Master of Science in Nutrition

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

  • Multidisciplinary research opportunities
  • Thesis and non-thesis options
  • Teaching and research assistantships
  • Individual attention

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.

Graduate Faculty

The following currently serve as Nutrition Graduate Faculty. We encourage students to get acquainted with those who share your research interests. (Please note that many are not in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Veterinary Science.)

Jamie Benedict, Ph.D., R.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Veterinary Science
Environmental characteristics that impact nutritional health; nutritional health of low-income persons; nutrition education methodologies.

Bill Evans, Ph.D.
Professor and State Extension Specialist
Human Development and Family Studies
Adolescent risk, resiliency and developmental issues in general with specific focus on youth development and youth worker issues, resilience to adolescent violence, suicide prevention and youth program evaluation

Brad Ferguson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, & Veterinary Sciences
Understanding epigenetic mechanisms that link metabolic disease to heart remodeling and ultimately heart failure. In addition, our lab is interested in identifying bioactive food components that act as epigenetic modifiers to improve heart health.

Michelle Granner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, School of Community Health Sciences
Physical activity, sedentary behavior, dietary intake, and the interaction of these behaviors. Healthy weight management, obesity, eating disorders, community-based participatory research, and evaluation.

Heidi A. Kratsch, PhD, CH
Assistant Professor/Horticulture Specialist
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Northern Area
Urban and other local food systems for addressing food security issues among low-income, youth and aging populations; alternative horticultural crop production strategies to meet the unique needs of urban systems, including indoor and protected culture for nutrient enhancement, water conservation and season extension.

Stanley Omaye, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Veterinary Science
The role of micronutrients and antioxidants in health; effective pharmacological and nutritional intervention in chronic diseases and aging; development of nutrient biomarkers and methodologies; environmental issues, such as, air pollutants, tobacco smoke, and heavy metal contamination effects on human health

Ron Pardini, Ph.D
Professor , Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The induction of oxidative stress by various chemicals in insects and cancer; the biochemistry and molecular biology of antioxidant systems of insects and tumor cells .

Chris Pritsos, Ph.D
Professor and Chair, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Veterinary Science
The impact of free radical generated damage on biological systems and the role of antioxidants in the prevention of this damage; mechanisms of action and therapeutic efficacy of anticancer agents; the health impact of environmental tobacco smoke exposure including biological damage, antioxidant protection, and genetic factors which may make persons more susceptible to its harmful effects

Mike Teglas, Ph.D., D.V.M
Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Veterinary Science
Microbial ecology and evolution and its role in animal and human health; vaccine development and preventative medicine

Wei Yang, Ph.D., M.D.
School of Community Health Sciences & Director, Center for Health Informatics
Health informatics; Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System; cancer epidemiology; injury prevention; children with special needs

Student Accomplishments - Research Topics

  • 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
  • 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

Who do I contact for more information

More Information

Brad Ferguson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, & Veterinary Sciences
Phone: (775) 784-6278
Office: 225 Fleischmann Bldg, University Campus
1664 North Virginia Street
Mail Stop 202
Reno, Nevada 89557

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources

Phone (775) 784-1660
(775) 784-6237
Fax (775) 784-4227
Location Fleischmann Agriculture