Nutritional Science

Nutritional scientists work to ensure that our diets and those fed to animals supply the fundamental substances in foods which are essential to life. Nutritional Science combines the study of nutrition, a basic biological science, with studies of the roles of nutrients in health and disease and with studies of social , economic and biological factors that influence food choices and the nutritional status of humans. Your studies will address issues which are relevant to society, agriculture and medicine.

With a major in nutritional sciences, you can join a network of professionals who provide a link between food producers and food consumers and between diet and health.

Putting Training in Nutritional Science to Work

With interest in nutrition at a historical high among the general public and media, a wide range of employers need the services of nutritional scientists. After you earn your degree you may work in an agribusiness, the food industry, a research laboratory or with a government or other health service agency.

Excellent career opportunities are found in the health care field. Dietetics is the foundation for certification as a Registered Dietitian (RD). As an RD you may work as a Clinical Dietitian in a hospital, nursing home or out-patient clinic. Other RDs are employed as Community Dietitians by public health agencies, health clubs and day care centers. Management dietitians work in food service operations. The Nutritional Sciences major is offered in the Bachelor of Science degree. Graduates of both programs apply their knowledge to agribusiness, the food industry and government agencies. If you choose the Bachelor of Science degree program, you may meet the course requirements for admission into a medical or dental school. You may choose to work toward an advanced degree in the biological, social or health sciences.

Choose from Two Undergraduate Degrees

All majors take a core of courses that emphasize the chemistry and physiology of nutrition. Students take additional courses with a focus on the biochemical, clinical, business or public health aspects of nutrition.

  • Bachelor of Science
    With this degree you are well-qualified for admission to a medical or dental school or to a graduate program in the biological sciences. Your courses emphasize the chemistry and biology of nutrients from the molecular to the systemic level. You will graduate with a strong understanding of the relationships between diet and health.
  • Dietetics
    Choose this degree if you enjoy science and food, like to work with people, and want a professional career in a health field. This popular major is described in its own bulletin.

Experience Outside of Class

If you are interested in outside activities that relate to your major you may:

  • Join the Dietetics and Nutrition Club.
  • Get a part-time job in one of our research laboratories.
  • Take part in a summer internship that allows you to work, learn and earn university credit.

Where You’ll be Learning

The Department of Nutritional Sciences at 1415 Linden Drive is centrally located with the College of Letters and Sciences and the Medical School on one side and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences on the other. Most of your classes meet within a three block radius of the Nutritional Sciences building. The Nutritional Sciences building house the faculty and administrative offices, lecture room and research laboratories. The adjacent Middleton Medical Library is connected by a tunnel. The 13 faculty members with expertise in nutrition education, basic and applied nutrition research and dietetics work closely with the 200 undergraduate and 40 graduate students currently enrolled in the department.

Financial Assistance

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences offers many scholarships that are granted based on academic performance, need or extracurricular activities. For more information on scholarships, loans and work-study programs contact the UW-Madison Office of Financial Services. See the department website for information on specific scholarships available for dietetics students.

For more information contact the Department of Nutritional Sciences:

Prospective Student Services: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Office of Academic Affairs

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an AA/EEO institution. University policies create additional protection that prohibits harassment on the basis of cultural background and ethnicity. Inquires concerning these policies may be directed to the appropriate campus admitting or employing unit or to the Equity and Diversity Resource Center, 179-A, Bascom Hall, (608) 263-2378, TTY (608) 263-2473.