Public Health Nutrition

Current students in a two-year or doctoral program or concentration may elect to complete an additional Specialty Area as a minor in their curricula. Students in an 11-month program may also be able to add a Specialty Area; however, we recommend speaking with your program coordinator for eligibility requirements to ensure that all requirements can be met in the short timeframe.

The Public Health Nutrition (PHN) Specialty has been developed to train a workforce with strong leadership skills and the competencies to address complex issues and problems relating to public health nutrition. We face many nutrition-related problems in the United States and globally, which need the expertise and leadership of well-trained public health professionals. These professionals need to be able to design, implement, and evaluate programs; identify best practices; develop and implement new food and nutrition policies; and find ways to address the widespread epidemic of obesity and ongoing problems related to sustaining our national and global food system.


You must be admitted to a master's or doctoral degree program in the School of Public Health.

You should have some previous coursework in biologic sciences and/or nutrition sciences—either as part of your undergraduate major or as post-baccalaureate coursework.

Completion of 9 units in PHN or Nutrition Sciences and Toxicology (NST) courses, selected from the following:

  • PH 206B Food and Nutrition Policies and Programs (3 units)
  • PH 206C Nutritional Epidemiology (3 units)
  • PH 206D Food and Nutrition Programs and Policies in Developing Countries (3 units)
  • PH 207A Public Health Aspects of Maternal and Child Nutrition (2, 3 units)
  • Upper-division NST courses (NST 103, 160, 161)
  • Other related coursework by permission

Completion of a 12-week summer internship/fieldwork in an area related to nutrition, nutrition policy, and/or physical activity. In the case of one-year MPH students, a PHN-related internship during the school year or during the winter recess could satisfy this requirement.

Comprehensive exam or thesis on a topic related to Public Health Nutrition.

Students in the PHN Specialty Area may be able to participate in projects with PHN Faculty research, the Nutrition Policy Institute, and may be eligible for fellowship and scholarship funds earmarked for students with PHN interests.

At the time of graduation, each student will receive a letter signed by the Dean and the PHN Program chair certifying the student's completion of the PHN Specialty Area degree requirements.