Table of Contents


Welcome to the Nutrition Science Graduate Program in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. We hope that you have a rewarding and successful time in graduate school. This handbook describes the tasks and deadlines that are necessary for you to earn your graduate degree. The information noted in this version of the Nutrition Science Graduate Handbook applies to all students admitted in fall 2023. Students are held to the program requirements for the year in which they matriculate. All graduate students should refer to the handbook for answers to questions regarding graduate policies and procedures.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Nutrition Science Program is to contribute to evidence-based practice through research and to provide instructional excellence and leadership in its fields of study through scholarship, practice, civic engagement, advocacy and entrepreneurial endeavors to promote the nutritional health and well-being of individuals of all ages, their families and their communities.


The priority deadline for applications for the Nutrition Science Graduate Program is February 15th and admittance is for the fall semester only. Learn more about how to apply and required application materials. All prospective graduate students are advised to become familiar with and follow the Graduate School admission procedures. International students should also visit International Graduate Student admissions, which provides additional information and instructions regarding admissions procedures. All applicants must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Official transcripts of earlier academic degrees
  • T.O.E.F.L. or I.E.L.T.S. and financial statement (if applicable)
  • Three recent (within 3 years) letters of recommendation (preferably from faculty members)
  • Personal statement reflective of career goals and objectives (including research)

In addition to the general admissions requirements of the Graduate School, Nutrition Science Graduate Program applicants must document completion of the following:

W.R.T. 105/205  Writing I & II6
P.S.Y. 205 Psychology3
Behavior/Social Sciences6
B.I.O. 121/123 General Biology I & II6-8
B.I.O. 216/217 Anatomy & Physiology I & II (plus lab)6-8
C.H.E. 106/116 Chemistry I & II   6-8
M.A.T. 221 Statistics3
N.S.D. 225 Nutrition in Health3

While no single factor determines entry to the program, competitive applicants typically have a minimum of:

  • G.P.A. of 3.00 or higher (undergraduate and/or master’s degree)
  • TOEFL scores of 100 for the Internet based (I.B.T.) test. I.E.L.T.S. of 7 or above.

Admission decisions are made by the Nutrition Science Graduate Admissions Committee and are based on the student’s academic background, experience (e.g., research activity, related work experience), letters of recommendation, personal statement and areas of interests. It is common for successful applicants to have well beyond the minimum requirements.

Internal Application for Admissions

Current Syracuse University graduate students who wish to apply to the Nutrition Science Graduate degree program (M.A. or M.S.) are eligible to apply through the internal admission process. This includes graduate students who have completed or are currently enrolled in another graduate program and would like to apply for the following fall semester. Graduate students who fall into one of these categories should complete the Graduate Enrollment Internal Admission Application. Internal applicants are subject to the same admission requirements as those applying from outside the university. Applicants must also provide all official degree transcripts, a personal statement and three recent letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty members. Forms must be completed and turned into the program Administrative Assistant.

Note: Students who received a graduate degree from Syracuse University more than 12 months prior to their application to the Nutrition Science Graduate Program should apply online. Students who are taking graduate classes and are not currently pursuing a graduate degree at Syracuse University but wish to should apply online.

Internal admits who wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship should indicate such on the Internal Application form.


Full and Part-Time Enrollment

Students may pursue their graduate degree on a full or part-time basis. Students must enroll in a minimum of nine credit hours for full-time status. Students enrolled in eight credit hours or less are considered part-time.

Non-Matriculated Enrollment

Individuals who are not formally admitted into the Nutrition Science Graduate Program but wish to enroll in N.S.D. graduate courses may do so as a non-matriculated student. Non-matriculated students may take up to a maximum of 12 credit hours of coursework, beyond which they must apply to be formally admitted into a graduate degree program.

Students who have completed coursework on a non-matriculated basis, prior to their admission into the graduate program, may petition to have the courses applied towards their degree requirements.

