Why This Program?

There is no denying nutrition is a hot news topic. Communications professionals, including journalists, freelancers, corporate and public relations professionals, are often responsible for generating these news items. While inaccurate messages confuse and mislead, breed skepticism, and can harm reputations, truthful, accurate messages can turn communications professionals into nutrition educators, helping consumers make positive lifestyle choices while helping clients attain their business goals. To achieve these objectives, an understanding of the concepts and language of the science of nutrition, the ability to translate nutrition research, and marketing within a nutrition communication context is needed. The certificate program will prepare students to create effective, informed nutrition-related communications. This is a collaborative program where students bring the added value of their daily experiences into the virtual classroom to validate and improve both their field practice and their learning.

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The certificate in Nutrition Science for Communications Professionals consists of the following three courses:

We gratefully thank FoodMinds, LLC for being the founding sponsor of the Nutrition Science for Communications Professionals program.

  • Foundations of Nutrition Science (Offered in Fall Semester)

    This course provides an understanding of basic nutrition science, including the principles of diet planning and government standards; the biological functions of the macro- and micronutrients; energy balance, weight control, and physical activity; and the role of nutrition in chronic diseases, nutrition throughout the life cycle, and contemporary nutrition-related issues.

  • Interpreting Nutrition Evidence (Offered in Spring Semester)

    This course will familiarize students with the terms and tools required to navigate the scientific literature and dissect the components of nutrition research articles. The course covers literature searches, study designs, anatomy of a research paper, and common statistical terms. Through “hands-on” exercises, including a literature review and case studies of how nutrition-related scientific evidence is translated in press releases and social media, students will gain the skills required to translate and communicate this body of knowledge responsibly.

  • Nutrition-Related Consumer Marketing (Offered in Summer Semester)

    This course examines the issues of consumer psychology and food choice, and explores the interplay of nutrition and marketing from both the consumer and the marketer's perspectives. The course will examine historical effectiveness of efforts by food companies, health advocacy organizations, and governments aimed at improving nutritional habits. Students will gain an understanding of consumer behavior and approaches to affect positive nutrition-related health outcomes.


How to Apply

Online applications for the 2014-15 academic year are now being accepted. Please send any questions or concerns about the process to

There is no fee to apply.

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Your full application to the program will include your official academic transcripts (translated into English) sent directly from every university or institution from which you earned a degree, a current resume or curriculum vitae (CV), and a personal statement. International students must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores (if required). All applications are reviewed by the Friedman Graduate Certificate Program admissions committee. The admissions committee takes into consideration all coursework, grades, experience and reasons for taking the program.

TOEFL/IELTS Requirements

International students whose first language is not English are required to submit either TOEFL or IELTS scores unless they have earned a degree from a university in a country where English is the primary language.

  • TOEFL minimum score is 600 (paper based), 250 (computer based), 100 (internet based)
  •  IELTS minimum score is 6.5


Applications for fall 2014 admission into the Friedman Graduate Certificate Program will be accepted on a rolling basis through August 15, 2014, or as space is available. Enrollment is limited. Applicants interested in the Tuition Payment Plan for the fall semester must submit their materials prior to April 1.

Tuition & Payment Options

Tuition for the 2014-15 academic year (i.e. the Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Summer 2015 semesters) is $2420 per course. The total tuition for all three required courses within a certificate program is $7260

Please note that the Friedman School graduate certificate programs are not eligible for Title IV Federal Student Aid. However, the program does qualify for private lending institution student loans, and a payment plan, administered by Sallie Mae, is available through our Bursar’s office. Under this plan you may budget all or a portion of your semester tuition over five monthly installments. For example, for the fall semester, you make payments from May 1st through September 1st, and for the spring semester, you make payments from October 1st through February 1st. The Tuition Payment Plan has a small enrollment fee, but no interest charges. Please contact Student Financial Services at Tufts for more information on billing and payments including payment plans. Tufts University does not accept currently credit cards for tuition.

We encourage students who are working professionals to contact their employer’s human resources (HR) department for their policies and procedures regarding tuition benefits.


Program Faculty

Image of Online Graduate Certificate Faculty Member

Diane L. McKay, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Graduate Certificate Program in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and a Scientist in the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University.

At the HNRCA, Dr. McKay investigates the role of nutrients and phytochemicals in health promotion, particularly in older adults, and has studied the effects of multivitamin supplements and a variety of antioxidant-rich foods and beverages, including tree nuts, whole grains, hibiscus tea, cranberry juice, and eggs.

She is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a member of the American Society for Nutrition, and serves on the Examination Committee for the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists.  She obtained a BS in Biological Sciences from Carnegie-Mellon University and, from Tufts University, received MS degrees in Biological Sciences and Nutrition Communications, and a PhD in Human Nutrition.

Professor Adela HrubyAdela Hruby, PhD, MPH, completed her public health and doctorate degrees at Tufts, specializing in epidemiology, after spending 10 years in various aspects of publishing and language translation. Nowadays, the responsible translation of science is one of her priorities. In addition to her teaching responsibilities at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy,

Adela is currently a Research Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, where her work focuses on diet and gene-diet interaction in cardiometabolic health. Her other research interests include the health of soldiers and the global nutrition transition.

Adela earned her BA from Cornell University. While a graduate student at Tufts, she was an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellow and she won numerous awards for her dissertation work.

Image of Online Graduate Certificate Faculty MemberRachel Cheatham, PhD, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Combining her experience as a former advertising television producer with a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry from Tufts, Rachel now works in global public relations where she focuses on strategically and creatively leveraging nutrition science and influencer outreach to lend credibility and impact behaviors across a wide variety of audiences ranging from policymakers and academics to the media and consumers. She currently works with a variety of food, beverage, ingredient and commodity clients.

In addition to her current position at Weber Shandwick, Rachel is the Director of Communications for the Nutrition Translation Research Interest Group (RIS) for the American Society of Nutrition, a strategic advisor for the Institute of Food Technologists and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.