Why This Matters

  • NEW EDUCATION STANDARDS EFFECTIVE IN 2024

    Starting in 2024, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is requiring a master’s degree as part of the eligibility requirements to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

  • NEARLY 40% OF AMERICAN ADULTS ARE OBSESE

    Obesity continues to be a major public health concern for adults and children in the U.S. Nutritionists are integral to helping individuals maintain a healthy weight.

  • NUTRITIONIST JOBS TO INCREASE 11% BY 2028

    Besides treating obesity and other diet-related illnesses, more nutritionists are needed to work with the increasing elderly population in the United States.

Our Research

We focused our research on master’s-level programs in nutrition. Because of the science and health-related nature of this field, these programs typically award a Master of Science degree.

We included both regionally and nationally accredited schools on this list. Degrees from regionally accredited schools are typically more widely recognized than those from nationally accredited schools. Many programs are also accredited by the Accreditation Council for Nutrition Professional Education (ACNPE) or the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Our third criteria was that programs be offered completely or primarily online. In instances where schools offer classes both on-campus and online, students may be able to complete the program with a combination of in-person and distance learning.

We reviewed each program’s reputation, cost, flexibility, faculty, and outcomes, and calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in nutrition programs are respected, cost-effective, and customizable. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 56 hours to write this article
  • 138 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 293 education programs we compared

The Top 45 Online Master’s in Nutrition Degrees

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Eligibility requirements for master’s in nutrition programs vary. Some programs are designed for individuals who have an educational background in nutrition and dietetics, and have their professional credentials from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Others are open to students of all educational and professional backgrounds, although certain prerequisite classes may be mandated.

If you are not currently a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), but intend to become one, you will want to select a program that prepares you for the certification process. Not all programs lead to certification, so research programs carefully and talk to a program representative before enrolling to confirm that you’re choosing the program that’s right for you and your career goals.

Many states also mandate licensure for dietitians and nutritionists. Please note that licensure and certification are two separate types of credentials, and the requirements for each may vary.

Students who do not plan on becoming RDNs will typically pursue a career as nutritionists, a less-regulated profession that does not require professional credentials. Nutritionists often work in alternative or holistic health settings.

Accredited nutrition programs require supervised learning experiences, typically in the form of an internship. This is something to keep in mind if you are seeking an online program, because you will have to plan for in-person attendance at your internship.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Nutrition programs:

  • Is this program ACEND-accredited? Being accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics confirms that your degree program will meet the education standards for professional credentialing post-graduation. If you need to obtain your certification, make sure you select a program that is recognized by the CDR.
  • Am I eligible for this program? At the master’s level, programs typically seek candidates who have prior knowledge of areas related to nutrition, including anatomy, physiology, and chemistry. They may even require that you have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field. Confirm that you meet the program’s qualifications for admissions before applying.

Other steps that you can take at this point include gathering application materials, researching application deadlines, and understanding your options for funding your graduate degree. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits. Other funding options include student loans, scholarships, and assistantships.