Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS)

The overall health and well-being of both humans and animals is strongly influenced by diet. The Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS) integrates information from across 10 disciplines to give students a well-rounded understanding of nutrition and its application; providing the structure for coordinating and enhancing interdisciplinary nutrition research and graduate education.

Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Nutritional Sciences are offered with three specializations:

  • Animal nutrition
  • Human nutrition
  • Molecular/biochemical nutrition

General requirements

  • There are specific minimum course work requirements for each degree.
  • Each student is required to consult with his or her adviser or major professor every term prior to registration for course work.
  • Course work for the degree program requires approval of the Program of Study (POS) Committee, the IGPNS director of graduate education (DOGE), and the ISU Graduate College as filed with the POS plan.

The Program of Study (POS) Committee

The POS Committee is chosen by the graduate student and the major professor and is approved by the DOGE (director of graduate education). This committee directs the types and number of courses taken. The agreed contract is called the program of study (POS).Depending on your specialization, the POS Committee may also provide direction for course selection.

M.S. requirements

The general requirements of the Nutritional Sciences degree at the masters level, in addition to those of ISU Graduate College, are:

  • NutrS 501
  • Graduate-level physiology (NutrS 549, KIN 550, KIN 551)
  • 3-6 credits of graduate-level biochemistry
  • 3 credits of graduate-level statistics (STAT 401)
  • Graduate student orientation course (FS HN 580 or An S 501)
  • Seminar(s) attendance in Food Science and Human Nutrition (FS HN 581) or Animal Science (An S 603)
  • Seminar presentation course (FSHN 681 or An S equivalent)
  • 1 semester credit of seminar pertaining to student’s research
  • Teaching assistant requirement (FS HN 590C or AnS 590L)
  • Summer lectureship (NutrS 505)
  • Successful completion of a thesis and defense of the thesis.

Students are expected to complete the course work established by the Program of Study (POS) Committee based on specialization with a minimum of 30 graduate-level semester credits, not less than 22 of which must be earned at Iowa State University.

Ph.D. requirements

The general requirements of the Nutritional Sciences degree at the Ph.D. level, in addition to those of ISU Graduate College, are:

  • Completion of all requirements of the M.S. degree in Nutritional Sciences
  • 3 additional credits in each of graduate-level biochemistry, graduate-level statistics (Stat 402), and systemic physiology
  • 1 additional graduate-level course in the field of study as deemed appropriate by the POS Committee
  • Additional teaching assistant requirements (FS HN 590C or An S 690L)
  • Satisfactory completion of a preliminary examination, a written dissertation, seminar presentation of dissertation research, and defense of the dissertation is also required.

Overall, a minimum of 72 graduate-level semester credits, no less than 36 of which must be earned at Iowa State University.

Minor in Nutritional Sciences

Nutritional Sciences Graduate Minor students must complete the following curriculum:

  • 9 to 12 credits are required. Students who have not taken FSHN 360 or its equivalent (advanced nutrition with a biochemistry perquisite) will need to take FSHN 360, in which case the Nutrition Graduate minor will constitute 12 credits.
  • 9 credits of graduate level nutrition courses as approved by the POS Committee.
  • NUTRS 501


Participating departments

Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship

Coverdell Fellows that join our graduate program will engage with faculty on research and service projects that synergize their experiences, coursework and research.

Degrees Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Admissions Deadlines: October 1 and February 1
Program Start: Typically start of fall semester, but students may enroll at the start of spring or summer semesters

The application form, GRE exams, 3 letters of reference and official transcripts must be provided. Applications are screened by the IGPNS admissions committee for quality of previous education, GRE scores and compatibility with faculty research interests.

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