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About the Program

The Master of Nutrition Science and Policy (MNSP) “blended learning” degree program spans the biological aspects of nutrition, the design and impact of nutrition programs, and applied analytical methods used to solve nutrition and lifestyle related problems and challenges. Following the closely-held Friedman School tenet that nutrition affects whole populations and regions, the program also extends into domestic and global policy areas that affect both nutrition and food security. The program focuses on both nutrition science and policy and is the only US-based nutrition program taught in a combination of online and on campus learning. View the complete MNSP curriculum.

Graduates from the Master's of Nutrition Science and Policy program emerge with an understanding of nutrition policy and science, the skills needed to analyze and communicate nutrition-based research, and the ability to apply their learning to solve nutrition and lifestyle-related challenges. This program is ideal for professionals seeking career advancement or continuing education, those working in community-based or international nutrition programs, persons relatively new to the field of nutrition, and for individuals looking to further their understanding of nutrition so they can have a positive impact on their communities. Learn more about careers in nutrition.

Video Introduction

“Blended Learning”: On Campus + Online

The Masters of Nutrition Science and Policy degree is taught through a combination of online learning and campus-based residencies in Boston. This format gives students who are unable to attend class full time in Boston the opportunity to earn a Tufts Friedman School masters degree with minimal interruption to existing career and/or family obligations.

Every semester for approximately one week, students and Tufts faculty meet in Boston for an intensive residency period of course work and study. Residencies give students the opportunity to meet fellow students and faculty face-to-face and to become fully immersed in the experience of attending one of the nation’s premier research universities. Students also experience essential hands-on learning which cannot be taught in a fully-online environment.

The remainder of the semester is facilitated online by Tufts faculty utilizing innovative technologies and instructional methods. Students can complete the program in as few as 16 months, but are able to extend their studies if they choose to take fewer courses each semester. Learn more about how the MNSP program utilizes blended learning.

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Admissions Timeline and Deadlines

Currently Accepting Applications for the Fall 2014 Program

Applications are accepted for both fall and spring admission to the MNSP program.  Applicants can expect to hear back from the admissions committee with a decision within a month of submitting a complete application through our online application system.    

For admission into the Fall 2014 program > the priority deadline for submitting a complete application is April 15, 2014.  Applications will be accepted after that date on a space-available basis up until August 1, 2014.

Please visit the Admissions page for prerequisite information, application requirements, and contact information. 

History

In 2007, the Friedman School joined with Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven Emirates in the United Arab Emirates to participate in establishing Ras Al Khaimah, as a hub for nutrition education that would serve populations in the UAE, neighboring Gulf States and South Asia.

Among the projects was the establishment of a unique masters degree program taught in a blended format of online learning plus three to four residencies in the UAE, each of which is approximately eight days. The MNSP program, which began in the UAE continues today with additional course offerings and residencies on Tufts' Boston Health Sciences Campus.

The Program Director of the blended learning degree program, Dr. Lynne Ausman, is the Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi Professor in International Nutrition, a professorship endowed with a gift from the government of Ras Al Khaimah and given in acknowledgement to Dr. Ausman for her contributions to the success of the masters program in Ras Al Khaimah.

The Master of Nutrition Science and Policy (MNSP) degree program offers an interdisciplinary curriculum of advanced study in nutrition science, global and US food policy, global nutrition programs, statistics, applied research skills, plus a two-course concentration area selected by the student.

Students will complete ten credits* of coursework consisting of a required core curriculum, two electives and a one-credit research or project based thesis. The electives allow students to concentrate in a specific field as perceived important for the student’s education or career objectives. The curriculum is designed to enhance the study of nutrition at both the science and policy levels.

Required Courses

Science & Policy Core-4 credits, Research Skills Core- 3 credits, Electives-2 credits, Thesis-1 credit
*Please note that one-credit courses at Tufts are equal to four credits in other institutions.

Science and Policy Core

NUTB 205-Nutritional Biochemistry with Community/Clinical Applications: Macronutrients

Students will explore the fundamental roles of nutrients in biological systems and the implications of macronutrient biological functions on food and nutrition policy. Emphasis will be placed on the function of nutrients as defined by their chemistry, interrelations among nutrient functions, mechanistic approaches in the analysis of nutrient‐disease relationships, and recent advances in the basic sciences related to nutrition and nutrient function. The course will integrate examples of community, clinical and public health policy applications throughout the term. Published journal articles from the peer reviewed literature, case histories, and public policy documents will form the basis for critical review and discussion. This is the first of a two course sequence (NUTB 205 and NUTB 305 – may be taken in either order).

