Clinical Laboratory & Nutritional Sciences

Nutritional Science Major

About the Program

Nutritional Scientists apply knowledge from physiology, biochemistry and chemistry to understand digestion of food, absorption and use of nutrients by the body, nutrients requirements at different stages of life, and the effects of nutrient deficiencies and excesses. They also draw on the social sciences to understand the socio-cultural, psychological, economic and political factors influencing choices of food. Nutritional Scientists study the relationship between diet and chronic disease, monitor nutritional content of the American food supply, define and help to alleviate food and nutritional problems throughout the world, and work with other health professionals in promoting health and well-being for people of all ages.

The goals of this program are:

  1. To prepare graduates to serve as part of a research and development team in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, biomedical or food industry atmosphere and
  2. To prepare graduates to assume responsibility for their own continued personal and professional growth.

The program is not accredited by the American Dietetics Association (ADA) and does not meet the requirements for students to apply for the Registered Dietitian (RD) internship or examination after graduation. However, the program does satisfy the educational but not work experience requirements set forth the state Board of Licensing for students to be eligible for the licensing exam. The theoretical basis of the profession is integrated with psychomotor skills practiced in clinical, research, and/or industrial settings. This fosters a problem solving approach to the practice. The academic program includes scientific and clinical knowledge using current methodology, instrumentation and techniques relevant to the performance of service. These elements are integrated with a body of knowledge from the humanities, social and behavioral sciences.

This is the only nutritional sciences program within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Through Directed Study and Senior Research courses, students work with the department faculty to gain skills in both library and nutritional laboratory research. The UMass Lowell Nutritional Science major is strongly committed to research. Undergraduates work alongside faculty members and graduate students, who ensure that they master practical laboratory skills and participate fully in the research team. Several students have presented their senior research projects at regional and national science meetings. Students are also encouraged to be co-authors of publications in highly respected peer-reviewed journals.

Career Opportunities

The skills and experience acquired as part of the course of study qualifies graduates for a broad range of careers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical and the food industry. The Nutritional Science major prepares students for a career in the nutritional and biomedical sciences. Some of the career opportunities with a B.S. degree in Nutritional Science include: Working for the food industry in quality assurance laboratories, research, or in food product development. Working in technical services and/or sales for food ingredient suppliers or for food processing equipment manufacturers. Working with food regulation and inspection for state or local agencies, the federal government or international organizations. Working with a research team in pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries, medical centers or universities. Apply to graduate school to earn a M.S. or Ph.D. in nutrition, which can lead to careers in teaching, research, public health or private industry or apply to medical school or other health-related fields.

Admissions and Degree Requirements

All students complete a basic core of courses, which provide an understanding of foods and their nutritional content, the physiological and biochemical portions of nutrients in the body, and the effects of inadequate or excessive intake of nutrients. In preparation for these courses, students also complete courses in Physiological Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, and statistics. The course offerings and the list of course requirements established by the Department of Health and Clinical Sciences have been designed to conform to two criteria. First, there is a set of general requirements for a degree established by the University: 120 total credits, including the General Education Course requirements. Second, there are the specific course requirements for the major, leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science. These total approximately 84 credits.