Academic Advising

Faculty Academic Advisor

To assist new students in their transition into the program, all admitted first year students will be assigned to either Dr. Sudha Raj or Dr. Lynn Brann as their faculty advisor. Your academic advisor will provide guidance in course scheduling and departmental procedures. Students are expected to meet at least once per semester with their academic advisor for course scheduling.

Thesis/Project Advisor

If a student is pursuing a M.S. degree, the thesis/project advisor will advise the student on his/her/their research. In the first semester of the graduate program, the student should begin meeting with each faculty member to discuss research/project related activities, as well as his/her/their own research interests and professional goals. A student’s interests should align with his/her/their thesis/project-advisor’s areas of expertise. Students pursuing a M.S. must secure a thesis/project advisor by the second semester of the first year by affirming the commitment of a N.S.D. faculty member to serve in this role. Students should be aware of their thesis/project advisor’s expectations and are expected to meet with their advisor on a regular basis. The thesis/project advisor will likely have recommendations for coursework relevant to the student’s thesis/project and can work in consult with the faculty academic advisor to determine recommended courses.

Transfer Credits

Graduate courses completed at a previous accredited institution may be petitioned to apply to the nutrition science graduate degree requirements. Students may transfer a maximum of nine graduate credits (with a grade of B or higher) with the approval of the graduate director. Grades from other institutions are not included in the Syracuse University G.P.A. calculation.

Students requesting a transfer of credits or requesting to take a graduate course at another institution are required to complete a petition for each course that is being transferred. Students must also provide a complete syllabus for the class. The graduate director reviews the petitions to determine which courses will be accepted. Permission by the Graduate Director must be obtained before the student registers for the course. Failing to obtain permission may result in the course not being counted toward the student’s graduate degree.


Students are discouraged from taking an incomplete grade in any course. If a student must file for an “Incomplete”, the Syracuse University Request for Incomplete Grade form must be submitted to the department chair for approval. Students who do not abide by the terms of the Incomplete will receive an “F.” Any graduate student with an incomplete may not be eligible for graduate assistantships.

Graduate Student Annual Review Process and Procedure

Each spring semester the graduate nutrition faculty conduct an annual review of all graduate students and their Programs of Study. The annual review is designed to facilitate students’ progress by providing timely feedback regarding their overall performance. This includes any clarification of program requirements and expectations, as well as early identification of concerns or deficiencies.

In preparation for the review, all graduate students are required to complete the Annual Review online survey. An email with the survey will be sent at least two weeks prior to the due date of the materials. The Annual Review survey provides faculty with information regarding the student’s academic progress and accomplishments. The information will also be used when awarding assistantships for the forthcoming year.

Annual Review Process:

The faculty advisor will review the advisee’s information and provide a summary of his/her progress to the graduate nutrition faculty committee. Nutrition faculty may provide additional information regarding student progress and performance. If faculty have concerns about a student's progress, the student will meet with the graduate program director to discuss concerns and create a plan for future success.

Academic Standards

Satisfactory Progress

All graduate students are required to maintain satisfactory progress in their degree program. This is accomplished by maintaining a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 (B) or higher in all courses listed in their program of study. This includes graduate courses taken outside the Nutrition Science Graduate Program (anthropology, education, psychology, sociology, etc.). Students must earn a B or better in all required courses.

Probation and Dismissal

Any student who fails to maintain a cumulative 3.0 G.P.A. is subject to academic probation. Students who do not achieve satisfactory progress after one semester may be dismissed from the program. In the case that a student must repeat a required course (when earning a grade lower than a B), they must do so the next time the course is offered. Students are also subject to dismissal if they fail to complete degree requirements in the required timeframe.

Master’s degree students must meet all requirements for the master’s degree within seven years from the time the student registers for the first course to be used toward their master’s degree program.

