Nutrition Graduate Program

The goal of our M.S. program is to enhance students' knowledge of nutrition by integrating resources and expertise across campus.  We offer students:

  • Student Handbook
  • Multidisciplinary research opportunities,
  • Thesis and non-thesis options,
  • Teaching and research assistantships and
  • Individual attention.

Nutrition Assistantship


"Research & teaching assistantships are available to defray program costs."
Nutrition Admissions


“Many students get hands-on experience in the lab.”

Nutrition Faculty

Grad Faculty

"Our faculty include internationally-recognized experts in their field."

Nutrition Student Accomplishments

Student Research Thesis

"For many, our master's program is a stepping stone to doctoral studies."
More Info Nutrition

More Info

"Our graduation rate is over 90%"

Bod Pod

Research Facilities

"Our students have access to the latest technology in health and fitness"

The research interests of our graduate faculty encompass many different aspects of nutrition including experimental, clinical, public health, education, policy, and human and community development.

Graduates from our program have been successful in obtaining challenging careers in research, education, dietetics practice, and administration of nutrition programs in the public and private sectors.


Visit the Course Catalog for more information.


These positions are offered through various departments and are paid by grants or state funds. Students interested in these positions must contact the department for specific requirements. The Graduate School is responsible for approval of graduate assistantships after a department has requested the initiation of a contract. All positions are contingent upon available funding.

Graduate assistants perform a variety of duties from teaching undergraduate classes to grading papers, to conducting research in laboratories. Teaching assistants receive special teaching-skills training through the Teaching assistants receive special teaching-skills training through the Graduate School. All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching TA or research RA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship.


Students who seek admission to the program should have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 and have completed the undergraduate courses (or equivalent courses, as determined by the Graduate Program Director) listed in the undergraduate prerequisites section below. Students are admitted to the program on a competitive basis.

  • General Chemistry (Chemistry 121)
  • Organic Chemistry (Chemistry 220A, 220L or Chemistry 341, 342, 345)
  • Anatomy & Physiology (Biology 223, 224)
  • Microbiology (Biology 251)
  • Algebra & Trigonometry (Math 128)
  • Principles of Nutrition (Nutrition 223)
  • Biochemistry (Biochemistry 400)
  • Advanced Nutrition (Nutrition 452)

Prospective students should apply online to the Graduate School.

Please note that all students must apply directly to the UNR Graduate School. Applications should include the following:

  • A statement of purpose indicating career goals and research interests,
  • GRE (verbal, quantitative, and analytical portions) and TOEFL results,
  • Official transcripts from every institution attended,
  • Three letters of reference.

Student Research Thesis
The following is a list of some of our recent graduate students and their thesis title:

  • Allison Bartlett ( I am interested in the relationship between the human gut microbiome community and nutrition. Currently, I work under Dr. Stanley Omaye. We are designing an experiment that will examine the impact of specific foods on the human gut microbiome and health outcomes. Our interest in the symbiosis of bacteria and human nutrition is far-reaching and we are excited to grow and learn more within this budding field.
  • Erin Engle ( I am excited to begin work with Dr. Jamie Benedict over the winter break. My project will focus on the ‘Rethink Your Drink’ Campaign and the middle-school population. Community Nutrition has always been a passion of mine, and I hope to continue my career in this field. 
  • Hailey Fox ( I work with Dr. Jamie Benedict on Nevada's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- Education (SNAP-Ed) Statewide Needs Assessment. We are developing a survey of SNAP households to inform the program with the most pressing needs of SNAP participants in Nevada and to identify opportunities for improvements. The survey is the third and final phase of the needs assessment and will help guide the program by providing the perspectives of adults enrolled in SNAP.
  • Kelly Eiler ( I work with Dr. Jamie Benedict and Joy Newton at the Lyon County Cooperative extension office for UNR. For my project, I am using the School Physical Activity and Nutrition Environment Tool (SPAN-ET) in order to evaluate the environmental resources and strategies within the Lyon County Elementary schools that promote habitual healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Deborah Joakimson ( I work under the guidance of Dr. Jaime Benedict on a project titled "Rethink Your Drink Nevada". This is a multi-component campaign; to promote healthful beverage choices among SNAP households and to decrease the intake of sugary drinks among children. Currently, I am working with SNAP-approved grocery retail stores (5 currently, with a goal of 10) to distribute healthful drink recipes. Recipes I developed (2016-2017) with permission from Dr. Jaime Benedict are posted to the RYD website and Facebook page. The recipe cards are also translated in Spanish on the back of all 30 recipes.
  • Deborah Nunes Jones ( I work under the direction of Dr. Jamie Benedict. My research is focused on evaluating an education/screening tool for use with parents/guardians of young, school age children (6-12 years old) in medical and dental care settings for the purpose of promoting healthful beverage choices and decreasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Brent Roling ( My PI is Dr. Marie-Louise Ricketts and I work with grape seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) in cellular and animal models of dyslipidemia. GSPE is an extract that is derived from the seeds of white wine grapes, Vitis Vinafera. Our lab has demonstrated that GSPE inhibits hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia via regulation of bile acid homeostasis in mice and rats through direct and indirect regulation of gene expression. For my thesis project, I will elucidate alterations in these mechanisms in the presence of differing levels of dietary cholesterol and GSPE.
  • The molecular mechanistic effects of a grape seed procyanidin extract in regulating hepatic lipid metabolism
    By Laura E. Downing, 2016
    Advisor: Dr. Marie-Louise Ricketts
  • A Formative Research Study of Physicians and Dentists Regarding Educational Resources to Reduce Intake of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Among Children
    By Aimee Brock, 2015
    Advisor: Dr. Jamie Benedict
  • The Effects of Flaxseed and Chia Seed on Ruminal Fermentation, Nutrient Digestibility and Long-Chain Fatty Acid Flow in the Dual Flow Continuous Culture System
    By Jamie Bunkers, 2014
    Advisor: Drs. Dale Holcombe and Antonio Faciola
  • Predominant Antioxidants of the Mediterranean Diet and Their Influence on Lipid Oxidation
    By Anne Kristine Etherton, 2014
    Advisor: Dr. Stanley Omaye
  • School Breakfast Program Intake of Selected Nutrients in Relationship to 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in Third, Fourth and Fifth Graders
    By Chenin Treftz, 2013
    Advisor: Dr. Karen Spears
  • Understanding the role of the intestine in the molecular hypotriglyceridemic actions of a grape seed procyanidin extract
    By Gianella C. Caiozzi, 2013
    Advisor: Dr. Marie-Louise Ricketts
  • Reducing Sugary Drinks Among Young, School-Age Children: Formative Assessment of Print Materials for Parents
    By Lauren Gillilan-Martin, 2012
    Advisor: Dr. Jamie Benedict
  • The Association of Self-Esteem and Energy Balance and Risk for Disordered Eating and Energy Balance in College Freshmen
    By Jessica Lee, 2012
    Advisor: Dr. Karen Spears
  • Ascorbic Acid and Tocopherol Concentration of Hydroponic and Soil-Grown Lettuces
    By Drew Buchanan, 2012
    Advisor: Dr. Stanley Omaye
  • Implementing a wellness policy: Perceptions of elementary school employees
    By Elizabeth A. Bancroft, 2010
    Advisor: Dr. Jamie Benedict

If interested in reading more about a particular student topic, please use the following link to find their thesis

Who do I contact for more information about Nutrition graduate program?

Brad Ferguson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, & Veterinary Sciences
Phone: (775) 784-6278
Office: 225 Fleischmann Bldg, University Campus