Penn Nursing Launches New Online Master of Science in Nutritional Science

Newswise – PHILADELPHIA (June 14, 2022) – The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) is launching a new online Master of Science in Nutritional Science (MSNS) program. The 10-course interdisciplinary program has been in the works for 25 years. The MSNS will foster a formidable foundation in nutritional science to support innovation in nutritional management and research and enhance research skills to advance this work.

“The MSNS program will have a significant impact on nutrition-focused science, underpinning public health policy by advancing scientific understanding, developing policy strategies to reduce health disparities (inclusion), and preparing a variety of professional leaders in the field of nutritional sciences. A key component of this new program is the expertise of our Penn Nursing faculty, which spans both research and clinical aspects of nutrition. Making this education available online and highly accessible to students from a wide variety of backgrounds is also a great strength of the program,” said Penn Dean of Nursing Antonia Villarruel. “The innovative aspect of this program is how it advances the science of nutrition to promote health through interdisciplinary collaboration that integrates knowledge across all areas of understanding and, through this, deepens our ability to expand effective nutrition management in communities, locally and globally.”

“Public interest in nutritional science has never been stronger,” said Julie Sochalski, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Underscoring this interest, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released its first-ever NIH-wide strategic plan for nutrition research that seeks cross-cutting and innovative opportunities to advance nutrition research across a wide range of areas in order to improve health and prevent or control diseases and conditions affected by nutrition. While other schools offer a focus on public health or policy, or elements of dietetics degrees in their programs, “Penn Nursing’s Nutritional Science program is distinguished by its focus on nutritional science advancement and innovation in nutritional management and research,” said Sochalski.

“We have an excellent reputation for rigorous, high-quality teaching of undergraduate students with the minor in nutrition and the second major in nutritional sciences, and for mentoring interdisciplinary researchers in nutritional science research” , said Charlene Compher, PhD, RD, professor of nutritional sciences, director of undergraduate nutrition programs and key architect of this new program. “Additionally, the University has a great stature in the areas of clinical nutrition, from the research and development of intravenous nutrition at Penn in the late 1960s to today’s cutting-edge nutrition research based on omics, obesity, diabetes, and a full range of nutrition-related diseases and conditions.”

Objective of the new MSNS program

The objective of the online Masters in Nutritional Science is to increase students’ knowledge of nutritional science as a strategy to improve public health through better health promotion and management of associated diseases to nutrition in the United States and around the world.

Who should apply

  • practicing dietitians with bachelor’s degrees;
  • Students with a bachelor’s degree in fields other than nutrition;
  • Doctors, clinical psychologists, pharmacists and dentists in training;
  • Students in other graduate programs; and
  • Predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows who desire proof of advanced training in nutritional sciences.

What should interested students expect?

Practicing dietitians with a BS who earn the Masters in Nutritional Science will be more competitive for career advancement, as the requirement to enter dietetic practice by 2024 will be a Masters degree. Students who come with a BA or BS in another subject will be competitive for positions in research or nutrition science-focused programs as project leaders or project directors. Physicians, clinical psychologists or dentists in training will be more competitive for research and practice in areas with a strong nutrition focus, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery, gastrointestinal medicine, heart disease management obesity and oncology. Graduates of the program will also be well placed for doctoral training.


About University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the best nursing schools in the world. For the seventh consecutive year, it is ranked the No. 1 nursing school in the world by QS University. In a first for any undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in the country, our BSN program is ranked #1 in US News & World Report’s 2022 Best Colleges Rankings. Penn Nursing is also consistently ranked in high on the annual U.S. News & World Report list of top graduate schools and is ranked among the top nursing schools funded by the National Institutes of Health. Penn Nursing prepares nurse scientists and nurse leaders to meet the health needs of a global society through innovation in research, education and practice. Follow Penn Nursing on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn& instagram.

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