Here you’ll find answers to commonly asked questions about our online master’s degree program.

Admissions & Applications
Curriculum & Courses
Student Experience & Expectations
Professional Inquiry

Admissions & Applications

What are the stand-out features of the program?

This is a human-focused nutrition program with emphasis on understanding the link between nutrition and health and disease. Students can earn a Master of Science in Nutritional Science in 1 or 2 years from any location because the program is 100% online. Courses are taught by leaders in the field of nutritional science and dietetics. This program also provides two unique concentrations to focus the student experience. The 2 concentrations are Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Biochemical and Functional Nutrition.

What kind of background is preferred?

This program requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institute of higher learning or proof of equivalent training at an institution outside the United States, as determined by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Importantly, applicants must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 in upper division coursework (junior- and senior-level courses) and in any graduate work already completed. Coursework in Biochemistry is required. Preference will be given to those with a science-based bachelor’s degree. If you have not completed your bachelor’s degree in a science-related field, we strongly suggested that you complete an introductory nutrition and a physiology course.

How do I check the status of my application?

You can keep track of your application materials and status through your MyStatus portal.

Do I need a TOEFL?

The TOEFL iBT or IELTS Academic is required for international students. Exceptions are given for international applicants who meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Applicants from a country where English is the only official language
  2. Applicants who possess a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution or an institution in a country where English is the only official language

The requirement is not waived for applicants who have earned a master’s—but not a bachelor’s—degree from a similar institution.

How do I submit my TOEFL?

TOEFL scores are submitted using the Educational Testing Service (ETS) institution code for UT Austin which is 6882. It is not necessary to use a department code. There is no institutional code for the IELTS Academic examination. To fulfill the requirement with scores from the IELTS Academic, please use the IELTS electronic score delivery service to send your scores to the “University of Texas at Austin” account.

Is there a difference between priority and final deadline?

Applying by the priority deadline will allow additional time for your application to be processed. Should any issues arise (for example, a transcript is declined) this gives you time to complete the application by the final deadline. Decisions will be made on a rolling-admission cycle so the sooner the application is submitted, the sooner you will know.

Will there be an application fee?

Yes, please review How to Apply for Graduate Admissions.

Will I need to provide a translated version of my transcript if not in English?

Yes, transcripts written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a translation.

Do I need to submit a foreign credential evaluation from WES or another organization?

A foreign credential evaluation is not required. If a transcript is written in a language other than English, a complete and official English translation must be uploaded together with the original transcript.

How will my letters of recommendation be submitted?

You will be given the opportunity to list the name, position, organization, and email address for 3 recommenders when you complete ApplyTexas. After you submit this portion, emails will be sent to your recommenders directing them to a website where they may upload their letters. It is a best practice to ask and notify your recommenders before the app requests the letters. 

MyStatus offers a self-service feature you can use to resend the request email to your recommenders if necessary. Use it to supply an alternate email address if your recommender’s spam filter blocks the original request or has removed the link. You can also add a new recommender or revise your right-to-view status from “retained” to “waived.”

Will there be financial aid assistance?

The MSNS is classified as an Option III program which is eligible only for federal guaranteed loans and some private sector loans. The Office of Financial Aid can advise Option III students on availability of these loans and required procedures for applying. Please note, students taking 3 hours or fewer are not eligible for federal financial aid. Please also note that students enrolled in Option III programs are not eligible for grant loans. Please contact the financial aid office for more information.

Students in Option III programs are not eligible for Hinson-Hazlewood Act Exemptions (for Texas ex-servicemen and their children) but may be eligible for GI Bill benefits. Having said that, please let our admissions team know about your Hazlewood status because there can be some accommodations. Please direct questions to UTVeterans@austin.utexas.edu.

International students interested in financial aid can find more information on opportunities that may be available to them on the Texas Global financial aid page.

Will I be able to transfer credits from another university?

Transfer credits are typically not accepted. Exceptions require approval from the Graduate Studies Council.

Curriculum & Courses

What does instructor-paced mean?

Instructor-paced courses operate on a fixed schedule, with fixed and published due dates for all course assignments. The instructor sets specific due dates for assignments and exams, and you complete the course within a single semester. In instructor-paced courses, course materials are made available at specific times as the course progresses.

Can you start taking classes in the fall or spring?

Once admitted, you can begin your studies in the semester you applied for. The program allows both fall and spring admission cycles.

Is the online MSNS degree equivalent to what is earned in residence?

This MSNS program employs the strength of the university and its faculty to deliver a robust graduate program modeled after the in-residence program. Students have access to similar expertise, library access, and professional development opportunities as all the graduate students in the program. While there are differences in some requirements (such as research, data gathering, and thesis generation), the rigor remains unchanged between in-residence and online programs.

How many credits do I need to graduate with the MSNS?

To graduate, you will need 30 credit hours. The program consists of ten, 3 credit courses with no thesis required.

What graduate grade-point (GPA) average must I maintain to remain in the program?

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.00 to remain in their program or graduate from the program. The GPA includes all graduate courses in which the student earns a letter grade while enrolled.

How long does it take to complete the MSNS degree?

Students will choose to complete the program in either 1 or 2 years. These are distinct tracks you decide upon admission which will determine, along with the concentration chosen, how many courses will be taken each semester.

