Human Nutrition (MSc, PhD)

The graduate program in Human Nutrition offers opportunities for advanced study and original investigations in basic and applied human nutrition at both the master’s and doctoral levels. The curriculum includes coursework and thesis research through laboratory or field work in a variety of areas relevant to human nutrition including nutrient metabolism, diet and disease, nutrition through the life cycle and nutrition behaviours.

Research projects also examine environmental, social, and individual determinants of food choices and eating patterns; this includes better understanding of socio-cultural effects on diet, and the impact living in “food deserts” can have on good health.

International nutrition projects in Cambodia, Zambia, Rwanda, and other countries seek to improve maternal, infant, and child nutrition.


For admission with full standing into the M.Sc. program, applicants from a Canadian or American university or college must hold a bachelor degree or its academic equivalent with a minimum overall average in the B+ range (at UBC 76% or higher) in all third and fourth year courses. Minimum academic requirements for students from other countries are specified on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies web site.

For students whose degree was not completed in English, minimum TOEFL scores are 577 (paper version), or 233 (computer version), or 90 (Internet version)

Students admitted to the M.Sc. program must meet the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' master's degree Admission Requirements.

In addition, required prerequisite courses include biochemistry, human or vertebrate physiology, and advanced nutrition. A minimum of 3 credits (three hours per week, for two academic terms or one academic year) is required in each of biochemistry and physiology, and a minimum of 12 credits is required in nutrition. These prerequisite courses must be completed at the third- or fourth-year level. Students without a background in nutrition, or with less than 12 credits of undergraduate courses in nutrition, may apply to the program. However, if admitted, they will be required to take the missing credits of third- or fourth-year nutrition courses early in the graduate program, in addition to the usual M.Sc. course requirements.


Applicants for the Ph.D. degree must ordinarily hold a First Class Master's degree in Nutrition with a standing of "A", and a Bachelor's degree with the above academic standing in Nutrition or a related science. For students whose degree was not completed in English, minimum TOEFL scores are 577 (paper version), or 233 (computer version), or 90 (Internet version). Students are not normally admitted directly into the Ph.D. program from a bachelor's program. However, highly-qualified students may transfer to the Ph.D. program without completing a M.Sc. thesis. Click here for additional information about transferring programs.


The M.Sc. program requires completion of a minimum of 30 credits, including an 18-credit research thesis and at least 12 credits of coursework.

HUNU 500, 531, and at least one other 500-level HUNU graduate course are required of all students in the M.Sc. program.

A student's supervisory committee may require more than the minimum credits.


The Ph.D. program does not require a fixed number of courses but appropriate coursework will be selected in consultation with the candidate's committee. All candidates are required to take a comprehensive examination. This normally occurs after any required course work has been completed, within 18 months but no later than 24 months after the student begins his/her Doctoral program. The major requirement for the Ph.D. is completion of a research thesis demonstrating ability to conduct significant and original scientific research. Applicants to the Ph.D. program will be expected to meet the requirements of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Photo Name Title Research Interests
Susan Barr Professor Cognitive dietary restraint, women's health, bone density, vegetarianism, physical activity in association with the above, dietary intakes
Jennifer Black Assistant Professor Social determinants of health and dietary choices, neighbourhood-level food availability, health disparities, applied uses of large survey datasets, quantitative methods and geographic information systems to study nutrition and health;
Gwen Chapman Associate Dean; Professor Food habits; family food decision making; gender and food choice; qualitative research; sociology of food and eating
Angela Devlin Assistant Professor Diet, epigenetics and metabolic programming; methyl nutrient metabolism; cardiometabolic risk factors; nutrient regulation of gene expression
Rajavel Elango Assistant Professor Protein and amino acid requirements using stable isotope tracers during key stages of growth and development in human pregnancy, adolescence, and childhood malnutrition
Tim Green Professor; Graduate Advisor Vitamins with emphasis on folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D; nutritional assessment and human intervention studies
Yvonne Lamers Assistant Professor B vitamins with a special focus on folate/folic acid, vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6; metabolic effects of marginal vitamin deficiencies and high-dose vitamin supplementation; linkage between nutrient inadequacy and risk of chronic disease; stable isotope tracer protocols and human intervention studies; nutrient requirements
Judy McLean Senior Instructor International nutrition and food security; maternal and child nutrition, micronutrients
Zhaoming Xu Associate Professor Nutrient-gene interactions, diet (zinc) and breast cancer, zinc and growth regulation

Clinical Nutrition Lab
Clinical Research Facility
Vij’s Kitchen Culinary Lab
Sensory Labs

The program is enriched through collaboration with colleagues in graduate programs such as Applied Animal Biology, Food Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medicine, Health Care and Epidemiology, Human Kinetics, and the Institute for Health Promotion Research.

Graduates of our program have pursued academic positions at universities or colleges, consulting, or careers in health-related fields including medicine, dentistry, and others. Those who were registered dietitians before pursuing graduate study have gone on to senior clinical or administrative positions.