Program director
Michael Paalani

The Master of Science (M.S.) in plant-based nutrition provides students with advanced training in nutritional science, with an emphasis on plant-based nutrition, through both coursework and noncourse activities. The program offers a variety of courses in nutritional science emphasizing the role of plant-based dietary practices in human health and the environment. The program prepares students for careers in the field of nutrition, promoting plant-based nutrition for health in health-care facilities, the wellness industry, food services, and educational institutions; for leadership roles in academia, government, or the food industry; and careers involving evidence-based communication of plant-based nutritional science for the health and well-being of the individual, population, and the planet.

The M.S. degree requires a minimum of 48 units and includes research, culminating in either a publishable manuscript or a written report. This is considered a nonthesis M.S. program. A written comprehensive examination is required.

Program learning outcomes

By the end of the program, the graduate should be able to:

  1. Apply the science of essential nutrients and other phytochemicals to analyze the role of plant foods in supporting and optimizing human health and longevity.
  2. Employ research skills to interpret data on nutrition as it applies to lifecycle stages and enhanced well-being. 
  3. Develop evidence-based food guidance for plant-centered eating for optimizing health and preventing disease.
  4. Evaluate the impact of plant-based diets on planetary health and sustainability. 
  5. Communicate nutrition concepts effectively to individuals and populations.

Educational effectiveness indicators

  • Comprehensive examination
  • Research paper or final written report
  • Oral presentation of research paper or final written report 


  • Organic chemistry
  • Human physiology
  • Human nutrition or equivalent


NUTR 506 Nutritional Metabolism or nutritional biochemistry or equivalent

Individuals who may benefit from the program

Those who may benefit from this program include individuals holding a baccalaureate degree in science, registered dietitians, physicians, and other health professionals desiring to apply evidenced-based plant-based diets in their practice, as well as those who want to pursue a Ph.D. in nutrition, working professionals who need an online graduate degree in nutrition, health educators who want to communicate the health benefits of plant-based eating for health promotion, students motivated to promote sustainable diets, and those interested in lifestyle nutrition. 

Public Health
AHRM 514Biostatistics 13
PHCJ 606Public Health Fundamentals4
NUTR 508Plant-Based Nutrition for Life Cycle2
NUTR 517Advanced Nutrition I: Carbohydrates and Lipids4
NUTR 518Advanced Nutrition II: Proteins, Vitamins, and Minerals4
NUTR 519Phytochemicals2
NUTR 520Sustainable Food Systems3
NUTR 529Health Aspects of Vegetarian Eating3
NUTR 556Nutritional Applications in Lifestyle Intervention3
NUTR 564Contemporary Issues of Vegetarian Diets2
NUTR 605Seminar in Nutrition1
RELR 540Wholeness and Health 23
Choose from elective courses offered at LLU SPH3-6
Statistics and research
NUTR 530Dietary Assessment of Populations2
NUTR 535Research Applications in Nutrition3
Directed research
NUTR 694Research3-6
Total Units48

Students may take an equivalent statistics course in consultation with advisor.


Fulfills service learning requirement.

Culminating experience

A culminating research activity (NUTR 694 Research) carried out under the supervision of the program faculty.  The deliverable will be either a publishable peer-reviewed manuscript, or a written project report.  Students will also present their work in an oral presentation to their program faculty. 

Normal time to complete the program

1.33 year (five [5] academic quarters) — based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted