Public Health Nutrition

Examine the intersection of food access, diet choices, and public health

In our MPH program, you will explore health promotion, disease prevention, program development, and nutrition interventions with an interdisciplinary and innovative focus.

Our program strongly emphasizes nutritional assessment, program planning, health behavior change and intervention, strategies, research and evaluation methods, and policy development.

Why Minnesota?

  • Personal attention: You’ll move through the program in a small, cohesive cohort and engage with faculty in a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment.
  • Focus: With three tracks, the curriculum is customizable to your interests.
  • Unusual opportunity: Our dual MPH/RD degree is one of only a few programs of its type nationwide.
  • Flexible: You can pursue your MPH on a full-time or part-time basis.
  • Location: You will benefit from Minnesota’s placement in a thriving and diverse metropolitan community. Many of our students work in the Twin Cities in places like the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic, an interdisciplinary clinic run by students from the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center.

Coursework emphasizes nutritional assessment, program planning, health behavior change and intervention strategies and policy development.

Detailed curriculum information for the tradition public health nutrition degree (PDF)

In addition to our traditional public health nutrition degree, we offer three additional curriculum tracks, offering a program that is customizable and flexible.

  • Our Coordinated Master’s Program provides both a MPH in Public Health Nutrition and the required coursework and internship hours to become eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians. 11 students are accepted to this program every year.
  • Our Nutritional Epidemiology Emphasis Program is available for students with or without nutrition/dietetic backgrounds who are interested in applying epidemiological and biostatistical  methods to studies of nutrition and health.
  • Our Peace Corps Master’s International Program allows those interested in global health the opportunity to complete Peace Corps experience as part of their master’s program.
  • Our program with Arizona State University is a hybrid model that includes our standard curriculum with distance and in-person courses. Students attend in-person courses at ASU while working toward a degree from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

The program admits applicants with career goals in public health and applied nutrition, nutrition education, community intervention, and nutritional epidemiology. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Relevant experience in a public health setting is preferred.

If candidates:

  • Have a nutrition or dietetics degree and are eligible to take the RD exam (or are already an RD), they may apply for the Standard Program or the Nutritional Epidemiology Program.
  • Have a nutrition or dietetics degree but have not yet done ACEND accredited dietetics internship, they may apply for the Coordinated Master’s Program option, the Standard Program, or the Nutritional Epidemiology Program.
  • Do not have a dietetics or nutrition degree but will have completed specific science prerequisites and/or Coordinated Master’s Program prerequisites before starting the MPH, they may apply for the Coordinated Master’s Program, the Standard Program or the Nutritional Epidemiology Program.

Science prerequisites for the standard or nutritional epidemiology program include: one general biology course with a lab; two general chemistry courses with a lab; one organic chemistry course; one biochemistry course; one Intro to Nutrition course; and one social science course (sociology, psychology, etc).

Prerequisites for admission to the coordinated master’s program include: one general biology course with a lab; two general chemistry courses with a lab; one organic chemistry course, one biochemistry course and one social science course (sociology, psychology); one microbiology course with a lab; one human physiology course; one Intro to Nutrition course; one Intro to Food Science course; and one Food Service Operations Management course.

NOTE: Students that have a Verification Statement from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics have met all prerequisites for the coordinated master’s program.

Standardized Test Requirement

This program requires the GRE, but the GRE requirement is waived if applicants have one of the following:

  • U.S. or Canadian doctoral-level degree
  • ECFMG Certification

Admission Averages

Average score of admitted student Minimum score
GPA  3.5  3.0
GRE Combined  310  300
GRE Analytical Writing  4.2  3.5

The University of Minnesota offers affordable and competitive graduate tuition while also being situated in one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the country.

Cost

2015-16 Tuition & Fees

MPH Resident Non-resident
per credit $910 $1,195
Total tuition (44 credits)* $40,044 $52,580
Fees ** $3,300 $3,300

*Based on 2015-16 tuition rates and subject to change.
**Fees are approximate and assume enrollment in student health insurance plan. Additional fees apply for international students. See SPH Tuition & Fees for full details.

Funding

Maternal and Child Nutrition Traineeship

Several maternal and child nutrition traineeships are available for public health nutrition students who are U.S. citizens and wish to specialize in maternal, child, or adolescent health. Eligible students must be registered dietitians, with at least one year of work experience, and career goals in public health nutrition and maternal and child health, and should complete the appropriate application.

See a full list of scholarships available to Public Health students

Other Costs to Consider

  • Average cost of living in Minneapolis for a one-bedroom apartment is $899
  • Minnesota offers no tax on clothing
  • Minnesota students may receive an unlimited bus pass for $100/semester

Faculty and student research ranges from local to national to global nutrition studies, and includes obesity, undernutrition, food insecurity, chronic diseases, program and policy evaluation, and disparities.

For example, faculty member Melissa Laska’s NIH-funded STaple food ORdinance Evaluation (STORE) study is evaluating the impact of this Minneapolis Staple Food Ordinance, which was implemented in April 2015, in small- to mid-sized food stores, including convenience stores, corner stores, gas stations, dollar stores, and pharmacies.

See all Public Health Nutrition faculty

Public Health Nutrition students are active in the public health community through field experiences and employment at local, state, and national public and private organizations. Our students are also involved with faculty and division matters through graduate assistantships.

Examples Include:

  • The Phillips Neighborhood Clinic
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Minnesota Department of Education
  • HealthPartners
  • Mill City Farmers Market
  • Dakota County Public Health Department
  • St Paul-Ramsey County Public Health Department
  • PartnerSHIP for Health
  • Otter Tail County Department of Public Health
  • Pediatric Home Service
  • Vision of Wellness
  • Health Resources and Services Administration-Maternal and Child Health
  • Urban Roots

Approximately 60 percent of our graduates work in public health agencies (e.g., local and state health departments, and national public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 20 percent in educational institutions or the USDA Cooperative Extension Service, and the remainder in health promotion and education programs in health care organizations and private industry.  Other graduates are public relations and media consultants, internship directors, or in private practice/consulting.

Career Prospects

The PHN program prepares graduates for a wide variety of positions in national, state, and local public health agencies; nonprofit health agencies; international nongovernmental organizations; and community service organizations. Individuals who obtain or hold the Registered Dietitian credential are also prepared to obtain positions in health care settings such as hospitals and clinics.

Professionals with training in public health nutrition, regardless of their place of employment, are involved in assessing individuals, communities and populations; developing, implementing and evaluating nutrition interventions; and monitoring the health of individuals, communities, and populations.

Salary Information

Salaries vary greatly depending on the type of employer/organization. Graduates can expect to negotiate approximately $30,000-$50,000 with an initial position. This information is based on responses to surveys of our graduates, and represents an average experience.

See In-Depth Career Information (PDF)

Sarah Eichberger

“I was a teaching assistant for Dr. Jamie Stang. Having the opportunity to work with her in a professional way was really beneficial.”
–Sarah Eichberger, graduate

Application Deadline
for Fall Admission

Scholarship Consideration Deadline: December 1
Final Deadline: April 1
*Note: Final deadline for Coordinated Master’s Program is Dec 1

Contact Us

Program Coordinator
Shelley Cooksey
612-626-8802
epichstu@umn.edu

Program Director
Melissa Laska