What is the typical class schedule?

The MSNS program is offered via online classes over seven-week periods. Students are able to access webinars, presentations, readings, assignments and discussions at their convenience. The program begins each fall and spring. Students completing the 1-year track will take four 7-week core courses during the fall semester and students completing the 2-year track will take two 7-week core courses. During the spring semester 1-year students complete 4 courses in their concentration and 2-year students complete 2 courses in their concentration. In the summer 1-year track students finish their 5th core and concentration courses (2 courses) for graduation, and the 2-year track students complete their fifth core course. The 2-year track students repeat the same schedule for their second year and graduate the second summer. Each new cohort begins in the fall or the spring.

How many courses will I take at a time?

If a student chooses the 1-year track, two courses will be taken each 7-week block (2 blocks a semester), totaling 4 courses per semester. If a student chooses the 2-year track, one course will be taken at a time each 7-week block (2 blocks a semester), totaling 2 courses per semester. For working professionals or students with significant additional obligations, we highly recommend choosing the 2-year track.

What is the structure/flexibility of the program?

Courses in the MSNS program are 7 weeks long. Four courses per 14-week semester will be offered. The first 2 are completed during weeks 1-7 and the third and 4th courses are completed during weeks 8-15. The MSNS program is designed to help students progress at a consistent pace. Students will complete weekly assignments and participate in discussions and activities. Although these activities are required, students have the flexibility to work on them at a convenient time of day. Each course will have unique assignments and schedules presented at the beginning of the course.

When will the semester start and end?

The program follows the timeline of the traditional semester. The University calendar can be found here.

When can I drop a class?

The last day to drop a class and receive a refund is the 12th class day in each long semester.

Student Experience & Expectations

Will I have instructor or TA interaction?

Interaction between instructors and/or TA’s will be available through email, online discussion boards, and virtual office hours. Each course has an assigned faculty member that will provide timely feedback on assessments and discussions and offer weekly synchronous office hours. These are optional but highly recommended. Those that cannot attend these office hours will have access through posted recordings. Please note, not all courses will have a TA assigned.

Are lectures live?

The lectures are pre-recorded and will be made available that week for you to view on your own time. Within a course’s prescribed timeline (weekly deadlines), students can move at their own pace following a self-regulating learning process. They complete interactive assessments and receive timely feedback.

What kind of interactions will I have with students and teaching staff?

All interactions, assistance, and correspondence with faculty, TAs, or staff will be conducted through online channels, such as email, Canvas, Zoom, Ed Discussion, and Slack. Communication is highly encouraged through, particularly, Canvas emailing. There will be other opportunities, such as Canvas discussion boards and other technology, to allow instructors to create engaging learning sequences, which promote active participation as students alternate between learning concepts, solving exercises to check their understanding, and completing graded assessments.

How much time should I expect to devote to studying/classwork per week?

The work is planned to take the student 5-7 hours per module at 2 modules/week. The 2-year track students should plan on 10-14 hours/week and the 1-year track students should plan on 20-28 hours/week. This includes reading, studying, and project/assessment completion.

Professional Inquiry

Does the MSNS provide a path to RD Certification?

The MSNS is designed to provide advanced nutrition training to students who have already completed their Bachelor’s in Nutrition or a related science field. This degree does not provide a path to the RD (Registered Dietitian) certification. For additional information about becoming an RD (Registered Dietitian), please see Dietetics.

Does the MSNS degree program satisfy the academic requirement to earn a CNS credential?

This MSNS program fulfills part of the current academic requirements for the Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist (BCNS) certification. BCNS requires a graduate degree in the field of nutrition from a regionally accredited university, specific coursework, and a 1,000 hours of supervised experience. The ANA reviews BCNS candidates individually, including current course descriptions, transcripts, and experience to determine eligibility. We, fortunately, have an alumna acting as our CNS Ambassador to help our students navigate this process. To learn more about becoming a CNS, visit https://theana.org/certify

What is a CNS nutritionist?

"Nutritionist" is a broad term that includes individuals with various training and credentials. The CNS is an accredited certification that distinguishes advanced nutrition professionals, enabling them to practice medical nutrition therapy and other aspects of nutrition care in many states. We have an alumna who acts as our CNS Ambassador to facilitate this process with our students. 

Learn more about the CNS process at the American Nutrition Association (ANA).

Contact the ANA:
Certifications: dslutzky@theana.org
Advocacy: thobson@theana.org
ANA Membership: membership@theana.org

What is the contact information for the MSNS program?

Physical Mailing Address: 

Department of Nutritional Sciences 
University of Texas at Austin 
School of Human Ecology 
103 W. 24th St., 
Stop A2703 
Austin, Texas 78712 

Email Address: admissions@nutrition-online.cns.utexas.edu 

Social Media: Follow us @UTexasNutrition on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Important Dates

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the final deadline of the admissions cycle. Our program follow's the University's semester calendar, with classes offered three times a year.

Application Period:December 1-July 15
Priority Deadline:June 1
Classes Begin:August
Application Period:August 1-November 1
Priority Deadline:October 1
Classes Begin:January

Please note: We recommend that applicants apply to UT Austin before the priority deadline. This is to ensure their materials are processed in a timely manner.