Nutritional Sciences Bachelor of science degree

37488736-5a78-4bf9-846f-0c224528cfb2 | 80207


Combining nutrition, biology, chemistry, and behavioral health to design and administer health, nutritional, and wellness programs in industries and settings as diverse as athletics, hospitality, education, and federal nutrition programs.

Understanding nutrition, especially nutritional content, can have a remarkable impact on our health. Educating the public about the benefits of nutrition, and the various ways healthy living can improve our well-being, is the focus of the BS degree in nutritional sciences.

The nutritional sciences major blends biological, chemical, and behavioral sciences to help health professionals, administrators of nutrition and health promotion programs, and the general public better understand and translate the science of food into policy and practice. Nutritionists and nutrition scientists apply their knowledge to help businesses offer employee wellness programs; assist food systems administrators and engineers involved in food innovation and technology; and oversee government programs addressing food insecurity and population health issues.

Part of the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition, the major offers a challenging curriculum that prepares students with an in-depth understanding of nutrition as an important moderator of health. Students are well prepared to apply to professional programs, such as medical school, enter graduate school for further biomedical studies, or provide expertise in nutrition to the general public in a range of diverse settings (e.g., sports fitness programs, hospitality industry, nutrition writing, and federal nutrition programs).

An effective nutritional scientist is skilled in working with people to address behavioral issues, teach clients about nutrition and health properties in food, and offer nutrition supervision. The major offers a comprehensive curriculum that provides a solid foundation in nutritional sciences as well as leadership skills that include communication, problem solving, team dynamics, and interaction with the community.

Program goals and outcomes

  1. Prepare students to apply nutrition principles, concepts, and practices to domains aligned with health and wellbeing.
  2. Demonstrate ability to integrate science-based nutrition information and research into practice.
  3. Develop communication skills and professional behaviors for entry into professional practice.
  4. Apply principles of management and systems to deliver nutrition programs and services.
  5. Prepare students for successful application to graduate and professional schools or professional employment in health and nutrition careers.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge and skills for customer service including: development and delivery of information, products and services to individuals, groups, and populations.

Program strengths

  • RIT/Rochester Regional Health Alliance: RIT is Rochester Regional Health’s official academic affiliate and Rochester Regional is the university’s official affiliated clinical partner. We work together to improve the quality and cost of health care delivery, and to demonstrably improve the health of the people of Western New York and the Finger Lakes. The alliance provides a primary network of health care opportunities for student work experiences (co-ops), practicums, and research.
  • Our alumni include Dr. Judith Brown, author of a nationally used nutrition text; Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished professor at The Pennsylvania State University and winner of several award for research including dietary fats and health benefits of dark chocolate. 
  • Active support and interaction with Rochester nutrition and health care communities provide significant opportunities for experiential learning activities in upper division courses
  • Articulation with pre-medicine enables completion of all pre-med requirements.
  • Faculty with strong teaching and research skills who have won awards for teaching and conducting research. They have presented at national and international conferences and routinely publish in peer-reviewed science and health journals.
  • Small program size and dedicated faculty members ensure individualized student attention
  • Strong undergraduate research component.
  • Requirement of co-op work experiences in food and nutrition supported by Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
  • New state of the art facility includes significant opportunities for interdisciplinary experiences with other health care programs and real-world experience for students via actual health clinics and simulation laboratory
  • Inclusion of physical-focused assessment using a simulation laboratory.
  • Multiple opportunities for international study experiences, including faculty-led programs to study the Mediterranean Diet in Croatia and childhood anemia in Ghana. Study abroad opportunities at RIT’s global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, or through affiliate programs at other universities

Experiential education

Cooperative education: The nutritional sciences program requires a 400-hour cooperative education experience in an industry setting related to food and nutrition. Co-op is paid, full-time employment in your field of study. Students do not pay tuition during co-op experiences. Students are required to complete two co–op experiences to receive their BS degree in nutritional sciences and the majority of students complete their co-ops in the summer. For transfer students possessing at least an associate’s degree, one co-op may be waived.

Students often complete co-ops with job titles such as diet clerk, health/nutrition educator, nutrition assistant, cook, food service worker, prep cook/worker, and patient care technician, among others.

