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Human Nutrition

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Education and Human Ecology

Human nutrition is an integrated discipline focused on the role of diet in the prevention and treatment of disease. The human nutrition program is committed to the discovery of new information about the relationships between diet, physical activity, health and disease, and the application of such knowledge to individuals, communities and entire populations.

Three specializations

Dietetics prepares students to translate the scientific principles of food and nutrition into healthy eating practices for various populations. This Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and meets the knowledge requirements specified by the AND for students interested in becoming registered dietitians (RD). Following the bachelor’s degree students complete a supervised practice program (dietetic internship) and then sit for the exam to become an RD. 

Nutrition sciences provides a strong science foundation with course work in chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and molecular genetics. Students gain professional experience through a supervised internship with an approved professional. Students are encouraged to participate in research projects with faculty and/or engage in other professional training activities. This specialization prepares students for admission to medical, dental, optometry and pharmacy schools, as well as graduate programs in nutrition, biomedical sciences and public health.

Nutrition in industry prepares students for careers in the development, marketing, advertisement and sales of food and health products. In addition to the core nutrition courses, students will complete a general business minor through the Fisher College of Business. Graduates may be employed by pharmaceutical companies, regulatory agencies or nutrition product development teams.

Upon admission to the university, students directly enroll as human nutrition pre-majors.  

Before applying to or enrolling in the major, students must complete the following prerequisites:

  • Fifteen semester credit hours at Ohio State
  • English 1110
  • Mathematics 1148, 1130 or higher
  • Biology 1113
  • Chemistry 1210 and 1220

The dietetics option is a competitive specialization. Before applying, students must complete the prerequisites (above). To apply to the dietetics option, students submit a biographical statement about career goals and nutrition-related work and/or volunteer experience. They should have at minimum a 2.75 GPA; however, since the enrollment in dietetics is limited by the faculty and resources available, students should have a 3.0 or higher GPA to be competitive. 

Both the nutrition science and nutrition in industry specializations are noncompetitive options. Students with a 2.75 GPA are automatically enrolled into the major after completing the prerequisites (above).

All students in human nutrition complete course work in the fundamentals of human nutrition, food in different cultures, nutrition education, nutrition across the life cycle, issues and controversies in nutrition, advanced human nutrition, and nutrition careers as well as foundational courses in anatomy, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, microbiology and physiology. Additional required course work is based on the student’s specialization.

Dietetics requires course work in the fundamentals of food, the principles of food production, cost management in food service, food service sanitation and safety, community nutrition, human metabolism, physical and nutritional assessment, and human resources management. 

The curriculum for nutrition sciences is rigorous and provides a solid foundation in physical and biological sciences with a strong emphasis on human nutrition. Students have opportunities to engage in undergraduate research, as well as a required internship that relates to a possible career of interest.

Nutrition in industry requires additional nutrition course work in food service sanitation and safety, food processing, sensory evaluation of foods, and food regulations as well as consumer problems and macroeconomics. Students also complete a general business minor, which includes one course from each of the five primary business functions: accounting, finance, human resources management, marketing and operations management. Students also have several additional business, nutrition, and consumer-focused courses from which to choose to meet additional degree requirements.

The world-class Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center offers students numerous employment opportunities in health care. Students can also participate in internships with businesses and community and government agencies to gain professional experience outside of Ohio State. 

Students can assist faculty in current research projects or design their own unique study under the expert guidance of human nutrition faculty. Human nutrition majors can also learn about community nutrition and the health status of people in other countries through international service-learning trips that increase global awareness and intercultural understanding. 

Food and Nutrition Forum is a student organization that unites professionals from allied disciplines who are committed to promoting professionalism in nutrition and health care. 

Diverse career options in the nutrition field are available for students in all three program specializations. 

Dietetics graduates are prepared for careers in clinical dietetics, community nutrition, nutrition counseling and therapy, sports nutrition, and food service management. Typical work settings for dietetics graduates include hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, food service, food and nutrition-related businesses, and fitness/wellness centers. 

Graduates of the nutrition sciences specialization are prepared to enter professional programs or a career in research. Prerequisites for admission to medical school or dental school are included in this specialization’s requirements, so students are well prepared for graduate/professional school admissions upon completion of the program.

Graduates of the nutrition in industry specialization are competitive for positions in customer relations, consumer protection and education, government policy/regulation/lobbying, public relations for industry and commodity food groups, nutrition product development, nutrition marketing, and pharmaceutical, food and equipment sales.