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Penn Nursing Launches New Online Master of Science in Nutrition Science

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) is launching a new, online Master of Science in Nutrition Science (MSNS) program. The 10-course interdisciplinary program is built upon years of nutrition research and teaching at Penn. The MSNS will foster a formidable grounding in Nutrition Science to support innovation in nutritional management and research and enhance research skills to advance this work.

June 14, 2022

“The MSNS program will make a significant impact on nutrition-focused science, underpinning public health policy by advancing scientific understanding, developing policy strategies to reduce health disparities (inclusion), and preparing a variety of professional leaders in the field of Nutrition Science. A key component of this new program is our Penn Nursing faculty’s expertise, which spans both the research and clinical aspects of nutrition. Making this education available online and highly accessible for students with very diverse educational backgrounds is also a great strength of the program,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel. “The innovative aspect of this program is how it advances Nutrition Science to promote health through interdisciplinary collaboration that integrates knowledge across domains of understanding, and, through that, deepens our capacity to expand effective nutritional management across communities, locally and globally.”

“Public interest in Nutrition Science has never been stronger,” said Julie Sochalski, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Underscoring that interest, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently issued its first ever NIH-wide strategic plan for nutrition research that seeks cross-cutting, innovative opportunities to advance nutrition research across a wide range of areas to improve health and to prevent or combat diseases and conditions affected by nutrition. While other schools offer a public health or policy focus, or components of dietetic credentialing in their programs, “Penn Nursing’s Nutrition Science program distinguishes itself through its focus on advanced nutrition science and innovation in nutritional management and research,” said Sochalski.

“We have a stellar reputation in rigorous, high-quality teaching of undergraduates with the Nutrition Minor and Second Major in Nutrition Science, and in mentoring interdisciplinary scholars in Nutrition Science research, said Charlene Compher, PhD, RD, Professor of Nutrition Science, Director of Undergraduate Nutrition Programs, and a key architect of this new program. “Moreover, the University has great stature in the clinical nutrition realms, dating from the research and development of intravenous nutrition at Penn in the late 1960s to current state-of-the-art research in omics-based nutrition, obesity, diabetes, and a full range of nutrition-associated diseases and conditions. “

Goal of the New MSNS Program

The goal of the online MS in Nutrition Science is to increase the nutrition science knowledge of students as a strategy to improve public health with improved health promotion and nutrition associated disease management both in the US and globally.

Who Should Apply

  • Registered dietitians in practice with baccalaureate degrees;
  • Students with baccalaureate degrees in fields other than nutrition;
  • Physicians, clinical psychologists, pharmacists, and dentists in training;
  • Students in other graduate programs; and
  • Predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees who desire evidence of advanced nutrition science training.

What Should Interested Students Expect

Dietitians in practice with a BS who attain the MS in Nutrition Science will be more competitive for career advancement, as the requirement for entry into dietetic practice by 2024 will be a MS degree. Students who come with a BA or BS in another subject will be competitive for positions in nutrition science-focused research or programs as project managers or project directors. Physicians, clinical psychologists, or dentists in training will be more competitive for research and practice in areas with a heavy nutrition focus, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery, gastrointestinal medicine, obesity management, and oncology. Graduates of the program will also be well positioned for doctoral education.