Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program: Ph.D., Human Nutrition

Human Nutrition Program

The graduate program in Human Nutrition is devoted to the study of how variations in nutritional status affect the health and functioning of individuals.

Among the interests of faculty members in Human Nutrition are the following:

  • maternal, infant and child nutrition.

  • the control of food intake and the regulation of body weight as well as animal models of obesity.

  • factors that affect the absorption, metabolism and storage of Vitamin A as well as the association between Vitamin A deficiency and disease

  • effects of nutritional alterations (e.g., iron deficiency; folate alterations, PUFAs) on mortality, work capacity, and behavior/cognitive functioning

  • lasting cognitive effects of early exposure to environmental toxins (lead, methylmercury), including exposure via breastmilk

  • metabolism, bioavailability and biological effects of Vitamin E, including mechanisms of regulation of Vitamin E status

The faculty members in Human Nutrition explore ways through which nutrition affects health and disease, with the intent of developing safe and effective methods of improving the human condition.

Opportunities after Graduation

Doctoral graduates from the Human Nutrition Program work for universities, government agencies (National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control), and the food and health industry.

Graduate Study

The Human Nutrition faculty tailors the graduate program to meet each student's background and educational goals. With guidance from their faculty advisor and graduate committee, students may focus their study on the specific areas of knowledge that they need to achieve their goals. The program is based in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, but involves faculty and courses from across the university. The faculty has broad interest in the many variables that affect human health ranging from genetics, biochemistry, physiology, food science, psychology, anthropology, to epidemiology.

Study in Human Nutrition begins with a solid understanding of the biological basis of human biology, nutrition, health and disease, and statistics. Emphasis in training is upon integration of knowledge from different disciplines and upon critical thinking of experimental design, analysis, and interpretation. Numerous multidisciplinary seminars are offered to learn how experts from various disciplines approach their problems and development solutions. Students are encouraged to begin thinking about a thesis problem as soon as they enter the program and pursue faculty prominent in that area for guidance. They are also encouraged to attend various seminars offered in other departments to learn how research is conducted, analyzed, and interpreted in different disciplines.

There are several ways to engage in graduate study in Human Nutrition at Cornell:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nutrition with a concentration in Human Nutrition.

  • M.S. or Ph.D. degree in another field with a minor concentration in Human Nutrition.

Students who major in Human Nutrition have minors in many different areas to meet their multidisciplinary research needs; examples include human development, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, education, public policy, program evaluation, anthropology, epidemiology, or communications.


The Division of Nutritional Sciences has available a new metabolic facility with commercial kitchen and dining areas with associated chemical laboratories, a physical performance laboratory, and overnight dormitories to house subjects for overnight studies. There are also AAALAC-accredited animal facilities for conducting research with animal models. In addition, each faculty has laboratory space for their research program including space for students involved in research projects.

Contacts for more information

For more information on graduate study in the Program in Community Nutrition, write:

Director of Graduate Studies Field of Nutrition Graduate Admissions Committee B19 Savage Hall Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853-6301 or e-mail to: Telephone: (607) 255-2628 Fax: (607) 255-1033

Potential applicants are encouraged to directly contact members of the faculty to learn more about their programs in community nutrition.

You may apply on-line by going to the Graduate School website. In completing the form, your major field of study will be Nutrition, and your concentration will be Community Nutrition.