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Nutrition | Courses | Faculty

Chenoweth Lab

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Contact: Claire Norton
Office: 211 Chenoweth
Phone: (413) 545-1077

Head of Department: Professor Cohen. Professor Cunningham; Associate Professors Anliker, Carbone, Wood; Assistant Professors Kannan, Kim, Ronnenberg; Research Associate Professor Beffa-Negrini; Lecturers Dowd, Norton.

The Department

The department offers the major in Human Nutrition at the undergraduate level and additional courses for non-majors. It also supervises federally funded statewide nutrition education programs which offer the possibility of work experience for advanced undergraduates. Variable credit seminars, special problems, senior honors, research experience, and field study courses are offered each semester, many by individual arrangement, others for senior majors only. The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by the American Dietetic Association’s Commission on Accreditation for Dietetic Education.

The Field

Human nutrition is the science of food in its relation to human health. Studies in nutrition focus upon the nutrients in foods, their actions, interactions, and balance in relation to health and disease; and the processes of ingestion, digestion, absorption, transport, utilization, and excretion of nutrients and other components in food. In addition, nutrition studies explore the social, economic, cultural, and psychological factors that influence the selection, preparation, consumption, or utilization of foods by individuals and population groups. The adverse effects of nutritional variation are not limited to one segment of society. Diabetes, obesity, and chronic diseases, along with malnutrition, hunger, and deficiency diseases, are present worldwide. Nutritionists must also consider the hazards of residues or contaminants in the food supply. Interdisciplinary training is required to equip nutritionists with the ability to assess nutritional needs, provide counseling and education, and implement a dietary plan compatible with the optimal health of individuals or groups.

The Major

A bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition meets the education requirements for licensure as a nutritionist or dietitian in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

All students complete a basic core of courses which provide an understanding of foods and their nutritional content, food selection and preparation, the physiological and biochemical function of nutrients in the body, and the effects of excessive or inadequate intake of nutrients.

Required Courses:

CHEM 111 General Chemistry I
CHEM 112 General Chemistry II
CHEM 261 Organic Chemistry I and CHEM 262 Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 262 Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 269 Organic Chemistry Lab
BIOCHEM 420 Elementary Biochemistry
BIOCHEM 421 Elementary Biochemistry Lab
BIOLOGY 102 Introductory Animal Biology
FOOD-SCI 466 Food Microbiology or MICROBIO 310 General Microbiology and MICROBIO 312 Microbiology Lab
KIN 172 Anatomy and Physiology II
NUTRITN 101 Introduction to Profession of Nutrition
NUTRITN 210 Meal Management
NUTRITN 230 Basic Nutrition
NUTRITN 352 Nutrition in the Life Cycle
NUTRITN 391C Writing in Nutrition
NUTRITN 430 Nutrition and Metabolism or KIN 585 Energy Metabolism
NUTRITN 493 or 494 Senior Seminar
NUTRITN 572 Community Nutrition
NUTRITN 577 Nutritional Problems in the U.S.
NUTRITN 580 Medical Nutrition Therapy
NUTRITN 585 Practical Skills in Nutritional Counseling

Additional courses: Students who wish to become Registered Dietitians should also take the following courses in order to be eligible to receive a DPD Verification Statement.

PSYCH 100 Elementary Psychology
RES-ECON 211 Introductory Statistics for the Life Sciences or STATISTC 111 Elementary Statistics
HTM 250 Food Service Management
HTM 355 Advanced Food Production Management
MANAGMT 301 Principles of Management
MANAGMT 314 Human Resource Management

To become a Registered Dietitian, this option must be followed by a supervised practice program approved or accredited by the American Dietetic Association. Acceptance into these programs (e.g., Dietetic Internships) is competitive and follows completion of the B.S. degree. Early consultation with an adviser is highly recommended.

Career Opportunities

Numerous career options for nutritionists range from improving personal dietary practices to the pursuit of new knowledge through research. Opportunities can be found in health care facilities, the food industry, educational or research institutions, and community service agencies.

For example, dietitians in hospitals are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the diet most suitable to their conditions. A hospital dietitian’s duties range from the therapeutic aspects of dietetics (helping patients understand how specific diets can influence their disease and how they can best modify their eating habits) to the administrative aspects (such as supervising food production, planning of special diets, and management of food service systems). The hospital dietitian also acts as a source of nutrition information for outpatients and the community.

Dietitians can work in private practice as consultants to individuals, corporations, medical care groups, and nursing homes. Nutritionists are needed by the food industry to develop new products and to provide nutritional information for these products.

Many community service programs, such as WIC, School Lunch, Food Stamps, Elderly Nutrition, and Cooperative Extension Services, depend on nutritionists to provide the planning and implementation of nutrition education and intervention. Also, international development agencies such as United Nations organizations need nutritionists for these roles.

The Minor

The minor is particularly relevant for students who want to apply their science training to the practical problems of human health.


1. Satisfactory completion of the following
courses or their equivalents:
One year general chemistry
Two semesters organic chemistry (with lab)
One semester biochemistry (with lab)
One semester anatomy and physiology

2. The following major courses:
230 Basic Nutrition
352 Nutrition in the Life Cycle
430 Nutrition and Metabolism or KIN 585 Energy Metabolism
577 Nutrition Problems in U.S. or 578 Nutritional Problems in Developing Countries
580 Medical Nutrition Therapy

Nutrition | Courses | Faculty