Program Extensions

If a graduate student cannot complete their degree within the allotted timeframe, the student may apply for an extension. To request an extension, students should consult their advisor and submit a formal request to the graduate director. The request should be in the form of a memorandum stating the reason for the extension and the amount of time needed for completion. Please note that extensions are granted only under the most extenuating circumstances (e.g., major illness).

Nutrition Science M.S. Degree Program

The M.S. in Nutrition Science requires the completion of a minimum of 30 credits and includes a thesis. The degree is comprised of 19 credit hours of required core course work (core) and 11 credit hours of electives.

Nutrition Science Core Courses (19 credits):

N.S.D. 654 Nutrition Research Methods3

N.S.D. 665 Metabolism of Micronutrients


N.S.D. 667 Metabolism of Macronutrients


N.S.D. 695 Nutritional Status Evaluation

N.S.D. 997 Master's Thesis3

H.F.S. 621 Statistical Concepts I


P.H.P. 630 Analysis of Public Health Data


Elective Course Requirements (11 credits)

Elective coursework must be selected from the Nutrition Science graduate program or related programs (e.g., Psychology, Education, Policy Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, etc.). Graduate courses are indicated by their course number (500 or above). Students must consult with their academic advisor prior to selecting courses. Elective courses should be consistent with the student’s academic interests and goals and form a coherent program of study. For a complete list of available courses, please consult the Course Catalog.

Nutrition Science Electives (11 credits):

N.S.D. 511 Nutrition Education3
N.S.D. 512 Nutrition Counseling3
N.S.D. 513 Nutrition Education Experience1
N.S.D. 515 Physical Assessment and Multiskilling for Dietitians1
N.S.D. 516 Nutrition Counseling Experience1
N.S.D. 555 Food, Culture and Environment3
N.S.D. 617 Integrated Food and Nutrition Therapy3
N.S.D. 625 Sports Nutrition3
N.S.D. 627 Public Health Nutrition3
N.S.D. 637 Integrative and Functional Nutrition3
N.S.D. 647 Weight Management/Disordered Eating3
N.S.D. 648 Dietetics Practice Across the Lifespan3
N.S.D. 652 Mediterranean Food and Culture3
N.S.D. 655 Issues in Community Nutrition3
N.S.D. 658 Participatory Program Planning3
N.S.D. 660 Readings in Nutrition1 - 3
N.S.D. 670 Experience Credit1 - 6
N.S.D. 680 Seminar in Food and Nutrition1
N.S.D. 681 Clinical Nutrition Therapy I3
N.S.D. 682 Clinical Nutrition Therapy I Lab1
N.S.D. 683 Clinical Nutrition Therapy II3
N.S.D. 684 Clinical Nutrition Therapy II Lab1
N.S.D. 685 Nutritional Genomics3
N.S.D. 755 Field Experience in Community Nutrition3
N.S.D. 756 Food and Public Policy3
N.S.D. 765 Problems in Human Metabolism3

Independent Study

M.S. students may take up to 3 credits as “Independent Study.” An independent study may include research projects, literature reviews, or other scholarly activities beyond those involved in standard coursework. All independent studies are conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. Students must complete the Independent Study Form prior to registering. The independent study must be completed in the semester when it is undertaken.

Graduate students may choose to audit courses during the fall and spring semesters. Permission of the instructor must be obtained by completing a Grading Option Application Form with the instructor’s signature. Audited courses are not counted toward the graduate degree and students are required to pay 60% of the tuition cost.

Master’s Thesis (1-6 credits, N.S.D. 997)

Master's Project (3 credits, N.S.D. 996)

In addition to their coursework, students must complete either a master’s thesis or master's project as part of the MS program. Students should discuss these options with their academic advisor in the first semester of the program to determine which one is best fit. While the thesis involves investigative work on a specific topic, extensive examination and interpretation of nutrition literature on that topic, and the presentation of results in a clear and logical form, the master's project enables the application of nutrition skills and concepts to a nutrition related problem in either a community or clinical situation. Completion of the thesis or project may require an additional year of study beyond completion of coursework. 

