Public Health Nutrition

Combine principles and practices from nutrition and social and behavioral science to develop, implement, and evaluate programs and policies that promote optimal nutrition and population health and well-being.

The Public Health Nutrition (PHN) specialization combines principles and practices from nutrition and social and behavioral science to develop, implement and evaluation of programs and policies that promote optimal nutrition and population health and well-being. This area of specialization is offered for the PhD in Population Health Sciences program. Doctoral students who concentrate in PHN will be skilled in quantitative and qualitative methods, program development and evaluation, health disparities, health behavior change, and health policy. The program includes the following components: formal coursework; seminars; qualifying exams; and a dissertation.

As a doctoral student specializing in Public Health Nutrition, you will gain comprehensive academic and applied knowledge in five core skill areas:

  • Nutrition science and principles
  • Translation of science into practice
  • Analytic skills and research methods
  • Policy and leadership
  • Cultural competency
Apply to the program by December 1st.

Program Overview

Formal coursework.

Nutrition Major Requirements (credits)

NUT200: Introduction to Nutrition Science (2)
NUT201: Introduction to Nutrition in Public Health (2)
BPH222: The Biological Basis of Human Nutrition (4)
NUT203: Nutrition Seminar Part I (1)
EPI205: Practice of Epidemiology (2)
NUT206: Nutrition Seminar Part II (1)
NUT209: Seminars in Food and Technology (2)
ID214: Nutritional Epidemiology (2)

Concentration-Specific Requirements
NUT232: Designing and Evaluating Behavioral Interventions Targeting Diet and. Physical Activity (4)
SBS245: Social and Behavioral Research Methods (4)
SBS522: Multi-Level Theoretical Approaches to Population Health and Health-Related Behavior Change (2)
SBS514: Reducing Socioeconomic & Racial/Ethnic Inequalities in Health: Concepts, Models, Effective Strategies (2)  
HPM502: Federal Public Policy and Population Health (2)
SBS Methods Courses – Students have flexibility in choosing courses to fulfill requirement (4 credits total)

Seminars. Seminars focus on applied areas of Nutrition, work-in-progress presentations, or presentations by invited speakers.

Qualifying Exams. Students will take two qualifying exams. The first tests knowledge gained during coursework; the second is a dissertation proposal.


Program Administration

  • Erica Kenney,  ScD, MPH – Program Director
  • Stefanie Dean, MPH, RD, LDN – Academic Administrator

Selection of advisors.  Students will initially be assigned a faculty advisor from among the faculty in the PHN specialization. Advisors will meet with students on a regular basis and give progress reports each term to the faculty. When a thesis topic is identified, a new advisor knowledgeable about the research area may be assigned if agreed upon by both the student and faculty member.

Financial Aid

Tuition, health fees, and stipend support will be provided for a maximum of four years. It is expected that students will apply for outside funding within the first two years of the program.  The department will not assume responsibility for payment of tuition for courses taken during the summer.

Fellowship awards are subject to the following restrictions:

a.  The awarding of tuition and stipend will follow the contingencies specified in the official letter of acceptance from the PhD in Population Health Sciences program.
b.  Fellowship support will be forfeited if funds are received from another source.
c.  Students must be full-time in the department and maintain good academic standing.
d.  Students must demonstrate satisfactory performance in research.

Frequently Asked Questions

For frequently asked questions, please visit the PhD in Population Health Sciences FAQ page.

Have another question? Please contact Stefanie Dean, Academic Coordinator: