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

General Student Inquiries

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 who graduate with a B.S.P.H. degree in nutrition have the necessary prerequisites for applying to schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine, as well as graduate programs in nutrition and to participate in nutrition research projects or explore other related areas of interest. 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 knowledge of metabolism of nutrients, nutritional biochemistry, and the nutritional components of diseases
  • Demonstrate competency in biostatistics, and knowledge of environmental sciences, health policy management, health behavior and health education, and epidemiology
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge in nutritional needs of individuals across the life cycle
  • Demonstrate practice skills that involves application of the scientific method in the areas of nutritional biochemistry, nutritional epidemiology, and intervention and policy

Prerequisite Courses Required for Admission

BIOL 101
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory 1, H
BIOL 252
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory 1
CHEM 101
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 1
CHEM 102General Descriptive Chemistry II 1, H3
CHEM 102LQuantitative Chemistry Laboratory II 11
CHEM 261Introduction to Organic Chemistry I 1, H3
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 1, H3-4
or MATH 241 BioCalculus I
NUTR 240Introduction to Human Nutrition 13
Courses in mathematics not completed during the first two years may be taken during the junior year.
Total Hours25-26

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


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 2019–2020 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.


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 611Nutrition across the Life Cycle3
Honors Research in Nutrition (optional)
Additional Requirements 2
BIOL 101
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory 3, H
BIOL 202Molecular Biology and Genetics H4
BIOL 252
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory 3
CHEM 101
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 3
CHEM 102
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II 3, H
CHEM 241
Modern Analytical Methods for Separation and Characterization
and Laboratory in Separations and Analytical Characterization of Organic and Biological Compounds H
CHEM 261Introduction to Organic Chemistry I 3, H3
CHEM 262
Introduction to Organic Chemistry II
and Laboratory in Organic Chemistry H
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 3, H4
or MATH 241 BioCalculus I
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

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) every semester and then enroll in NUTR 692H (three credits) in their final semester while completing an honors thesis in nutrition.

Departmental Involvement

The Nutrition Coalition is an organization of students enrolled in one of the department’s five degree programs. The 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. “A is for Apple” is a student-led, volunteer organization aimed at teaching basic nutrition principles to local elementary school students. 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, either as part of the honors thesis or as independent research.