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M.S. in Nutritional Sciences

The Department of Nutritional Sciences offers a graduate program designed to provide advanced education, training, and research to students desiring mastery in an area of nutrition.  This program is offered onsite at the Oklahoma City campus and through distance learning at the OU Tulsa Schusterman campus.
The graduate program provides learning opportunities for the purpose of fulfilling two goals: 

  • Provide interested individuals an opportunity to augment their knowledge and expertise in nutrition; and
  • Provide Registered Dietitians an opportunity for advanced education, training, and research.

Two major tracks of study leading to a MS in Nutritional Sciences are offered: Track I is a thesis track and Track II is a non-thesis track.

The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences can be earned concurrently with the Master of Arts in Dietetics degree. If a student is not a Registered Dietitian and wishes to simultaneously gain the necessary coursework, the two degrees can be completed in tandem. Please see here for more information and details.


Students seeking a MS Degree from the Department of Nutritional Sciences can take courses at the OUHSC in Oklahoma City or can earn a degree through distance education at the Schusterman Center in Tulsa. The MS in Nutritional Sciences has an emphasis on advanced training and research methodologies.  The MS in Nutritional Sciences requires a minimum of 34 credit hours beyond the BS degree and may be taken as either a thesis or non-thesis option. Student have the opportunity to work closely with a mentor on their research thesis or applied non-thesis project.

Academic advising: Master of Science students beginning matriculation will automatically be assigned to the program director for academic advising. Within the first semester, it is expected the student has identified a thesis or non-thesis mentor, and academic advising will be completed with the mentor in subsequent semesters.

Core: All core curriculum classes are offered in OKC with distance education to Tulsa Schusterman center

Electives: Electives are determine by student interest and guidance by academic advisors. Electives are available online, on OKC campus, Tulsa campus, and Norman campus. Independent studies and directed readings courses are also available to tailor a student’s desired learning goals.

Master of Science FAQ

Can I become a dietitian with this degree path?

  • No. This pathway does not lead to the classroom training necessary to become a registered dietitian.  The Masters of Arts in Dietetics is the degree path that leads to necessary training to prepare for the RD exam. This is a good degree pathway for those students who are 1) concurrently enrolled in the MA program; 2) students who are not interested in the RD career; and 3) students who may already have the RD credential

Can I complete this degree part time?

  • Yes. According to the graduate college you can take up to 5 years to complete the degree. We do not recommend you take that long. Many classes are offered online and you can take special studies/independent study or directed reading courses to tailor your program. The core courses are offered later in the afternoon and are available in Tulsa and OKC in person. This is a good option for many students who need or want to work full-time aside from the MS program.

Is this a distance program?

  • No. Many classes can be taken online, but some classes must be taken in person at the OKC or Tulsa campus.

Can I transfer graduate hours from another university?

  • Yes. According to Graduate College you can transfer up to 25% of your program, with permission of the admission committee.  For the MS degree, that would be up to 9 hours. To allow a transfer the admission committee would need to see a request from you, in writing (email is fine) and the syllabi of the courses you already completed.

Are Graduate Assistant Positions available?

  • Yes. These are available based on faculty and department research need. The majority of these are research positions.  When positions are available, faculty will email announcements.

How do I apply for graduate assistant positions?

  • Typically when positions are available, faculty email students. Alternatively, you can contact faculty directly to better understand their research and possible needs and let them know you would be interested.

Can I tailor my degree?

  • Yes. You can take electives to tailor and focus your degree on content most relevant to your career goals. You work with your academic advisor, then mentor, to determine the most appropriate courses for you.

Can I take courses outside of the Nutrition department?

  • Yes. Some electives need to be NS courses while the others do not. With approval of the instructor and your academic advisor, you can take courses in other departments.

What is a special studies/independent study or directed reading?

  • Directed readings and independent studies are a fantastic opportunity to take elective courses to augment and specialize your learning goals and help prepare you with the best skills to help you meet your professional aspirations post graduation. Please read on to learn exactly what these one-on-one experiences entail.  If you have an idea for a directed readings or special studies, please contact the faculty you think best to supervise that experience. Or, if you are generally interested in the idea, talk with your academic advisor.

Who is my academic advisor?

  • When you start the degree, you’ll automatically be assigned to the program director as your academic advisor. After you have identified a mentor to supervise your thesis or non-thesis project, that faculty becomes your academic advisor.

When do I meet with my advisor and enroll?

  • Unlike many undergraduate programs, there is no rush to enroll (unless you are a student enrolled on the Tulsa campus). You meet with your academic advisor each semester to discuss courses which you wish to enroll. You cannot enroll without their signature.

Are faculty located in Tulsa?

