Nutritional Sciences, PhD

for the Doctor of Philosophy in Nutritional Sciences

departmental website:

director of the division and of graduate studies: Elvira de Mejia

correspondence and admission Information: Ashley Negangard

department address: 240 Edward R Madigan Laboratory, 1201 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 333-4177


Graduate Degree Programs in Nutritional Sciences

Graduate Programs:

degree: Nutritional Sciences, MS

degree: Nutritional Sciences, PhD

joint degree: Nutritional Sciences, PhD and Master of Public Health

The Division of Nutritional Sciences is the interdisciplinary program for graduate education in nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More than 60 faculty, representing 15 different departments in seven colleges on the Urbana and Chicago campuses, are members of the Division. The Division is a comprehensive program of study leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, alone or in combination with either the M.D. or M.P.H. degrees or the registration in dietetics (R.D.). Flexible graduate programs of study enable students to individualize their coursework and professional training. In addition, extensive research opportunities are available that address the spectrum from research at the level of the genome and proteome to clinical and population-based intervention studies. Specialties are classified into six broad theme areas in which our faculty and students are most active (see Research Interests). These themes best reflect the areas of nutrition research for which the Division is recognized both nationally and internationally.


Applicants are expected to have an admission grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) for the last two years of coursework and basic courses in chemistry, biology and mathematics. Deficiencies in these subjects must be removed during the first year of graduate study. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Applicants whose native language is not English must achieve a minimum paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 550, 213 on the computer-based test or 79 on the iBT TOEFL. Admission in the fall, spring or summer will be considered.

Internship in Dietetics

Students in the Division of Nutritional Sciences can participate in an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) accredited graduate dietetic internship program administered through the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. The program includes defined graduate course requirements and a six-month dietetic clinical internship. In order to be eligible for the graduate internship program, students must complete all undergraduate course competencies required by the AND for the Registration in Dietetics (R.D.). Students are accepted into the internship by computer matching through the standard dietetic internship application process. More information on the graduate dietetic internship program can be obtained at or from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (260 Bevier Hall; (217)-244-4498).

Graduate Teaching Experience

Although teaching is not a general Graduate College requirement, experience in teaching is considered an important part of the graduate experience in this program.

Faculty Research Interests

The Division is composed of faculty whose research interests cover many disciplines within nutrition. Descriptions of faculty research interests and a listing of recent publications are available at the Division website. Six broad theme areas are:

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition
  • Community Nutrition, Nutrition Education and Consumer Acceptance
  • Dietary Bioactive Components
  • Food Safety and Toxicology
  • Human and Clinical Nutrition

Facilities and Resources

The Division office is located in room 240 Edward R. Madigan Laboratory. Office and research laboratory facilities utilized by graduate students in Nutritional Sciences are administered by the home department of the student's adviser.

Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available in the form of assistantships, scholarships and fellowships. Applicants seeking fall admission and expecting to be considered for financial assistance should file their applications before the preceding December 15th. Later applications may be considered, depending on the space and support available.

for the Doctor of Philosophy in Nutritional Sciences

In addition to maintaining a 3.0 average in formal coursework, Ph.D. students are required to take a qualifying examination, an oral preliminary examination and a final thesis examination. There is no foreign language requirement, but students whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate competence in English.

NUTR 500Nutritional Sciences Seminar (enrollment each semester and one presentation during program)1
Select one or both of the following, unless taken during M.S. degree (max 4):4
Seminar in Foods and Nutrition
Disciplinary Seminar
NUTR 510Topics in Nutrition Research1
or NUTR 561 Advanced Clinical Nutrition
NUTR 511Regulation of Metabolism4
Two additional courses in general nutrition6-8
Research/Project/Independent Study Hours (2 max applied toward degree)2
NUTR 599Thesis Research (min/max applied toward degree)40 or 48
Total Hours64

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Coursework total: with M.S. degree in Nutritional Science (16) or with MS in other field (24)
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD? No, but Masters level requirements must be met (32 additional hours min)
Qualifying Exam Required Yes
Preliminary Exam Required Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required Yes
Minimum GPA: 3.0