Human Nutrition Graduate Program

Faculty advisor with two of her students in her human nutrition lab

In-residence students selecting to focus on Human Nutrition for their graduate education can pursue traditional M.S. and Ph.D. programs, as well as a non-thesis M.S. degree.

Human Nutrition Concentration Curriculum Requirements

Human Nutrition Concentration Non-Thesis MS Curriculum

Research Areas

FSHN faculty address a wide-variety of research areas related to human nutrition. Clinical nutrition, community nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, nutrigenomics, and nutritional toxicology are the general areas of strength for the FSHN human nutrition faculty.

Students focusing on human nutrition will learn from interactions with faculty members whose laboratories focus on research in the following areas:

  • pediatric nutrition
  • geriatric nutrition
  • effects of bioactive compounds naturally found in foods on chronic diseases
  • energy metabolism
  • epigenetics
  • the functions of essential fatty acids
  • the influence of diet on cancer development
  • ingestive behavior
  • molecular mechanisms of food ingredients in disease prevention
  • molecular mechanisms of obesity and insulin resistance
  • nutrition and exercise
  • optimization of nutritional support through enteral and parenteral nutrition

Other research topics are related to nutrition education, dietetics, disease prevention and treatment, and general health and wellness practices.

Choosing a faculty advisor

Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in human nutrition should review the list of faculty members and their research areas. Graduate student applicants must have a faculty member willing to train them and serve as their major professor before they can be accepted into the Department.

More Information

More in-depth information can be found in the graduate handbook, or you can fill out our information request form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Human Nutrition or Nutritional Sciences?

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers two graduate degree programs for nutrition: Human Nutrition (HN) and Nutritional Sciences (NS).

The Human Nutrition degree is housed in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN), and NS is in the Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS). DNS is not a department; but a campus-wide interdisciplinary graduate program composed of faculty members from 8 colleges and 18 different departments, including faculty from FSHN. A primary function of DNS is to enhance interdisciplinary nutrition research and graduate education by integrating teaching and research resources and expertise across departments, colleges and campuses. In general, graduate students in HN and NS end up taking many of the same core curriculum courses for their degrees.

Potential graduate students interested in nutrition should review the research interests of faculty in both FSHN and DNS and compile a list of potential faculty advisors. If the student finds a faculty research program of interest, and if the faculty member is a member of DNS but not in FSHN, then the only option for this student to earn a nutrition graduate degree under that faculty's supervision is to join the DNS program. However, if the student's interests are in the research area of a faculty member who is a member of both FSHN and DNS, then that student, after evaluating the differences between the HN and NS programs, should talk to the potential faculty advisor as to which program to apply to. Besides differences in program requirements, there may be a need to apply to one or the other program based on the potential source of the student’s funding (e.g., fellowship, training grant).