15 Best Affordable Master’s in Nutrition

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Earning one of the 15 Best Affordable Master's Degrees in Nutrition is a promising next-step towards long term success and career stability in 2020. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth for dietitians and nutritionists at an impressive 16 percent by 2026, and with the median pay reportedly $59,410 a year as of 2017. People with expertise in nutrition and diet are needed now more than ever, with the population giving more consideration than before to the way their diet affects health.

Graduate programs in nutrition will prepare students with foundational knowledge necessary for disease treatment and prevention, as well as the tools for extensive competitive research in the field. Many programs are designed for students who are familiar with the field already, but others are open to those from different academic backgrounds. Because of nutritional sciences relationship to other discourses like biology and chemistry, many programs are also interdisciplinarily designed, encouraging a wide array of relevant study. Earning a Master's degree in Nutrition will ensure students' place in the competitive workforce or ready them for Ph.D. programs, having mastered desirable skills in research, communication, leadership, and the capacity for interdisciplinary thought.

Ranking Methodology: "It's science!"

The researchers and writers at Best Masters Degrees don't make recommendations based upon preference– we back our rankings with science. Here's a quick breakdown of how we organize ranking data:

  • Finances (40%)
  • Academic Rigor (35%)
  • Student Gratification (25%)

Nearly half of the data used to score each ranking involves investments and are acquired from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, Glassdoor, and PayScale. Financial data encompasses the cost of tuition, fees, and class supplied; the average price of living; access to financial aid and social services; and lastly, the projected annual salary acquired from degree outcomes and income for loan repayment. The second largest category of information involves the quality of education, how competitive degree applicants should be for consideration, and how exclusive a degree program is overall. The final 25 percent of collected data is dependent on student and alumni reviews from sources such as PayScale, Rate My Professor, and Students Review.

Want to Learn More?

The amount of information available for specific degrees are plentiful, and Best Masters Degrees aims to provide as many resources as we can. Check out our Methodology page for more information and resource links.


#15 – University of Connecticut

Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences

Storrs, CT


The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut offers students three specialization areas: Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Human Nutrition and Metabolism, and Community Nutrition. All focus areas offer an interdisciplinary approach in that they are supported by other departments at UC, such as the Health Center, Department of Sports, Leisure, and Exercise Sciences, and the School of Pharmacy. Applicants should have taken General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physiology, Biology, and Basic Nutrition, and submit GRE scores. There is a thesis plan in the program for most students, but a non-thesis track for students who already have experience in the professional field.

Net Price: $18,699

#14 – Dominican University

Master of Science in Nutrition

River Forest, IL


Dominican University's Master of Science in Nutrition prepares students with not only strong foundational knowledge in nutrition but practical research experience that readies them for employment post-graduation. Students of Dominican also have opportunities to work with diverse families and individuals to provide nutritional education and support, learning important leadership skills and communication practices necessary for competitive careers. Prospective students need to earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 GPA and submit their final GRE scores. All students must also already be entering the program having finished Accredited Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics coursework. Courses take place year-round, with topics in Food, Health, and Social Justice and Multicultural Approach to Population Health.

Net Price: $18,250

#13 – The Ohio State University

Master of Science in Human Nutrition

Columbus, OH


The Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Ohio State University prepares students with a focus on current nutritional health problems as well as extensive research topics in the field. Current students in the program are researching dietary intake and disease, micronutrient levels, bioactive dietary compounds, food security, and more. All students will receive support from professionally-skilled faculty members, all of whom have earned a Ph.D. The program is a total of 30 credits, consisting of five core courses, three research methods, supporting courses, and a thesis. Students will graduate well-versed in not only the relationships between diet, health, and disease but also how research in the field can motivate and shape public policy.

Net Price: $18,042

#12 – University of Alabama Birmingham

Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences

Birmingham, AL

The Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Alabama offers a Dietitian Education Program track, which prepares graduates to take the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist exam. The program is a full-time and accelerated track degree, with 58 credits needed to graduate including 24 credit hours of practicum. The DEP track is taught entirely online, while other tracks, including the Clinical Track and Research Track, are majority taught online but also have in-person components. The Research Track includes potential focus areas on pediatrics, health education, exercise science, and more. U of A designed the Clinical Track with a Dietetic Internship or a Prior Learning Option for students who have already earned a degree in Nutrition Sciences or have 1200 hours of supervised experience from an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics program.

Net Price: $17,016

#11 – University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Master of Science in Nutrition

Minneapolis, MN


The Master of Science in Nutrition program at the University of Minnesota is a minimum of 30 credits, with 14 in Nutrition, six credits in minor or related topics outside Nutrition, and ten thesis credits or additional Nutrition or independent study credits. Students have the choice of completing the thesis, which is an original research project with the results reported as a thesis, or taking additional graduate-level courses possibly with an independent study. Students who decide not to complete a thesis are still required to complete research but are not required to report their results as a thesis. Core courses in Nutrition will focus on Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology, as well as Nutrition and Genetics. All students will have to take a research methods course, offered outside the major.

Net Price: $16,808

#10 – Michigan State University

Master of Science in Human Nutrition

East Lansing, MI


Students pursuing a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Michigan State University will complete advanced course work in nutrition, statistics, seminars, and other related topics, including biochemistry, anthropology, epidemiology, or sociology. Applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and also have taken courses in nutrition such as upper-level macro and micronutrients, chemistry, and biology. They must also submit GRE scores. Students may complete the program with either a Research Thesis or a Master's Project. The program prepares students for careers as specialists in food science or human nutrition.

