Graduate Mission, Goals, and Outcomes

There are two options to the MS degree in Nutritional Science, an option in General Nutritional Science which is designed to increase competence in the science of nutrition and an option in Nutrition Education which is designed to facilitate nutrition professionals in communicating information and promote optimal health and nutritional status.

The mission of the graduate program in Nutritional Science at California State University, Chico is to provide educational experiences for students to increase their expertise in the science of nutrition and nutrition education.  Students gain confidence in conducting and analyzing research.  The program will prepare students to become competent, evidence-based nutrition professionals and practitioners.

The goals of the MS program are to

  • Ensure that upon graduation, students use evidence-based practice in their chosen profession. Evidence-based practice is defined by the American Dietetic Association as “the use of systematically reviewed scientific evidence in making food and nutrition practice decisions by integrating best available evidence with professional expertise and client values to improve outcomes.”  
  • Provide pre-professional practice opportunities that benefit students while serving the North State community.
  • Graduate students who are well prepared and secure nutrition-related employment in healthcare, state, or federally funded programs, industry, or education.
  • Use program resources effectively and efficiently while maintaining quality.

Key indicators of the program's quality include

  • 90% or more of students who start the program complete it.
  • 80% or more of students who apply to dietetic internship (DI) programs, to become Registered Dietitians (RDs), are accepted.
  • 90% or more of students completing a DI program pass the national registration examination for RDs.
  • 80% or more of students applying for doctoral programs are accepted.
  • 75% or more of students secure nutrition-related employment in healthcare, state or federally funded programs, industry, or education.
  • Graduates of the program will indicate they are satisfied with the MS program in 80% of the items listed on the alumni survey. 
  • 80% or more of graduates of the program will indicate that the MS program prepared them for their first career-related position on the alumni survey and 80% indicate the pre-professional practice opportunity they had was beneficial.
  • Measures of program resources will be monitored such as student to faculty ratio, offering a minimum of 2 graduate courses per semester, release time for the coordinator and faculty who chair culminating activities, availability of space and equipment, and financial support for students.

How are we doing?

  • 95% of students who started the program completed it.
  • 89% of students who applied to dietetic internships were accepted.
  • 100% of students completing the CSU, Chico Dietetic Internship passed the national registration examination for RDs (87% passed on the first exam attempt, 13% on the second attempt).
  • 33% of students applying for doctoral programs were accepted (It should be noted only 3 students applied to programs).
  • 93% of students secured nutrition-related employment in healthcare, state or federally funded programs, industry, or education.  Salaries ranged from $38,000 to 67,200 with a mean salary of $51,762.
  • 86-100% of graduates of the program were satisfied (rating 3 to 5 out of a 5-point scale) with the MS program (12 items on a survey).
  • 100% of graduates indicated that the MS program prepared them for a career and 95% indicated that their graduate internship that provided pre-professional experience was valuable.
  • In 2010-11, the student to faculty ratio was 3.4 to 1.  Graduate classes have an enrollment of about 15.
  • Two NFSC graduate courses are offered per semester.
  • The Department hires one to three graduate teaching associates per semester.
  • In 2010-11, the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP) hired nine graduate students in Nutritional Science ($84,000 in payroll).

These data are based on the program's last five-year review (2005-2011).

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the CSU, Chico graduate program should:

  • Master breadth of knowledge in key content areas of nutritional science including macronutrients, micronutrients and research methods.
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate and analyze the scientific literature in a variety of areas of nutritional science.
  • Demonstrate the ability to design and conduct an independent research project (a thesis or professional paper).
  • Demonstrate proficient oral and written communication skills.