1.0
Offered annually in fall
NUTB 305-Nutritional Biochemistry with Community/Clinical Applications: Micronutrients

Students will continue the exploration of the fundamental roles of nutrients in biological systems and the implications of micronutrient biological functions on food and nutrition policy. As with NUTB 205, emphasis will be on the function of nutrients as defined by their chemistry, interrelations among nutrient functions, mechanistic approaches in the analysis of nutrient-disease relationships, and recent advances in the basic sciences related to nutrition and nutrient function. This is the second of a two course sequence (NUTB 205 and NUTB 305 maybe taken in either order).

Faculty: Ausman
1.0
Offered annually in spring
NUTB 238-Economics for Food and Nutrition Policy

This course equips students with the principles used for economic analysis of food and nutrition policies around the world. We use the graphical methods taught in standard, one-semester courses on the principles of economics, but our motivation, examples and applications are focused on food and nutrition problems in the United States and elsewhere. On completion, students will be able to obtain the data and apply the analytical methods needed to:

  1. explain and predict consumption, production and trade in agriculture and food markets
  2. evaluate the social welfare consequences of market failure, collective action and government policies including regulation, taxation and enforcement of property rights in agriculture and food markets
  3. measure poverty and inequality in income, wealth, nutrition and health, as influenced by changes in markets and policies; and
  4. describe macroeconomic relationships, fluctuations and trends in incomes, employment, economic growth and development.
Faculty: Masters
1.0
Offered annually in fall
NUTB 206-Global Food and Nutrition Policy

Varying global and national forces drive food production and consumption within and among nations. The possibilities and limitations facing nutrition professionals in any given situation require an understanding of policy and the basic principles of policy formation. In order to be effective, professionals need an understanding of the indicators that are available to diagnose the situation, the skills to seek out information, and the ability to correctly interpret the results. Students will examine and apply these skills to specific case examples and evaluate the range of programs used to address over and under-nutrition, and which interventions are appropriate in varying circumstances.

The class will cover: a) how science influences the policy agenda, and how policy debates influence the scientific and programmatic agenda; b) the scientific underpinnings of food and nutrition policies and development of normative guidance; c) how empirical findings in scientific research and operational programming make their way into policy and law; d) global debates and controversies in nutrition; e) how to evaluate what works best and what the alternatives should be considered; f) a review of key organizations involved in global food and nutrition policy and programming.

Faculty: Kennedy
1.0
Offered annually in summer

Research Skills Core

NUTB 350-Statistical Methods for Health Professionals II

The purpose of this course is to help students gain proficiency applying statistical concepts and procedures for the analysis of health and nutrition data. Statistical analysis techniques used for the analysis of data from experimental and non‐experimental research studies covered in this course will include multiple regression assumptions, diagnostics, transformations and robust standard errors, multiple logistic regression, analysis of variance and covariance and analysis of data from cluster randomized trials. In this course students critically evaluate, compare, interpret, judge, summarize and explain statistical results published in research articles in health and nutrition journals that are influencing nutrition science, research, policy, and clinical practice. Students will learn how to formulate research questions, how to identify appropriate statistical techniques, how to perform the analysis with Stata® statistical software and report results in tables, text and figures.

Faculty: Houser
1.0
Offered annually in spring
NUTB 204-Epidemiology for Nutrition Professionals

This course covers basic epidemiologic concepts and methods and introduces students to techniques, including dietary assessment methods, which are used in human nutrition research. Students will learn to calculate and interpret basic measures of disease frequency and measures of effect, will be introduced to methods for recognizing and addressing sources of error in human studies, and will learn the basics of study design and implementation for nutrition research.

Faculty: Van Rompay
1.0
Offered annually in fall
NUTB 250-Statistical Methods for Health Professionals

Students will critically evaluate, compare, interpret, judge, summarize and explain statistical results published in research articles in health and nutrition journals from the United States and around the world that are influencing the practice of nutrition science, policy and research. Students learn and use Stata® statistical software for their homework.

