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Graduate Programs and Minors

Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics

Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
MS Program/FEM
(Future Education Model) Program

Biomedical Nutrition Science

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Biomedical Nutrition Science
MS Program

Biomedical Nutrition Science
PhD Program

Community & Public Health Nutrition

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Implementation Science in Community Nutrition
PhD Program

Community Nutrition (Fully Online DE and in-person Knoxville Campus)

Nutrition/Public Health
Dual Degree

Public Health Nutrition
MS Program


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Nutrition Minor

The nutrition department application is available and completed through the online graduate application. Applicants are responsible for uploading all required materials to the appropriate place within the online applications. Questions regarding any technical difficulties should be initially addressed through the Graduate Admissions Office.

To begin the application process, you will need to submit an electronic application to the University of Tennessee Graduate Admissions Office.

Application deadline is January 15

If you miss the priority deadline of January 15th, applications may be reviewed on an ongoing basis. However to be considered for an assistantship position, you must have your complete application submitted by the January 15th deadline.

You will need 3 professional recommendations pertinent to the program for which you are applying. Recommendations may be submitted as a letter of recommendation on official letterhead and/or a graduate rating form. The graduate rating form is available from the Graduate School.

GRE Scores
GRE scores are not required by the department. You can self-report your scores by entering the scores in the Nutrition application. The GRE score is good for 5 years. If you self-report your GRE scores, upon acceptance you must have your official scores sent directly to the University of Tennessee Graduate Admissions Office.


A GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred.

Faculty Research Match-
When you complete your application, you will be asked to list three faculty members in order of preference, which you would like to work with during your graduate studies. You are encouraged to contact the faculty members who you are interested in working with prior to submitting your online application.

Statements you will be asked to submit with your application*

  • Professional goals
  • Research interest
  • Research experience
  • Professional experience
  • Teaching experience
  • Membership and awards

*Statements should be in narrative form and are uploaded as separate word documents.

The requirements for entry and application process to the M.S. concentration in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics as part of the Future Education Model Graduate Program differs from other departmental graduate programs. If this is what you’re interested in, please see the Future Education Model.

Nutrition prerequisite courses:

Nutrition prerequisites are determined on an individual basis at the time of admissions to the graduate program. If you have further questions please contact Pam Cash

Applications to the University of Tennessee and admissions information are available through the Graduate School.

The department has several types of assistantships available. These include positions as Graduate Teaching Assistants/Associates, Graduate Research Assistants, and Graduate Assistants. General information about graduate assistantships is available from the Graduate School website. Specific information about the department’s assistantships is available from its Graduate Student Handbook.

Graduate Assistantships may be 0.25 or 0.50 time over nine months or twelve months. Assistantships are renewed based upon students’ performance and availability of the assistantship. Students must formally apply for an assistantship to be renewed by January 5 for the following academic year.

Current graduate students in the department who hold, or would like to apply for a teaching assistantship, can apply by filling out an application for a non-grant funded GA/GTA. Submit the application along with the GTA/GA evaluation form (if you are a current GTA/GA), one current reference letter from a current supervisor/advisor/instructor in the Nutrition Department (if you are not currently a GTA/GA), and a graduate transcript by January 5.

Graduate Teaching Assistants/Associates assist in teaching classes, predominantly undergraduate, in the Nutrition Department. Teaching assistantships are more appropriate for graduate students with Nutrition degrees and who have previous teaching experience.

Graduate Research Assistants aid with implementing research that is being conducted in the Nutrition department. Graduate students with research interests matching with that of current research, or specific skills that complement ongoing research, are more appropriate for research assistantships.

Substantial scholarship funding opportunities are available to Nutrition graduate students through the college and university. The application deadline is February 1 each year for upcoming academic year. For details and a link to the application, see CEHHS Graduate Scholarships.

Implementation Science in Community Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition Graduate Student Awards- Some financial assistance awards are specific for Public Health Nutrition graduate students. These include:

Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Leadership Graduate Assistantships
Public Health Nutrition and Community Nutrition graduate students with documented leadership and experience, and who are Registered Dietitian/ Nutritionists, are eligible to apply to become a Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Leadership Trainee. These assistantships are intended for those who plan on working in community or public health nutrition or academia with a focus on the maternal and child population and who plan to become leaders in the field. Stipends for these assistantships are provided by a federally funded training grant from the Health Services and Resources Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Ruth Huenemann Public Health Nutrition Fellowship
On the 50th anniversary of the Public Health Nutrition program at the University of Tennessee, Huenemann’s friends, colleagues, and former students raised funds to support a fellowship in her name. Due in large part to her efforts of writing the grant to establish this program, the University has one of the oldest, most established programs in Public Health Nutrition in the country. Huenemann further re-endowed the award for graduate students who demonstrated professional promise in the field of Public Health Nutrition.

Geraldine Piper Scholarship

Geraldine M. Piper received her master’s degree in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee in 1947. She established this award to assist future generations of students who wish to pursue a career in Nutrition, particularly Public Health Nutrition. This fellowship is awarded to graduate students in Public Health Nutrition or Community Nutrition.

Other Information

If you were accepted into the Nutrition Graduate Program, you received a letter regarding your acceptance and were asked to sign and return your letter indicating your acceptance of the admission offer by the deadline indicated in the letter.

Financial assistantships are considered as they become available and you will be contacted via email if you are awarded an assistantship.

If your email address changes, please send your new email address or contact information to the Department of Nutrition at

ACEND® is closely monitoring the information emerging regarding the spread and scale of the COVID-19 virus and its potential impact on dietetics programs and students. ACEND® will continue to keep its programs and students informed of any changes or additional information on its COVID-19 page. Please contact if you have any questions or concerns.

Students interested in pursuing education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) can do so in one of three ways.

  1. Complete a B.S. in the Nutrition-Dietetics concentration at UT and the M.S. concentration in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics (an ACEND-accredited Future Education Model Graduate Program) to meet all requirements to take the RDN credentialing exam in just five years. Students also have the option to apply and continue in graduate studies in Public Health Nutrition or Cellular and Molecular Nutrition in order to develop multiple specialties.
  2. Complete an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics outside of UT and apply to the M.S. concentration in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. Students have the opportunity to also complete a second M.S. concentration in Public Health Nutrition or Cellular and Molecular Nutrition or the Ph.D. program. This option requires assessment of prior learning by the Future Education Model program director to develop an individualized course plan. For more details see ___________.
  3. Complete an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics outside of UT and apply to the M.S. concentration in Public Health Nutrition or Cellular and Molecular Nutrition or the Ph.D. program AND after completion of graduate study, enter an accredited supervised practice program, i.e. dietetic internship program, with which our department has made arrangements to pre-select students.

Students interested in completing an ACEND accredited supervised practice program (Dietetic Internship) so they are eligible to take the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) credentialing exam, are encouraged to complete a graduate degree program at the University of Tennessee and then apply to one of the following dietetic internship programs. Many of these programs have options for a distance program setting allowing for increased flexibility.

This approach has been found to be successful for many of our previous students and not to require additional time or cost over other combined MS-DI options.

For more information about this process, please contact the Director of the Public Health Nutrition Graduate Program, Marsha Spence.

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR’s Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR’s website: In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at the University of Tennessee are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.

Graduate student research is an important part of our graduate program. Explore our various faculty labs and the work they are doing.