What is Nutritional Science? A Guide to a Healthy Future

COVID has been a wake-up call for us to take our health, immune system and food habits more seriously. It’s leading people to take charge of their health and also to think about nutrition in a serious way.

We thus look at the branch of study that motivates people to incorporate healthy food habits into their diets and take care of their health.

Table of contents:

  • What is Nutritional Science?
  • What does a degree in Nutritional Science offer?
  • Top 10 universities to study nutritional science
  • Skills required to master nutritional science
  • What do nutritional science graduates do?
  • Duties of Dietitians and nutritionists
  • Career options and jobs after graduating in nutritional science
  • Remuneration
  • The Future of Nutritional Science

What is Nutritional Science?

First thing first, Nutritional Science is much more than the knowledge of food and liquid diets.

Nutritional science is a multidisciplinary area that focuses mainly on the role of food and nutrients in health and disease during the human lifespan. It can also be defined as the study of the nutrients in food and their impact on the well-being of human beings. This field of study has a lot to do with dietary concerns and health issues related to eating habits, foods and medicines. This multidisciplinary study will look into the basics of biology, chemistry and even social science. Nutritional science will also teach how human beings sense, digest, metabolise and store nutrients. Above all, this nutritional science also looks into the behaviours and social factors related to the food choices that human beings make.

What does a degree in Nutritional Science offer?

The study of nutritional science focuses on understanding how the human body responds physiologically and metabolically to food and diets.

As mentioned above, a degree in nutritional science is an interdisciplinary course – and it draws on fields like political science, psychology, sociology, biology, chemistry and kinesiology. This is an area of study that primarily focuses on food and nutrients in health and disease across the human lifespan. Topics such as how humans sense food, digest, human metabolism and how we store nutrients are essential topics of this course.

A bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science will also have the element of laboratory research, which will also include working with big data sets. The essential research element as part of the course will open up the research pathway for the student, and this will be helpful while doing a master’s program or dietetics program. The field of Nutritional science is something that continues to evolve every day with new research practices and developments in the field of health and wellness.

A few important contents that are part of the nutritional science curriculum are as follows :

  • Food and wellness
  • Community nutrition
  • Exercise science
  • Nutrition education
  • Human Nutrition
  • Food Science
  • Physiology
  • Community Nutrition
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health
  • Food Microbiology
  • Physiology Practical
  • Fundamentals of Food Preparation Practical
  • Food Commodities
  • Nutritional Biochemistry
  • Sanitation and Hygiene
  • Diet Therapy
  • Project Formulation

Top 10 universities to study nutritional science

Here are the top 10 universities globally to study nutritional science:

Serial No. University Country
1 The University of Queensland Australia
2 IOWA State University United States
3 Plymouth Universities United Kingdom
4 BAll State University United States
5 The University of Auckland New Zealand
6 Missouri State University United States
7 Purdue University United States
8 Griffith University Australia
9 UKM Malaysia
10 IMU Malaysia

There are many universities that offer a master’s program in nutritional science (M.S.). This course is for a duration of two years and will award a master’s degree after completion. The primary focus of the master program will be on research skills and will provide knowledge in the professional learning environment. Areas of postgraduate study include the study of the effect of food on people and how humans can benefit the best out of what they eat, healthy food preparation, best diets and how to store food items.

Skills required to master nutritional science

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Management skills
  • Instructional skills
  • Mathematics
  • Scientific knowledge

What do nutritional science graduates do?

Clinical dietetics, food and nutrition management and public health nutrition jobs are in high demand. It is the fastest-growing job in most of the counties, as per the reports by the government agencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, in the U.S., dietitians and nutritionists jobs are expected to grow 11 %from the year 2020- 2030, which will create 7800 job opportunities in multiple fields.
The median annual pay for dietitians and nutritionists was $63,090 in May 2020.
Dietitians and Nutritionists
Per cent change in employment, projected 2020-30

What is nutritional science

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics

Duties of Dietitians and nutritionists

  • Giving advice and counselling clients on healthy eating habits
  • Promoting healthy lifestyle
  • Promoting the need for good eating habits
  • Sharing information on nutrition issues
  • Evaluating and monitoring nutrition plans
  • Examining nutritional and health needs
  • Researching on meal and nutrition plans


Career options and jobs after graduating in nutritional science

  • Animal nutritionist
  • Community education officer
  • Food technologist
  • Food and Nutrition Management
  • Health improvement practitioner
  • International aid/development worker
  • Medical sales representative
  • Naturopath
  • Nutritional therapist
  • International Food Organizations
  • Catering manager
  • Chef
  • Dietitian
  • Consultant / Private Practice
  • Education and Research
  • Health service manager
  • Herbalist
  • Personal trainer
  • Business and Industry
  • Dietitian
  • Sports Nutritionist
  • Product/process development scientist
  • Holistic Nutritionist
  • Clinical Dietitian
  • Food Safety Auditor
  • Oncology Nutritionist
  • Corporate Wellness Consultant
  • College Nutritionist
  • Paediatric Nutritionist
  • Nutrition Therapist
  • Nutrition Educator
  • Exercise Science Jobs
  • Life Coach
  • Eating Disorder Nutritionist

In the U.K. (for instance), the majority of nutritional science graduates work as health professionals (34%). The other top profiles for nutritional science graduates are in the field of engineering (7%) and therapy (4%).

Destination Percentage
Employed 66.9
Further study 14.2
Working and studying 8.9
Unemployed 4.4
Other 5.6

Graduate destinations for nutrition

Type of work Percentage
Health professionals 43.7
Engineering and building 8.6
Retail, catering and bar staff 6.6
Secretarial and numerical clerks 5.6
Other 35.4

Types of work entered into in the U.K.


Opportunities in nutritional science fetched high remuneration as this field is in high demand in most countries. Someone who is working in an Outpatient Care centre in the U.S. earns an average of $69,660 per year; a nutritional science graduate who is employed in hospitals; state, local, and private can earn 63,380 $ a year, and someone who works in the nursing and residential care facilities in the U.S. can make 60,330 $ per year.

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics

The Future of Nutritional Science

Recent research by Dutch coalition Nutrition in transition has explored challenges faced by nutritional sciences and found out that there is a requirement to maintain the capability of the field and incorporate new methodologies to meet all the challenges of this century. They have also asked governments worldwide to advise people on good food habits, the importance of fitness, and healthy living.

In this modern world, fitness and nutrition goals have a vital role in our daily lives. There are immense opportunities open in academics, clinics, hospitals, and the private sector for students who graduate in nutritional science. So if you are passionate about living a healthy and happy life, there is no better time to get into the field of nutritional science.

Find out more about:

  • Careers in Paleobiology
  • Careers in Veterinary Science
  • Careers in Culinary Arts
Date added

Filed under:

Global Ed


No spam, just your favourite topics.

Choose Insight topics that you are interested in to subscribe for your personalized newsletter.

A world
of possibilities awaits.
Join the movement.
Find your perfect university,
in one of 40 countries all over the world
Prepare for the future,
whether at university, business or in employment
Secure your future,
through STEM courses
Connect with leading international companies
and unlock the potential of your team
Fill in the form, so we can contact
you and start our journey together.