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Master of Science in Nutrition Science (MSNS)

About the Program

The Department of Health Science and Human Ecology is thrilled to be welcoming our first cohort in the Master of Science in Nutrition Science (MSNS) degree program in Fall 2022.

nutrition science

The MSNS degree prepares students for careers in nutrition and related fields by developing their knowledge and skills in nutrition science, cultural competencies, and applied research methods. As part of the program, students will complete original or applied research, and write and present a thesis or a project. Only students jointly enrolled in the Individualized Supervised-Practice Pathway (ISPP) and the MS program have the option to complete a project that includes supervised-practice experience rather than a thesis. This project-based option requires students to complete the Accreditation Council for Education of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) requirement of 1,200 hours of supervised-practice experience, complete an applied research project in one of the rotation sites, and present their findings.

Admissions Criteria

Minimum Prerequisites

Minimum prerequisites for the MSNS include completion of the following college-level courses with a grade of “C” or better:

Minimum Pre-requisites
Subject CSUSB Equivalent
General Chemistry series with lab CHEM 2050 & 2050L
Organic and biochemistry series with lab CHEM 2060 & 2060L
Nutritional Biochemistry e.g., HSCI 4661
Anatomy & Physiology with lab BIOL 2230 & 2240
Statistics MATH 1201 or HSCI 3205
Fundamentals of Human Nutrition* HSCI 3601

*Exposure to life cycle nutrition is highly recommended.

Most students with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition degree will meet the prerequisite requirements. You can check if courses from your institution are equivalent to these courses via the Assist website. Note that not all institutions will be included on the Assist website.

GPA Requirements

The program also requires a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (“B”) in the last 60 semester units (or 90 quarter units) of undergraduate coursework and in all post-graduate coursework.

How to Apply

Application Deadline for Fall 2022: May 9, 2022

Please use the Office of Graduate Studies for key University guidelines as a resource before applying to this program. It is highly recommended that applicants attend one of the free CSUSB Cal State Apply Graduate Application Sessions. Applications are submitted through Cal State Apply.

All students much submit the following application materials:

  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample relevant to nutrition

Dual MSNS and ISPP

Students who apply for the dual MS and ISPP will require a DPD verification statement for this track. This will be part of the ISPP admissions review process, which is complementary but independent from the MSNS admissions process.   

Deadlines and fees for filing are published in the University Catalog.

Program Goals & Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes 

Master of Science in Nutrition Science graduates will:

  • PLO1: Apply nutrition science knowledge and technical competencies to solve complex problems.
  • PLO2: Design, analyze, interpret, and critique nutrition research. 
  • PLO3: Effectively communicate and defend evidence-informed ideas and recommendations regarding nutrition science across a diversity of contexts.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Master of Science in Nutrition Science will achieve the following during the program.

  • SLO1: Students will master a breadth of knowledge in nutrition science, including macronutrients, micronutrients, research methods, and cultural competencies. 
  • SLO2: Students will integrate nutrition knowledge and critical thinking skills to solve complex problems in nutritional science in the form of complex case studies. 
  • SLO3: Students will search for and critically read, evaluate, and interpret the scientific literature through group discussions and a written literature review. 
  • SLO4: Students will design, conduct, and present ethically sound research in the field of nutrition and accurately interpret the results and public health implications of the research, through the culminating experience of a thesis or project.
  • SLO5: Students will effectively and respectfully work collaboratively in groups, and communicate professionally, both in writing and orally, in a variety of settings. 
  • SLO6: Students will use research findings to propose and defend decisions and recommendations for population and individual health and nutrition.
Program Curriculum

Courses are offered in the evening or partially online or occasionally on Saturdays. All courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree must be completed with a minimum grade of B or higher, except that a course in which no letter grade is assigned. The overall grade-point-average to be in good academic standing in the MPH program is a 3.0. 

A minimum of 32 semester units must be taken and passed with a minimum of a B grade to meet the requirements for the MSNS degree. The roadmap for these courses is outlined in the table below.

Program Curriculum
Courses Units
Year 1 - Fall (9 units)
HSCI 6601 Macronutrient Biochemistry  3
HSCI 6603 Research Methods & Biostatistics in Nutrition Science 3
Elective 3
Year 1 - Spring (9 units)
HSCI 6602 Micronutrient Biochemistry 3
HSCI 6653 Nutrition Assessment 1
Elective 3
Year 2 - Fall (7 units)
HSCI 6973 Thesis or HSCI 6963 Project 3
HSCI 6690 Seminar 1
Elective 3
Year 2 - Spring (7 units)
HSCI 6973 Thesis or HSCI 6963 Project 3
HSCI 6690 Seminar 1
Elective 3
Total Units 32 units

Please note: course substitutions may occur in the program.

Culminating Experience 

The MSNS program requires a thesis as the culminating experience, and offers a project-based option for students concurrently enrolled in the ISPP Program. 

Thesis Track 

The thesis will be based on supervised original research conducted by the student with close supervision from the student’s major professor. The thesis concept (i.e., the proposed research prior to starting the work) must first be approved by the student's thesis committee, and the final thesis must be reviewed and approved by the students' thesis committee before submitting to Graduate Studies. 

Project Track

The project will be based on the students’/interns’ experience while completing the ACEND required hours, typically 1,200 hours, of supervised-practice experience to complete their ISPP Program training, which can be completed in 11 months.  The interns will work closely with the ISPP Program Coordinator, preceptors, HSCI faculty, and Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Director to complete the supervised-practice hours and competencies requirements including an applied research project to be conducted during a supervised-practice rotation.  The applied research project proposal must be submitted and approved by the ISPP Program Coordinator prior to starting the project. The research project should focus on a question or problem relevant to applied nutrition or dietetic practice.  The proposal and project should include a systemic approach and application of research methodology.  After completion of HSCI 6603 in the first year, interns should have some idea of a research topic and method for data collection.  

Office of Graduate Studies

See the Office of Graduate Studies web page for further information concerning the entrance writing requirement, graduate policy and procedure, probation, forms, leave of absence, and thesis or project requirements.

Degree candidates must request a graduation requirement check at the Office of Records, Registration and Evaluations at least three semesters before the term of their expected graduation. Advancement to Candidacy is needed before the graduation check can be completed.

For any inquiries, please contact Dr. Harding at