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Passionate about learning? Want to be on the cutting edge of new discoveries? Then graduate school is perfect for you. Typically a graduate nutrition program prepares you for high-level research, analysis, or communications in the nutrition field.

Of course, grad school offers many advantages beyond what you get as an undergraduate.

First, you get the time to explore a particular area of interest in depth. You even get to participate in ongoing research in that area.

Learning how to plan and carry out research projects is particularly exciting for most incoming grad students. As is learning how to analyze and summarize research findings for publication in scientific journals.

In addition, most masters and PhD students get the chance to develop their lecture and teaching skills, important if you decide to go into academics as a career.

Finally, because you’re surrounded by other students – as well as faculty mentors – who are also deeply interested in your area of study, the opportunity for camaraderie and mentorship is unique.

Of course – just like with undergraduate nutrition study – time and money are huge barriers for many people.

A masters degree usually takes 2-3 years; a PhD 4-6 years. Add in an undergrad degree, and some nutrition students spend between 7 and 11 years completing their education.

At an average cost of $20,000-$25,000 per year for tuition and expenses, the academic route can get pretty costly.

Nevertheless, if you decide this is the route for you, there are a many excellent graduate options. But, again, how do you choose?

Most experts suggest – when choosing a graduate program – that you pick the advisor, not the school. In other words, figure out whose research interests align most closely with your own. And start there.

You can do this by surveying Pubmed for the topics you’re most interested in. What you’ll find is that a handful of specific researchers are doing the work you like reading most.

Next, find out which universities they’re affiliated with and contact them. Ask what they’re working on now. Ask about the university, about the program. Find out if it sounds like the right fit for you.

Note: Just because a professor is well published doesn’t mean they’ll make a good mentor. So talk with current and former students. Ask them about their experiences.

Grad school is a big investment. So make sure you know what you’re getting into.

To help provide you with a list of the best nutrition graduate programs, again, we surveyed dozens of experts in the field and asked them specifically. We curated their recommendations and arrived at the following list.


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