Skip to main content

Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program

Quick Links: Admission Requirements, Degree Requirements, International Olympic Committee, Required Coursework, Example Course of Study,Research Facilities, Financial Aid

MS Program Overview

Interest in nutrition, food, and their relationship to human health and fitness has never been greater or more exciting than it is today.  The Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences offers a master's degree that enables students to understand the scientific basis of nutrition, its application to health and fitness, and to learn research methods that further knowledge of how food and nutrients relate to human health.  Subject areas of concentration include nutritional biochemistry, nutritional epidemiology, diet and cancer, obesity, mineral nutrition and toxicology, dietary and functional fiber, sports nutrition, nutrition education, nutritional product development, community and international nutrition. Cooperating programs include Animal Sciences, Food Science, Kinesiology and Leisure Science, Physiology, Public Health Sciences, the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), and the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii (CRCH).
 
The learning objectives of the Nutritional Sciences graduate program are that students will:

  • Demonstrate mastery of fundamental knowledge in the field of nutrition.
  • Demonstrate advanced scholarship in their specialty area in the field of nutrition.
  • Communicate both orally and in writing at a high level of proficiency.
  • Conduct and interpret nutrition research.
  • Function as a professional in their chosen discipline area.

Depending on the area of focus in their program of study, students are prepared for diverse careers in food and nutrition related industries, health-care and fitness facilities, nutrition education and communication enterprises, government food and nutrition agencies, or scientific research laboratories.  Graduates have found employment as college instructors; nutrition educators or consultants in the private sector; nutritionists in the food industry, health-related government agencies, or fitness facilities; and as nutrition researchers in health-care industries and academic institutions.  Many have gone on to pursue PhDs at major universities around the world.

Admission Requirements
Back to top

Academic prerequisites include a bachelor's degree in nutrition or a closely related field with a minimum grade point average of 3.0, and at least one undergraduate course in nutrition, human physiology, biochemistry, and statistics.

Motivated students without a nutrition-related degree may apply, but will be expected to make up undergraduate course deficiencies.  All applicants must demonstrate academic strength or potential in the biological sciences prior to admission, therefore, applicants without a science background must have all or most of the prerequisites listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to take nutrition, biochemistry, and physiology courses prior to applying to the program.

The program usually takes 2-3 years to complete depending on the background of the student and speed of thesis research. Our program does not offer an RD internship.

Application requirements include submission of: GRE General Test scores (no minimum score required); a personal resume(or cv); two confidential recommendations (utilizing departmental recommendation forms: MS Word or Acrobat PDF); a completed Graduate Admissions Application including a statement of objectives that includes your reasons for wanting to attend graduate school, your research interests and experience, and your career goals. The resume(or cv), statement of objectives, and letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the Graduate Chairman, MS in Nutritional Sciences, 1955 East West Rd. Honolulu, HI 96822, or electronically to hnfas@ctahr.hawaii.edu

Foreign applicants must have a minimum TOEFL score of 100 IBT (600 paper, 250 computer) or IELTS score of 7.0. Online applications are available at Graduate Division - Nutritional Sciences.  An interview is recommended for residents of Hawaii. A phone interview may be requested from out-of-state applicants. Questions about admissions can be directed to our program office at hnfas@ctahr.hawaii.edu.

The deadlines for receipt of all application materials are February 1 for fall semester applicants, and September 1 for spring semester applicants.

 

Degree Requirements 
Back to top

Course requirements and other degree requirements are subject to change.  For up-to-date requirements contact the Graduate Program Chairman.  A more complete description of degree requirements can be found in the related link: UH Nutritional Sciences MS Guide 2008 (PDF file).  An overview of basic program requirements is given in this section.

Two MS degree options are available: Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (non-thesis). Generally, students are expected to follow Plan A unless the Plan B option is approved by the graduate chairperson and the student's advisor.  Under Plan A, a total of 30 credits must be completed including 10 credits of Thesis Research, 2 credits of Directed Reading and Research, and 18 credits of coursework at least 12 of which must be at the 600 level. Under Plan B, 30 total credits are needed including 6 to 9 credits in Directed Reading and Research and 18 credits in coursework at the 600 level or above. The remaining credits are from electives (see below for list of required courses and an example course of study).

Both options require passing 1) an oral candidacy exam of basic knowledge related to the nutritional sciences, and 2) a final examination based on the thesis (Plan A) or Directed Reading and Research (Plan B).  All students are also required to have one semester of teaching assistant experience either as a paid TA, or by participating in a graduate student instructional experience. FSHN 681 Seminar in Food and Nutritional Sciences must be taken at least four times, including at least twice for a letter grade (A-F). Other times FSHN 681 can be taken credit/no credit. Only two (2) credits of FSHN 681 can be applied to meet the MS degree requirements.

