What Is Nutrition Science?

Nutrition ScienceProspective students who want to major in a meaningful subject that is useful to all humans may choose to study nutrition science. While the subject can include animal behavior, nutrition science is generally the study of food’s impact on human behavior, metabolic functions and athletic performance. The study of nutrition science has become popular in recent years as many people move away from modern medicinal practices that use drugs and surgery and find more natural ways to cure what ails them. They are rediscovering that the simple answers to good immunity and wellness are the quality and types of foods consumed. Nutrition science explains how and why food has such impacts on the body.

Characteristics And Skill Sets Of Nutrition Scientists

The nutrition science career field requires a unique mix of hard and soft skills. However, the degree to which those skills are utilized depends upon the jobs chosen. Quantitative skills are needed by those who work in nutrition research, new food product development and food safety compliance positions. Management and leadership abilities are needed for nutrition scientists who move into senior level policy making for nutritional issues. For many nutrition science related careers, interpersonal skills are nearly as important as knowledge of nutrition. Nutrition scientists who work with the public to inform and educate them about their dietary needs or nutritional issues use good written and verbal communication skills along with an empathetic attitude regularly, according to the Career Center at Texas A&M University.

University Course Topics For Nutrition Science Students

Those who study nutritional science in university undergraduate and graduate level courses can expect to study a variety of required science, mathematics and specialized nutrition course topics. For example, a typical Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science degree program requires students to take numerous courses in chemistry and biology; specifically, organic chemistry, physiological chemistry, biology of cells and microbiology are some applied science topics that nutrition science students study. The math course topics cover algebra, statistics and research methods. The specialized nutrition courses usually include nutrition therapy, dietetics and introduction to modern nutritional issues. Other electives that future nutritional scientists find useful are economics, public speaking and communication.

Career Opportunities For Those With Nutrition Science Degrees

A number of exciting and rewarding careers come under the job category of nutrition science. Agricultural food scientist and food chemist are two nutrition science related careers that utilize quantitative analysis and research skills. The agricultural food scientist works with farms and dairies to ensure food production practices are safe and in compliance with regulations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these scientists made a median annual salary of $58,610 in 2012. Food chemists research the composition of foods to learn how different substances react to each other; the results of their research are often fed into medical journals. Food chemists usually work in government research facilities and in food processing plants.

Other popular careers include clinical dietitians and nutritionists. Clinical dietitians use their knowledge of medical nutrition therapy to administer dietary advice to those in hospital settings. Nutritionists may work as consultants to help people meet their wellness goals, or as nutrition policy makers for public institutions.

Related Resource: Health Policy Jobs


The required education and training to become a nutrition scientist is challenging. However, one study listed the nutrition science career of dietitian in the top 10 least stressful jobs available, according to Career Cast.