University of Vermont

A Closer Look at

The Nutrition and Food Sciences Majors

Offered by: CALS Nutrition and Food Sciences Department


There is a nutrition crisis in the U.S., and issues such as obesity, cancer, heart disease, food safety and food security are causing many Americans to alter their diet and activity patterns and learn more about the role of foods in health. The study of nutrition and food sciences is rooted in the physical, chemical and biological sciences. Comprehensive in scope, it also integrates knowledge of the psychological and social sciences.

A Look at Our Program

Our curriculum provides a solid background in basic science, food science and nutrition. Coursework, field experience and independent study prepares students for jobs in the food, health or wellness industries. The strong science background allows our students to be competitive applicants to medical, dental or graduate school.

By combining the NFS major with a double major in dietetics, you'll be prepared to fulfill internship and exam requirements to be a Registered Dietitian. NFS majors also have the option of completing all the course work and supervised practice hours to be eligible to take the National Athletic Trainers Association exam upon graduation. Additionally, students interested in becoming Physical Therapists can complete all of their NFS requirements in 3 years and apply to enter the Master's program in Physical Therapy. This "3 + 3" option enables students to complete their baccalaureate degree and their master's degree in 6 versus 7 years.

What Will I Study?

All students must complete the basic distribution requirements for a bachelor of science degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Departmental core courses focus on the physical, chemical, microbiological, nutritional and social properties of food and nutrition. Students with specific interests in various aspects of food and nutrition can choose from a broad range of electives.

Exciting Field Experience

Students have many opportunities to gain practical experience while at UVM. Dietetics majors can engage in laboratory or field research with a faculty member for academic credit, or, in some cases, as employees. One of our students is currently the 2003 Bickford Keystone Award winner and is doing independent research on the role of dairy foods in weight loss diets. Additionally, through a USDA grant, Dr. Stephen Pintauro will be able to offer undergraduate students a research and outreach experience working in middle schools on an Internet food safety project.

Other students have been placed in clinical, community or industry field experiences for credit during the academic year or summer. Students have been placed in clinical positions in hospitals and nursing homes; in community public health or non-profit organization such as the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Headstart and the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger; or food industries including Ben & Jerry's. Additionally, students can take advantage of an international development experience offered over the summer in Latin America or the Caribbean through the Community Development and Applied Economics Department.

A Look at Your Future

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2010 as a result of increasing emphasis on disease prevention, a growing and aging population, and public interest in nutrition. Career opportunities include community or public health nutrition (WIC programs, public health departments, Headstart, education and research (worksite wellness, health clubs/spas, Cooperative Extension, research assistant), business and industry (pharmaceutical, food industry, food service, trade associations), media, international food organizations (US AID, Care, Peace Corps), and public policy/government organizations (USDA, NIH). Additionally, many of our students go on to graduate or professional schools to be physicians, physical therapists, physician's assistants or dentists. The middle 50 percent of dietitians and nutritionists earn between $31,070 and $45,950 a year.

Food scientists are needed in food quality management, processing, research and development, marketing and distribution. Employment can be found with companies that manufacture retail food products as well as companies supporting food manufacturers by supplying food ingredients, processing equipment and packaging materials, or providing services related to institutional feeding. Technical and administrative positions are also available in various government agencies and with independent testing laboratories. A recent survey by the Institute of Food Technologists2 found that the median starting salary for graduates of food science programs was $45,000.


  • Basic Concepts of Food
  • Basic Concepts of Foods Lab
  • Fundamentals of Nutrition
  • Survey of the Field
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Management of Eating Disorders
  • Quantity Food Production and Service
  • Obesity, Weight Control and Fitness
  • Nutrition in the Lifecycle
  • Food Safety and Regulation
  • Food Service Systems Management
  • Advanced Nutrition
  • Nutritional Biochemistry
  • Diet and Disease
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Community Nutrition
  • Food Technology
  • Food Microbiology
  • Fermented Foods
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Functional Foods
  • Exploring our Food System
  • ServeSafe
  • Sensory Evaluation of Foods

Faculty and Area of Expertise

Monserrat Almena, PhD University of Santiago de Compostela
Food science, sensory evaluation of food
Bonnie Beynnon, RD University of Vermont
Clinical nutrition
Linda Berlin, MS Cornell University
Extension Nutrition Specialist
Lyndon B. Carew, PhD Cornell University
Fundamentals of nutrition
Catherine W. Donnelly, PhD North Carolina State University
Food microbiology
L. Scott Donnelly, PhD North Carolina State University
Food microbiology
Sylvia M. Geiger, MS, RD Oklahoma State University
Quantity food production and service, food service systems management
Cecilia Golnazarian, PhD University of Vermont
Food microbiology
Mingruo Guo, PhD University College, Cork, IRELAND
Functional foods
Jean Harvey-Berino, PhD, RD University of Pittsburgh
Obesity, community nutrition
Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, RD Pennsylvania State University
National nutrition policy, pediatric nutrition, dietary intake methodology, energy metabolism
Paul S. Kindstedt, PhD Cornell University
Fermented dairy foods
Deborah Paradis, MS University of Vermont
Lifecycle nutrition
Stephen J. Pintauro, PhD University of Rhode Island
Food safety and government regulation
Candace Polzella, MSS, RD University of Colorado at Denver
Nutrition counseling
Todd J. Pritchard, PhD University of Vermont
Food microbiology, food technology
Jane K. Ross, PhD, RD Oregon State University
Food science, survey of the field, eating disorders, diet and disease
Todd Silk, PhD University of Vermont
Food microbiology
Jill Sullivan University of Vermont
Clinical nutrition
Amy Trubek, PhD University of Pennsylvania
Food systems, food anthropology
Robert S. Tyzbir, PhD University of Rhode Island
Sports nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, advanced nutrition

Last modified September 10 2007 04:11 PM

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