Faculty: Houser
1.0
Offered annually in fall

Electives

NUTB 316-Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy

This course aims to expand student’s knowledge on a variety of common pathophysiological conditions and integrate this knowledge with the intervention of clinical nutrition therapies. Students will learn about the basic elements of medical nutritional therapy. These include nutritional assessment, which incorporates the use of anthropometric, biochemical and clinical data to determine nutritional status. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding energy expenditure and body composition and their components, and how these may change during physiological stress or illness. Students then learn about enteral and parenteral nutrition and fundamental aspects of nutrition support. These core elements are then applied in the study of various disease states and clinical nutrition therapy. Students also have the opportunity to explore diet and disease in an approved area of their interest through written and oral presentation.

Faculty:
1.0
Offered annually in summer
NUTB 210-Monitoring and Evaluation of Nutrition and Food Security Programs

Inadequate project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) represent a major constraint in domestic and international programmatic efforts to address problems of malnutrition. The absence of sound M&E processes in large numbers of nutrition projects, despite continued evidence of their value in assessing and improving project performance, suggests that many project planners and managers may not yet have the necessary skills or understanding to develop and operate such systems. In this course students will become familiar with the strategies and techniques for monitoring and evaluating projects, particularly those related to nutrition and food security. They will be exposed to multiple domestic and international examples of monitoring and evaluation systems. Students will gain experience in the design of regional monitoring and evaluation plans and be able to assess the adequacy of proposals and program evaluations designed by others.

Faculty: Boyd
1.0
Offered annually in fall
NUTB 242-Obesity and Energy Regulation

This course is a perspective from the intersection of food and biology and will build upon principles of energy balance that were developed in Nutritional Biochemistry. In the first section, physiologic regulation of body weight and its dysregulation leading to obesity will be explored. The interaction between hormonal/neuroendocrine systems and dietary factors will featured. In the second half of the course, lifestyle, pharmacologic and surgical approaches to obesity treatment as well as maintenance of lost weight will be presented.

Faculty: Das
0.5
Offered annually in spring
NUTB 241-Nutrition and Aging

This course will address the impact of nutrition on aging and the impact of aging on nutrient needs. The worldwide population is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of elderly, due to socioeconomic improvements, and advances in science, technology, medicine and nutrition. It is of primary importance to determine both the nutritional needs of the elderly and to adequately determine long‐term nutrient needs that will prevent or ameliorate nutrition‐ related chronic diseases. Topics will include changes in body composition and their adverse effects such as frailty and sarcopenia, controversies about healthy weights for older adults, roles of micronutrients in ameliorating age‐related deterioration in bone health and immune function, and therapies that may prevent cognitive decline. Approaches to maximizing healthy aging from physiological and sociologic aspects of these problems will be presented.

Faculty: Saltzman
0.5
Offered annually in fall
NUTB 219-Food Science Fundamentals

The foundation of knowledge for any nutrition professional is a thorough understanding the nutritional components of food and foodborne pathogens that are linked with disease and issues affecting food safety. Students will become adept with the basic groups of foods in the food supply and their nutrient profiles, their harvesting, processing and storage procedures and policies. The course will provide students a broad overview of certain aspects of the food supply both locally and worldwide and will examine issues affecting food safety including some of the mechanisms by which foodborne pathogens that cause disease in humans, as well as the human consequences of infection by major foodborne pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter and Listeria.

Faculty: Ausman
0.5
Offered annually in fall
NUTB 208-Management of Health and Nutrition NGO's

Key concepts and principles for managing nutrition and health programs and organizations will be addressed to equip students to function as program directors and project managers. Case studies and readings will be used to convey a practical understanding of how to manage and coordinate business functions to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization. This course will deal with for‐profit and nonprofit organizations. Topics will include business and project planning, management control systems, financial management, budgeting, performance measurement, pricing and marketing of services, operations management, cost analysis, human resource management, and the development of management information systems. The course is designed to provide students with practical tools.. The course is designed to develop an awareness of how each management function interacts and impacts the organization. Residencies will be comprised of lectures covering specialized topics, case discussions with student presentations, and journal discussions.

Faculty: Hastings
0.5
Offered annually in summer
NUTB 227-Global Nutrition Programs

The goal of this course is to expose students to major global nutrition programs and strategies designed to lessen the global burden of nutrition related morbidity and mortality. Both prevention and treatment options for major nutrition related disorders that dominate contemporary populations will be discussed. This course will cover: a) current debates in the cause, prevention and treatment of global nutrition challenges, b) the range of options for interventions that exist, and actually implemented, c) the strength of the evidence base underpinning actions, d) approaches to problem assessment, (including the process of considering alternatives according to context), e) examples of successful nutrition interventions, f) constraints to success (what makes or breaks major program successes), and g) key global organizations involved in nutrition policy and programming.

