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MS in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology - Emphasis in Nutritional Sciences

Application deadline for the PhD program is Dec 30th and the MS program is Feb 15th. We may have assistantships available.

Our graduate program is part of a campus-wide network of research programs that provides integrative research in the biomedical sciences. Nutritional Sciences offers both MS and PhD degrees.

The emphasis area of Nutritional Sciences is associated with both MS and PhD degrees in Exercise Physiology. In addition, MS or PhD degrees in animal sciences, biochemistry and food science are offered to students studying nutrition through the respective departments.

lab work

The Nutritional Sciences Emphasis provides training in the distinct core nutrition knowledge described by the Graduate Nutrition Education Committee of the American Society for Nutrition: general research skills; structure and biochemical and metabolic functions of nutrients and other dietary constituents; food, diets, and supplements; nutritional status assessment; nutrition and disease; nutrition interventions and policies; and, analytical skills. The Nutritional Science Masters does not provide a route to become a Registered Dietitian, however the department does offer the only Coordinated Program in Dietetics within the state of Missouri, which does include a Masters.

Graduate students also receive training in laboratory research, seminar preparation and delivery, scientific writing, problem solving and research grant writing.

Graduate study in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Missouri offers the advantage of interdisciplinary nutrition research that is facilitated via the many research centers at MU, including Food for the 21st Century (F21C), the Botanical Center, and the Life Sciences Center.

The graduate program is administered by the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in association with the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the School of Medicine.

Graduate study in Nutrition at the University of Missouri is facilitated via the interdisciplinary Nutritional Science program, departmental degree programs, and the Food for the 21st Century (F21C) Nutritional Sciences Cluster.


Entering graduate students are expected to have undergraduate training in chemistry and biology, including a two-semester course in biochemistry and an upper-level nutrition course. Some prerequisites can be met during the first year of graduate school.

Course Title & Number Hours
General Chemistry (CHEM 1310, 1320) 5 hours
Introduction to Organic Chemistry w/Lab (CHEM 2030/2130) 5 hours
Biochemistry (BIOCHM 4270, 4272) 5 hours
Introduction to Biological Systems w/Lab (BIO SC 1500) 5 hours
Human Nutrition I (NEP 2340) 3 hours
Course Title & Number Hours
Human Nutrition II (NEP 7340) 3 hours
Biochemistry (BIOCHM 7270, 7272) 6 hours
Nutritional Biochemistry of Lipids (NEP 8310) 3 hours
Nutrition in Human Health (NEP 8340) 3 hours
Vitamins and Minerals (AN SCI 9442) 3 hours
Statistics (6 credits), possible courses include:

Statistical Methods for Research (STAT 7070, 3h)
Statistical Software and Data Analysis (STAT 7110)
Sampling Techniques (STAT 7310)
Applied Statistical Models I (STAT 7510, 3h)
Applied Statistical Models II (STAT 8220, 3h)
Analysis of Variance (STAT 7530, 3h)
Biostatistics (STAT 7410)
Experimental Design (STAT 7540)
Applied Multivariate Data Analysis (STAT 7560)
Data Analysis (STAT 8310, 3h)
ANOVA in Applied Research (ES CPS 8610, 3h)
Regression in Applied Research (ES CPS 8620, 3h)
Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I (ES CPS 8630, 3h)
Social Statistics (SOCIOL 7120, 3h)
Advanced Social Statistics (SOCIOL 8130)

6 hours
Masters Seminar (NEP 7087 1h/semester) 2 hours
Research Thesis (NEP 8090) 4 hours
> 30 hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, including but not limited to courses from the following Emphasis Areas. Fifteen hours of the 30-hour minimum must be selected from courses numbered at 8000 or 9000 level; no more than 40 percent of the 30-hour credit requirement can be satisfied by a combination of special investigations, Research, Readings and / or Problems courses. Graduate students may elect to take the suggested courses from the following emphasis areas within nutritional sciences. The emphasis areas are not degree programs, nor are the course lists all inclusive; rather, they serve to guide course selection.
Human/Clinical Nutrition

Course Title & Number Hours
Etiology of Obesity (NEP 7001) 3 hours
Sports Nutrition (NEP 7970) 2 hours
Exercise Metabolism (NEP 8870) 3 hours
Research in Dietetics (NEP 7950) 2 hours
Nutritional Assessment (NEP 7360) 3 hours
Nutrition Therapy I (NEP 7370) 3 hours
Nutrition Therapy II (NUTR 7380) 2 hours
Human Nutrition II Laboratory (NEP 7330) 2 hours
Endocrinology (AN SCI 8420) 3 hours
Immunology (V PIO 8451) 3 hours
Addiction Treatment and Prevention (SOC WK 7330) 3 hours

