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MS in Nutrition Science

Our new, groundbreaking Master of Science in Nutrition Science (MSNS) degree program is designed to meet the educational needs of multiple licensed health care professionals, trainees, and students seeking a rigorous graduate education in advanced nutrition science.

And it’s all packaged in an efficient, 10-CU asynchronous online format.

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. Penn Nursing’s new MSNS degree is perfectly designed to meet this need.

“The foundation of our new online MS in Nutrition Science is built upon Penn Nursing’s stellar reputation in rigorous, high-quality teaching of Nutrition Science and mentorship of interdisciplinary scholars in Nutrition Science research across the University, and also upon the University’s 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.”

— Charlene Compher, PhD, RD, Professor of Nutrition Science, Director of Undergraduate Nutrition Programs


Through an interdisciplinary approach, the online MS in Nutrition Science will increase the body of knowledge in nutrition science to improve public health and health promotion for nutrition-associated disease management both in the US and globally. Graduates of our MSNS program will be well-positioned to advance their careers and will have access to a strong network of researchers and practice professionals in areas with a heavy nutrition focus, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery, gastrointestinal medicine, obesity management, and oncology.

This advanced degree allows students to be competitively positioned for research in their area that bridges nutritional concerns. In addition, graduates will demonstrate competencies in reading and synthesizing the published nutrition science literature, nutrition counseling, cultural competency, scholarly presentations, data analysis and interpretation, and writing for scholarly publication.


 “Public interest in Nutrition Science has never been stronger. Penn Nursing’s Nutrition Science program distinguishes itself through its focus on advanced nutrition science and innovation in nutritional management and research.”

 — Julie Sochalski, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


The format is asynchronous online classes with synchronous opportunities and virtual office hours to instructors and supports in the way of mentors to guide students in their thesis development work and for faculty-student engagement.

Study Options

We offer full-time and part-time enrollment options for the MSNS. Our full-time program is three semesters in length, and the part-time program can be completed in 5-6 semesters.


The online MS in Nutrition Science is currently not designed to meet the requirements for professional licensure and would not be sought by individuals looking for an entry program to become registered dietitians.

How to Apply

For details on the application process, please visit our Admissions page.