Master’s Comprehensive Exam

Master’s students are required to complete the Master’s Comprehensive Examination as part of their master’s degree and must pass this in order to receive their degree. The Master’s Comprehensive Examination is given to candidates who are in the final stages of completing all requirements for the master’s degree. This examination provides the master’s candidate an opportunity to demonstrate his/her capabilities for critical analysis and thinking and assimilation of information contained in the body of nutrition literature. The exam is a take home exam. It will be given to students in early March of their final year of study; students will be given two weeks to complete the exam. Students will participate in an oral defense of their written responses to a group of nutrition graduate faculty on a specified date toward the end of the semester.

If the student fails to pass the Comprehensive Exam, they will be given a second chance to complete it. Failure to pass the second time will result in suspension from the Nutrition Science Graduate Program.

Certificate Of Advanced Study in Integrative and Functional Nutrition

The objective of the Certificate of Advanced Study in Integrative and Functional Nutrition at Syracuse University’s Falk College is to educate and train nutrition and other allied health professionals in personalized approaches to health and wellness. The rising public interest and awareness in nutrition and healthy lifestyles. changing demographics, a growing epidemic of nutrition related non-communicable diseases across the lifespan have created a growing need for nutrition professionals to work with clients in a patient centered manner using a systems biology approach.

The certificate, which will officially launch as a fully online program in the fall of 2022, aims to enhance their understanding of nutrition within the context of the individual’s genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors through educational training that is inter-professional, and evidence based using the Nutrition Care Process and Model. Nutrition care within the integrative and functional healthcare paradigm seeks to promote optimal wellness by combining evidence based conventional and complementary diet and lifestyle therapies in a sustained, coordinated manner that addresses the spectrum of acute to chronic disease conditions.

The CAS in Integrative and Functional Nutrition requires the completion of a minimum of 12 credits comprised of 3 core courses and 1 elective course.

Courses (Core)


NSD 637 Integrative and Functional Nutrition


NSD 617 Integrative Food and Nutrition Therapy


NSD 685 Nutritional Genomics


Courses (Electives)


NSD 512 Nutrition Counseling


NSD 765 Problems in Human Metabolism


Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy

Syracuse University’s Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about course-specific expectations, as well as about university policy. The university policy governs appropriate citation and use of sources, the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments, and the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verification of participation in class activities. The policy also prohibits students from submitting the same written work in more than one class without receiving written authorization in advance from both instructors. For more information, see the complete policy.

Syracuse University Disability-Related Accommodations

If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Center for Disability Resources (C.D.R.), located in Room 303 of 804 University Avenue, or call (315) 443-4498, T.D.D.: (315) 443-1371 for an appointment to discuss your needs and the process for requesting accommodations. C.D.R. is responsible for coordinating disability-related accommodations and will issue students with documented Disabilities Accommodation Authorization Letters, as appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact C.D.R. as soon as possible.

Syracuse University Religious Observances Policy

SU religious observances policy recognizes the diversity of faiths represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty, and staff to observe religious holidays according to their tradition. Under the policy, students are provided an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to a religious observance provided they notify their instructors before the end of the second week of classes for regular session classes and by the submission deadline for flexibly formatted classes.

For fall and spring semesters, an online notification process is available through  MySlice > StudentServices > Enrollment > MyReligiousObservances.

Departmental Rules and Regulations

Email and Addresses

All email correspondence will be sent to the student’s email address only. Students should notify the Administrative Assistant regarding address changes.

Degree in Progress

Students who have completed their graduate coursework are expected to register for G.R.D. 998 (0 credits). Students are required to enroll every semester (fall and spring) from the time of matriculation into the program until degree conferral. Failure to do so will result in the loss of their “full-time status” and university-related privileges.


Students who wish to claim an exemption to a standing policy and/or procedure may file a petition with the department stating their request and rationale. All petitions will be reviewed by the department chair, and/or the graduate director for approval.

