Courses of Study 2013-2014 
    Dec 02, 2023  
Courses of Study 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Departments, Programs of Study and Courses

In Nutritional Sciences .

Course Offerings 

Undergraduate Major Programs

The Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS) offers three programs leading to a B.S. degree:

Nutritional Sciences (NS-CHE)

College of Human Ecology: this program provides students with a strong foundation in the broad field of nutritional sciences as well as thorough training in chemistry and biology. Strong preparation in biology, chemistry, and math is required. Students may prepare for a variety of career interests, including medicine and other health careers, research, fitness and sports nutrition, nutrition counseling, clinical nutrition, dietetics, nutritional biochemistry, community nutrition, and nutrition education.

Nutritional Sciences (NS-CALS)

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: this program provides students with strong training in human nutrition combined with supportive course work in food systems, agriculture and the life sciences. Strong preparation in biology, chemistry, and math is required and prepares students for a variety of careers as mentioned above. Students in the NS-CALS program supplement the core nutrition curriculum with courses in areas such as food policy, food science, animal and plant sciences, business and economics, and environmental sciences. For more information, refer to the NS-CALS information within The Curriculum section, below.

Human Biology, Health, and Society (HBHS)

This program gives students a strong foundation in biology, and fosters the exploration of human health issues from the perspectives of both biology and the social sciences. Students complete a rigorous curriculum in the natural sciences and then, choosing from a wide array of courses offered in the College of Human Ecology, focus their studies on health issues of their choice. Students can explore such topics as gene expression and metabolism related to disease states, biological and social aspects of growth and development, and policies and programs influencing health.

Concentration in Human Nutrition for Biological Sciences Majors

The division also offers the Concentration in Human Nutrition for Biological Sciences majors who may be enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or College of Arts and Sciences. The Concentration in Human Nutrition offers biology majors courses on the nature and biochemical function of essential and nonessential nutrients, nutrient requirements, the role of nutrients in gene expression, and the role of diet in both risk of chronic disease and treatment of existing disease states. Students in this program of study are encouraged to complete a diverse set of advanced courses that afford a perspective on current knowledge of nutrient requirements and function and how this knowledge can be put to use. With the exception of a core course in the structure and function of nutrients, the course requirements are unspecified.

Faculty advisors work with individual students to develop a curriculum that fits the student’s interests. As part of their program, students are encouraged to obtain laboratory experience either through course work or research. Honors research programs are also available and encouraged for students meeting program criteria. After graduation, many students choose to continue their education in medical or graduate school and pursue careers in the applied aspects of nutrition or in laboratory-based or epidemiological research.

The Curriculum

Undergraduate students in these programs complete the requirements of their colleges as well as the courses required by the program of their specific interest.

Both the NS and HBHS programs require a rigorous sequence of courses in chemistry and biology, including introductory chemistry and biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physiology. A minimum competency in college algebra is required with an additional math and statistics requirement for all programs. Students in the HBHS major also complete a course in physics and two additional courses in advanced biology.

All students complete the introductory course NS 1150 - Nutrition, Health, and Society . The NS program requires the completion of four other core courses: NS 2450 - Social Science Perspectives on Food and Nutrition ; NS 3450 - Introduction to Physiochemical and Biological Aspects of Food ; NS 3310 - Nutrient Metabolism ; and NS 3320 - Methods in Nutritional Sciences .

NS-CHE students also complete 9 credits of advanced electives in nutritional sciences to complete their major requirements.

NS-CALS majors also complete 9 credits of advanced electives in nutritional sciences. Additionally, NS-CALS majors complete 9 credits of CALS electives that support the major but that are outside of nutrition and chosen from the following areas: Food Policy, Food Production and Marketing, Life Sciences, and Environment. Courses relevant to these areas are offered by the CALS departments of Applied Economics and Management, Food Science, Animal Science, International Agriculture, Plant Breeding, Development Sociology, Crop Science, International Agriculture, and Entomology. Course selections are made in consultation with the advisor and considering the interests of individual students.

The HBHS major requires 15 credits of advanced electives that explore health issues from primarily a biological or a social perspective. These courses are offered by faculty in several departments within the College of Human Ecology.

Undergraduate students in all programs have a faculty advisor with whom they meet at least twice a year. Advisors help students plan their course schedules and can suggest opportunities for individual study or experience outside the classroom.

In all undergraduate programs the correct sequencing of biology, chemistry, and/or nutrition courses is very important. Students considering these programs should obtain detailed information about course requirements from the division’s Academic Affairs office, B21 Savage Hall. This office offers a wide range of advising materials to help students develop a program of study that matches their interests and needs.