A sample of co-op employers in the Rochester area includes Wegmans, Rochester General Hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, St. John’s Home, RIT Dining Services, and Monroe Community Hospital. Students are allowed to complete co-ops in their hometown area as well as in other locations throughout the United States and while studying abroad.

Beyond the classroom: Students engage in experiential learning with a variety of Rochester-based organizations.

Study abroad: Success in today’s global society requires experience and leadership that drives education beyond traditional boundaries. RIT is committed to expanding opportunities for global education, international connections, work experience and cultural exchanges. Study abroad can fulfill a co-op experience, supporting a student’s desire to study abroad while satisfying graduation requirements. For information on study abroad opportunities, please visit RIT Global.

The nutritional sciences department offers faculty-led international experiences such as studying the Mediterranean diet in Croatia and travel to conduct a research project on childhood anemia in Ghana.

Student Dietetics and Nutrition Association

The student Dietetics and Nutrition Association is a student club comprised of dietetics and nutrition students and supports experiential learning outside of the classroom. The club promotes health and nutrition on campus as well as volunteer opportunities with local organizations. Club activities include volunteering at local food banks and schools, presenting health related information at RIT events, and educational activities for members.

Career opportunities

Careers in nutrition are diverse, ranging from policy development, communications, and social and community services. You can choose to select electives to become eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), a respected credential in health care education. You will also be well prepared to pursue graduate study for a career in medicine, allied health, or research.

Community partners

As a dietetics and nutrition student, the Rochester metropolitan area is your lab for hands-on, experience-based learning. The program has a rich history in the community and partners with a variety of organizations throughout the area to expose students to a wide range of nutrition-related settings. These organizations represent a small sampling of the over 50 community partners with whom we collaborate:

  • Abbott Nutrition
  • American Dairy Association and Dairy Council
  • American Heart Association
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Foodlink
  • Gates-Chili School District
  • Heritage Christian Services
  • Hillside Family of Agencies
  • Jewish Senior Life
  • Genesee Dietetic Association
  • On Nutrition
  • Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics
  • RIT
  • RIT Dining Services
  • Rochester Psychiatric Center
  • Rochester Regional Health
  • University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Wegmans 
  • WIC
  • YMCA of Greater Rochester

2+2 Transfer Options

The nutritional sciences program has articulation agreements with a number of colleges that enable you to seamlessly transfer into the nutritional sciences program upon the successful completion of your associate degree at one of the following schools. For more information regarding these 2+2 transfer options, please contact Undergraduate Admissions or the program director.

  • Finger Lakes Community College
  • Genesee Community College
  • Hudson Valley Community College
  • Morrisville State College
  • SUNY Erie
  • Monroe Community College
  • Onondaga Community College

Learn more about transferring credits and additional information about transferring to RIT by visiting the Transfer Admissions website. 

Note: The nutritional sciences major does not meet the educational requirements of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that lead to eligibility to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.


