Degree Requirements

Summary of Degree Requirements

Both M.S. and Ph.D. Graduate degrees in Nutritional Biology at the University of California, Davis are offered by the Graduate Group in Nutritional Biology.   Below is a brief summary of the degree requirements.  The full degree requirements are also available online.

Requirements for Master’s Degree

The Graduate Group in Nutritional Biology designates its master’s degree as a Master of Science (M.S.). All M.S. students are expected to complete a thesis (Plan I). Completion of the M.S. by comprehensive examination (Plan II) is not an option unless the student petitions the Executive Committee and the petition is approved.

Plan I: Thirty units of upper division and graduate course-work and a thesis are required. At least 12 of the 30 units must be earned in graduate courses in the major field. Specific course requirements are at least 3 units of seminar (Nutrition 290/291). Additional courses are selected with the advice and consent of a graduate adviser and the major professor who serves as the chairperson of the thesis committee. A thesis committee comprised of three faculty is appointed by the dean of Graduate Studies to advise the student in research and to pass on the merits of the thesis.

Plan II: Thirty-six units of upper division and graduate coursework and a comprehensive examination are required. At least 18 of the 36 units must be earned in graduate courses in the major; no more than 9 of these 18 may be in research (299) courses. The group requires a minimum of 5 units and no more than 9 units of original research with a written report. Specific course requirements are 3 units of seminar (Nutrition 290/291) and three 5-unit core courses in advanced nutrition or their equivalent. Additional courses are selected with the advice and consent of a graduate adviser. Upon recommendation of an adviser, a faculty committee of three is appointed to conduct a comprehensive final examination which may be written, oral, or a combination.

Requirements for the Ph.D.

Core requirements for the Ph.D. degree are three 5-unit core courses in Nutrition or their equivalent, nutrition seminars at least two quarters per year, one graduate level nutrition-related course, an advanced course in statistics and courses adequate to develop one or two areas of specialization such as Endocrinology, Epidemiology and Statistics , Food Science , Immunology , Metabolism , and Molecular Biology. To develop an appropriate course program, each student creates a Guidance Committee of three professors who meet with the student and plan a program of study that prepares the student in their areas of interest, including work in areas where further preparation is needed, and will determine when the student is ready to take the Qualifying Examination.

The Qualifying Examination is an oral examination administered in two parts. The Preliminary Examination is scheduled after the student has completed three 5-unit core courses. The examination is administered by a committee of three faculty who are members of the graduate group. The Final Qualifying Examination is administered by a committee of five members appointed by the dean of Graduate Studies. The examination is intended to demonstrate the student’s critical ability and potential to conduct research. The student will present a research proposal and demonstrate competence in one or two areas of specialization.

After successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, the student is eligible to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. At this time, a Dissertation Committee is appointed by the dean of Graduate Studies, composed of three faculty members who guide the candidate in his or her research and pass upon the merits of the dissertation. After presentation of the dissertation the candidate is expected to present the results of this research in a graduate group seminar.

If they wish, doctoral students in nutrition can choose to be admitted into a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology or in International and Community Nutrition.