Undergraduate Minor Programs

Nutrition and Health:

The Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS) offers the Nutrition and Health minor to Cornell students who are not in our major programs of NS-CALS, NS-CHE, HBHS, and Biological Sciences with a Program of Study in Nutrition. The minor allows students to choose from courses concerned with human health and nutrition, economic influences on human nutrition, epidemiology and public health, food quality and food service management, nutritional biochemistry, and the psychological and social influences on human nutrition. The minor consists of NS 1150 - Nutrition, Health, and Society  plus 9 credits of 2000-plus-level didactic NS courses, as well as  NS 1220 - [Nutrition and the Life Cycle] . Several NS courses are excluded from use toward the minor. For details, please check Enrollment is limited in some courses.

Global Health:

The Global Health minor is intended to complement any academic major offered at the university and to provide students with basic knowledge about global health as well as the necessary skills and experience to begin to build their own unique global health career. The minor is open to all undergraduate students in all colleges. For more information about the minor, check the Global Health Program website:

Career Options and Course Planning

Requirements for the programs are the minimum set of courses necessary for a bachelor’s degree in these fields. Students should supplement their requirements with elective courses and other learning experiences that will prepare them for entry-level jobs or advanced study in their field(s) of interest. A summary of suggested electives for different career interests follows:

Medicine and Other Health Careers:

Recommended courses for pre-med students include calculus and two semesters of physics. Specific information about medical school admissions requirements can be obtained from the university’s Health Careers office, 203 Barnes Hall. Students interested in other health careers should acquire specific information about those requirements. Courses of interest may include those related to the biological and social determinants of health; human growth, development, and behavior through the life course; interpersonal communications; advanced biology; sociology; psychology; and ethics.


Students who wish to work in the areas of clinical nutrition, nutrition counseling, sports nutrition, community nutrition or food and nutrition management should complete the academic requirements for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Didactic Program in Dietetics is accredited by The Academy, and provides students with the course work necessary for application to an accredited supervised practice program (e.g., Dietetic internships). Students successfully completing didactic program requirements at Cornell are issued a Verification Statement. A one-time fee is involved to cover the cost of program materials and transcript evaluation. The Didactic Program in Dietetics policy and procedure for issuing verification statements can be found at Upon completion of an accredited supervised practice, students are eligible to take the Registered Examination of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) and become a Registered Dietitian (RD). Students who do not pursue supervised practice may opt to apply to sit for the Registration Examination conducted by CDR to become a Diet Technician, Registered (DTR). Courses in foods, nutrition and disease, microbiology, food service management, and nutritional care are added to the courses required for the nutrition programs. For more information about meeting The Academy’s requirements, contact the DNS Dietetics office, 114 Savage Hall, (607) 255-8443.

Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Promotion:

Students should complete a course in physiology and a course in anatomy after introductory biology. Students can complete the Applied Exercise Science Concentration at Ithaca College, which includes courses in kinesiology, exercise physiology, and biomechanics. Students who wish to apply to graduate schools to study physical therapy should complete a year of introductory physics, a course in statistics, a course in ethics, and three courses in psychology. Students should check the specific requirements of their schools of interest. For information about the Applied Exercise Science Concentration, contact the DNS Academic Affairs office, B21 Savage Hall.

Biomedical Research/Nutritional Biochemistry:

Recommended electives include calculus, physics, genetics, advanced biology and chemistry, toxicology, and nutritional sciences courses related to the physiology, biochemistry, and metabolism of different nutrients and disease states.

Public Health and Community Nutrition:

Suggested electives include courses in epidemiology, communications, education, human development, policy analysis and management, maternal and child nutrition, geriatric nutrition, nutrition and disease, and food economics.

Nutrition, Food, and Business:

Recommended electives include courses in management, marketing, economics, communications, hotel administration, and food science.

Nutrition and Agriculture:

Recommended electives include courses in food science, animal science, plant sciences, international agriculture, agricultural economics, biological sciences, and development sociology.

International Nutrition:

Recommended electives include courses in language, anthropology, agricultural economics, policy, economics, development sociology, international agriculture, and nutritional sciences related to maternal and child health and problems of developing nations.

Biology and Behavior:

Recommended electives include courses in psychology, human development, and neurobiology.

Food, Nutrition, and Health Policy:

Recommended electives include courses in economics, sociology, government, policy analysis, and management.