Online MPH Nutrition

Delivered by the UNC Gillings School

The MPH Nutrition concentration equips current and aspiring public health professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to improve the health of individuals and groups around the globe.

In addition to emphasizing the science of nutrition, this course of study explores behavior change, communication, counseling and the effects of dietary culture on individuals and within communities. Students gain the skills to assess scientific evidence for nutritional guidelines, effectively communicate nutritional information to the public, and evaluate how social, cultural, environmental and community factors affect nutrition-related health outcomes. That means you’ll graduate with a truly integrated understanding of nutrition and the powerful ways it can be used to prevent and combat diverse health concerns.

“The field of nutrition plays an important role in public health and spans from the cell (basic science) to society (public policy). Since food is a basic necessity and is needed for human growth, development and disease prevention, it is essential to determine and understand the causes and consequences of under- and over-nutrition. Nutrition researchers and practitioners use this knowledge to design, implement and evaluate nutrition-related interventions and programs and/or create and influence nutrition-related public policy.

Kimberly Truesdale, PhD, MSPH
Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
Nutrition Concentration Lead

As a student in the online MPH Nutrition concentration, you’ll gain the skills to:

Understand, assess and effectively communicate the scientific evidence for nutritional guidelines and recommendations.

Evaluate how social, cultural, environmental and community factors impact dietary intake and nutrition-related outcomes in individuals, families and communities.

Demonstrate proficiency in writing evidence-based, nutrition-related professional and consumer communications using a variety of media platforms.

Practice in compliance with current federal regulations and state statutes related to public health nutrition programs.

A Legacy of Interdisciplinary Excellence

Our Department of Nutrition, a global leader in research and education, is the only nutrition department in the United States jointly situated in a school of public health and a school of medicine. With a curriculum that draws on the expertise of both institutions, students develop a nuanced and well-rounded understanding of nutrition issues.

Through research and practice, Department of Nutrition faculty members — all of whom are dually appointed for the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health — are committed to improving the health of underserved and minority populations around the world. They specialize in a variety of topics, including:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Infectious diseases
  • Maternal and child nutrition problems
  • Obesity

The Gillings School of Global Public Health also offers the Nutrition concentration on-campus.

Study Nutrition at the No. 2 Public School of Public Health1

Learn more about our online MPH Nutrition concentration.

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MPH Nutrition Curriculum

Full-Time and Part-Time Options | 42 Total Credits

Designed to accommodate full- or part-time schedules, MPH Nutrition emphasizes experiential learning, evidence-based solutions and interdisciplinary knowledge that students can apply right away.

  • MPH Core Courses (14 credits)
  • Nutrition-Specific Courses (15 credits)
  • Elective Courses (9 credits)
  • Pre- and Post-Practicum Courses (1 credit)
  • Practicum Work Experience (200 hours)
  • Culminating Experience (3 credits)

After completing the Gillings MPH Core courses and developing a strong foundation in public health, students are ready for more specialized nutrition courses.

  • NUTR 711: Nutrition Across the Life Cycle (3 credits)
  • NUTR 713: Nutrition Communication, Counseling and Culture (3 credits)
  • NUTR 723: Community Nutrition (3 credits)
  • NUTR 765: Nutritional Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • NUTR 805: Food and Nutrition Policy (3 credits)

*Students without a prior college course in Human Nutrition will also take NUTR 705: Human Nutrition (3 credits) as an elective.

The Value of Studying Nutrition

How can we help individuals, communities and entire populations lead healthier lives through nutrition? Public health professionals who specialize in nutrition are uniquely prepared to answer that question and develop practical, evidence-based solutions. From food security and access to disease prevention, nutrition issues intersect with myriad other sectors, industries and public health disciplines.

“I’m interested in opening a private practice one day and also in mass communications — whether it’s nutrition writing for a magazine or a local news station. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do public health, so I could gain more experience in nutrition communications instead of just focusing on the individual patient-provider level.”

Anna Feld
MPH Nutrition Student | September 2019 Cohort 

Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to grow by 11% from 2020 to 2030 — faster than the average for all occupations.2 The MPH Nutrition concentration will enable you to help meet this demand for nutrition expertise in a range of settings, including:

  • Public health nutrition programs
  • Governmental agencies
  • Nonprofits
  • Public policy organizations
  • Nutrition marketing and media companies

Graduates of UNC’s on-campus MPH nutrition program have gone on to work for a variety of lifestyle, health, and wellness companies and publications, such as the Food Network, Southern Living EatingWell and Shape.


The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health MPH Nutrition program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

1 Best Public Health Schools (2024) U.S. News & World Report.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

2 Dietitians and Nutritionists The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 22, 2022arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference