The Definitive List of Sports Nutrition Graduate Programs

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It’s March, which means three things: falling back in daylight savings time (this is the worst), green beer, and graduate school applications. This post is for future graduate students and RD2Bs. If you want to be a sports dietitian and are starting to look at sports nutrition graduate programs, I have got you covered.

Sports dietitians, sometimes called sports nutritionists, are nutrition professionals who use scientific research to work with athletes of all levels to leverage their nutrition habits to support optimal performance. The field of sports nutrition is growing fast, meaning this is an exciting time to get in, and job opportunities should be abundant!

Do Sports Dietitians need graduate degrees?

The required education to become a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) takes three steps: an undergraduate degree (or other didactic program completion), a dietetic internship, and a dietetic registration exam. Effective in 2025, RDs will be required to have a graduate degree.

To be a sports dietitian, you need those three steps plus some related work experience. The good news is that you can carve out a specific educational path to gain relevant knowledge and experience to benefit your future career. I am a big proponent of getting work experience in your field while completing graduate school.

This post will cover advanced degrees that will not make you eligible for the RDN credential. If you are looking for ACEND-accredited programs for a bachelor’s degree or for coordinated programs or dietetic internships that will make you provide registration examination eligibility, click here for the Academy of Nutrition’s search tool.

Types of Graduate Programs for Sports Dietitians

Let’s jump into the list of schools offering degrees and programs that align with your career goals. I reviewed all the programs claiming to emphasize sports nutrition and looked at their coursework, professors’ research interests, and any hands-on experience they may offer. I did not focus on the application process or the length of the program, either in months to completion or credit hours. I have included a link to each program to allow you to gather further information to determine if the program is a feasible fit for you. Let’s get started!

A common misconception among nutrition students is that your master’s degree needs to be in the field of nutrition. But the truth is that if your undergraduate degree was an accredited program with all the necessary didactic coursework that allowed you to meet the eligibility requirements for a dietetic internship, your master’s degree can be in whatever you are interested. If your career goals involve sports nutrition, obtaining a master’s in exercise science, exercise physiology, sports nutrition, human nutrition, nutritional sciences, or related fields is most applicable. The options are endless: from education to a foreign language or business.

Master’s Degree in Sports Nutrition

I defined a program that garners a degree specifically in sports nutrition as one in which its core courses are directly related to sports and nutrition, rather than having a concentration or specialization in sports nutrition as part of a more general degree.

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs – Colorado Springs, CO
MS, Sport Nutrition

Logan University – Chesterfield, MO
MS, Nutrition and Human Performance 
*This program is offered 100% online*

University of Central Missouri – Warrensburg, MO
MS, Nutrition – Sport Nutrition 

Marywood University – Scranton, PA
MS, Sports & Human Performance Nutrition 

Lamar University – Beaumont, TX
MS, Nutrition Sport Nutrition
*This program is offered 100% online*

Master’s Degree in Nutrition with a Sports Nutrition Concentration

Programs specifically in sports nutrition are few and far. The next best thing is a nutrition program with a specialization in sports nutrition. These programs typically consist of a generic nutrition curriculum and then allow students to choose electives that allow for an emphasis on the desired area of study, which in this case would be sports nutrition. For example, Auburn University operates like this and offers the following electives for sports nutrition:
NTRI 6620 Sports Nutrition (3)
KINE 7680 Advanced Physiology of Exercise I (3)
KINE 7700 Advanced Physiology of Exercise II (3)
KINE 7500 Exercise Technology I: Principles of Exercise Testing and Interpretation (4)
KINE 7550 Exercise Techology II: Applied Exercise Testing and Interpretation (4)
KINE 6400 Exercise Prescription for Normal and Special Populations (3)
KINE 7750 Advanced Sports Pyschology (3)

Keep in mind that not all classes will be offered in all semesters, and some classes might not be available during the duration of your degree. Some other programs that offer this concentration are as follows.

