The Department of Nutrition is a component of the Division of Human Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The Department of Nutrition believes that nutrition plays a critical role in the health and well-being of people. In addition, the philosophy of the Department of Nutrition states that the education of our students will best be served by offering two majors with variable emphases as well as four minors:
Regardless of the emphasis, Nutrition as it is taught on the Davis campus is a biological science and requires a background in chemistry and biology. Both majors contain the same core courses within the biological and physical sciences. Courses in English, statistics, social sciences and humanities as well as the UC Davis General Education requirements are also required. These courses are generally completed prior to upper division coursework and, along with biochemistry, must be completed before most Nutrition classes can be taken. This allows time for in-depth study in Nutrition during the Junior and Senior years, when students can take courses in nutrition principles, human nutrition, diet therapy, experimental nutrition, developmental nutrition, food and culture, and community nutrition.
Career Goals & Opportunities
All of the majors in the Nutrition Department are traditional academic programs designed to give students a broad, versatile education. They are not intended to prepare students for a specific slot in the job market, but rather educate students in a specific area and provide the analytical and critical thinking skills necessary for coping with a changing world. Consult with an adviser in your major about how to round out your program to suit your career goals. Also remember that there is little correlation between grades and career success. Many employers hire people based on their interest in a job, their willingness to learn and work hard, and their ability to get along with people. Graduate and professional programs usually have minimum GPA requirements, but they are also interested in candidates who show the characteristics needed to be successful in their programs.
Students with degrees in Nutrition find employment within a wide range of organizations. Employers include: medical facilities, research laboratories, biotechnology firms, government agencies, schools, pharmaceutical companies, and the food industry. With so many options available, it is important for you to decide in which area of nutrition and in what kind of organization you would like to work. Are you interested in lab work? Do you want to work for a small company or a large one? Do you want to work in the health field? Are there courses at Davis which you should be taking to prepare for certain careers? These are just a few of the questions you need to answer before deciding on a specific career.
Many of the careers you may wish to pursue require specialized training after graduation from UC Davis. Many of our graduates have continued their education and have gone into such diverse fields as dentistry, nursing, teaching, veterinary medicine, and law. Some students enter these programs immediately after graduation; others prefer to work for a few years and then return to school. If you are thinking about a career that does require additional training, become familiar with the requirements to get into the post-graduate program. These requirements may include specific classes (e.g., education classes for a teaching career) or tests (MCAT, GRE, etc.) that you need to take.
The Clinical Nutrition major qualifies students to apply for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics "accredited internship," enabling them to become a Registered Dietitian, the professional credential necessary to work in a clinical setting. Once dietitians are registered, they generally seek employment in administrative, therapeutic, teaching, research, or public health/public service positions in clinics, hospitals, schools, or other similar institutions. There is a growing role for dietitians working in settings outside of the traditional hospital (for example, in state and federal nutrition programs, nutrition education, Peace Corps and Cooperative Extension work). Students who complete the undergraduate preparation in clinical nutrition are also qualified to enter graduate programs in dietetics, nutrition science, public health nutrition, and food service management.
The Nutrition Science major is excellent preparation for professional or graduate training in medicine, public health, or other health sciences. The nutritional biology option also provides preparation for technical work in nutrition in the animal, food, and pharmaceutical industries. The nutrition in public health option prepares students for jobs in administrative, teaching, or public health/public service positions. Students who complete the additional academic requirements for an internship in dietetics are also qualified for careers in dietetics following completion of an internship.
For more information on any of the Nutrition Department undergraduate programs, please contact the Nutrition Undergraduate Advising Office:
Undergraduate Advising Office
3202 Meyer Hall
Undergraduate Staff Advisor
Department of Nutrition
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270