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. 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.

“We live in a time in which nutrition is a pivotal factor in changing the trajectory of public health around the globe. Critical public health issues — from food insecurity to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer — can be touched by nutrition research, from the cellular level to epidemiology, interventions and public policy.”

Dr. Elizabeth Mayer-Davis
Chair of the Department of Nutrition

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. 1 Public School of Public Health1

Learn more about our online MPH Nutrition concentration.

Request Information

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 students can apply right away.

  • The Gillings MPH Core (15 credits)
  • Nutrition-Specific Courses (15 credits)
  • Electives (9 credits)
  • 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.

  • Nutrition Across the Life Cycle (3 credits)
  • Nutrition Communication, Counseling and Culture (3 credits)
  • Human Nutrition (3 credits)
  • Food and Nutrition Policy (3 credits)
  • Nutritional Epidemiology (3 credits)

Accelerated Option for Full-Time Students

To accommodate our MPH Nutrition students who can meet the demands of an accelerated schedule, we offer an intensive 16-month option in which you’ll complete standard degree requirements in a shorter time frame.

With this schedule, you’ll take more courses per term, begin your practicum earlier and complete the program on a full-time basis. You will not be able to work while enrolled in this option. If you’re ready to embrace this challenge, we’re here to support you.

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 2018 to 2028 — much 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).

Considering a Career as a Registered Dietitian (RD)?

If you are interested in a career as an RD, you may want to learn more about our online MPH/RD concentration.

The MPH/RD — which includes dietetics-specific courses and four supervised practice experiences — prepares students to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam. While the MPH Nutrition does not prepare you for the CDR exam, it will provide you with the skills you need to offer nutritional and dietary guidance to populations.

Promote Nutrition. Advance Public Health. Start Today.

Complete a brief form to learn more about the MPH Nutrition concentration.

Request Information

1 Best Public Health Schools (2022) U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 20, 2021  arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

2 Dietitians and Nutritionists The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved June 8, 2020 arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference