutrition; cardiovascular physiology; and identifying and clarifying relationships between diet and health.

The program enables students to pursue their degree through either a thesis or non-thesis option. Both options include a core of required credits in nutrition and research methods and elective courses fulfill the remainder of the program credits.

Decisions on admissions are made by the Nutrition Science (NS) Graduate Programs Committee. Students will be admitted to the program based on enrollment availability, the availability of faculty mentorship, and their ability to meet the following minimum recommended entrance requirements:

  • Minimum undergraduate cumulative index of 2.75, and 3.00 in major field;
  • GRE scores within last 5 years
  • 3 letters of reference;
  • For international students who do not apply for a teaching assistantship, a TOEFL score of 575 or higher (paper-based), TOEFL iBT of 90 or higher, or IELTS of 6.5 is required. International students applying for a teaching assistantship must have a paper-based TOEFL score of 600 or higher, TOEFL iBT of 100 or higher or IELTS of 7.0

Prerequisite course requirements for regular admission to the MSHN include:

  • physiology (one course)
  • inorganic chemistry (two courses, Chem 1 and Chem 2)
  • organic chemistry (one course)
  • biochemistry (one course)
  • human nutrition with a biochemistry prerequisite
  • Applicants must submit all materials directly to the University of Delaware Graduate College using the online admission process before admission can be considered. Admission applications are available here.
  • Application Documents:
    • A graduate application essay.
    • Current curriculum vitae.
    • A minimum of three letters of recommendation (it is recommended that at least two be from academic references).
    • Official transcripts and GRE scores

The Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition has several full (full tuition and stipend) graduate assistantships that may be offered to competitive full-time students on a year-to-year basis. Students on full graduate assistantships are provided with experiences that can only be gained by performing teaching assignments or research activities with a faculty mentor; these activities are compensated based on the University’s guidelines of 20 hours per week. The primary assignment of the assistantship, over the course of the academic year, will consist of supporting an assigned faculty member with their grant/research and/or teaching.

Applications (all materials) for the MSHN Program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between January 15 and March 15 for admission to the program at the beginning of the following fall semester. Since application decisions will be made on a rolling basis within this timeframe (January 15th – March 15th), applicants are strongly advised to complete and submit applications as early as possible. The materials required for the application to be considered complete include the application form, undergraduate/graduate transcripts, official GRE scores, at least three letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae, and a graduate application essay (directions for the graduate application essay may be found on the University of Delaware’s Graduate College website


The MSHN is a 32-credit program designed to be completed in 2 years and includes a thesis or non-thesis option.

Thesis Option

  • 25 credits of course work
  • 6 credits core nutrition courses
  • 6 credits nutrition elective coursework
  • 3 credits elective coursework
  • 3 credits biochemistry
  • 3 credits statistics
  • 3 credits research design
  • 2 credit nutrition seminar
  • 6 credits thesis research
  • Thesis proposal defense
  • Thesis defense

Non-thesis option

  • 28 credits of course work
  • 6 credits core nutrition courses
  • 6 or 9 credits nutrition elective coursework
  • 6 or 9  credits elective coursework
  • 3 credits statistics
  • 3 credits research design
  • 2 credit nutrition seminar
  • 3 credits non-thesis (scholarly project) research
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Nutrition education, nutrition counseling, and qualitative research studies diet and health outcomes (Sandra Baker, EdD, RD)
  • Phytochemicals and their role in prevention and reduction of age- and nutrition-related diseases (Sheau Ching Chai, PhD RD)
  • Dietary fiber, nutritional assessment and nutrition-related diseases (Richard Fang, PhD, RD)
  • Eating disorders in emerging adults; psychological outcomes of interventions to control body weight; eating and health-related behaviors (Carly Pacanowski, PhD, RD)
  • Behavioral weight management interventions in pediatric and adult populations; basic feeding studies manipulating diet (Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD)
  • Public health nutrition, vitamin D and bone mineral metabolism (Alisha Rovner, PhD)
  • Infant and child feeding practices, cultural competency, global health/nutrition, immigrant health/nutrition (Kelebogile Setiloane, PhD)
  • Early childhood nutrition, diet composition and energy balance in healthy individuals and in those with chronic disease (Jillian Trabulsi, PhD, RD)
  • Body composition, energy metabolism and nutrition assessment in chronic and acute illness; clinical nutrition assessment; diagnosis and management of disease-associated malnutrition (Carrie Earthman, PhD, RD)
  • Nutrigenomics, chronic disease prevention, nutritional toxicology, multiomics approaches in nutrition research (Jae Kyeom Kim, MS, PhD)