Student in lab coat

Master of Public Health

The Master of Public Health with a focus on Nutrition prepares students to acquire skills in nutrition practice and communication together with foundational knowledge in nutritional science and public health. Public Health Nutrition aims to promote the overall nutritional health among a population by exploring an array of influences on diet, nutrition, and health as socioeconomic, political, cultural, and environmental factors. Students in this non-thesis, professional degree program will complete a minimum of 42 hours of course work in nutrition, epidemiology, and health promotion through lecture courses, field experience, and a scholarly report. The Applied Public Health Practicum course will consist of no less than 240 contact hours of supervised field-based experience in public health sites. This program will prepare those in the nutrition field for work in public health, public policy, and national nutrition programs.

This new degree program will begin enrolling students in August 2022. Accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) will be sought for this major. The accreditation process is typically three years from the time of application. The Master of Public Health is a professional degree and offered on-campus only. Students interested in a Master of Science degree may consider our Health Promotion graduate study, which focuses on a social and ecological approach to health, health education and health promotion with both thesis and non-thesis as well as on-campus and distance learning options.

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups. This projected growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services. The median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (such as registered nurses, physicians and surgeons, and dental hygienists) was $69,870 in May 2020, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations in the economy of $41,950.

The Master of Public Health in Nutrition also prepares students to lay the foundation for pursuing further certifications and degrees. For example, Master of Public Health Nutrition students may pursue a career as Dietitians and Nutritionists. Effective 2024, a minimum of a master’s degree is required to become a registered dietitian nutritionists. Students with a Master of Public Health degree may complete a separate dietetic internship to be qualified for a registered dietitian exam.


Public health nutritionists may find jobs in a number of settings:

  • Academia/Research (study coordinator role)
  • Charitable Organizations
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Federal Public Health Agencies (USDA, FDA, CDC, NIH, etc)
  • Food Industry
  • Health Care Industry (hospitals, nursing facilities, outpatient facilities, clinics, and physician offices)
  • International Public Health Agencies (WHO, USAID)
  • Non-Government Agencies
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • State and Local Agencies (ie. WIC)

Job titles may include:

  • Childhood Obesity Prevention Fellow
  • Community Health Nutritionist
  • Dietitians and Nutritionists
  • Director of Health and Nutrition
  • Extension Specialist
  • Farm to School Coordinator
  • Food and Nutrition Advisor
  • Food and Nutrition Analyst
  • Food and Nutrition Consultant
  • Food and Nutrition Journalist/Author
  • Food Labeling Specialist
  • Food Policy Director
  • Manager of Nutrition Services
  • Nutrition Communications Specialist
  • Nutrition Officer
  • Nutrition Policy Advocate
  • Nutrition Scientist
  • Nutrition Specialist
  • Policy Director
  • Program Coordinator
  • Program Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Public Health Nutritionist
  • SNAP-Ed Educator
  • Study Coordinator
  • Study Manager
  • Technical Advisor
  • WIC Nutritionist or Director

Master of Public Health

The program requires 42/44 credit hours, including core courses of 21/22 hours in public health and 18 hours in nutrition and foods, as well as an elective course (3 hours except EPY 8214). For programmatic accreditation, an applied public health practicum and integrative experience are required, which are part of the core courses.


A minimum of a 2.75 GPA (undergraduate work) is required for graduate work if accrued over a four-year average. If accrued over a two-year period, a 3.00 GPA is required. Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). International students are required to have a minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 PBT (79 iBT) or an IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) score of 6.5.

An applicant who has not fully met the GPA requirement stipulated by the University may be admitted on a provisional basis. The provisionally-admitted student is eligible for a change to regular status after receiving a 3.00 GPA on the first 9 hours of graduate courses at Mississippi State University (with no grade lower than a C). The first 9 hours of graduate courses must be within the student's program of study, as prescribed by his/her advisor. Courses with an S grade, transfer credits, or credits earned while in unclassified status cannot be used to satisfy this requirement. If a 3.00 is not attained, the provisional student shall be dismissed from the graduate program. A student admitted with provisional status should contact the graduate coordinator for the program’s specific requirements. While in the provisional status, a student is not eligible to hold a graduate assistantship.