Nutrition Major, B.S.P.H.

Department of Nutrition

Visit Program Website

260 Rosenau, CB# 7461

(919) 966-7212

Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, Chair

Miroslav Styblo, Program Director

styblo@med.unc.edu

General Student Inquiries

nutrition@unc.edu

The bachelor of science in public health (B.S.P.H.) program in nutrition introduces the undergraduate student to the science of nutrition in health and disease and to social and behavioral aspects of eating in the context of public and individual health. The Department of Nutrition is one of the top-ranked nutrition departments in the country. The curriculum offers a range of courses on the nutritional and epidemiological aspects of human diseases.

Students may apply to one of two tracks of study:

  • Nutrition Science and Research Track - An excellent preparation for medical and other health professional graduate programs, this track provides students in-depth exposure to the science of nutrition and metabolism while incorporating required research under the supervision of a faculty member. 
  • Nutrition Health and Society Track - Recognizing the truly interdisciplinary nature of nutrition, this track provides students an opportunity to study nutrition through the lenses of policy, sustainable food systems, and interventions while allowing the flexibility to customize 18 credits of study in related coursework. 

Students who are admitted to the B.S.P.H. program in nutrition can apply for a B.S.P.H/M.S. dual degree, which can be completed within one year after completion of the B.S.P.H. program.

Admission to the program is required.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the nutrition program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate competence in the basic public health core areas of biostatistics, environmental sciences, health policy management, health behavior and health education, and epidemiology, and the roles these disciplines play in the interdisciplinary field of nutrition and public health.

  • Describe the nutritional needs of individuals across the life cycle; the psychological, behavioral and social factors that affect food consumption and nutritional status, and the programs and services available to help individuals meet their nutritional needs.

Students who complete the Nutrition Science and Research Track should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of nutritional biochemistry, the metabolism and function of nutrients, and the nutritional components of diseases through advanced courses in nutrition.
  • Apply the scientific method in the areas of nutritional biochemistry, nutritional epidemiology, and intervention and policy.

Students who complete the Nutrition Health and Society Track should be able to:

  • Understand the role of food and nutrition as an essential element of life – from cell, to an individual, to society.
  • Demonstrate effective communication of nutrition information within social, multi-ethnic, and environmental dimensions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the roles of the individual, society, government, and business in providing accessible, healthy food supplies, and in promoting healthy eating.

Prerequisite Courses Required for Admission to Both Tracks

BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory 1, H
4
BIOL 252
252L
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory 1, H
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 1
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II 1, H
4
Total Hours16
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Additional Prerequisite Courses for the Science and Research Track

NUTR 240Introduction to Human Nutrition 13
CHEM 261Introduction to Organic Chemistry I 1, H3
Total Hours6
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Admission

The undergraduate degree offered is the bachelor of science in public health (B.S.P.H.). Four majors are available to undergraduate students: biostatistics, environmental health sciences, health policy and management, and nutrition. Each of these combines features of a broad-based education with concentrated study in a specific public health discipline. The programs prepare individuals for preprofessional positions in health-related fields and provide a firm base for graduate study. Students are permitted to pursue two majors in the school. Students are subject to the requirements in place when they are admitted to the Gillings School of Global Public Health; consequently, requirements described in this catalog particularly apply to students admitted to the school during the 2020–2021 academic year. In addition to the information presented below please see the Gillings Program Search (GPS) for the most up to date information on the school.

Students who wish to obtain the B.S.P.H. degree typically spend two years in the General College of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (or in an equivalent core program of academic study elsewhere) and two subsequent years under the administration of the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Enrollment in the B.S.P.H. degree programs is limited. Typically a student is selected in the latter half of the sophomore year and admitted on a competitive basis for junior year entry to the major. The minimum recommended grade point average for admission to programs in biostatistics, environmental health sciences, health policy and management, and nutrition is 3.0.

For current UNC–Chapel Hill students, the initial step of B.S.P.H. application is available in ConnectCarolina under the "Apply Majors" tab.

Transfer students interested in biostatistics and health policy and management majors must apply through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions using the Transfer Common application. Transfer students interested in environmental health sciences and nutrition majors must be accepted to UNC–Chapel Hill first and then satisfy campus residency requirements during their first and/or second semester at UNC–Chapel Hill, and then apply as a current UNC–Chapel Hill student.

For high school seniors, our four majors participate in the University Assured Enrollment Programs under EXCEL@Carolina. Assured enrollment programs guarantee students a spot in an undergraduate major within one of Carolina’s professional schools or a spot in an accelerated undergraduate/graduate program. Programs include unique opportunities such as early access to classes, individualized mentorship, and career connections. For additional information, please visit EXCEL@Carolina.

