Earn an advanced degree in as little as one year with an online program!

As of January 1, 2024, master’s degrees will be required to be eligible for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) exam. This degree will give recent undergraduate students the credential they need to take the RDN exam and help working professionals remain competitive in their careers.

We offer flexible program options so that you can attend classes on a schedule that works for you. Choose in-person, online, or hybrid attendance, as well as thesis or non-thesis options.

Students at local farm stand.

Program Highlights

Our faculty is diverse (both in gender/ethnicity and in research interests) which provides a more well-rounded experience than comparable programs. Our curriculum is also more flexible than comparable programs.

We offer a wide variety of electives to tailor coursework to meet your career goals. Dietetics is a broad field, and we respect that your curriculum should match your interests. We are actively recruiting qualified faculty and designing new courses to meet educational demands for specializations.


Required Courses

Course Title Credit Hours

FSHN 510

Topics in Nutrition Research (Science Translation)


FSHN 521

Molecular Basis of Metabolic Syndrome and Weight Management (pre-req FSHN 420)


FSHN 552

Advanced Diabetes Management


FSHN 595

Advanced Topics in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Nutritional Epidemiology Journal Club)


FSHN 597

Graduate Seminar (or equivalent)


or NUTR 500

Nutritional Sciences Seminar


Statistics courses (or equivalent)

Choose one of the following:

Course Title Credit Hours

FSHN 440

Applied Statistical Methods I                                                                              


CHLH 572

Principles of Epidemiology


PATH 517

Principle/Method Epidemiology



Elective Courses

(any 400 or 500 level course can be approved by advisor)


Course Title Credit Hours

FSHN 417

Neuroscience of Eating & Drinking


FSHN 422

Introduction to Personalized Nutrition


FSHN 424

Biopsychology of Ingestive Behavior


FSHN 429

Nutrition Assessment & Therapy


FSHN 453

Nutrition for Performance


FSHN 459

Nutrition Focused Physical Assessment


FSHN 499

Cur Topics in FS & Human Nutr (Nexus of Food)


FSHN 510

Topics in Nutrition Research


FSHN 522

Dietary Prevention of Cardiovascular and Other Chronic Diseases


FSHN 527

Advanced Vitamins and Minerals: Regulations of Metabolism


FSHN 580

Ethics in Research, IRB and IACUC


FSHN 590
FSHN 591

Dietetic Internship I
and Dietetic Internship II6,7


FSHN 595

Advanced Topics in Food Science and Human Nutrition

1 to 4

CHLH 409

Women's Health


CHLH 415

International Health

3 or 4

CHLH 421

Health Data Analysis

3 or 4

CHLH 448

Exercise & Health Psychology

3 or 4

CHLH 470

Technology, Health, and Aging

3 or 4

CHLH 540

Health Behavior: Theory


CHLH 572

Principles of Epidemiology


CHLH 573

Biostatistics in Public Health


CHLH 575

Chronic Disease Prevention


CHLH 579

Cultural Competence in Public Health



Learn more via the Course Catalog

Skills You Will Learn

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Apply advanced knowledge of nutrition to effectively treat nutrition-related diseases.
  • Demonstrate advanced skills in reading and interpreting research, applying findings to evidence-based practice.
  • Communicate nutrition information effectively and promote wellness in diverse settings.
  • Lead the profession through research, teaching, management, or service.

What You Can Do With This Degree

As of January 1, 2024, to be eligible for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist exam, a student must earn a master’s degree. Dietitians that are already practicing will benefit from earning a master’s degree in order to stay competitive with new graduates.

The degree is also required for many management and teaching roles within the dietetics field and can help improve salary earnings.

Student Testimonials

“I wanted to extend my expertise to use nutrition therapy to help prevent chronic diseases. My goal is to help people find sustainable nutrition goals to have a healthy life and avoid use of medication.

I am thankful to all the faculty who prepared us for real-life scenarios with a strong background in human nutrition. So many other professors taught us, inspired us, and encouraged us to do our best.”

- Enise Kaya Urcan, MPharm, MSc, RD

"My experience in the MS in Clinical & Community Nutrition program at Illinois was wonderful. I chose Illinois for its outstanding reputation and the exceptional faculty who not only shared valuable knowledge but also consistently supported my goals and personal growth. I wholeheartedly recommend Illinois to anyone seeking this degree, as it seamlessly blends academic excellence with practical experience.

