Nutritional Sciences Major

Drive change that will improve health worldwide

Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences is one of the largest in the nation devoted to human nutrition. Current research in Nutritional Sciences at Cornell includes the cognitive effects of early exposure to environmental toxins, environmental interventions to prevent obesity, and the impact of economic policies on poverty and malnutrition.

Major in Nutritional Sciences

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Our Nutritional Science program draws upon chemistry, biology and the social sciences to understand complex relationships among human health and well-being, food and lifestyle patterns, food and agricultural systems and institutional environments.

During the first two years the curriculum allows you to explore the general field of Nutritional Sciences while answering some of the following:

  • How do dietary patterns influence the health and well-being of individuals, communities and populations?
  • What are the biological mechanisms through which nutrients affect metabolism?
  • What are recommended dietary patterns for people of different activity levels and medical conditions?
  • What are the roles of governments and businesses in providing accessible, healthy food supplies and in promoting healthy eating practices?

At Cornell, you can major in Nutritional Science within either CALS or the College of Human Ecology. The major requirements for Nutritional Sciences are the same for both colleges, but required courses outside of the major—known as distribution requirements—are different. 

If your interest in nutritional sciences is focused on areas such as the global food crisis, public policy and the science behind food sources, consider the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. CALS’ offerings in specialized life and social science majors (such as International Agriculture and Rural Development, Food Science and Plant Sciences) could enhance your study of Nutritional Sciences.

CALS seeks students who maintain a rigorous high school curriculum and demonstrate an outstanding record of academic achievement. Admissions requirements include:

  • 4 Units of English

  • 4 Units of Mathematics (including calculus)

  • 3 Units of Science (biology, chemistry and physics recommended)

  • Also recommended: an additional unit of science

The core requirements include courses in chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, math and the social sciences. Please review a list of requirements listed on the Nutritional Sciences page.

    NS 3450 – Introduction to the Physiochemical and Biological Aspects of Food

    This course is a comprehensive introduction to the physical, chemical and nutritional properties of foods and to the principles and practice of food science and technology.

    NS 4410 – Nutrition and Disease

    This course combines principles of nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, pathology and pharmacology to understand disease risk, prevention, progression and management. Lecture offers opportunities for the class to engage in the discussion of original research articles on topics of current interest in the area of nutrition and health.

    NS 4500 – Public Health Nutrition

    Public health nutrition is the major professional career track for nutritionists outside of dietetics. It deals with efforts to improve the diets and nutritional status of whole populations by working at the community, state and national levels.

    Field experience helps you put theory into practice and lets you explore different career opportunities. You can earn credit for field experience in Ithaca or another location. Some examples of field placements include: counseling clients in a wellness or fitness program, developing nutrition education materials for children and teaching children in a school-age child care program about nutrition.

    The Minor in Nutrition and Health is available to all non-DNS Cornell undergraduates. It consists of NS 1150 - Nutrition, Health and Society PLUS 9 additional credits of didactic NS courses. Students must choose the 9 cr. of NS courses from the Nutrition and Health minor official course list. Courses must be completed as letter grade. Please note that NO substitutions for NS 1150 will be accepted, and NO Special Studies (NS 4000, 4010, 4020, 4030, or 4990) or transfer credit courses may be used.

    To read more about the Nutrition and Health Minor, view the course list, and/or download the required Intent Form, please visit the Minor Fields and Pre-Professional Paths section of the current DNS RoadmapFor questions related to the minor, please contact DNS Academic Affairs at aadns [at] cornell.edu.

    Understand relationships among human health and well-being, food and lifestyle patterns, food quality and agricultural systems and social and institutional environments, while drawing on chemistry, biology and social sciences. Focus on: human nutrition; community nutrition; international nutrition; and molecular nutrition.

    Academic Record Required:

    • Strong academic record at the college level. Competitive applicants have at least a 3.0 (B) average.
    • CALS Required Coursework should be completed or in-progress with a “B” or better before applying.
    • The most competitive applicants are full-time students who have met the GPA and course requirements.

    (Or transfers with two full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application):

    Required:

    • One full academic year of Introductory Biology with labs
    • Two College Writing/English Composition courses or one writing/composition and Public Speaking
    • Statistics
    • General (Inorganic) Chemistry I & II with labs

    (Or transfers with four full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application):

    Required:

    • One full academic year of Introductory Biology with labs
    • Two College Writing/English Composition courses or one writing/composition and Public Speaking
    • Statistics
    • General (Inorganic) Chemistry I & II with labs
    • Organic Chemistry I & II with labs

     

    Strongly Encouraged (Not Required):

    • Statistics
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Courses that meet the CALS social science and humanities requirements in Cultural Analysis, Historical Analysis, Knowledge, Cognition and Moral Reasoning, Literature and the Arts, Social and Behavioral Analysis and Foreign Language.

    Careers in Nutritional Science

    A collection of fruit, vegetables, and nuts

    Business

    • Software developer
    • Consulting analyst
    • Communications analyst

    Education

    • Teacher
    • Senior administrative assistant
    • Health educator

    Healthcare

    • Research associate
    • Pharmacy technician
    • Medical assistant
    • Dietetic intern
    • Medical scribe
    • Project assistant
    • Nutrition partner

    Research

    • Laboratory technician
    • Research assistant
    • Research fellow
    • Clinical research assistant

    Social Services/Nonprofit/Military

    • Child Hunger Corps member
    • Project manager
    • Marine Corps officer

    Explore your opportunities

    A CALS education goes beyond the classroom and gives students frequent opportunities to apply what they learn in real-world settings.