Public interest regarding the importance of nutrition to health and fitness is at a high level and increasing. The Major in Nutrition and Food Science involves integration of the biological, medical, and social sciences and their application to the improvement of human nutrition and fitness, prevention of chronic disease, and improved quality of life. The major is both science- and human service-oriented.
Nutrition and Food Science graduates gain a scientific understanding of the principles of human nutrition, the role of nutrition in the prevention and management of disease, delivery of nutritional care, and the principles of nutrition assessment and food preparation. Additionally, graduates know the techniques of interviewing, counseling, information management, and effective communication.
Four concentrations are currently available in this major: Dietetics and Nutrition Management, Nutrition and Fitness, Nutritional Sciences (Pre-Health), and Food Safety and Nutrition.
Students will demonstrate:
- Ability to identify nutrition-related public health problems, integrate information from basic nutrition sciences, critically analyze data, and develop appropriate conclusions
- Discipline-specific knowledge, skills, and competencies needed in the field of dietetics and nutrition. Examples include knowledge of medical nutrition therapy; nutrition and metabolism; program planning, monitoring, and evaluation; management in school nutrition programs and long-term care; food safety; and the role of food in the promotion of health
- Competent application of nutrition knowledge and skills in a work environment, including an ability to calculate and/or define diets for various health/disease conditions, screen individuals for nutritional risk, determine nutrient requirements across the lifespan, and calculate enteral and parental nutrition formulations; determine costs of services/ operations, interpret financial data, and prepare a budget
(See the department's website for the Dietetics and Nutrition Management concentration for specific learning outcomes for the ACEND Accredited Dietetics Program).
Participation in community outreach, internships, volunteer activities, or cooperative education opportunities is highly recommended to enhance career planning, skills, and development. Graduates who go on for advanced studies can attain more responsible leadership positions with the possibility of rising to top professional levels.
Some examples of career opportunities include, but are not limited to: dietitian or nutritionist in health care, hospitals, long-term care, schools, state or county health agencies, health clubs, corporate wellness programs, grocery stores/food chains, or private practice; community nutritionist; biomedical scientist; restaurant manager; caterer; quality assurance specialist; food scientist; food inspector; food technologist, food plant manager; food service manager in hospitals, schools, or long-term care. As of March 2020, the average salary for registered dietitians is $51,291, and the salary range is $39,000-67,000.
Students interested in teaching nutrition and/or food science content at the secondary education level should explore the interdepartmental concentration in Family and Consumer Sciences Education at the beginning of this college section. The Family and Consumer Sciences Education concentration allows students to combine their interests in nutrition, wellness/health, food science, culinary arts, and/or catering with teaching. Family and Consumer Sciences Education students take course work in the Departments of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Design and Merchandising, and Human Development and Family Studies. They also complete an education sequence that qualifies them for a secondary teaching license. The demand for secondary Family and Consumer Sciences teachers exceeds the supply in Colorado as well as nationally. Therefore, job placement is extremely high, with starting salaries in the $34,000-$37,000 range for a nine-month teaching position.
Students may choose from among four concentrations under the Nutrition and Food Science major.
Concentrations and Options
- Dietetics and Nutrition Management Concentration
- Food Safety and Nutrition Concentration
- Nutrition and Fitness Concentration
- Nutritional Sciences Concentration