Public Health Nutrition - MPH


Public Health Nutrition - MPH




The mission of the GW Master of Public Health (MPH) Public Health Nutrition program is to train the next generation of health professionals to integrate nutrition into all aspects of public health practice. Graduates will contribute to the development and improved efficacy of health programs related to nutrition, health promotion, and disease prevention.  In addition, the MPH in Public Health Nutrition degree coursework helps professionals to evaluate the best nutrition-related interventions to use at the community, national, and global levels.

Our program is designed for students who are committed to improving public health.  Students will have achieved the following core competencies in Public Health Nutrition practice at the completion of the degree program:

  • Use appropriate nutrition assessment methods at the individual, community, or population levels.
  • Design, implement, and evaluate food and nutrition programs and policies and their effects on population health outcomes.
  • Employ systems thinking to identify and address factors impacting the accessibility, availability, adequacy, and safety of the food supply. 
  • Apply a policy, systems and environment approach to creating healthy food environments at the population level.
  • Utilize appropriate research methods to address public health nutrition issues and support food and nutrition-related programs and policy development.

Flexible Programming

To help students fit graduate school into their daily life, Milken Institute SPH provides flexible course offerings, which allows Public Health Nutrition students to take up to 15 credits online.

Program Requirements

Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in nutrition must successfully complete, (minimum grade of C), introductory nutrition and nutritional biochemistry coursework prior to matriculation into the program.  At the graduate level, enrollment in the online graduate course PUBH 6619, Fundamentals of Nutrition Science, prior to matriculation, will satisfy this requirement. Some undergraduate coursework, such as GW's EXNS 2119, will also satisfy this requirement.  Please contact the program director, in advance, to review course content from other academic institutions, at the graduate or undergraduate level, to properly identify if the pre-requisite requirements have been met.

MPH Core Requirements

PUBH 6000 | MPH Applied Practice Experience (0 credits)
PUBH 6002 | Biostatistical Applications for Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6003 | Principles and Practice of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PUBH 6007 | Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health (2 credits)
PUBH 6009 | Fundamentals of Program Evaluation (2 credits)
PUBH 6011 | Environmental & Biological Foundations of Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6012 | Fundamentals of Health Policy (2 credits)
PUBH 6021 | Essentials of Public Health Leadership & Practice 1: Leading Self and Teams in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6022 | Essentials of Public Health Leadership & Practice 2: Managing Organizations and Influencing Systems in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6023 | Interprofessional Education Experience (IPE) (0 credits)
PUBH 6015 | Culminating Experience (2 credits)



Public Health Nutrition Requirements

EXNS 6242 | Nutrition Throughout the Lifecycle (2 credits)
PUBH 6611 | Nutrition Assessment (2 credits)
PUBH 6612 | Food Systems in Public Health (2 credits)
PUBH 6613 or PUBH 6482 | US Food Policy and Politics (2 credits) OR International Food and Nutrition Policy (2 credits)
PUBH 6620 | Designing Healthy Communities (2 credits)
PUBH 6500 | Planning and Implementing Health Promotion Programs (3 credits)


Research Methods Courses

PUBH 6614 | Nutritional Epidemiology: Study Design & Analysis (2 credits)
EXNS 6204 | Research Methods and Biostatistics in EXNS (3 credits)


Additional Research Methods Courses

2 credits - See program guide for options



Public Health Nutrition Electives

6 credits from any GW graduate (6000 or higher) level course.
A list of suggested courses can be found in the program guide.


Non-Academic Requirements

Professional Enhancement

Students in degree programs must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, or symposia related to your field of study.

Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.

Students must submit a completed Professional Enhancement Form to the student records department [email protected].

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training

All students are required to complete the Basic CITI training module in Social and Behavioral Research prior to beginning the practicum.  This online training module for Social and Behavioral Researchers will help new students demonstrate and maintain sufficient knowledge of the ethical principles and regulatory requirements for protecting human subjects - key for any public health research.

Academic Integrity Quiz

All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity.  This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.

Past Program Guides

Program Guides from prior Academic Years

Students in the MPH in Public Health Nutrition program should refer to the guide from the year in which they matriculated into the program. For the current program guide, click the  "PROGRAM GUIDE" button on the right-hand side of the page.

Program Guide 2023-24

Program Guide 2022-23

Program Guide 2021-22

Program Guide, 2020-21

Program Guide, 2019-20

Program Guide, 2018-19

Program Guide, 2017-18

Program Guide, 2016-17

Program Guide, 2015-16


Students in the GW MPH programs gain practical skills and knowledge through their Applied Practice Experiences (practicum). It is important for MPH Public Health Nutrition graduates to feel confident in their skills and gain real-world experience during their studies. Students in the Public Health Nutrition MPH program complete both an Applied Practice Experience and a Culminating Experience to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

Your Practicum

In the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, the Practicum is designed to engage students in a Practice Activity—a planned, supervised, and evaluated experience in a public health organization. The Practice Activity can be related to either primary research or public health practice. It might include activities such as conducting literature reviews, writing proposals, designing ad campaigns, and collecting and analyzing data.

