Master of Science in Human Nutrition

Hooding Ceremony


To provide graduate education from a whole foods perspective in nutrition, food science, and biotechnology, incorporating practical training and research. Graduates will be equipped with technical skills and scientific knowledge for integration of food and nutraceuticals to improve human health in the 21st Century.


Graduates will develop critical thinking and research skills to:

  • Develop innovative approaches to problem solving
  • Acquire knowledge and skills to support pursuit of doctoral degrees
  • Prepare for research careers in nutrition and food arenas
  • Integrate cutting-edge nutrition knowledge into dietetics practice

Program Overview

Recent trends indicate exponential growth in the biotechnology, food and health care industries. The overlapping technologies of these fields support numerous applications regarding human health, both experimental and practical. This rapid growth has created a need for a skilled work force with appropriate training. Texas State University-San Marcos offers an MS degree in Human Nutrition to meet the needs of industry, the public sector, and academia. The program emphasizes aspects of biotechnology, and human nutrition relevant to the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of disease. The coursework includes lectures, seminar-style discussion, experience conducting research, and practical laboratory work using state of the art equipment and techniques.


Students choose a thesis (33 total hours required) or non-thesis option (39 total hours required). All students must take the core courses listed below and pass a comprehensive exam.

Core Courses (21 hours)

  • NUTR 5304 – Advanced Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
  • NUTR 5305 – Seminar in Nutrition and Disease (topic may vary)
  • NUTR 5306 – Seminar in Nutrition in the Lifespan (topic may vary)
  • FCS 5310 – Research Methods in Family and Consumer Sciences
  • NUTR 5366 – Nutrient Metabolism I
  • NUTR 5367 – Nutrient Metabolism II
  • NUTR 5372 - Advances in Nutrition Policy and Ethics


Thesis Option Students take 12 hours in addition to the core, including 3 hours of electives, 6 hours of thesis (NUTR 5399A and NUTR 5399B), and 3 hours of FCS 5311-Statistics. Electives are chosen in consultation with the thesis advisor.

Non-thesis Option Students take 18 hours of electives chosen in consultation with graduate advisor.  Any Texas State Graduate Minor may be chosen to fulfill elective hours.

Admission Policy


Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. A GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework (plus any previously completed graduate or professional work) is required. A major in nutrition, food science or a related discipline is preferred. If you were not a Nutrition, Food Science, Biology or other Natural Sciences major as an undergraduate, the courses listed below for applicants with a limited science background must be completed before applying to our graduate program. Please see the FAQ section below and if you have additional questions, contact


Applicants with limited science background must complete the following courses before their application will be considered.  Laboratory sections should accompany each course:


Introductory Biology
Anatomy & Physiology
Two semesters of introductory chemistry
At least one course in organic chemistry
One course in biochemistry



Applicants who were not Nutrition majors as undergraduates should take the following three courses before applying; but will be considered for conditional admission prior to completion of the following courses. If conditionally admitted, the following courses must be taken as “leveling courses” during the first semester of graduate coursework.  Please note, slots for conditional admission may not exist every semester so it is best to complete the following courses at the undergraduate level before applying.  The undergraduate course numbers are listed in parentheses below.  Students who have completed all the courses listed below will be given preference for admission over those who have not:


NUTR 5300 - Nutrition Science (Introductory Nutrition, NUTR 2360)
NUTR 5300 - Food Science (NUTR 2362)
NUTR 5300 - Biochemical Nutrition (NUTR 4361)


Application Process

Apply online at ($40 application fee required). In addition, the following documents must be submitted directly to The Graduate College by mail or electronically (

1 - Three (3) letters of reference
2 - Personal statement of goals that describes professional aspirations and rationale for pursuing graduate study
3 - Curriculum vita/résumé

Applications must be submitted by March 1 for the fall semester and October 15 for the spring semester for domestic students. To be considered for special fellowships, applications for fall admission must be completed by January 15th. International students must submit their applications by March 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester as per Graduate College requirements (

