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Public Health Nutrition: MPH

Public Health Nutrition

This online Master of Public Health Nutrition (MPH) degree includes interdisciplinary training in nutrition-related sciences and the core public health disciplines. Students will learn about the methods for quantifying dietary intake and nutritional status, the role of diet in disease risk and health promotion, and the design and implementation of nutrition policy and programs to improve the health of local, national, and global populations. The land grant setting of Utah State University provides unique opportunities for the study of the relationship between human nutritional status and health with strong academic and research programs in federal and community nutrition programs, USU Extension nutrition outreach programs, nutritional epidemiology, food security, agricultural practices, and OneHealth. This program is 100% online so you can complete the program from anywhere around the world! This program can be pursued part-time or full-time.


Graduates with an MPH degree in Public Health Nutrition can seek out diverse positions in public health with opportunities for leadership roles, professional development, and higher pay and benefits. Potential positions include public health nutritionist, nutritional epidemiologist, program coordinator, public health educator, executive director, and nutrition services supervisor to name a few. These positions can be found in a variety of governmental, academic, nonprofit, and for-profit settings including state and local public health departments, colleges and universities, health care organizations, Women Infants, and Children (WIC), food banks, food pantries, nutrition education programs such as SNAP-Ed and EFNEP, community action agencies, and anti-hunger/poverty organizations, among many others. When combined with a nutrition degree or other undergraduate science degree, the MPH degree is commonly used as a steppingstone to medical or dental school. For students interested in academic careers in public health, the MPH degree can be excellent preparation for application to doctoral public health programs.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet departmental requirements, in addition to requirements of the School of Graduate Studies as seen on the School of Graduate Studies Catalog Page. To be admitted to a graduate program, applicants must meet these minimum requirements:

  • Complete the online application.
  • Pay the $55 application fee.
  • Provide transcripts for all college/university credits.
  • Include a statement of purpose in your online application.
    This should be a 1-page single-spaced paper that describes how the MPH Nutrition program aligns with your career goals and what you have accomplished professionally or academically that demonstrates your ability to be successful in graduate school.
  • 3.0 or higher GPA for the last 60 semester (90 quarter) credit hours.
  • 3 professional letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or volunteer coordinators, for example. No personal references are accepted.

The GRE is no longer required as part of the application. Applicants must have taken an undergraduate course in nutrition and statistics. Prior coursework in public health, community health, nutrition, or dietetics is desirable but not required.

Once admitted, students are required to maintain enrollment as follows:

  • Registered for 9 or more graduate credits or enrollment in at least 3 credits per semester to use University facilities and receive direction from their major professor.
  • Enrollment in at least 6 credits per semester is required if receiving an assistantship or fellowship from Utah State University.

The MPH Nutrition program is 42 credit program which includes 21 credits of public health foundational competency courses and 21 credits of public health nutrition concentration courses. This program is considered a professional program (Plan C). Students must complete an applied practice experience and write a capstone paper. Students should contact their advisor early in their program to outline an acceptable project and to be certain that all degree requirements will be met and that all appropriate paperwork has been sent to the School of Graduate Studies. Students must complete a supervised field or professional experience that takes place in the final semester of the degree. This will take place through both an applied learning experience and an integrated learning experience where students are required to demonstrate mastery of select public health competencies upon completion. Plan A and Plan B options are available under certain circumstances.


Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

The MPH requires a minimum of 42 semester credit hours including 15 credits of required core courses, common to all degree options, departmental required courses, elective courses, seminars, and credits for the Plan A, Plan B, or Professional degree options described below.

Plan A option: requires preparation of a thesis, and 6 to 15 thesis credits are required. The semester(s) during which a student registers for thesis credit should correspond as closely as possible to the semester(s) in which the thesis work is done and faculty supervision is provided. The thesis for a Plan A master's degree is to be a contribution to the field of knowledge based on the student's own research, or a treatment and presentation of known subject matter from a new perspective. The student and major professor should decide upon a problem or subject for the thesis study by the end of the student's second semester of graduate study.

Plan B option: requires the production of a scholarly paper and completion of 2-3 credits of thesis research. The Plan B paper is usually a review of literature based on inquiry, systematic research, and analytic critique of the findings. The summary and conclusions developed should enhance knowledge in the discipline. Plan B papers and reports should follow the same format specifications as theses and dissertations and are expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards, even though they may be less intensive and not demand the originality of a Plan A thesis. Plan B papers are defended but are not reviewed by the Graduate School or signed by the dean of graduate studies. Plan B papers must be submitted to the Merrill-Cazier Library.

Professional degree: A master's degree option with no thesis or Plan B paper is available. Those seeking professional degrees must complete a supervised field or professional experience, write a capstone paper about it, and give a presentation on it to the department in which the student is enrolled. Students should contact their advisor early in their program to outline an acceptable project and to be certain that all degree requirements will be met and that all appropriate paperwork has been sent to the School of Graduate Studies.


View profiles of program faculty members on the department website.


Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

American Public Health Association: The American Public Health Association is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world and has been working to improve public health since 1872. The Association aims to protect all Americans, their families and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health professionals and others who care about their own health and the health of their communities.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. AND is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education, and advocacy. Students are encouraged to be members of AND and are also encouraged to be active in their local or state AND affiliate organizations.

American School Health Association: ASHA is a multidisciplinary organization of administrators, counselors, health educators, physical educators, psychologists, school health coordinators, school nurses, school physicians, and social workers. Its mission is to build the capacity of its members to plan, develop, coordinate, implement, evaluate, and advocate for effective school health strategies that contribute to optimal health and academic outcomes for all children and youth.

Society for Public Health Educators: SOPHE is a 501 (c)(3) professional organization founded in 1950 to provide global leadership to the profession of health education and health promotion and to promote the health of all people by: stimulating research on the theory and practice of health education; supporting high quality performance standards for the practice of health education and health promotion; advocating policy and legislation affecting health education and health promotion; and developing and promoting standards for professional preparation of health education professionals. SOPHE is the only independent professional organization devoted exclusively to health education and health promotion across all settings.

Get Healthy Utah: The mission of Get Healthy Utah is to create a culture of health through encouraging and facilitating active lifestyles and healthy eating.

Utah Public Health Association: UPHA is a leader in public health advocacy, improving public health practice and providing professional development opportunities for members and the public health community.

Utah Chapter of Society of Public Health Educators: The mission of USOPHE is the improve the health of Utahns by promoting the advancement of the health education profession and the employment of health educators in the public and private sector.


Labs, Centers, Research

Center for Advanced Nutrition: The CAN provides a multi-disciplinary venue for the discussion, discovery, and dissemination of information about the biological, physiological, and psychological mechanisms of proper nutrition. The scope of discovery is broad and falls into four distinct but overlapping focus areas: bioactive foods, nutrition and the brain, ingestive behavior, and personalized nutrition.

Center for Human Nutrition Studies: The "Center for Human Nutrition Studies" at Utah State University provides the organizational structure and logistic support for research scientists with interests in conducting clinical studies with an emphasis on nutrition. The Center, with a core staff consisting of experienced clinical researchers, community interventionist, research dietitian, clinic coordinator, laboratory research associate and support staff, coupled with an outstanding clinical facility and research kitchen, is designed to serve as a resource to Utah State University researchers in efforts to secure extramural research funding and industry contracts and partnerships. The Center also provides opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to gain experience in the design and conduct of human nutrition clinical studies. The Center is managed by the USTAR Applied Nutrition Research Team in conjunction with the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science and under the administrative oversight of the College of Agriculture.

Utah Agricultural Experiment Station: The UAES is part of a network of researchers and facilities at the nation’s land-grant universities and is committed to improving agriculture and managing natural resources for the people of Utah. At research facilities on the USU campus and throughout the state, UAES supports hundreds of research projects that promote agriculture and human nutrition and enhance the quality of rural life.

Request Information for Public Health Nutrition
Description Public Health Nutrition

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Academic Advising

Mateja Savoie-Roskos
Associate Professor, MPH Program Director
Office: NFS 207B
Phone: (435) 797-5777
Email: mateja.savoie@usu.edu



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