Courses of Study 2022-2023 
    Jun 23, 2024  
Courses of Study 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Academic Options

In the Division of Nutritional Sciences .

Special Experiences

Undergraduates can enhance their experiences by participating in structured field experiences or study abroad. Academic credit can be earned for field experiences in a community agency, health care facility, or business. The Urban Semester in the College of Human Ecology provides students with an opportunity to study and gain field experience in New York City. All students intending to spend a semester off-campus in field experience or study abroad must plan their courses well in advance to be sure that all program requirements can be met.

Independent Study Electives

Independent study courses (NS 4000 , NS 4010 , NS 4020 ) can be used to obtain credit for more diverse or intensive experience than the classroom can offer, whether this involves laboratory work, library research, or field study. Any student interested in independent study should obtain the sponsorship of a faculty advisor and the approval of the director of undergraduate studies or consider applying to the honors program. As a DNS prerequisite, students must first take the (specific NS independent study) course that they are interested in for at least 2 credits, S/U, and receive a passing grade of “S”, before they may request enrolling in the (same NS independent study) course for a letter grade. 

Honors Program

The Honors Program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences is an excellent opportunity for students who are highly motivated, interested in research, and wish to commit substantial time and intellectual energy to a project that will span about four semesters of their undergraduate tenure. Honors students enjoy the excitement of both participating in a project that generates new knowledge on an interesting topic and reporting their research findings. By working with faculty mentors and other researchers, they develop skills in research methods and data analysis. Students also learn that research projects are labor intensive and that writing research reports, such as the honors thesis, is a vital and time-consuming aspect of the research process. This intensive research experience is not suitable for all students, and those who desire a less intensive research experience may conduct research with a faculty member under NS 4010 .

Application Procedures

The application procedure for the Honors Program is described briefly below. However, students interested in the DNS Honors Program should review program requirements in detail, because the explanation below does not include some important application details. For example, in some cases, DNS students may complete an honors thesis with a non-DNS faculty member. Regardless of faculty mentor, students should contact DNS Student Services ( as soon as possible for important additional information about application procedures.

Students interested in the program typically spend the spring sophomore semester and fall junior semester exploring honors project opportunities with prospective faculty mentors. Students are responsible for contacting faculty members and applying to their research programs, although some guidance in this process will be provided in NS 3980 . By the fall of the junior year, the student is expected to have identified his or her faculty member and be working with him or her on a proposal abstract. Applications to the DNS Honors Program are due in early February of a student’s junior year.

Complete applications include:

  1. The Honors Program Application front sheet
  2. The Honors Advisor Agreement Form
  3. A separate proposal abstract, describing the research project and the student’s specific role in that project

Interested students should contact DNS Student Services ( for the application and advisor agreement form. In addition, it is strongly recommended that students take NS 3980  Research in Human Nutrition and Health—a requirement in the Honors Program—in the fall semester of their sophomore or junior year. 

Honors Program Requirements

The Honors research project, through which students becomes intellectually engaged in the entire research process, is the major component of the honors program. It should be well-defined and sufficiently circumscribed to give students the opportunity to develop a research plan, execute the research, and write an acceptable thesis within the limited time available to students carrying full academic loads. The components of an Honors Thesis and the requirements for submitting them are described briefly below.

Typically, an Honors project is designed early in the junior year and conducted in the spring semester of the junior year and fall semester of senior year. Students may also arrange with their faculty mentor to work on the project during the summer. The spring senior semester is usually devoted to writing the thesis (at least 25 pages).

Honors Program students are required to:

  1. Maintain a GPA of at least 3.2.
  2. Pass NS 3980  (may not be taken S/U). Fall only. Highly recommended that students take this as early as possible.
  3. Complete a minimum of 6 credits of NS 4990 . The six required credits may be taken mostly during senior year (3 credits per semester). Any additional research credits can be obtained under NS 4010 . How much time is spent on the project each semester will be the decision of the student and the faculty mentor. However, a faculty mentor typically assigns one hour of academic credit per 3-4 weekly hours of work. These hours include preparing the research plan and conducting the necessary library research (both of which are usually completed during the junior year) as well as implementing the research itself, conducting necessary analyses, and preparing and writing the honors thesis.
  4. Meet all Honors Program requirements and deadlines. These are detailed in the DNS Honors Program document linked above.
  5. Complete a written thesis that reports the research. Minimum 25 pages. The student works with the faculty mentor to prepare a draft of the thesis, which is submitted before spring break to a second faculty member for evaluation. When comments are received from the reader, the student must revise the thesis to meet the criteria for acceptance. 
  6. Give an oral presentation of the project at the undergraduate honors symposium. The symposium is typically held at the beginning of the spring finals period.

Students should contact DNS Student Services ( for important additional information about program deadlines and requirements.

Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.

Courses Recommended for Non-majors

Courses in nutritional sciences can strengthen programs of study in biological sciences, biology and society, communications, food science, human development, human services, and other fields.

NS 1150 - Nutrition, Health, and Society  is open to all students. After NS 1150 , non-majors with limited backgrounds in chemistry and biology may elect NS 2450 - Social Science Perspectives on Food and Nutrition ; NS 2470 - Food for Contemporary Living ; NS 2750 - [Human Biology and Evolution] ; NS 3060 - [Nutrition and Global Health] ; NS 3150 - Obesity and the Regulation of Body Weight NS 4500 - Public Health Nutrition . Non-majors with strong backgrounds in chemistry and the biological sciences may consider NS 3310 - Human Nutrition and Nutrient Metabolism , as well as many advanced nutritional sciences courses, such as NS 3450 - Introduction to Physiochemical and Biological Aspects of Foods ; and NS 4410 - Nutrition and Disease .

Graduate Programs

Graduate study is administered by the field of nutrition, a group of about 40 faculty members from throughout the university who have a common interest in nutritional problems. In the M.S. degree program, there are four tracks available. They are: Human Nutrition Evidence for Policy Making; Global Food Systems; Dietetics; or Individualized Instruction (flexible construction of your elective credits to create an individualized program of study). In the Ph.D. degree program, students may specialize in the following: Molecular (and Biochemical) Nutrition, Human (or Animal) Nutrition, Community Nutrition, or International Nutrition. Research is emphasized in all graduate programs. Field experience may be an important component of concentrations in community, international, and public health nutrition and nutrition education. Teaching experience and participation in the graduate student seminar (NS 7030 ) are important aspects of graduate training.

The specialties and interests represented by faculty in the field of nutrition provide almost unlimited opportunity for graduate study. Cornell’s extensive laboratory and agricultural facilities ensure that students interested in experimental nutrition have exceptional choices and thorough training. As the largest faculty in the country devoted to the study of human nutrition, the field includes specialists in biochemical, metabolic, epidemiological, and sociocultural research. Opportunities to work with community and federal agencies are available to students interested in applied nutrition and public policy. Students in international nutrition are expected to conduct their thesis research abroad.

For more information about the graduate program, students should visit the website or contact the director of graduate studies, field of nutrition, Cornell University, B36C Kinzelberg Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, (607) 255-2628,, or