Leave of Absence

Students requesting a leave from the University for personal or health reasons prior to completing their degree requirements must file an Official Leave of Absence form. The form must be submitted whether or not they intend to return.

To take a leave of absence:

  1. A graduate student must complete the official withdrawal/leave of absence form.
  2. The department chair of the student’s primary program must sign the form.
  3. The student must hand deliver the form to the Office of Student Services, Falk 330, Barclay Suite. (In the case where a student is unable to do so, the department chair may send the form to the Office of Student Services.)

To return from the leave of absence:

  1. A graduate student must complete a petition to be readmitted to their program.
  2. The department chair must sign the petition.
  3. The student must send the petition to the Office of Student Services, Graduate Recorder, Falk 330, Barclay Suite.


If a student believes s/he has been treated unfairly or inappropriately by the faculty, s/he should state this in writing to the Graduate Director and request to meet with the faculty. If students wish to appeal decisions by the faculty, they may submit a grievance report to the N.S.D. Grievance Committee. A copy of the Student Grievance Processes are available from Syracuse University.

Assistantships, Fellowships and Awards

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available for new and continuing students. New students requesting an assistantship should indicate their request on the graduate school application for admission and do not need to file a separate application for an assistantship. Continuing students will indicate their desire for a graduate assistantship as part of the Annual Review.

Students may be awarded full-time or part-time assistantships. Students receiving a full-time assistantship work 20 hours per week and receive a stipend and a tuition scholarship of 24 (9/9/6) credits for the two academic semesters and one summer session. Students receiving a full-time assistantship cannot be employed elsewhere.

Students who receive a part-time assistantship work 10 hours per week and receive a reduced stipend. They receive 12 (6/6) tuition scholarship credits for the two academic semesters. Part-time graduate assistants may be employed elsewhere.

Tuition credits awarded cannot exceed the number of credits required for the student to complete his/her degree.

Graduate assistants assigned to research grants may be required to track and document their working hours.

Supervisor expectations and work will vary between graduate assistantships. Some graduate assistants will work on campus and assist faculty with coursework or class activities; others might work on faculty research projects and be expected to work night and weekend hours. Students will discuss their assistantship responsibilities with their faculty supervisors.

Graduate students holding an assistantship are entitled to audit courses during the fall and spring semesters at no charge. Permission of the instructor must be obtained by completing a “Grading Option Application Form” with the instructor’s signature. The form is then returned to the Student Records Office at 106 Steele Hall. (Forms are available at the Student Records Office, or your academic department.) Auditing courses during a Summer Session is NOT free; students will be charged 60% of graduate tuition.

All graduate teaching assistants are required to participate in the All-University T.A. Orientation Program that is held two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester. Students who receive an assistantship in the spring semester should contact the Graduate School for the dates and times of the Spring T.A. orientations. In addition to graduate assistantships, the department has a limited number of scholarship credits available to be awarded to deserving students (number of tuition credits awarded may vary).

University Fellowship

Syracuse University offers some fellowships for graduate students. We encourage you to explore opportunities here.

Graduate Travel Awards

Funds for travel and other related expenses are available for students presenting their work at national conferences from the Graduate Student Organization (G.S.O.) and the Falk College Dean’s Office. Students applying for the Professional, Academic, and Creative Work Grant must complete the form and submit the completed applications to the G.S.O. and a copy to the Nutrition Science Graduate Program Director.

Financial Assistance

Please visit the graduate school website for information on financial aid. The Graduate School is located in 304 Lyman Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244 (315) 443-2543.

Professional Development and Resources

The opportunity to participate in various professional development programs is available to graduate students to enrich their educational experience at Syracuse University. Please visit Programs of the Graduate School to become familiar with the various educational programs.

Computer Resources and Printing

Information Technology and Services (I.T.S.) is the S.U. organization that manages the campus computer infrastructure.

