Nutrition Degree: Online Master of Science (M.S.) – Nutrition Concentration

About Nutrition

Coach your clients on how to eat well.

Changes in diet can improve athletic performance, boost fitness and improve one’s overall health and wellness. Choose the nutrition concentration at PennWest California, and you can focus your master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion on this important aspect of healthful living.

PennWest California is a leader in online education for exercise science professionals, and its graduate-level nutrition program is based on the most current research. Students learn to create successful nutrition plans and offer coaching and guidance on:

  • Advanced nutritional concepts.
  • Strategies for changing behavior.
  • Applied nutrition for special populations, and more.

Provide nutritional guidance for your clients, patients or athletes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese – and the demand for qualified professionals in the field of dietetics and nutrition is growing.

Although PennWest California’s nutrition program does not prepare students to become registered dieticians, it does provide advanced education regarding nutrition for professionals in nutrition, fitness, wellness, nursing, coaching, the military and other related fields. The program is also an excellent choice for nutritionists or registered dieticians who wish to pursue a master’s degree.


Convenient Online Education: PennWest California’s fully online nutrition program makes it convenient for professionals with busy work schedules to earn a master’s degree. Coursework can be done at any time of day, from any location with internet access. Complete the 36-credit program on a full-time or part-time schedule, or combine the nutrition program with a second concentration to earn a 48-credit dual concentration degree.

Customize Your Program: Personalize your M.S. in Exercise Science and Health Promotion by choosing areas of focus that advance or enhance your career. Select the nutrition concentration alone, or combine it with one of these programs to create a dual concentration:

Students seeking a professional credential instead of a master’s degree can select the 12-credit post-bachelor’s nutrition certificate as a stand-alone credential. In fact, PennWest California offers certificates in all of the program areas listed above.

Better Nutrition for All: Nutrition education can lead to healthier food choices for everyone – from children to older adults, elite athletes to ordinary people who wish to improve their overall health and wellness. With a master’s degree program focused on nutrition, you’ll be prepared to provide sound, research-based guidance to your clients or patients.

Learn more about applying

21 %
Projected increase in employment growth for dietetics and nutrition professionals from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Median annual salary for nutritionists nationwide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Degree Benefits

Employment in the field of dietetics and nutrition is growing faster than the average of all U.S. occupations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. PennWest California’s master’s degree concentration in nutrition prepares you to meet this growing demand. It also provides a valuable area of expertise for coaches, fitness instructors, nurses and other professionals who are concerned with enhancing physical performance and promoting good health.

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Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of PennWest California’s online nutrition degree demonstrates advanced knowledge of nutrition and the way food choices impact our lives. They are prepared for employment in a variety of fields, including nutrition counseling, wellness coaching, fitness instruction, sports coaching and many other areas.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs



Course Credits
PRF 700  Orientation to Exercise Science and Wellness 3
PRF 705  Industrial, Clinical and Corporate Wellness 3
PRF 715  Business and Entrepreneurship in the Fitness Industry 3
PRF 718  Health Behavior Change in Nutrition Education 3
PRF 720  Essentials of Human Movement Science 3
PRF 758  Applied Principles of Human Nutrition 3
PRF 760  Leadership and Professional Development 3
PRF 765  Nutrition for Peak Performance 3
PRF 770  Exercise Physiology: Assessment and Exercise Prescription 3
PRF 781  Current Topics in Fitness and Wellness
PRF 788  Nutrition Through the Lifecycle 3
PRF 800  Research in Wellness and Fitness 3
Total 36



Admission Requirements
    • Regular Admission Requirements

      • Regionally Accredited Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
      • Official transcripts from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution

      Conditional Admission Requirements

      • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements: 
        • Regionally accredited Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of a 2.99-2.50 will be conditionally admitted with the stipulation of earning a 3.0 GPA in the first term
        • Regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.49 and below will be reviewed for a decision once the following documentation has been received:
          • Resume
          • Two professional letters of recommendation

      An interview may be required by the Program Coordinator to determine potential success in the program.

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application
  • Submit the nonrefundable $35 Application Fee
  • Submit official transcripts by mail or email to:
    • School of Graduate Studies and Research
      PennWest California
      Box 91
      250 University Ave. 
      California, PA 15419
    • Phone: 724-938-4187

For additional information:
Phone: 1.866.595.6348



Select a single concentration as the focus of your degree or add a second approved area of focus to create a dual concentration. Post-bachelor’s certificates are available in these areas as well.


  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • Performance Enhancement Specialist
  • Corrective Exercise Specialist
  • Certified Specialist in Speed and Explosion
  • Certified Wellcoach
  • Fusionetics®
  • Les MillsTM 
Online Nutrition degree

Eat Right for Life

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that evidence-based, outcome-driven interventions can lead to healthier food choices among populations ranging from older adults to families with school-age children. PennWest California’s nutrition concentration is based on the latest research, so you’ll be equipped to provide nutrition education and planning for patients or clients at any stage of life.

Online Nutrition degree

Added Expertise

If your primary interest is coaching, fitness instruction, rehabilitation, sport psychology or another exercise science field, advanced knowledge of nutrition can add value to your professional portfolio. For dieticians and nutritionists, PennWest California’s online program is a convenient route to graduate-level education and a high-quality master’s degree.

A PennWest California military student at Commencement.

Military Tuition Discount

PennWest California discounts tuition costs for active-duty service members and veterans of all U.S. military branches, as well as their spouses and eligible dependents, when they enroll through the University’s Global Online division.

Additional Resources

Top 10 Reasons To Get An Exercise Science Master Degree

What Can You Do With An Exercise Science Master Degree/Careers

How To Choose An Exercise Science Concentration

Nutrition Faculty

Justin Barroner, PGA, MS, MBA
Chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies / PGM Program Director

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Wendy Batts
Adjunct Professor

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Dr. Carol Biddington

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Julie Ramsey Emrhein
Part-Time Assistant Professor

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Dr. Marc S. Federico

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Dr. Jeffrey R. Hatton

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Melissa Hatton
Adjunct Professor

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Dr. Rebecca A. Hess

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Christina Lombardo

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Dr. Barry E. McGlumphy

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Dr. Brian Oddi
Assistant Professor

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James "J.R." Pond, PGA
Internship Coordinator: Professional Golf Management

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Dr. Benjamin Reuter
Associate Professor

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Dr. Christine Romani-Ruby

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James Thornton, MA, ATC, PES, CES
Adjunct Professor
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Dr. Ronald Wagner
Associate Professor

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Dr. Ellen J. West

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Dr. Tom West

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