  • Research

  • Medical Practice

  • Non-Profit

  • Health, Wellness, and Fitness


Nutritional sciences, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry): General Chemistry for Engineers
This rigorous course is primarily for, but not limited to, engineering students. Topics include an introduction to some basic concepts in chemistry, stoichiometry, First Law of Thermodynamics, thermochemistry, electronic theory of composition and structure, and chemical bonding. The lecture is supported by workshop-style problem sessions. Offered in traditional and online format.
LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry): General and Analytical Chemistry Lab
The course combines hands-on laboratory exercises with workshop-style problem sessions to complement the CHMG-141 lecture material. The course emphasizes laboratory techniques and data analysis skills. Topics include: gravimetric, volumetric, thermal, titration and spectrophotometric analyses, and the use of these techniques to analyze chemical reactions.
Organic Chemistry
This course is a study of the structure, nomenclature, reactions and synthesis of the following functional groups: alkanes, alkenes, alkynes. This course also introduces chemical bonding, IR and NMR spectroscopy, acid and base reactions, stereochemistry, nucleophilic substitution reactions, and alkene and alkyne reactions. In addition, the course provides an introduction to the use of mechanisms in describing and predicting organic reactions.
Organic Chemistry Lab l
This course trains students to perform techniques important in an organic chemistry lab. The course also covers reactions from the accompanying lecture CHMO-231.
Principles of Food Production
Principles of Food Production is the basic course covering food preparation methods, food standards of quality, product identity, food presentation, professional behavior in food service, food sanitation in practice, and techniques for adding value to basic food products. Students who have completed Principles of Food Production should be able to function effectively as a food professional in a kitchen environment including demonstrating professional appearance, professional behaviors, and knowledge of the many different food preparation techniques appropriate for the various categories of foods, quality standards of the categories of food products, effective food presentation, food safety and sanitation practices, teamwork, and cleanup practices. Students are required to achieve their co-curricular requirement - the ServSafe Certfication - by the end of this course. This course is not available for audit. **Fee: Lab fee associated with this course**
LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical): College Algebra
This course provides the background for an introductory level, non-trigonometry based calculus course. The topics include a review of the fundamentals of algebra: solutions of linear, fractional, and quadratic equations, functions and their graphs, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and rational functions, and systems of linear equations.
Contemporary Nutrition
This is an introductory course in contemporary nutrition issues. This course covers the study of specific nutrients and their functions, the development of dietary standards and guides and how these standards are applied throughout the lifecycle. Students learn to analyze their own diets and develop strategies to make any necessary dietary changes for a lifetime of good health. Current health and nutrition problems and nutrition misinformation will be discussed.
Cooperative Education Experience (Summer)
Required career related experience. Employment within the food and health industry monitored by the Office of Cooperative Education and approved by the faculty in the Nutrition Management program. Designed for the student to become exposed to career opportunities in the industry and gain skills and contacts essential to securing a dietetic internship and becoming a Registered Dietitian. Three co-ops are required for graduation and students typically complete them during the summer. Students must complete at least one co-op in a healthcare environment and at least one co-op in the food industry. Freshmen begin co-op the summer following their first year studies.
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to the field of psychology. Provides a survey of basic concepts, theories, and research methods. Topics include: thinking critically with psychological science; neuroscience and behavior; sensation and perception; learning; memory; thinking, language, and intelligence; motivation and emotion; personality; psychological disorders and therapy; and social psychology.
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies.
First Year Writing
LAS Perspective 4 (Social)
LAS Perspective 6 (Scientific Principles)
First Year LAS Elective
Second Year
Biochemistry I
This course introduces the structure and function of biological macromolecules and their metabolic pathways. The relationship between the three-dimensional structure of proteins and their function in enzymatic catalysis will be examined. Membrane structure and the physical laws that apply to metabolic processes will also be discussed.
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, integumentary, muscular and skeletal systems. Laboratory exercises include histological examination, actual and simulated anatomical dissections, and physiology experiments with human subjects.
Human Anatomy and Physiology II 
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immunological, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems with an emphasis on the maintenance of homeostasis. Laboratory exercises include histological examinations, anatomical dissections and physiological experiments using human subjects.
Cooperative Education Experience (Summer)
Required career related experience. Employment within the food and health industry monitored by the Office of Cooperative Education and approved by the faculty in the Nutrition Management program. Designed for the student to become exposed to career opportunities in the industry and gain skills and contacts essential to securing a dietetic internship and becoming a Registered Dietitian. Three co-ops are required for graduation and students typically complete them during the summer. Students must complete at least one co-op in a healthcare environment and at least one co-op in the food industry. Freshmen begin co-op the summer following their first year studies.
Foundations of Sociology
Sociology is the study of the social world and socialization processes. Sociologists study the broader picture of how societies are structured and organized through a macro-sociological analysis as well as how individuals create their own social reality symbolically through their interactions with others in a micro-sociological analysis. Students in this course will learn the fundamentals of each approach and come away with a sociological framework which they can critically apply to their own lives.
LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): Introduction to Statistics I
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used.
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
LAS Immersion 1
Major Electives
Wellness Education*
Third Year
Techniques of Dietetics Education
This course prepares Dietetics and Nutrition students to counsel and train clients and to give effective and persuasive presentations. Topics include communications methods, learner/audience analysis, basic learning theory, developing counseling and training materials, as well as designing, making, and evaluating individual and group presentations. As part of the course each student is required to design and give a presentation and to design a self-training module/lesson.
Cooperative Education Experience (Summer)
Required career related experience. Employment within the food and health industry monitored by the Office of Cooperative Education and approved by the faculty in the Nutrition Management program. Designed for the student to become exposed to career opportunities in the industry and gain skills and contacts essential to securing a dietetic internship and becoming a Registered Dietitian. Three co-ops are required for graduation and students typically complete them during the summer. Students must complete at least one co-op in a healthcare environment and at least one co-op in the food industry. Freshmen begin co-op the summer following their first year studies.
Life Cycle Nutrition
An applied course for the Nutrition Management major regarding the nutritional needs throughout the life cycle. Emphasis is given to nutrition during pregnancy, infancy, early childhood, adolescence, young and middle adulthood, and the elderly. Practicum in facilities delivering nutrition services to these age groups is required. Practicum hours by arrangement.
LAS Immersion 2, 3
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
Major Electives
Wellness Education*
Fourth Year
Nutrition and Integrative Medicine
This class offers students in the Nutrition Management major an overview of controversial and accepted alternative diet therapies, basic medicine guidelines, and vitamin/mineral supplementation.
Medical Nutrition Therapy I
This course is the first course of a two course series. Review and application of biological metabolism and interrelationships of nutrients, hormones, enzymes, and other biochemical substances in humans. Modification of nutritional intake to meet nutritional needs altered by diseases and stress as well as use of alternate methods of feeding (enteral/parenteral) to meet nutritional needs is discussed in depth. This course emphasizes the practical applications of medical nutritional therapy for use with patients/clients.
Community Nutrition
Study of current nutrition issues and delivery of food and nutrition services in the community. The course is designed to allow senior level students to acquire skills necessary to deliver services in the public health and private sector markets. Individual practicum in community facility is required and arranged by the instructor. All students will also participate in industry related research to identify innovative and effective delivery strategies for nutrition services and will have the opportunity to accomplish peer dissemination of their previously completed individual research project at an industry conference.
Health and Nutrition Research Foundations (WI)
This course offers students the opportunity to learn basic research principles and integrate with skills and knowledge from other courses to conduct research in an area of professional interest. The research project includes gathering primary data, assessing and summarizing the data, and sense-making or drawing conclusions from the data. Students will complete activities to gain skills in project management, secondary research development, and Human Subject Research (HSRO) submission and meet RIT’s Writing-Intensive-Program requirement.
Free Elective
LAS Elective
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
Major Electives
Total Semester Credit Hours

