RIT offers new program in nutritional sciences

Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition offers new BS degree and minor

Rochester Institute of Technology is offering a new BS degree in nutritional sciences for students who want to apply nutrition concepts and principles to careers outside the clinical domain of registered dietetics nutrition.

New this fall, the nutritional sciences major gives students an alternative path to a nutrition degree in RIT’s Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition. The program complements the existing BS in dietetics and nutrition but without a clinical focus.

The employment forecast is favorable for both applied and clinical nutritionists. The U.S. Department Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a faster-than-average 14 percent job growth for dietitians and nutritionists from 2016 to 2026, with an average annual salary around $60,000. The nutritional sciences degree provides a rigorous training in biology, chemistry, behavioral health, implementation/dissemination sciences and public health. Students will tailor their nutrition education through electives in exercise science and biomedical sciences that prepare them for career opportunities in such areas as:

  • Addressing community nutrition and population health through government programs, such as SNAP-Ed, WIC and food pantries;
  • Administering programs focused on health promotion and employee wellness;
  • Engineering food innovation and technology; and
  • Translating nutrition research into policy and practice.

The undergraduate degree in nutritional sciences can also provide a stepping stone to graduate or professional study in biomedicine, medicine, nursing and public health, said Barbara Lohse, director of RIT’s Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition.

In contrast, the dietetics and nutrition program provides a focused pathway for students pursuing clinical and professional careers in healthcare or public health that require the registered dietitian nutrition credential. These graduates must complete a post-baccalaureate internship and pass the national registration exam.

Expanding nutrition education in RIT’s College of Health Sciences and Technology benefits students in other programs who wish to pursue the newly adapted minor in nutritional sciences. The minor pairs well with several programs at RIT, such as the BS degrees in biomedical sciences and exercise science.

General electives like Contemporary Nutrition and Sports Nutrition are popular with students, Lohse said. These classes routinely fill up fast.

“There is a huge interest from our students, even for themselves,” Lohse said. “Nutrition sciences fits a need.”

For more information visit the RIT College of Health Sciences and Technology webpage.