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Graduate Degree Programs in Sports Nutrition Overview

Majors Overview May 19, 2017

This article talks about graduate degree programs in sports nutrition and their educational requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Graduate Programs in Sports Nutrition

Individuals seeking advanced knowledge necessary to become an athletic trainer or professional nutritionist would benefit from enrolling in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Sports Nutrition. With more calories tended to be burned by athletes as compared to non-athletes, they must pay special attention to their diet to perform properly and stay healthy.

Training is available in the core nutritional elements that are most harmful and helpful to athletes. The curriculum is devised to build on a prior grasp of dietetics, basic nutrition, human physiology, and chemistry while students also gain advanced training as sports nutritionists.

Enrollees in most master’s degree programs in sports nutrition are required to complete a project or thesis paper apart from attending graduate-level seminar classes. Students usually work with a faculty advisor who assists them in selecting a particular area of the sports nutrition field to perform further research and analysis. Candidates can also obtain the American Dietetic Association’s professional certification offerings.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in a field such as nutrition, dietetics, exercise or athletic training. Requirements also include having a base of health and nutritional knowledge that they can enhance through the program and submitting GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, and letters of recommendation.


Program coursework often covers advanced-level courses related to the specific bodily processes that athletes are affected by, and the nutritional supplements and diet they need to sustain themselves. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Minerals and vitamins
•Sports supplements
•Energy nutrients
•Exercise training
•Nutritional assessment
•Eating disorders in sports
•Fitness testing lab
•Nutrition for weight management
•Fluid and electrolyte balance

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2014, about 66,700 individuals were employed as dietitians and nutritionists, including sports nutritionists, in the United States (BLS). Nutritionists and dietitians are expected to see a 16% job growth, over the 2014 – 2024 decade. In May 2014, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $58,920 (BLS).

Continuing Education Options

State licensure is compulsory for nutritionists who wish to practice legally in the field (BLS). The American Dietetic Association offers certification credentials for nutritionists who can become Registered Dietitians through the passage of an exam and completion of a supervised internship experience.

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