Each session will seek to cover: a) main problems still needing to be resolved; b) priority/target populations; c) interventions used/not used. Students will examine solutions at the local, national, and international level, including policy impact on programs, public health interventions, and public health practices.

Faculty: Hendricks
1.0
Offered annually in spring
NUTB 243-Nutrition, Brain and Behavior

During the past two decades there has been an increasing awareness of the interaction between nutrition and behavior. To examine this interaction, two general themes will be pursued. First, we will investigate the effects of nutritional variables on brain functioning and behavior. Second, we will study the influence of psychological variables in determining food intake and nutritional status. Examples of topics to be covered includes: the effects of protein‐ caloric malnutrition on brain development and intellectual functioning; obesity and other eating disorders; food additives and behavior; the role of brain mechanisms in determining nutritional intake; food choice; food as an addiction; and the importance of vitamins and minerals for behavioral functioning.

Faculty: Goldsmith
0.5
Offered annually in fall
NUTB 211-Theories of Behavior Change

This course explores the theories of behavior change most commonly used in nutrition and public health. Includes an examination of several individual‐based, social‐based, organization‐ based and eco‐social theories, including the Health Belief Model, the Theory of Planned Behavior, the Trans‐theoretical Model, Decision‐Making, Social Support, Social Learning Theory, and Diffusion of Innovations. Understanding and being able to apply these theories will help researchers and practitioners design program interventions based on psychological, biological, social, cultural and organizational frameworks.

Faculty: Folta
1.0
Offered annually in spring

Thesis

NUTB 300-Masters Thesis

Faculty will oversee the selection of, scope of, and mentoring for a thesis project.

Faculty:
1.0
Offered annually in summer
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Graduates from the Master of Nutrition Science and Policy degree program emerge with an understanding of nutrition science and nutrition policy, as well as the ability to apply their learning to solving the nutrition and lifestyle-related problems and challenges, both domestically and globally. Friedman School graduates find employment in the following sectors:

  • Government - health, nutrition, wellness
    • Federal, state, and local public health agencies
    • Food, nutrition, and health regulatory agencies
  • Food and pharmaceutical industry
    • Drugs and nutritional supplements
    • Food manufacturers
    • Food marketing
    • Public relations firms
    • Trade associations
  • Healthcare
    • Hospitals
    • Allied health care
    • Residential and older adult care
  • US and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
    • World Health Organization
    • UNICEF
    • United Nations High Commission for Refugees
    • World Bank
  • Community-based food and nutrition programs 
  • Education/teaching
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Applications

Applications to the MNSP program are accepted for both fall and spring admission. All sections of the application are taken into consideration by the admissions committee, including professional experience. Applicants must provide the following materials via our online application system:

  • Personal Statement and Résumé
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts (sent directly from your previous school(s) and translated into English)
  • Official scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) - The admissions committee is willing to consider waiving the GRE requirement if applicant has an advanced degree in a related field and/or applicable professional experience
  • International students only - official score of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or the IELTS
    • TOEFL minimum score is 600 (paper based), 250 (computer based), 100 (internet based)
    • IELTS minimum score is 6.5
  • $70 Application Fee

You can begin your application anytime by creating an account on our online application system. For questions regarding the application requirements, please contact Richard Moyer, Associate Director of Admissions (617.636.0864, Richard.Moyer@tufts.edu).

Admissions Deadlines

For admission into the Fall 2014 program-the priority deadline for submitting a complete application is April 15, 2014. Applications will be accepted after that date on a space-available basis up until August 1, 2014.

MNSP Program Prerequisites

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (out of a 4.0 equivalent)

  • College-level courses in the following:
    • Principles of Nutrition Science (Tufts offers an 8-week online course every summer that fulfills this requirement)
    • General Chemistry
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Biochemistry
    • Human Biology or Physiology
    • Mathematics

Questions about prerequisites or eligibility?

Contact Dr. Lynne Ausman, D.SC., Program Director (Lynne.Ausman@tufts.edu, 617.636.3712). Dr. Ausman is available to discuss your eligibility for the program and answer specific questions about prerequisites.  Making up select prerequisite courses is easy to do. We can help with recommendations, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

Any material not submitted electronically must be sent via FedEx or DHL services and should be addressed to:

Tufts University

Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Office of Admissions

150 Harrison Avenue

Boston, MA 02111 

All materials related to an application for admission become the property of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy upon receipt and will not be returned or released to the applicant, either in original or photocopy form.