Financial Support

Graduate Assistantships are awarded competitively to students interested in assisting faculty with research and teaching/grading responsibilities. Assistantships can be either full-time (20 hours/week) or half time (10 hours/week). Each semester, the Graduate Coordinator will solicit applications prior to the start of the semester. Selection is based on interest and capabilities to perform specific duties with the Graduate Faculty. Requirements are unconditional admission to the MS in Human Nutrition and registration for 9 graduate credits. International and out-of-state GAs who are appointed to a full-time position pay in-state tuition.

Faculty who have funded research projects may also hire GAs to assist with specific research projects. These faculty recruit and hire their research assistants independently.

Graduate Research Fellowship Each fall, the Dean of the College of Applied Arts and the Director of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences fund one Graduate Research Fellow. Application instructions can be found at Minimum requirements are unconditional admission to the MS in Human Nutrition and a 3.25 GPA in undergraduate or graduate coursework. Fellows must be in their first year of graduate school and have selected the thesis option.


The Nutrition and Foods Program at Texas State is housed in a new building (2010). Teaching and research laboratories are equipped with state-of-the art equipment/capabilities, including anthropometric instruments, phlebotomy facilities, a clinical serum analyzer, and a BOD POD for conducting physical assessments, and cell culture, imaging of live cells, and a plethora of molecular biological techniques for work in molecular biology and microbiology. Additional equipment includes spectrophotometers (including a mass spectrophotometer), a fluorometer, an ultracentrifuge, autoclaves, an anaerobic cabinet, PCR and real-time PCR machines, a fluorescent microscope, a lyophilizer, quantitative imaging equipment, biosafety cabinets, CO2 incubators, a high pressure liquid chromatography machine (HPLC), a dark room, and three controlled temperature walk-ins.

Dietetic Internship Option

The MS and Dietetic Internship (DI) are separate programs. Applicants to the MS program who are interested in obtaining the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential are encouraged to apply for admission to the Texas State DI. However, it is important to note that admission to the MS program does not guarantee acceptance into the Texas State DI.  For more information on the DI, please visit:

Each spring, the Texas State DI offers a pre-select option, which allows the DI to enroll 6 interns from Texas State before the nationwide computer-matching process is conducted. Both undergraduates and graduate students at Texas State can apply for the pre-select option.

Students enrolled in the MS program are eligible to apply for the pre-select if they (1) have completed at least one semester of graduate coursework in the MS program and (2) have met knowledge requirements and will have obtained a Verification Statement from a CADE-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics. Application to the DI is separate from application to the MS program (and requires a $40 application fee).

Pre-select Application.

The preselect application deadline for enrollment in the following September DI class is January 15. Applicants will be informed of acceptance on or before February 1. (This allows those who are not preselected to participate in the computer matching process to apply to other dietetic internships.)

For the preselect option, applicants do not use the computer matching process. To apply, applicants must submit the following to the Dietetic Internship Director:



Courses taken as part of the DI (9 hours) can be applied to the requirements for completion of the MS degree. Completion of the MS and DI requirements may require more coursework than required to meet MS degree requirements alone.




  • January 15th – all applications materials must be submitted to be considered for special fellowships or scholarships
  • March 1 – all application materials are due to be considered for admission for the Fall semester
  • October 1 – all application materials are due to be considered for Spring semester admission if international student
  • October 15 - all application materials are due to be considered for Spring semester admission if domestic student


Frequently Asked Questions:

1. My bachelor’s degree is not in Nutrition, can I still apply for an earn a MS in Nutrition?  Yes, approximately half of our students have bachelor’s degrees in a field other than Nutrition.  Before applying, the courses listed above must be completed (you may apply when currently completing your last semester of courses however we prefer to be able to assess your performance in courses predictive of your potential for success in our program such as Biochemical Nutrition).  It will take approximately two years to complete the courses required for admission.  For a sample course plan listing TxState and ACC courses, please plan to attend an informational session (see #2 below). We do not review transcripts prior to the admissions process.