Although not encouraged, students may complete the practicum requirement at their current place of employment, provided that:

  • The organization engages in public health related work;
  • The organization and preceptor have been approved by SPH;  
  • The site preceptor is not the student’s current job supervisor; and
  • The content of the practicum is separate and distinct from the student’s regular work responsibilities.

Your Culminating Experience

The Culminating Experience (CE) is a credit/no-credit course in which students complete a capstone project that reflects an aspect of professional practice. It is through this course that the faculty evaluate the extent to which the student has mastered the body of knowledge and can demonstrate proficiency in the required competencies.  Students in the Public Health Nutrition MPH program may choose from several options for their CE project, including primary data collection and analysis or analysis of secondary data, conducting a systematic review of the literature on a public health nutrition related topic, development of a white paper on a public health nutrition related policy issue, or development, implementation, and evaluation of a program/project designed to address a public health nutrition related practice issue.

Examples of Past Culminating Experiences

Students pursuing an MPH in Public Health Nutrition have access to a world-class faculty with relevant expertise and diverse experience in research, governmental, clinical, and educational settings. The many areas of interest and research experience for professors and lecturers in the Public Health Nutrition Master of Public Health program include pathophysiology, chronic disease prevention, nutrition assessment, research methods, design theory, and policy advocacy.

We’re pleased to introduce you to these MPH Public Health Nutrition faculty members:

Dr. Uriyoan Colon-Ramos (Global Health)

Dr. Rob Van Dam (EXNS)

Dr. Loretta DiPietro (EXNS)

Dr. Gabby Headrick (EXNS)

Dr. Barbara Kowalcyk (EXNS)

Dr. Michael Long (Prevention and Community Health)

Dr. Karina Lora (EXNS)

Dr. Allison Sylvetsky (EXNS)

Dr. Kim Robien (EXNS)

Dr. Jennifer Sacheck (EXNS)

Dr. Emily Smith (Global Health & Nutrition Sciences)

Dr. Sameera Talegawkar (EXNS)

Public health practitioners with specialized training in public health nutrition are employed in a variety of settings, including public health agencies at the local, state, national and international levels.  Public health nutrition professionals also work for non-governmental agencies, foundations, and advocacy groups providing nutrition expertise.  In the private sector, public health nutritionists work in corporate wellness programs, health care organizations, food banks, and other health-related community organizations.  Some PHN practitioners become private consultants or food and nutrition journalists.
Example Job List for Graduates

State and Local Agencies

  • SNAP-Ed Educator or Director
  • WIC Nutritionist or Director
  • Extension Specialist, Educator
  • Farm-to-school Coordinator
  • Food Policy Director

Federal Public Health Agencies 

  • Nutrition Epidemiologist
  • Nutrition Analyst
  • Nutrition Educator or communication specialist
  • Nutrition Specialist

International Public Health Agencies

  • Nutrition Epidemiologist (World Health Organization)
  • Population Health Nutrition Officer (USAID)
  • Nutrition Officer (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)

Non-Government Agency

  • Program Manager (Nutrition Specialist)

Charitable Organizations

  • Technical Advisor, Nutrition
  • Director of Food or Nutrition Related Programs

Non-profit Organizations

  • Program Officer, Nutrition Program
  • Project Manager for food and nutrition projects
  • Food Access Director
  • Food and Nutrition Policy Analyst or Director
  • Director of Nutrition Programs

Health Care Industry

  • Health Improvement Project Manager
  • Worksite Wellness Director

Food Industry

  • Food Labeling Specialist

Academia / Research

  • Study Coordinator for Nutrition Research Projects

Independent Entrepreneur

  • Food and Nutrition Consultant
  • Food and Nutrition Journalist / Author
  • Food and Nutrition Analyst
Example Organizations List for Graduates

International Organizations

  • World Health Organization
  • UN Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Pan American Health Organization
  • Peace Corps
  • World Vision
  • International Food Research and Policy Institute (IFPRI)

Federal Agencies and State / Local Government

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • National Institutes for Health (NIH)
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • State and Local Departments of Health
  • State Departments of Agriculture

Non-Profit Organizations

  • DC Greens
  • DC Central Kitchen
  • Partnership for a Healthier America
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
  • DC Hunger Solutions
  • Food Research and Action Center(FRAC)
  • Local Food Banks
  • Environmental Working Group
  • Food and Water Watch
  • World Resources Institute
  • National Resources Defense Council
  • Winrock International

Consulting Groups

  • Altarum Institute
  • Abt Associates
  • Mathematica Policy Research
  • Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Urban Institute
  • Bipartisan Policy Center