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“Blended Learning” Format: On Campus + Online

The 10-credit* Master of Nutrition Science and Policy (MNSP) degree program is offered in a blended learning format enabling students from around the world to continue living where they choose, while studying at one of the nation’s premier research universities. The program is designed with working professionals in mind, combining intense residency sessions in Boston with facilitated online coursework.

*Please note that one-credit courses at Tufts are equal to four credits in other institutions. 

Unlike 100% online programs, MNSP students come together with Tufts faculty once a semester for approximately one week for interactive course work, lectures, seminars, and collaboration with their classmates. Following each residency session, the course continues in a highly facilitated online environment, building on knowledge and relationships that were developed on campus. Students get the best of both worlds in the blended learning format: the flexibility and on-demand access inherent to online courses, and the opportunity to engage with faculty and peers in a scholarly and immersive setting.

The program is designed to be completed in 16 months, but students are able to extend their studies if they choose to take fewer courses each semester.

Benefits of Blended Learning

Blended learning is an ideal solution for students who wish to remain in their home cities, maintain careers and/or family responsibilities while earning their degree from the world-renowned Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

  • Friedman School Faculty - Students in this unique program receive instruction from the same faculty as students in residence at our Boston campus. Students will work and interact with faculty in-person throughout the residency sessions and will continue engaging with faculty and other students during the online portions of each course.
  • Location & Flexibility - The blended learning format affords students the ability to earn a degree without a permanent residency at the University. Students participate in intensive classroom sessions in Boston. The remainder of the coursework may be completed at the student’s home, or any location in the world by accessing the University’s learning management system.
  • On Demand Access to Course Content – Students have 24/7 access to courses throughout the program. This includes readings, lectures, videos, discussion forums, and collaboration tools. 
  • Tufts University Degree - The Master of Nutrition Science and Policy degree is conferred by Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, Massachusetts. Friedman School alumni are sought after and employed in a wide range of careers. The Friedman School’s doctoral programs were ranked first among 44 US universities who participated in the 2010 National Research Council’s ranking of graduate schools.

Is Blended Learning Right for Me?

The following questions may help you in making your decision:

  • Can you dedicate approximately 10 hours a week per course to learning?
  • Are you a self-paced learner?
  • Are you able to independently problem solve, yet still know when to ask for help?
  • Are you comfortable not having weekly face-to-face interaction with professors and other students? 
  • Will you have regular and reliable access to the Internet?
  • Are you able to be away from your family and work to travel to Boston for the required residency sessions (approximately one week each semester of study)?

The Successful Blended Learning Student Is:

  • Self-disciplined, motivated and committed
  • Able to learn without frequent in-person interaction
  • Well organized
  • An independent worker
  • A problem solver
  • Goal oriented
  • Able to work well in groups
  • Flexible
  • Willing to communicate regularly with professor and other students
  • Able to ask questions through email and in discussions when concepts are not clear

Program Director

Lynne Ausman
Program Director,
Professor

Effect of dietary fat, cholesterol, and fiber on coronary artery disease and colon cancer; nutritional primatology;...

Name Title General Research
Boyd, Erin Adjunct Instructor

Prevention of acute malnutrition 

Das, Sai Krupa Assistant Professor

Energy regulation in humans; obesity; energy expenditure; body weight regulation; caloric restriction.

Folta, Sara Assistant Professor

Community-based interventions, public health nutrition, theories of behavior change, obesity prevention.

Goldsmith, Marcy Adjunct Lecturer
Hastings, David Adjunct Professor

Organizational behavior and design, management control systems.

Hendricks, Kristy Adjunct Associate Professor

Pediatric nutrition, maternal and child health, clinical nutrition, clinical trials in international pediatric...

Houser, Robert Assistant Professor
Kane, Kelly Assistant Professor
Kennedy, Eileen Professor

Assessing the health and nutrition impacts of policies and programs; nutrient density and diet diversity;...

Lichtenstein, Alice Stanley N. Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy

General research focus is on assessing the interplay between diet and heart disease risk factors.

Marino-Costello, Elizabeth Clinical Instructor, Frances Stern Nutrition Center
Masters, William Professor

Food policy and agricultural development, technology and markets

Prelack, Kathy Visiting Instructor
Saltzman, Edward Associate Professor

Obesity and body weight regulation in humans

Van Rompay, Maria Adjunct Instructor

Dietary, sociodemographic, and metabolic risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes in Puerto Rican adults;...