2. Can I make an appointment with the graduate advisor?  Due to the high degree of interest in our graduate program it is not possible for the graduate coordinator to meet individually with all interested applicants.  Rather, we require that you attend an informational session regarding our MS program.  Please contact the graduate advisor at for the date and time of the next information session. Information al sessions are held approximately once per month during the academic year (Sept-May) during business hours.  Once you have attended an informational session, the graduate coordinator will meet with you individually should you need further assistance.


3. Do you offer evening or online courses?  No, due to the individualized nature of graduate education in Nutrition all our courses are offered during regular business hours and on campus.


4. How long does this program take?  The minimum time to complete the MS is two years.  Generally, graduate courses are not offered during the summer.  The DI is a 10-month unpaid internship in addition to the two-year MS.


5. Are the DI and MS coordinated?  No, these two programs are separate; however, courses completed during the DI may count towards the completion of your MS (see above).  Also, courses required for the verification statement (see #6) may also count towards your MS.


6. What is a verification statement? A verification statement indicates that you have meet all of the course requirements to apply for a DI.  Many, but not all, of these courses can be completed at the graduate level so you may need to also take additional undergraduate courses while a graduate student.  Once admitted to the MS program, your academic record will be reviewed and a verification statement plan developed.  We do not review transcripts prior to the admissions process.


7. What is the tuition? Please visit:

MS in Human Nutrition – Graduate Faculty

Dr. Leslie Biediger - Friedman

Assistant Professor

PhD - Texas Tech University

Current Research:

  • Public health nutrition programs.
  • Health disparities.
  • Promoting access to healthy foods.
  • Weight management and chronic disease prevention.

Dr. Sylvia Crixell, RD

Program Coordinator, Nutrition and Foods

PhD - The University of Texas at Austin

Current Research:

  • Investigation of feeding patterns of infants, toddlers and children in central Texas
  • Evaluation of the impact of Meals on Wheels and More on nutrition and health of older adults
  • Implementation and evaluation of community-based interventions to reduce the incidence of pediatric obesity
  • Implementation of adult weight management through wellness programs and interventions
  • Investigation of the implementation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans into national school meal programs


Dr. BJ Friedman, RD, LD



PhD - The University of Texas at Austin


Current Research:

  • Implementation of an adult weight management programs
  • Investigation of the implementation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans into national school meal programs
  • Investigation of infant/child feeding patterns
  • Implementation and evaluation of community-based interventions to reduce the incidence of pediatric obesity
  • Investigation of effectiveness of home delivered meals on improving nutritional status, food security and safety


Dr. Michelle Lane

Associate Professor
PhD – Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey

Current Research:

  • Elucidation of the molecular mechanism used by vitamin A (retinol) to prevent colorectal cancer metastasis. Specifically, the interaction of retinol with the enzyme phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and the signaling molecules downstream of PI3K that inhibit colorectal cancer cell invasion.
  • Investigation of the ability of vitamin A to cause clinical depression by elucidating the neuronal networks and neurotransmitters affected.

Dr. Dhiraj Vattem


Associate Professor
PhD –University of Massachusetts


Current Research:

  • Molecular effects of bioactive compounds on in vivo stress response pathways mediated by redox, nitric oxide, and sirtuin signaling.
  • Mechanistic evaluation of bioactive compounds on inflammation and development and aging using genetic and physiological in vivo models.
  • Investigation on the molecular mechanism of attenuation of virulence by dietary bioactives in human pathogens.


Dr. Krystle Zuniga, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

PhD - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  • Investigation of the effects of diet, physical activity and aerobic fitness on cognitive function particularly in cancer survivors.
  • Investigation of the effects of diet and physical activity on biomarkers of cancer prognosis and survival.

Contact for MS program: