NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES GRADUATE PROGRAM (NSGP)

The Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona is leading the way in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research that advances the discovery and translation of nutrition science and health. That research strength provides outstanding opportunities for students in our graduate programs, leading to a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Nutritional Sciences.

Future Students

Current Students


Join Our Graduate Program


We're proud of the opportunities offered by the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program (NSGP). Key aspects include:

  • Interdisciplinary Research: One of the most important features of the University of Arizona (UA) Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program (NSGP) is its interdisciplinary nature. By working together with other disciplines, we can achieve so much more and start to unravel complex scientific problems related to nutrition.
  • 1st Year Research Rotations: Some students enter graduate school knowing exactly what they want to do and others are less clear on their interests. Regardless of your designation, we welcome you to take a closer look at our program. Due to the diversity of faculty research interests within NSGP, students complete laboratory rotations in their first semester to find the right fit among student, mentor and research interest.
  • Funding: During the first year, students are supported by teaching assistantships, which provide a stipend, medical insurance and tuition coverage. In the second year, students are supported 50% on teaching assistantships and 50% on research assistantships. In subsequent years, students are supported by faculty grants, training grants, and fellowships.
  • Mentoring: We believe all students have a specific path toward their career goals, and NSGP is committed to guiding students along their paths. Students are mentored by the NSGP faculty throughout their training starting with the selection of rotation advisors and ending with guidance to complete their graduation requirements.
  • Future Employment: NSGP graduates are employed in diverse job sectors including: academia (53%), medical/business (25%), industry (11%), government (6%) and non-profit agencies (6%).
  • One semester of Organic Chemistry (3 units) with laboratory (1 unit), equivalent to Chem 241 A or B and Chem 243 A or B
  • One year (minimum 6 units) of upper division Biochemistry (junior or senior level)
  • One year (6 units) of Biology, equivalent to BIO 181R and 182R (Microbiology can count toward one semester of this requirement)
  • One year (minimum 6 units) of Human Physiology
  • One semester (3 units) of upper division, undergraduate Nutrition Science, equivalent to NSC 408 Nutritional Biology

Additional courses required for PhD

  • One additional semester of any Chemistry laboratory course (2 units) such as Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Food Analysis

**** Required course descriptions can be found on the UA Academic Catalog site.

Students may be admitted into the NSGP with a deficiency but will need to make them up without graduate credit during their first year of graduate study.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test are not required for admission to the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program. If you have taken the GRE test and would like to upload the results as a supplemental document to your application the institution code for the University of Arizona is 0214.

Fluency in English is essential for successful graduate study. For applicants whose native language is not English, scores from the Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required for admission. Submission of a minimum score of 550 paper based (PB), 213 computer based (CB), or 79 internet based (iBT) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination can be submitted in lieu of the TOEFL. The minimum IELTS score requirement for admissions consideration is a score of 7, with a score of no less than 6 on any individual module. In the case of both the TOEFL and the IELTS, test scores must be dated within two years of the date of enrollment. The institution code for the University of Arizona is 4832.

Laboratories and offices for graduate study in Nutritional Sciences are located within the Shantz building as well as throughout the UA campus. The University of Arizona provides graduate student access to a wide variety of research tools to support clinical, animal, basic, and molecular research.

Most students enter the NSGP with some level of support. There are basically three sources of support for students (described below), and the source of support will determine whether you rotate through laboratories.

Fellowship: Students can chose any advisor they wish but the choice should be made early in the program within the first several months because the fellowship may be linked to a particular research program. Often this decision is made before arrival at the university. The stipend will vary depending on the fellowship award. An example is the Ruth Kirschstein NRSA Program for NIGMS MARC Pre-doctoral Fellowships (F31).

Nutritional Sciences Department Assistantship: Offered/awarded to students during the admission process; may be either a teaching assistantship or a research assistantship or some combination of both. Because it involves Nutritional Sciences Department funds, students on assistantships are required to rotate through research laboratories. This generally provides ½ time (20 hours/week) support for the first year. Students receiving a Nutritional Sciences Departmental Assistantship will receive a quarter-time (10 hours/week) assistantship starting at the beginning of the second year (1 July). The laboratory in which the student is doing their thesis/dissertation research may supplement their support up to but not in excess of ½ time (20 hours/week) support for their second year and support the student financially up to ¾ time (30 hours/week) in their remaining years of study. After the student’s second year of study, the departmental support will not be available to students. A student cannot receive more than 30 hours/week in financial support.

Individual Faculty Assistantship: Funded by grants awarded to individual faculty in the program. Because these funds are provided by a grant, the student is not required to rotate through laboratories, but works in the laboratory of the faculty member receiving the grant funds. In rare instances, a faculty member may request a student complete a rotation.

The Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program accepts students for the fall semester only. Completed applications must be received by the Graduate College no later than January 3rd for both international students and domestic students. Your application will be considered once you have submitted all required documentation. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed and will automatically be denied. Paper applications will no longer be accepted. No late applications will be accepted.

The following materials are needed to complete the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program online application:

  • Current resume or curriculum vitae which includes education, honors, memberships and participation in professional organizations, employment history, research and scholarly activities, and publications.
  • Statement of Purpose: What are your goals and objectives for pursuing this graduate degree? What are your qualifications and indicators of success in this endeavor? Why do you want to attend the University of Arizona to achieve these goals? Please include career objectives that obtaining this degree will provide. You are also encouraged to provide other information you feel will be valuable for the review of your application.
  • Letters of recommendation (two for MS; three for PhD). Successful academic recommendations should:
    • Provide information related to your aptitude, curiosity and industriousness
    • Demonstrate your maturity and seriousness of purpose
    • Speak to your leadership ability
    • Describe your character
    • Include other pertinent information about you -- things not readily apparent from admission test scores or transcripts. Possible recommenders might include:
      • Faculty member with whom you have been involved in research
      • Course instructor
      • Previous employer
  • You are required to submit official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended. For detailed information on what constitutes official transcripts please review Graduate College Transcript Requirements. The application will permit you to upload scanned or electronic versions of your transcripts and diplomas for initial evaluation purposes only and does not eliminate the need for official transcripts to be submitted.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and TOEFL if necessary.

Applicants should use the online application provided by the University of Arizona Graduate College to apply for admission and follow its instructions for the submission of test scores. Application information is on the University of Arizona Graduate College website.

Contact our NSGP Coordinator!

Nancy Driscoll, MS, RD
Coordinator, NSGP
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Shantz Building, Rm 320
1177 E. 4th St.
Tucson, Arizona 85721
Phone: 520-626-0970
Fax: 520-621-9446
Email: nancya@email.arizona.edu(link sends e-mail)


Information for Current Graduate Students


Graduate students are an integral component of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and actively contribute to our success in research, instruction, and outreach. The graduate program chair and coordinator serve as a resource for our current students and help individuals obtain their career aspirations. We also encourage you to explore this area for information and resources to help you succeed in the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program.

GOOD STANDING

Good standing status denotes that a student is eligible to continue in or to return to the University.

ACADEMIC PROGRESS

Students enrolled in the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program (NSGP) at the University of Arizona must maintain a 3.000 grade-point-average (GPA) and meet the department’s academic criteria toward degree completion. The minimum 3.000 GPA is based on all course work taken for graduate credit, whether or not the courses are offered in satisfaction of the specific requirements for the NSGP.

  • The criteria for academic progress set by the NSGP includes the following:
  • Enrollment and satisfactory grades in 10 units of coursework per semester when funded by a College of Agriculture Graduate Assistantship;
  • Completion of approved plan of study by the end of the 3rd semester enrolled in the PhD program and the end of the 2nd semester when enrolled in the MS program;
  • Successful completion of all course work outlined by the plan of study within 6 years for MS program;
  • All requirements for the PhD program must be completed within 5 years of passing the Comprehensive Exam.

Should a student not finish within that time period, he or she must appeal to the Nutritional Sciences Department and the Graduate Executive Committee (GEC) to retake the Comprehensive Exam. With permission by the department and the GEC, the student may retake the exam and then may complete remaining degree requirements, such as the dissertation.

Additionally, the NSGP has set that all NSGP graduate students will complete a Student Progress Report each semester outlining the student’s progress, and a Graduate Student Annual Review will be completed yearly by the student’s advisor. These reports will be kept on file in the student's NSGP file. Failure to meet academic progress requirements will result in the student being placed on academic probation and possibly conversion to graduate non-degree status by the Dean of the Graduate College. The Graduate College will apply the appropriate department's criteria when the department requests a student's conversion to graduate non-degree status.

PROBATION, ACADEMIC

Graduate students who fail to maintain a cumulative 3.000 grade-point-average (GPA), and/or do not meet the specific academic progress criteria of their department, will be placed on academic probation. Students on probation are required to meet with their major advisor, discuss the steps to be taken to remediate the problems that led to the probationary status, and devise a written plan of action to be submitted to the Graduate College.

Students whose cumulative GPA is below 3.000 for two consecutive semesters will be converted to non-degree status by the Graduate College. The NSGP  may allow students to continue to take graduate courses in non-degree status. Students can apply for readmission to a degree program as early as the semester after their conversion to non-degree status if they achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.000 through additional graduate course work. A readmission request must be supported by the head of the major department and approved by the Dean of the Graduate College. There is no guarantee of readmission.

Non-degree students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.000 for more than two consecutive semesters may be blocked from further enrollment.

GRADUATE POINT AVERAGE (GPA) CALCULATION, OR AVERAGING OF GRADES

The grade-point-average is the arithmetic mean of the grade points earned for all credits taken at the University of Arizona for University Credit or by Special Examination for Grade, where regular grades are awarded. Ordinarily, cumulative GPAs are calculated using only the courses at the career level of the student. For example, the graduate GPA is based on graduate courses only.

Only regular grades (A, B, C, D, E) are included in the calculation of the grade-point-average. Grade points are assigned to each regular grade as follows:

Grade Grade Points
A 4.0 points
B 3.0 points
C 2.0 points
D 1.0 point
E 0.0 point

To calculate the GPA, the unit value for each course in which a student receives one of the above grades is multiplied by the number of grade points for that grade. The sum of these products is then divided by the sum of the units.

For example, to calculate the cumulative GPA for these completed courses:

Fall Semester:   Spring Semester:  
PSIO 580 (5 units) Grade: A NSC 696a (1 unit) Grade: A
NSC 520 (3 units) Grade: A EPI 576a (3 units) Grade: A
NSC 623 (3 units) Grade: B    
MCB 568 (4 units) Grade: C    

Multiply the units represented by each grade by the number of points for that grade:

Grade: Units:   Points:   Grade Points (quality points):
A 9 x 4.0 = 36.0 points
B 6 x 3.0 = 18.0 points
C 4 x 2.0 = 8.0 points
Total: 19       62.0 points

The cumulative GPA is the sum of the grade points divided by the sum of the units. In this case: 62/19 = 3.263.

Click here for a list of our graduate courses with descriptions.

Click here to download a chart of the NSGP curriculum.

GRADUATE PROGRAM FORMS

HELPFUL LINKS

The University of Arizona

Nutritional Sciences

Click here to download the MS requirements.

Click here to download the PhD requirements.