A California master’s in nutrition is a graduate-level degree that individuals can pursue if they want to become leaders in the field and gain extensive knowledge in nutrition. Those who earn a degree through a California master’s in nutrition program may go on to work in places such as hospitals, food service programs in healthcare or long-term care facilities, schools, private practices, or other organizations. They may also qualify to take on teaching and other educational roles.
One of the more popular roles that someone earning a master’s degree in nutrition may take on is that of a Registered Dietitian. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook in the US for this career is 7 percent, which is about as fast as the average for other careers. The median annual wage as of 2021 (the last time the data was gathered) was about $61,650. The average salary for a dietitian in California is about $71,500 per year, but it can range between $27,500 and $130,000 depending on many factors.
To become a Registered Dietitian in California after completing the education requirements, one must take the Commission of Dietetics Registration (CDR) exam. The California Masters of Nutrition programs are typically designed to prepare students to take this exam and also prepare them for any other future careers in nutrition they may find themselves involved in.
The following programs all fall under the umbrella of nutrition, but some focus more specifically on related topics to provide a broader understanding of the topic of personal and population health.
The MS in Nutrition, Healthspan, and Longevity at University of Southern California is a 44-unit program that is offered online or on campus. These units look like 28 units of coursework, six units of research, and 10 units of clinical supervised practice. At the end of the program, students will complete a capstone project. The program can be completed in 21 months of full-time study and 23-36 months of full-time study. Students must complete 1,000 hours of supervised practice. The program helps students meet the eligibility to take the exam to earn the Registered Dietician Nutritionist exam.
Tuition Estimate: $57,256
The MS in Nutritional Science at CSU Los Angeles requires that students complete 30 units, which involves 20 core units, 6 electives, and 4 units of experience. The goal of the program is to teach students the knowledge needed to help future clients, including subjects such as microbiology, chemistry, food analysis, food regulations and laws, and more. At the end of the program, students will also know how to perform presentations to educate others on matters of nutritional science and design/develop food products that meet regulation requirements set by the state and country.
Tuition Estimate: $8,214
The Master of Nutritional Science and Dietetics program at CSU Berkeley is designed to prepare students to earn the Registered Dietician Nutritionist credential via the exam. The program takes 21 months to complete in total and is held on campus through a face-to-face model. Students are taught through a Future Education Model Graduate Program. The program helps students find their own practice hours, and students will benefit from small class sizes offered, as they can obtain more attention from the faculty.
Tuition Estimate: $5,850
The MS in Nutrition Science, established in 2022, helps students develop skills in nutrition science and cultural competencies as well as research methods. To demonstrate the development of these skills, students will complete a thesis or project at the end of the program. Students who choose to complete the project will be required to complete 1,200 hours of supervised practice hours. To complete the program, 32 semester units should be taken. Courses are offered in a hybrid model, with the on-campus portions being offered on Friday evenings and occasional Saturdays.
Tuition Estimate: $270 per unit
The Master of Science in Nutritional Science at San Diego State University requires the completion of at least 30 units minimum. Students will have the chance to study in the laboratories available at the university and will also be able to conduct research at other local facilities that are in collaboration with the university. The program involves the choice between two different plans: the first involves completing a thesis and a final oral exam of their thesis. The second involves completing directed readings. The degree program must be completed within seven years, although it can be completed in a much shorter timeline.
Tuition Estimate: $9,724
The MS in Nutrition at CSU Cal Poly is designed to prepare students to become leaders and specialists in the field of nutrition and healthcare. The program requires the completion of 45 total units. The courses that students must take involve various sciences such as psychology, biology, chemistry, and more. Students can choose between many research projects in this program, such as human nutrition, public health, business, or social sciences.
Tuition Estimate: $15,705
The MS in Nutrition and Dietetics at Loma Linda University takes about 2.75 years to complete on average. The goal of this program is to train students to become professional registered dietitians who can help clients through a number of different organizations. Students will learn critical thinking, written, and oral communication skills through classroom courses and clinical training hours. Loma Linda University is a faith-based organization for individuals who wish to attend such an organization, but the high-quality education is also for anyone interested in becoming a registered dietitian.
Tuition Estimate: $840 per quarter unit
CSU Chico offers two options to those who want to earn a master’s degree in Nutritional Science. One can choose to enroll in the General Nutritional Science option, while others can enroll in the Nutrition Education option. The General Nutrition Science option is for those who want to further pursue their education and earn a doctoral degree, while the Nutrition Education option is for those who want to become nutrition education professionals and who want to become involved in the dietetic internship at the university. The program takes about three years to complete.
Tuition Estimate: $9,248
The Food and Nutrition Science Master’s degree at Fresno State is designed to provide students with advanced level knowledge in food science, specifically in the areas of research, chemistry, microbiology, production, nutrition, food systems management, nutrition education, and more. The program requires approximately 30 units to be completed at minimum. To be admitted into the program, students should have completed their undergraduate coursework with a GPA of a 3.0 or better in the last 40 semester units in which they were enrolled. They must also submit GRE scores.
Tuition Estimate: $7,176
The MS in Nutritional Biology at UC Davis offers two different plans between which students can choose. Plan I requires students to complete a minimum of thirty units of upper division coursework to complete the program, with 18 of the units being in the field of the major. Students will complete a thesis within this plan. Plan II requires 36 units to be completed. No thesis is required in this option, but students will complete a capstone project.
Tuition Estimate: $3,900 per quarter plus fees
The MS in Nutritional Science program at SJSU is designed to help advance the careers of nutrition professionals who want to become involved leaders in the field. Students will become educated in both theories and concrete scientific principles of nutrition science in this program as they are educated by the courses that fulfill the requirements of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Graduates will be able to enter careers as registered dietitians if they so choose or potentially enter other food science careers. Students must complete 30 units total within the program. They will choose between a thesis or a capstone project to demonstrate their knowledge.
Tuition Estimate: $2,871 plus fees
The Master of Science in Nutrition and Food at Sacramento State University is designed to turn students into knowledgeable nutrition professionals who work as leaders and advocates in the field and strive to make positive changes in policy while advancing health equity. The program requires 30 units to complete. Along with other enrollment requirements, students must have previously had a 3.0 GPA in their last 60 undergraduate semester units.
Tuition Estimate: $8,918
There are two options for students who want to take the Master of Science in Human Nutrition program at CSU Northridge. The first option is Human Nutrition, which is 21 units. The second option is the Dietetic Internship, which is 21 units. For both options, students take 24 units of core courses and 3 units of culminating experience, which involves a thesis or project. Students must earn a GPA of a 3.0 minimum to complete the program successfully. There are 48 total units required for this program.
Tuition Estimate: $8,503
There are four emphases between which students can choose in the MS in Nutritional Science program. These include:
- Nutritional Science
- Latino Health and Nutrition
- Food Science
- Internship Program in Nutrition and Dietetics
Each of these emphases give students the chance to learn in a way that interests them. The programs require that students complete at least 36 units while maintaining a 3.0 GPA. In addition to the 36 units, they must also choose course units in various electives and relevant other coursework units.
Tuition Estimate: $34,668