Net Price: $16,684

#9 – University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

Champaign, IL


The Master of Science in Nutritional Science program at the University of Illinois offers students to not only complete graduate-level coursework in Nutrition, but topics such as human and animal nutrition, food science, education, agricultural economics, and more. The 60 faculty team is made up of those from 15 different departments on campus. The interdisciplinary layout of the program provides students with many aspects of foundational knowledge for the field. Prospective students should apply with a minimum GPA of 3.0 from the last two years of their coursework, and with completed courses in chemistry, biology, and mathematics. GRE scores are required.

Net Price: $16,638

#8 – Rutgers University 

Master of Science in Nutritional Science

New Brunswick, NJ

The Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Rutgers University is offered with three focus areas: nutritional biochemistry and physiology, community and applied nutrition, and dietetics. The focus areas provide foundational work for students who either want to go onto Ph.D. studies or enter the professional workforce post-graduation. Applicants need to have taken general chemistry with lab, organic chemistry, and 12 additional credits in advanced sciences, with a minimum 3.0 GPA. GRE scores must have a minimum 153 on the Verbal portion and 151 on the Quantitative portion. The Dietetics option also has additional requirements, and those interested must contact the program coordinator before admission.

Net Price: $16,016

#7 – University of Arizona

Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences

Tucson, AZ

University of Arizona's Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences program is housed in the Nutritional Services department. The faculty in the program represent a multidisciplinary background, with appointments in the College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Public Health, and many research areas in Arizona. Prospective students are expected to submit their GRE scores, and complete courses in organic chemistry, biochemistry, biology, human physiology, and Nutrition Science. Courses begin every Fall. All students will complete a thesis before graduation.

Net Price: $15,758

#6 – University of Florida

Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition

Gainesville, FL


Students who pursue their masters at the University of Florida will graduate with a Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition degree, having focused on only one of the topics via their chosen track: Food Science or Human Nutrition. Both tracks are a minimum of 30 credits and a thesis that consists of six research credits. The two tracks have different course work, but both offer many opportunities for research. Graduates will be prepared for career opportunities in the industry, academia, and the government. Course topics in the Nutritional Science track include Nutrition and Immunity, Advanced Human Nutrition, and Statistical Methods in Research.

Net Price: $15,283

#5 – North Carolina State University

Master of Science in Nutrition

Raleigh, NC


The Master of Science in Nutrition from North Carolina State University may be earned with a thesis or without. Those who pursue the thesis option are expected to have interest in gaining research experience in one of the areas of focus in nutrition. Many students who take this route go onto receive technical research positions in companies, or continue onto Ph.D. programs. Overall, non-thesis students take more credits of coursework, and are expected to already have foundational knowledge in the discourse and are applying with the intention of furthering their skill. Both programs take one to two years to complete at a full-time pace. Many courses in the program are offered online.

Net Price: $13,442

#4 – Purdue University

Master of Science in Nutrition Science

West Lafayette, IN


Purdue University's Master of Science in Nutrition Science offers four different Emphasis Groups to students: Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Human and Clinical Nutrition, Animal Health, Growth and Development, and Public Health and Education. The program is interdepartmental, consisting of faculty from ten different departments both based in Purdue or other universities in Indiana. When students are accepted to the program, they will choose a faculty mentor to study under. Once completed, student degree certificates are awarded from their mentor's home department, with The Interdepartmental Nutrition Program listed as the area of specialization. The program requires a minimum of 30 credits while providing flexible coursework for each student.

Net Price: $12,117

#3 – University of Illinois at Chicago

Master of Science in Nutrition

Chicago, IL


The Master of Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago is open to students who are already a registered dietitian or are just getting started in the field. The program's curriculum is focused on the prevention and treatment of nutrition-related diseases. The coordinated program of the degree is designed for students who are amid a career change or are entering the discourse with a degree in an unrelated field. The traditional program is for those already RD certified or interested in Ph.D. programs. Students in the coordinated program will have to have taken prerequisites before admission, and interview for the program. There is no minimum required GRE score or GPA.

Net Price: $11,884

#2 – University of Washington

Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences with Dietetics

Seattle, WA


The University of Washington designed their Master of Science In Nutritional Sciences with the GCPD for students looking for serious interdisciplinary training in nutrition and dietetics. Prospective students must apply to the Nutritional Sciences program for the master's degree, and then also apply to the GCPD for supervised practice necessary for the RD exam. UW graduates are now employed within clinical dietetics, client-centered health promotion, disease prevention, and research. The program is a minimum of 62 credits with 30 internship credits, typically taking two years to complete including summers. The GCPD portion of the program will prepare students with 1200+ hours of experience in the clinical, ambulatory, community, management, and more settings in the Seattle area.

Net Price: $9,443

#1 – University of Wisconsin Colleges

Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition

Greater Wisconsin Area

The University of Wisconsin designed its Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition for students with previous professional experience in clinical nutrition, and who are committed to strengthening their competitive resumes. The curriculum is advanced, with focus on core nutrition, clinical nutrition, and professional skills. Electives may include related topics like public health. Applicants are expected to finish eight prerequisite courses, which include Statistics and Biochemistry. They should also have at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. The program may only be completed entirely online – there are no in-person or even hybrid courses. Graduates will have completed at least 30 credits. A thesis is not required.

Net Price: $6,818