College of Natural Sciences

MS in Nutritional Science


The courses and programs in nutrition and food sciences have emerged from and are integrated with the physical and life sciences. The natural resource of food is studied as it exists in nature, is consumed and utilized, and is made available to consumers. The science of nutrition is concerned with the ingestion and utilization of food for the purposes of survival, prevention of disease, and the promotion of positive health. Courses for non-majors, as well as majors, are offered in order to facilitate optimal lifetime nutritional status.

The Department of Nutrition and Food Science is an integral unit of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico, and, in accord with the vision of the University we aim to create vital and collaborative learning experiences for students, who will appreciate and embrace the local, regional, and global communities of which we are all a part. The Department of Nutrition and Food Science further subscribes to the University's commitment to serving the North State community.

The mission of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at California State University, Chico is to provide students with a broad educational background in the science of food and nutrition and foodservice management. Non-major students will gain an understanding of the role food plays in disease prevention and promotion of health. The BS and MS degrees offered by the department will prepare students to apply their knowledge and skills to become competent and productive nutrition, food science, and foodservice management professionals.


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.

Goals & Objectives

The goals of the MS program in nutritional science are to

  • ensure that upon graduation, students use evidence-based practice in their chosen profession. Evidence-based practice is defined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 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, practical training opportunities that benefit the students while serving the diverse Northern California community.
  • graduate students who are well prepared and secure nutrition-related employment in healthcare, state, or federally funded programs, industry, or education.

The goals of the MS in nutritional science are met by the following objectives:

  • 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 Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), are accepted.
  • 90% or more of students completing a DI program pass the national registration examination for RDNs.
  • 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.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a MS in Nutritional Science should:

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