Required Coursework
Back to top

  • FSHN 601 (2) The Science of Food Systems
  • FSHN 681 (1) Seminar in Food and Nutritional Sciences
  • FSHN 689 (3) Nutritional Epidemiology
  • FSHN 685 (3) Nutrition and Disease: Cellular and Molecular Aspects, or
  • FSHN 784 (3) Dietary Fiber, Bioactive Food Components and Health
  • One course in statistics at the 400 level or above.
  • At least one of the following nutrition electives:
  • FSHN 682 (1) Topics in Nutritional Sciences
    FSHN 686 (3) Advanced Child and Adolecent Nutrition
    PH 684 (2) Supplemental and Nutritional Approaches in Disease Prevention and Treatment
    PH 688 (3) Indigenous Food Systems, Environment and Health
    FSHN 784 (3) Dietary Fiber, Bioactive Food Components and Health, or FSHN 685 (3) Nutrition and Disease: Cellular and Molecular Aspects
    FSHN 785 (1) Seminar in Diet and Cancer

  • Advisor-approved program electives to reach 18 credits of coursework.

Example Course of Study for MS Degree in Nutritional Sciences1
Back to top


Semester

 

 Course

Credits

FALL
Semester 1

FSHN 601*

The Science of Food Systems

               2

Elective

(chosen with advisor's approval)
(consider prerequisites to FSHN 689)

             1-3

STATISTICS*

(any graduate level course appropriate to student's need)

               3

FSHN 681*

Seminar in Nutritional Sciences

          Cr/NCr

(Note: Undergraduate deficiencies, if present, should be taken as electives)

SPRING
Semester 2  

FSHN 689*

Nutritional Epidemiology

              3

FSHN 681*

Seminar in Nutritional Sciences

              1

FSHN 699*

Directed Reading and Research

              2

Nutrition Elective*

(chosen with advisor's approval)
(e.g. FSHN 682, 686, 784, 785)

            1-3

(Note: Undergraduate deficiencies, if present, should be taken)

SUMMER
Semester

FSHN 699*

Directed Reading & Research

            1-6

Oral Candidacy Exam (test of general knowledge in nutritional sciences). 

FALL
Semester 3

FSHN 699*

Directed Reading & Research

            2-4

Elective

(chosen with advisor's approval)

              3

FSHN 685*

FSHN 784

Nutrition and Disease: Cellular and Molecular Aspects, or

Dietary Fiber, Bioactive Food Components and Health

             3

             3

FSHN 681*

Seminar in Nutritional Sciences

          Cr/NCr

SPRING
Semester 4

FSHN 700* (or 699)

Thesis Research (or plan B research as FSHN 699)

            1-7

FSHN 681*

Seminar in Nutritional Sciences

              1

Final Exam on Thesis Research (Thesis defense) 

*Required course for degree.

1Students in the Thesis (Plan A) option need at least 30 total credits with 10 credits in Thesis 700, 2 credits in 699, and 18 credits in course work (excluding 699 and 700 credits) including 12 credits at the 600 level.  All students are required to have one semester of teaching assistant experience either as a paid TA, or by participating in a graduate student instructional experience. FSHN 681, Seminar in Nutritional Sciences, must be taken at least twice for credit and a total of four times during the degree program. Course requirements and other degree requirements are subject to change. For a complete description of current degree requirements contact the Graduate Program Chairman.

Degree Credits for Completing the International Olympic Committee’s Diploma in Sports Nutrition
Back to top

The Nutritional Sciences Master’s degree program accepts the successful completion of the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition as fulfilling part of the requirements for its MS degree.  The IOC program must have been completed within 3 years prior to entering, or can be taken concurrently with, our MS program.  If completed prior to entering, the IOC program must not have been used as credit towards a previous degree.  If the student fails to complete the IOC program, they can petition the graduate chairman to evaluate their IOC transcripts and consider if any credits can be applied to their MS program.

For the Plan B, Non-thesis option, the successful completion of the IOC program can be used to replace up to 11 credits in elective courses and 3 credits in research.  However, all required courses (13 credits) and a required research project (6 credits total) must be completed to the satisfaction of the student’s Plan B research advisor and committee.  The plan B research project may include research initiated as part of the IOC Diploma program if approved by the student’s research advisor.  All other degree requirements for the MS program must also be met.  For the Plan A, Thesis option, the successful completion of the IOC program can be used to replace up to 5 credits in elective courses and 2 credits in research.  However, all required courses (13 credits) and a required thesis research project (10 credits) must be completed to the satisfaction of the student’s Plan A thesis research advisor and committee.  The thesis research project may include research initiated as part of the IOC Diploma program.  All other degree requirements for the MS program must also be met. 

Research Facilities
Back to top

The Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program is housed within the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, located in a newly constructed state-of-the-art laboratory and teaching facility, Agricultural Sciences III. The building contains teaching and research laboratories, an experimental kitchen, taste panel and sensory evaluation rooms, food processing facilities, computer laboratories, state-of-the-art classrooms, graduate student cubicles with ample computer access, faculty offices, conference and seminar rooms.

The department also maintains an animal research facility nearby for studies using experimental animals. Several cooperating graduate faculty are based in The Cancer Research Center of Hawaii (CRCH) located a few miles from campus. The CRCH is a multidisciplinary research institute of the university engaged in all aspects of cancer research from etiology and prevention to treatment and continuing care. Research is also conducted using the facilities of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), and the Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Science (KLS) and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).