Please see General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

+ Cooperative Education (NUTR-499) in the third year is optional. It is required only if co-op in the first and second year is not completed.

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • 3 years of math is required.
  • Biology and chemistry required. 

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree

Courses in liberal arts, sciences, and math. Science courses required for nutritional sciences major.

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer

Dietetics or nutrition, food service management, or liberal arts

Please note: The nutritional sciences program has articulation agreements with the following institutions:  

  • Erie Community College
  • Finger Lakes Community College
  • Genesee Community College
  • Hudson Valley Community College
  • Monroe Community College
  • Morrisville Community College
  • Onondaga Community College

Learn more about transferring credits and additional information about transferring to RIT by visiting the Transfer Admissions website. 

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 


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    The Fitness Lab

    The Fitness Lab houses state-of-the-art equipment utilized by exercise science students to gain hands-on experience conducting fitness assessments and testing. Fitness services, such as fitness assessments, are also provided by exercise science students to the RIT community.


  • Three students and a faculty member working on laptops around a table
    NEEDs Lab

    The mission of the Nutrition Education, Engineering, and Designs (NEEDs) lab is to engineer and design research and evaluation services that foster promotion and delivery of evidence-based health and nutrition education.

  • 3 students using a stethoscope on a dummy patient and a monitor with data readouts
    Simulation Lab

    The Simulation Laboratory consists of three parts a patient room that contains a simulation mannequin, a control room where operation of the mannequin occurs, and a debriefing room where faculty interact with students after simulated medical scenarios end.

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