Undergraduate Program

Virginia A. Beal Undergraduate Scholarship Award recipients

The Department of Nutrition offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Nutrition. Nutrition is the study and application of the relationship between food and health. The challenges facing nutritionists today range from problems of obesity and chronic diseases to those of malnutrition, food insecurity and nutritional deficiencies. Nutritionists work for hospitals and clinics, community organizations, wellness and fitness programs, and institutions throughout the world. Nutritionists provide dietary counseling and education, conduct research, develop menus and foodservice systems, and deliver many other services for individuals and populations.

Understanding nutrition concepts requires a strong science background. Therefore, all Nutrition majors must complete a core of science courses, which includes: one or two semesters of general chemistry, one semester of organic chemistry, one semester of biology, two semesters of anatomy and physiology,  one semester of biochemistry, and one semester of microbiology.  

Nutrition students use what they learn about chemistry, biology and physiology to develop an understanding of:

  • the nutrient requirements of the body; the functions of each nutrient in the body; the possible interactions between these nutrients; and, changes in the requirements in response to different conditions such as growth, pregnancy and breast feeding, exercise, or disease.
  • the effects of excess, unbalanced or inadequate intake of nutrients on cell and tissue function, metabolism, and health.
  • common health conditions associated with nutrient intake, and their dietary treatments.
  • the dietary sources that can provide needed nutrients; the biochemical processes by which nutrients in the diet are made available to and utilized in the body; and, the factors that might influence their availability.
  • the influence of economic, social, cultural and psychological factors on food access, selection, preparation, consumption and utilization by individuals and communities.
  • the potential risks and benefits associated with some food components, whether naturally present or added to the food intentionally or accidentally.

If you have an aptitude for science and like to work with people, the field of Nutrition offers a unique opportunity to apply your talents on a personal level by helping people to improve their health. Equipped with the knowledge gained in this program, a nutritionist is able to assess nutritional needs, provide counseling and education, and implement a dietary plan compatible with optimal health for individuals or groups. Nutrition is also an excellent major as preparation for other careers in the health and medical sciences such as physicians, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, biomedical researchers, etc.

There are three tracks in the nutrition major that prepare students for different careers within the broad field of nutrition. The three major tracks are: Dietetics, Nutrition and Health Sciences, and Nutrition and Society. Students must complete all coursework within a selected track to fulfill the requirements to earn a B.S. in Nutrition.