Financial Aid
Back to top

A limited number of tuition waivers, teaching and research assistantships are available, depending on the availability of funds. Financial aid is awarded on a competitive basis based on scholarship and need.  To begin the application process, indicate in your application materials that you are seeking financial aid and why. Formal application procedures will be sent to selected applicants after they are deemed admissible by the admissions committee.

Program Graduate Faculty
Graduate Faculty Research Interests  E-mail address
J.C. Banna, PhD, RD (2009, UC Davis) Nutrition Education, International Nutrition, Minority Populations jcbanna@hawaii.edu
J. Dobbs, PhD   (1983, UC Davis) Food Composition and Health Education dobbs@hawaii.edu
M. A. Dunn, PhD  (1985, Pennsylvania State University) Nutritional Biochemistry, Vitamins and Minerals mdunn@hawaii.edu
M. K. Fialkowski, PhD, RD (2011, Purdue University) Public Health/Community Nutrition, Nutritional Epidemiology, Obesity in Indigenous Populations mariekf@hawaii.edu
A. S. Huang, PhD   (1985, University Wisconsin-Madison) Food Chemistry, Taro Processing ahuang@hawaii.edu
R. Jha, PhD (2010, University of Saskatchewan) Feed Evaluation, Animal and Aquaculture Nutrition, Nutrition Programming and Modeling, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Fiber Fermentation, Gut Physiology and Health rjha@hawaii.edu
Y. S. Kim, PhD   (1988, UC Davis) Muscle Biology, Growth Regulation, Biotechnology ykim@hawaii.edu
J. Leslie, DrPH, RDN, LD (2011, University of Hawaii) Native Hawaiian health, public health nutrition, community-based and translational research,     chronic disease prevention. jodill@hawaii.edu
Y. Li, PhD   (2004, Univ. Missouri) Food Microbiology, Food Safety, Probiotics liyong@hawaii.edu
R. Novotny, PhD, RD   (1986, Cornell University) Community and Global Nutrition, Nutritional Epidemiology, Anthropometric Assessment novotny@hawaii.edu
A. C. Shovic, PhD, RD  (1982, Washington State Univ.) Dietetics, Wellness shovic@hawaii.edu
M. Stewart, PhD (2008, U. Minnesota) Dietary Fiber Content of Foods, Fiber Fermentation, Functional Foods, Intestinal Health mstew@hawaii.edu
C. A. Titchenal, PhD, CNS  (1986, UC Davis) Nutrition and Human Performance, Dietary Supplements, Nutrition Journalism titch@hawaii.edu
J. Yang, PhD   (1999, University of Alberta) Molecular Biology of Growth, Molecular Mechanisms of Obesity and Diabetes jinzeng@hawaii.edu

 

Cooperating Graduate Faculty
M.J. Berry, PhD Selenoproteins, Antioxidants and Human Disease / JABSOM mberry@hawaii.edu
C. Boushey, PhD (1995 U. Washington) Nutritional epidemiology, cancer and obesity/CRCH cjboushey@cc.hawaii.edu
H. Davis, PhD Mitochondrial metabolism/JABSOM harryd@hawaii.edu
T. Delormier, PhD, PDt (2011, University of Montreal) Indigenous health, Health promotion, Public health nutrition, Community-based research treenad@hawaii.edu
A. Franke, PhD Analytical Chemistry, Lab Assessment, Phytochemicals / CRCH adrian@crch.hawaii.edu
R. Hetzler, PhD Exercise Physiology, Sport Nutrition / KLS hetzler@hawaii.edu
D. Jenkins, PhD Bioengineering /  CTAHR danielje@hawaii.edu
L. LeMarchand, MD, PhD Nutritional Epidemiology, Genetic Markers / CRCH loic@crch.hawaii.edu
Q.X. Li,  PhD  (1990, UC Davis) Environmental biochemistry, proteomics/ CTAHR qingl@hawaii.edu
G. Maskarinec, MD, PhD Nutritional Epidemiology, Soy, Hormones and Cancer / CRCH gertraud@crch.hawaii.edu
S. Murphy, PhD, RD Diet Assessment, Community Nutrition / CRCH suzanne@crch.hawaii.edu
P.V. Nerurkar, PhD Metabolic Disorders and Alternative Medicine / CTAHR pratibah@hawaii.edu
C. R. Nigg, PhD Theory of Health Behavior Change, Physical Activity and Nutrition / JABSOM cnigg@hawaii.edu

 

Affiliate Graduate Faculty
J. Gittelsohn, PhD Nutritional Anthropology, Nutrition Intervention, International Nutrition / Johns Hopkins Univ. jgittels@jhsph.edu
R. LeonGuerrero, PhD  Obesity and Chronic Disease Prevention, Diet Assessment / University of Guam rachaeltlg@uguam.uog.edu
C.A. Watters, PhD, RD (2007, U. of Alberta) Clinical and Community Nutrition; Evidence Based Practices wattersC@ctahr.hawaii.edu