  • No. OKC is the home for our MS degree. Faculty are available via phone, zoom, and email. Courses are taught via distance education in classrooms in Tulsa. This is a valuable option for students who wish to advance their education but not commute to OKC.

What is the difference in a thesis and non-thesis applied project?

  • A thesis is a study developed in collaboration with the mentor to answer a scientific question. There is a process of reviewing literature and answering the question with data then analyzing that data and writing about your findings. A non-thesis applied project seeks to solve a problem. These typically arise from real-world and clinic issues. These involve a review of literature and developing a solution to that problem. Implementing that solution may or may not be part of the expectation of the student’s committee.

When do I start working on my thesis or non-thesis applied project?

  • Ideally, you begin talking with your mentor and shaping your idea in your first semester. Typically completion of either project spans a couple semesters.

What and who is the committee?

  • Both thesis and non-thesis projects require a committee with at least 2 faculty from the Department of Nutrition.  Committees typically have 3 people, but can have more. Their purpose is to support and guide students to do quality work.

How do I choose a mentor?

  • You choose a mentor that most closely suits your career and research interests. You can review faculty profiles on the NS website. Student initiation of meeting and discussion with faculty is encouraged.
  1. Have a baccalaureate degree in nutrition or dietetics from an accredited college or university or permission of the Department;
  2. Have a 3.0 cumulative GPA on the last 60 hours of coursework applied to the degree or a minimum 3.0 GPA on graded graduate coursework of 12 or more hours. The College of Allied Health does not recognize academic forgiveness nor reprieve policies. All attempts of a course are included in the calculation of GPAs;
  3. Department Interview (may be by telephone);
  4. Submit official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended and non-refundable application fees;
  5. Students for whom English is a second language must earn a minimum score of 600 (paper-based) or 100 (internet-based) within two years prior to application on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The OUHSC institution code for the TOEFL is 6902.  This requirement will be automatically waived with one of the following degrees – Diploma from U.S. High School, 4-year Bachelor’s Degree from U.S. Institution, Master’s Degree from U.S. Institution.;
  6. All international/Non US Citizen applicants are required to have all transcripts/mark sheets from foreign institutions evaluated by World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE); and
  7. Submit a completed on-line application. Application deadlines are June 1 for Fall, October 1 for Spring, and March 1 for Summer.

Application Procedure



Course numbers are those of the University of Oklahoma.  Approved prerequisite courses are offered at many institutions.  It is extremely important that you look up every course you have taken, plan to take, and/or are currently enrolled in to verify that they are equivalent courses. The responsibility is yours to enroll in equivalent courses and we provide the tools to make sure you do. Check the Transfer Equivalencies Database or with your school advisor regarding equivalent courses.  There are instructions on that page on how to request a transcript evaluation for particular courses if your courses are not listed in the database.

OU Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
BIOL 2124 Human Physiology 4
HES 2823 Introduction to Nutrition 3
CHEM 3013, 3053, or 3064 Organic Chemistry 3

Students may expect additional costs that include, but are not limited to, a personal computer, textbooks, lab fees, insurance, and supplies. Students are required to assume financial responsibilities for expenses associated with clinical requirements. For financial aid information, contact the Financial Aid Office at (405) 271-2118 or visit the web site.

Additional cost information:
Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees
Student Financial Aid



  • 34 hours minimum are required to complete the Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences
  • Core courses include
    • Energy Nutrients (3 hours)
    • Non-energy Nutrients (3 hours)
    • Research Methods (3 hours)
    • Biostatistics (3 hours)
    • Seminar (1 hour)
  • Electives
    • 10 hours must be in Nutritional Sciences
    • Determined by student learning goals and academic advisor
    • Link to course catalog:
    • Can be taken online, OKC, Tulsa, or Norman
    • Can include independent studies (1-3 hours) and directed readings (1-3 hours)
  • Thesis
    • 4-6 hours
    • Research and hypothesis driven
    • Developed in collaboration with research mentor/academic advisor
  • Non-thesis
    • 3 hours
    • Applied problem solution
    • Developed in collaboration with mentor/academic advisor

Curriculum Notes
All courses are not taught each semester.

A wide variety of graduate courses are available from several colleges on the Health Sciences Center Campus as well as from those on the OU Norman Campus. Students are encouraged to select coursework, which meets their particular needs, interests, and goals. In addition, independent study-type courses are available for individual pursuit of specialized interests under the guidance of Departmental Faculty.

Course Descriptions

Office of Academic and Student Affairs
Phone:  (405) 271-6588
Email the Office of Academic and Student Affairs

Department of Nutritional Sciences
College of Allied Health
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
1200 N Stonewall Avenue, Room 3057
Oklahoma City, OK  73117-1215

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