Requirements

The nutrition program provides two options: 

Nutrition Major, B.S.P.H.–Nutrition, Health, and Society 

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Courses
Public Health Core Courses:
BIOS 600Principles of Statistical Inference 13
EPID 600Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health 13
SPHG 351Foundations of Public Health 13
SPHG 352Public Health Systems and Solutions 14
Other Core Courses: 2
NUTR 175Introduction to Food Studies: From Science to Society3
NUTR 240Introduction to Human Nutrition3
NUTR 245Sustainable Local Food Systems: Intersection of Local Foods and Public Health3
NUTR ---Nutrition Policy3
NUTR ---Nutrition and Health Behavior3
NUTR 611Food And Your Life Stages3
NUTR 630Nutrition Communication and Culture3
Research and Capstone:
NUTR 295Undergraduate Research Experience in Nutrition 43
Additional Requirements
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II H
4
BIOL 252
252L
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory H
4
18 hours of elective courses (e.g., 6 courses) from other fields of study 3,518
Total Hours71
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Nutrition Major, B.S.P.H–Nutrition Science and Research 

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Courses
Public Health Core Courses:
BIOS 600Principles of Statistical Inference 13
EPID 600Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health 13
SPHG 351Foundations of Public Health 13
SPHG 352Public Health Systems and Solutions 14
Other Core Courses: 2
NUTR 295Undergraduate Research Experience in Nutrition3
NUTR 400Introduction to Nutritional Biochemistry3
NUTR 600Human Metabolism: Macronutrients3
NUTR 611Food And Your Life Stages3
NUTR 620HUMAN METABOLISM: MICRONUTRIENTS3
Honors Research in Nutrition (optional)
Additional Requirements 2
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory 3, H
4
BIOL 202Molecular Biology and Genetics H4
BIOL 252
252L
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory 3, H
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 3
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II 3, H
4
CHEM 241
241L
Modern Analytical Methods for Separation and Characterization
and Laboratory in Separations and Analytical Characterization of Organic and Biological Compounds H
3
CHEM 261Introduction to Organic Chemistry I 3, H3
CHEM 262
262L
Introduction to Organic Chemistry II
and Laboratory in Organic Chemistry H
4
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 3, H4
NUTR 240Introduction to Human Nutrition 33
PHYS 114General Physics I: For Students of the Life Sciences4
or PHYS 118 Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity
PHYS 115General Physics II: For Students of the Life Sciences4
or PHYS 119 Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
Total Hours73
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Dual Bachelor’s–Master’s Degree Program

The Department of Nutrition offers a B.S.P.H.–M.S. dual degree for students who wish to increase their knowledge in nutrition and acquire additional skills in nutrition-based research. This dual degree will be useful for students interested in becoming researchers in industry, program officers for nongovernmental and governmental organizations, project or laboratory managers in academic or nonacademic settings, international workers in nutrition-related programs, and graduate students pursuing a doctoral degree or eventually attending medical or another professional school. B.S.P.H.–M.S students will perform advanced research in nutrition and take graduate nutrition and other courses that will provide the information and experience needed to help them choose their career path. Additionally, for those students who are uncertain about whether they wish to enter the department’s doctoral program, the B.S.P.H.–M.S program offers an excellent opportunity to determine whether a more advanced degree would be appropriate. The B.S.P.H.–M.S degree is not specific to any of the department divisions; rather, it builds on the work (both classroom-based and research) begun in the B.S.P.H. program. In summary, the B.S.P.H.–M.S program in nutrition allows students the opportunity to explore nutritional research at an advanced level. The program can be completed in one calendar year (summer, fall, spring) following completion of the B.S.P.H. in nutrition program.

Nutrition B.S.P.H. students interested in the dual-degree program are strongly advised to consult their research advisor and the director of undergraduate studies in nutrition during their sophomore year to discuss eligibility and an appropriate plan of study. For more information see the B.S.P.H.–M.S Dual Degree Nutrition Handbook.

Special Opportunities in Nutrition

Honors in Nutrition

The Department of Nutrition provides an opportunity for honors study for qualified students. To be eligible for admission to the honors program students must have, at a minimum, a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 at the beginning of their senior year and must maintain the grade point average throughout the major if they intend to pursue honors. Students register for NUTR 295 (three credits) in the fall and/or spring semester of the first year and then enroll in NUTR 691H and NUTR 692H (six credits) in their final two semesters while completing an honors thesis in nutrition.

Departmental Involvement

The Nutrition Coalition meets several times each semester to address student concerns and to plan service and social activities. Open to the entire University, the coalition strives to broaden the scope of understanding of the various fields and environments in which nutrition is making advances. The Food Justice student organization seeks to facilitate student and faculty involvement in food justice issues through fostering a more inclusive environment for individuals of all backgrounds. Career development workshops are available each year to provide guidance for students applying to graduate and medical schools.

Experiential Education

Two courses in nutrition include experiential components (NUTR 245 and NUTR 295). However, NUTR 295, available only to nutrition majors, fulfills the General Education experiential education requirement.

Undergraduate Awards

Nutrition honors research students may apply for the honors undergraduate research awards. The application is available on the Honors Carolina Web site. Students also may be considered for any of the following awards: Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Student Activities and Leadership, The Order of the Golden Fleece, The Order of the Grail-Valkyries, The Order of the Old Well, Frank Porter Graham Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Joseph Edozien Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Nutrition.

Undergraduate Research

To enhance students’ general education and help them decide whether a research career is something they might pursue, all B.S.P.H. nutrition students are required to complete nutrition research for at least one semester (final semester as capstone), either as part of the honors thesis or as independent research.