Students wishing to use any of the computers within the labs, you must have a valid NetID and password. I.T.S. has public computer labs conveniently located around campus for students to use. The computers are directly connected to the SU campus network, allowing e-mail transactions and Internet access. Locations and hours of operation for the labs are listed under I.T.S. Computer Labs. Students in the Nutrition Science Program may also use the computer labs located in the Falk Complex.


The mission of the Syracuse University Library is to assist the educational and research efforts of faculty, students, and staff of Syracuse University by acquiring, organizing, providing access to, preserving and providing assistance in using the materials they require for scholarship and research. The Library offers its collections and services to users in an environment that actively supports learning, teaching, and research.

The Library also serves as a major academic resource in the region, state, and nation. Within its available resources, and through cooperative resource sharing agreements, the Library has a responsibility to make available selected materials needed by the external scholarly, professional, and business communities.

Students in the Nutrition Science Program may use any of the libraries located on the S.U. campus as well as the Environmental Science and Forestry (E.S.F.) library. A valid S.U.I.D. card is needed to gain access to the library and to check out books from the circulation desk. N.S.D. students may find that they will predominantly use the E.S. Bird Library on Waverly Avenue and the Science and Technology Library located in Carnegie Hall on the main academic quad.

The Nutrition Program works closely with librarian Anita Kuiken, who assists in developing library resources for the program. She can assist both students and faculty in need of specific research materials.

The S.U. library system maintains a web site. Students can access information about the library, locations, and hours of service from the web. SUMMIT, the Syracuse University Library catalogue, and most of the library databases are also available online. Visit the library for more detailed information about available library resources.

Graduate Student Organization

Students in the Graduate Nutrition Science Program are eligible to participate in the university Graduate Student Organization. The Graduate Student Organization (G.S.O.) is open to all graduate students at Syracuse University. Students are automatically billed for G.S.O. membership as part of their mandatory fees. The G.S.O. office is in Room 303 Lyman Hall.


The Nutrition Education & Promotion Association (NEPA) is a student run association that brings together Syracuse University students who are interested in nutrition and encourages them to share their interest with the surrounding campus and community. Each year, NEPA sponsors a well-known speaker to visit the Syracuse University campus and lecture on nutrition and a healthy life-style. NEPA is involved in many on and off campus community service activities. The club meets once a month to plan those events and other activities. For more information, contact the NEPA faulty advisor, Jane Burrell.

N.S.D. Faculty and Professional Staff

The list of N.S.D. faculty members and professional staff, a brief description of their academic backgrounds, research interests, and contact information are presented below. Further information about their academic careers is available on the Falk College Directory.

Lynn S. Brann, Ph.D., R.D.N., F.A.N.D.

Associate Professor, Chair

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-4805

Kay Stearns Bruening, Ph.D., R.D.N., F.A.N.D.

Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-9326

Jane Burrell, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N.

Associate Teaching Professor

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-4882

Chaya Lee Charles, M.S., R.D., C.S.G., C.D.N.

Associate Teaching Professor

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-9437

Maria ErdmanM.S., R.D., C.D.N., C.S.O.

Associate Teaching Professor

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-2162

Jessica L. Garay, Ph.D., R.D.N., F.A.N.D.

Assistant Professor

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-3479

Sudha Raj, Ph.D., R.D.N., F.A.N.D.

Teaching Professor and Graduate Program Director

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-2556

Latha Ramalingam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-9324

Margaret A. Voss, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-5654

Maryam Yuhas, Ph.D., R.D.N.

Assistant Professor

Contact Information: e-mail:, Phone: 315-443-9323

N.S.D. Professional Staff

Nicole Beckwith, M.A., R.D., C.D.N.

Director, Dietetic Internship

Contact Information: email:; Phone: 315-443-2396

Nancy Rindfuss, M.A., R.D.N., C.D.N.

Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics

Contact Information: email:; Phone: 315-443-2269

MacKenzie Kelly

Administrative Assistant

Contact Information: e-mail:; Phone: 315-443-5573

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