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Nutrition Major Guide for 2016-2017

What is Nutrition

The Bachelor of Science degree offered by the Department of Nutrition teaches you about:

  • Nutrition science, from the cellular and physiological levels, to an understanding of food needs throughout the life cycle
  • Properties of human behavior in relation to food
  • How peoples’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs influence their nutrition and health-related decision-making
  • Effective management of resources in delivering food and nutrition services
  • The role of nutrition in disease prevention and treatment

As a foundation for this specialization, you will study basic sciences, including chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and physiology. You will also study psychology in order to better understand the factors that govern food choices and health behaviors, as well as management skills to help you deliver services effectively.

The Nutrition major is designed for students interested in basic and applied sciences, and students are able to pursue one of two concentrations: the Dietetics Concentration or the Basic Science Concentration. The Basic Science Concentration of the Nutrition Major prepares students for graduate study in biological and health sciences or for health professional programs, such as pharmacy and medicine. Students completing this track are not eligible to apply to any ACEND-accredited dietetic internship programs.

The Dietetics Concentration of the Nutrition Major is accredited as a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ( As such, graduates are eligible to apply for ACEND- accredited dietetic internship programs. Completion of a dietetic internship is required to take the Registration Examination and become a Registered Dietitian (RD)/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). RDs or RDNs are food and nutrition professionals who unite the science of nutrition with application of nutrition principles to improve health through interventions, including education and counseling, at the community and individual levels or by addressing nutritional aspects of medical problems in clinical practice.

Career Opportunities in Nutrition

Nationwide, the long-term job outlook for nutrition graduates is excellent. The nutrition (dietetics) major is designed to meet the academic requirements for applying for a dietetic internship program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). An internship completes the requirements for eligibility to take the registration exam to become certified as a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and become an active member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Some career opportunities include:

  • Clinical nutritionist, providing nutrition services for patients suffering from diseases affected by nutrients and nutritional status.
  • Community/public health nutritionist, focusing on programming to meet the health and wellness needs of communities and populations.
  • Nutritionist in corporate and institutional environments.
  • Research scientist for government, food and pharmaceutical industries or universities providing wellness programming.

Salary Trends in Nutrition

Salary can vary based on education, experience, geographic location and specific position. For the most up to date salary information in various related careers, please refer to the following links: – Occupational Outlook Handbook – Career Services Final Destination Survey  – 2014-15 Results

High School Preparation

The nutrition program at the University of Tennessee utilizes a science-based curriculum. To prepare for our curriculum it is recommended that high school students have an interest in the sciences and take courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics (algebra, calculus, and geometry).

How to Major in Nutrition

Entering students can declare Nutrition as their major at Orientation.  Current students interested in changing their major to Nutrition should contact the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Office of Student Services at 974-8194 to schedule an appointment with an advisor.  Students will transition to faculty advising once they have met the prerequisite milestone courses and GPA in preparation for the upper level sequence in the major.  An application is required.

Requirements for Nutrition

The academic foundation for the major includes basic sciences, i.e. biochemistry, chemistry, microbiology, physiology and psychology, as well as food science, statistics, and medical terminology. Required nutrition courses include the following:

  • Introductory Nutrition
  • Careers in Nutrition
  • Lifespan Nutrition
  • Physiological Chemistry
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Integration of Metabolism
  • Food and Nutrition in the Community
  • Professional Issues in Dietetics
  • Foodservice Systems Management
  • Clinical Nutrition I & II
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Interpretation of Nutrition Research Literature

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Co-ops and Internships
Graduates are prepared to enter accredited dietetic internships. An internship experience completes academic and practice requirements for eligibility as a member of the American Dietetic Association and qualifies the student to become a Registered Dietitian. Graduates also have the option of taking a national examination to become a Dietetic Technician, Registered, upon completion of the bachelor’s degree.

Highlights of Nutrition

Interested students will have the opportunity to be involved in ongoing research projects under the direction of departmental faculty members. The Undergraduate Nutrition Student Association is an active group, which participates in health fairs, speaking engagements, and a variety of nutrition-related volunteer work in the community.

Ready for the World

The Ready for the World Initiative helps to bring the Department of Nutrition to the world and the world to our students. Faculty and staff members in Nutrition Department have promoted international/intercultural exchanges at university, college, and department levels. These educational and scholarly activities provide nutrition students with opportunities to obtain international and intercultural knowledge of this ever-changing and complex world. The success and continuation of this initiative is vital for our graduates to be successful in the globalization trend.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors.

Due to the highly sequential nature of the Nutrition major, it is critical for students to consult an academic advisor early in your academic career about the best time for you to study abroad as well as what courses you may need to take. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.  Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.


Experience Learning

Experience Learning LogoExperience Learning is a bold new initiative with the goal of transforming the educational student experience at the University of Tennessee. Over a five-year period, UT will transform our culture to give students more opportunities to be involved in civic engagement, solve complex real-world problems, and contribute to the welfare of their communities as part of their regular course work.

The purpose of Experience Learning is to help students apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. Experience Learning also seeks to engage student learning through direct experience and intense reflection to increase knowledge, acquire lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, and elucidate values.

Learn more about Experience Learning.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Universal Tracking (uTrack) is an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. uTrack requirements apply to first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students who first entered Fall 2013 or later and transfer students beginning Fall 2015 and later. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for the Nutrition major – Dietetics Concentration, click here.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for the Nutrition major – Basic Science Concentration, click here.

For More Information

Department of Nutrition
1215 W. Cumberland Avenue
Room 229 Jessie Harris Bldg
Knoxville, TN 37996-1920
(865) 974-5445


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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