Department of Nutrition

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Nutritional Sciences PhD Program

Course Requirements

A minimum of 24 hours of graduate coursework (graded A-F), beyond the master’s degree is required. In addition, an original nutrition research project with 24 hours of dissertation work is required. A total of 72 credits are required for the PhD.

Required Coursework

Coursework (Minimum)

  • 16 hours in nutrition; these must include 511, 512, 543, 545, either 412 (taken for graduate credit) or 505, and an additional 2 NUTR credits
  • Cellular and Molecular Nutrition track:  LFSC 520 and two of the  following three courses: CMVM 609, BCMB 440, ANSC 550
  • Community Nutrition track:  NUTR 506, 522, and PUBH 542
  • 6 hours of statistics
  • 6 hours in a cognate area
  • 9 hours at the 600-level (exclusive of dissertation); at least 4 of these hours must be in nutrition
  • Additional graduate credit hours to ensure a minimum of 48 credit hours graded (A-F).

Comprehensive Examination

Evaluation of core knowledge is achieved through a comprehensive examination of required coursework that allows the student to integrate knowledge across courses. The comprehensive examination should be taken upon completion of required coursework, and prior to the dissertation proposal hearing.  The student’s doctoral committee develops two integrated questions for the examination. The examination has two parts: 1) written, and 2) oral. This is a learning experience that provides students with the opportunity to “pull together” information and knowledge acquired while working on the PhD. The examination is composed of questions from the student’s approved coursework and the student’s research interests.


The dissertation is an original research project, of which the organization, procedure, findings, and implications are conveyed in a written dissertation. Dissertation topics closely align with research interests of the faculty. Dissertation manuscript(s) will be submitted to a peer-reviewed, scientific journal for publication as well as to a national professional association meeting for presentation. An oral examination is required upon completion of the dissertation.

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