Public Health Nutrition

Course Title & Number Hours
Community Nutrition (NEP 7590) 3 hours
Nutrition Throughout the Lifespan (NEP 7360) 3 hours
Epidemiology and Biostatistics (V PBIO 8455) 2 hours
Endocrinology (AN SCI 8420) 3 hours
Intro to Immunology (V PBIO 8451) 3 hours
Human Nutrition II Laboratory (NEP 7330) 2 hours
Addiction Treatment and Prevention (SOC WK 7330) 3 hours
Sociology of Health Systems (SOCIOL 7400) 3 hours
Principles of Epidemiology (F C MD 8420) 3 hours
Epidemiology and Community Health (V PBIO 6678) 2-6 hours

Behavioral Science

Course Title & Number Hours
Neurobiology (BIO SC 7500) 3 hours
Sensory Physiology and Behavior (BIO SC 7560) 3 hours
Behavioral Biology (BIO SC 7640) 3 hours
Developmental Neurobiology (BIO SC 8450) 3 hours
Functional Neuroscience (PSYCH 8210) 3 hours
Addiction Treatment and Prevention (SOC WK 7330) 3 hours

Food Science

Course Title & Number Hours
Food Chemistry and Analysis (FS 7310) 4 hours
Food Chemistry and Analysis Lab (FS 7315) 3 hours
Food Microbiology (FS 7370) 3 hours
Sensory Analysis of Foods and Beverages (FS 7380) 3 hours
Food Product Development (FS 7970) 3 hours
Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (FS 8440) 3 hours
Technology of Dairy Products and Ingredients (FS 7331) 3 hours

Biochemistry/Cell Physiology

Course Title & Number Hours
Nutritional Biochemistry of Carbohydrates (NEP 8360) 3 hours
Exercise Metabolism (NEP 8870) 3 hours
Biochemistry Lab (BIOCHM 7274) 2 hours
Molecular Biology Lab (BIO SC 7374) 2 hours
Enzymology and Metabolic Regulation (BIO SC 8432) 3 hours
Vet Cell Biology (VB SCI 7333) 4 hours
Vet Physiology (VB SCI 8420) 6 hours
Mammalian Cell Function (VB SCI 7310) 3 hours
Neural Control (VB SCI 8410) 1 hour
Transmembrane Signaling (VB SCI 9426) 3 hours
A written thesis, based upon original research, that is student’s own work and that demonstrates a capacity for research and independent thought is required. In addition, the graduate student must present their thesis research in a seminar that is open to the general faculty and successfully defend their thesis to their committee.
Each graduate student must complete the Annual Review Requirement by updating information in the Graduate Student Progress System. At the end of each year the adviser will evaluate each master’s student. Each student must maintain a 3.0 GPA. In addition, each graduate student must maintain adequate research progress as judged by the adviser and/or graduate committee. Inadequate progress will result in a probationary period of 30 days to 1 semester.
The program for the master’s degree MUST be completed within a period of three (3) years beginning with the first semester of enrollment in which the student is accepted to a degree program. Time spent in the armed services will not count toward the three (3)-year limit (see Graduate School Active Duty Policy). For any extension of this time limitation, the student must petition their faculty advisor/mentor and the academic program’s director of graduate studies in writing prior to the end of the 5th semester of enrollment in the program. The director of graduate studies will notify the adviser in writing of the decision.

Program Faculty

Graduate faculty members who teach in this program hold appointments in the departments of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, Animal Sciences, Biochemistry, Child Health, and Food Science.

This rich environment offers a wide range of interdisciplinary research opportunities for the degree candidate.

Faculty within the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology include:


Nutrition is, by definition, an applied and multi-disciplinary science that integrates other disciplines such as biochemistry, physiology, biology, psychology, sociology, and economics. A primary research focus in the department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology is the role of diet in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases that are prevalent in the United States today: obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, immune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and osteoporosis. Specific dietary components being studied for their role in human health include protein, calcium, vitamin D, copper, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and nutraceuticals.

Another important research area is the determinants of eating behavior, including neuro-psychological, sociologic, and economic factors. Investigative approaches include epidemiology, clinical trials, human studies, experimental and transgenic animal models, and cultured cell models.