The program encompassed a diverse array of fascinating and vital nutrition courses. Notably, the courses on 'Nutritional Aspects of Disease' and 'Nutrition-Focused Physical Assessment' were particularly memorable. The former ignited my interest in clinical nutrition as my future career path, while the latter equipped me with vital practical skills, fully preparing me for my DI internship. In summary, the nutrition department at Illinois is like an inclusive and supportive family, providing me with the confidence, skills, and inspiration to thrive in the field of nutrition."

- Yutong Yi, MS

From Our Graduates

“I am thankful to all the faculty who prepared us for real-life scenarios with a strong background in human nutrition.”

- Enise Kaya Urcan, MPharm, MSc, RD


"I chose Illinois for its outstanding reputation and the exceptional faculty who not only shared valuable knowledge but also consistently supported my goals and personal growth.”

- Yutong Yi, MS


Who should apply?

This program is designed for both working professionals who already hold a bachelor’s degree and are returning for further education and also for continuing students who have just graduated with their bachelor’s degree. Many of our students have the career goal of becoming Registered Dietitian Nutritionists or already hold this credential. To meet the prerequisites for our courses, a bachelor's degree in nutrition, healthcare, or another science-related field is a good idea.

Is the program in-person, online, or hybrid?

The Master of Science in Clinical & Community Nutrition is offered in two formats: in-person or 100% online. Students enrolled in the in-person program may elect to take some online classes if desired, but students enrolled in the online program cannot take in-person classes due to the fee structure.


Is a thesis or research project required?

No. Students may elect to complete a thesis with our world class research faculty if they wish, but it is not required for the program.

Can I take the exam for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists after completing this course?

As of January 1, 2024, to be eligible for the RDN exam, a student must earn a master’s degree, complete specific coursework as outlined by ACEND, and complete 1000 hours of experiential learning in an accredited dietetic internship. MS in Clinical & Community Nutrition coursework alone does not meet all of these requirements.

If you wish to sit for this exam but do not already hold a bachelor’s degree from an ACEND-accredited didactic dietetics program, you may request to fulfill the missing requirements in our on-campus program. Contact Dr. Justine Karduck at karduck@illinois.edu for more information about this route. We also offer in-person or distance dietetic internship options.

Dietetic Internship

How long does the program take to complete?

The program can be completed in one academic year if 16 credit hours are taken in both the fall and spring semesters, or if transfer credit is applied. If you wish to take courses part-time, the program will take longer and can be self-paced for up to five years.

How much does the program cost?

Our tuition is competitive with equivalent programs.

View tuition information

Is the GRE required?

No. The GRE is no longer required for admission to any of the Food Science & Human Nutrition department’s graduate programs.

Can I transfer coursework?

Yes. Up to 12 hours of coursework can be transferred from an undergraduate degree or from another institution if it was completed at the graduate level within the past 5 years, at least a B was earned in the course, and it was not used to complete a previous degree. Each course requires departmental approval for transfer.


Which courses will I complete in this program?

The MS in Clinical & Community Nutrition requires 32 hrs of coursework, including 13 hrs of required courses and 19 hrs of electives. There is significant flexibility in elective options to allow students to specialize in areas of particular interest.

View curriculum

Who are the faculty for this program?

The University of Illinois has a prestigious and diverse faculty. You will learn from leading research scientists in biochemical nutrition, as well as Registered Dietitian experts in clinical and community nutrition. Some specialty courses may be taught by our interdisciplinary collaborators or adjunct faculty who are recognized experts in their field. They are capable of bringing the most up-to-date real-world experience to the classroom.

Why should I choose the University of Illinois for my master’s degree?

The University of Illinois is a highly-ranked research university with a history of success in nutrition and dietetics education. You will have access to one of the nation’s largest research libraries to enhance your studies.

This program can be taken 100% online and completed in one to five years. Another strength of this program is the breadth of elective options to allow the program to be tailored to individual career goals.


Director of the Online MS in Clinical and Community Nutrition

Jennifer Burton, MS, RD, LDN

(217) 300-6087

Jennifer Burton, MS, RD, LDN