Auburn University – Auburn, AL
MS, in Nutrition – option for an Emphasis on Sports Nutrition (online option available) 

Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, CA
MS, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Emphasis 

Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL
MS, Exercise Physiology with major in Sports Nutrition
MS, Exercise Physiology with major in Sports Nutrition and Dietetic Internship

Miami University – Miami, FL
MSEd, Applied Physiology – Clinical Nutrition for Performance track

University of Georgia – Athens, GA
MS, Foods and Nutrition Sports Nutrition Emphasis
PhD, Foods and Nutrition with Sports Nutrition Emphasis

Life University – Marietta, GA
MS, Science in Sport Health Science – Specialty tracks in Exercise and Sport Science, Nutrition and Sport Science, or Sport Coaching

Brigham Young University Hawaii – Laie, HI
MS, Nutritional Science
Note: This is one of six schools that accepts the successful completion of the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition as fulfilling part of the requirements for its MS degree, allowing for a self-specialized pathway in sports nutrition.

Graceland University – Lamoni, IA
MS, Nutrition and Human Performance (Sport Nutrition and Performance Concentration) 

University of Kentucky – Lexington, KY
MS, Nutritional Sciences (emphasis area: Wellness/Sports Nutrition)

Merrimack College – North Andover, Massachusetts 
MS, Nutrition and Human Performance
Note: This program is known as a Future Education Model. “Future Education Model degree programs are competency-based education programs that integrate classroom learning with hands-on supervised experiential learning activities. The program’s curriculum is guided by competencies and their respective performance indicators, thus it fosters work readiness.” This is essentially a combination MS/DI program, making you eligible to sit for the RD exam after completion of it.

University of Mississippi – Oxford, MS
PhD, Nutrition and Hospitality Management with a concentration in Sport Nutrition 

Saint Louis University – St. Louis, MO
MS, Nutrition and Dietetics, Concentration Nutrition and Physical Performance
Note: This is a combined MS/DI program, making you eligible to sit for the RD exam after completion of it.

College of Saint Elizabeth – Morristown, NJ
MS, Nutrition (Certificate Program in Sports Nutrition & Wellness is available)

Texas Woman’s University – Denton, TX
MS, Exercise and Sports Nutrition

University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT
MS, Nutrition Science with an emphasis in Sports Nutrition
MS, Nutrition with Integrative Physiology Emphasis 
Coordinated Master’s Program – Sports Nutrition Concentration
Note: This is a combined MS/DI program, making you eligible to sit for the RD exam after completion of it.

International Programs

Ulster University – Ireland 
MS, Sport and Exercise Nutrition 

Loughborough University – UK 
MSc, Physiology and Nutrition of Sport and Exercise

St. Mary‘s University – London, UK 
MSc, Applied Sports Nutrition

University of the Sunshine Coast – Queensland, Australia 
MS, Sports Nutrition by Research

Oxford Brookes University – Oxford, UK
MS, Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Coventry University – Coventry, UK
MSc, Sports and Exercise Nutrition 

University of Huddersfield – Huddersfield, UK
MSc, Sport and Exercise Nutrition 

Liverpool John Moores University – Liverpool, England
MSc, Sport Nutrition 

University of Central Lancashire – Lancashire, UK
MSc, Nutrition & Exercise Sciences

Manchester Metropolitan University – Manchester, UK
MSc, Sport Nutrition 

Middlesex University – London, UK 
MSc, Sport and Exercise Nutrition 

University of Chichester 
MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition

What’s Next?

Topics that will be covered in the next few weeks: programs in exercise science that specialize in nutrition, graduate programs in sport science, graduate assistantships, and how to decide what postgraduate program is right for you.

This series of blog posts has been a labor of love. It is what I wish I had when I was looking at postgraduate schools. I will aim to keep this post updated. If you see a program that is missing, please reach out to me so I can add it.If you found this post helpful, please consider supporting me by sharing the link to this post with classmates, colleagues, and friends, by joining my email list, or by checking out my RD2RD store.

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