Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

Food for Thought

Q&A with Amanda Lynch, Ph.D., R.D., associate professor of interdisciplinary health sciences and director of the nutrition program

Amanda Lynch sitting in hallway

icon of a calendarJanuary 7, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Nina Googasian

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Why did the School of Health Sciences decide to add a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition degree?

For several years, the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree had offered an optional course concentration in nutrition. High student interest and growth in nutrition careers made the addition of a full degree in nutrition a viable option. The new Bachelor of Science degree, which began in fall 2020, adds 10 new courses providing students with in-depth knowledge and training suitable for direct career entry upon graduation.  

Please provide an overview of nutrition programming.

Nutrition is an interdisciplinary field with three primary areas of practice: community nutrition, food service management, and clinical (medical) nutrition. Students take courses from a variety of disciplines, including chemistry, biology, psychology, statistics, and health sciences, and apply this knowledge to the science and practice of nutrition. Our programming is uniquely focused on community engagement and service learning, and includes extensive experiential learning opportunities. ­­

What is “experiential learning”?

To develop critical professional skills, students learn and practice in the classroom and in real-world settings. We are working with area schools, municipalities, and other community partners to give students the hands-on experiential learning they need to be career-ready. Opportunities include lab experiences in culinary science, nutrition assessment, and clinical nutrition, as well as practice in individual counseling and community education.

Are there different options within this program?

There are two tracks in the nutrition major: a general B.S. in nutrition and a B.S. in nutrition with a specialization in dietetics. The dietetics specialization, with a competitive admissions process offered to students with upper-level standing, will provide advanced coursework for students who plan to practice in the field of dietetics.  

Why should students consider pursuing the nutrition/dietetics degree?

Students with an interest in health, food, and nutrition, whether for personal growth or a career in health care, should consider this area of study. Graduates will develop professionally relevant skills to apply in a variety of careers, including medical or clinical settings, community health and outreach programs, the food industry, research, and wellness centers. The nutrition major provides excellent preparation for entrance into health and medical-related graduate programs, such as public health or medical school. The dietetics specialization will prepare students for entrance into nutrition graduate programs that lead to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credential.

Is this program accredited?

We are currently pursuing accreditation for the dietetics specialization track with the Accreditation Counseling for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Upon earning successful candidacy for accreditation status from ACEND, the dietetics specialization degree option will be opened for future applications. 

What is the job outlook for graduates of this program?

Nutrition professionals work in a variety of public and private settings, leading the way to greater understanding of how nutrition can improve our lives and health. Hospitals, clinics, schools, long-term health care facilities, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs or other public health agencies, health clubs, and food companies are just some of the places where these professionals find jobs. Employment in the field of nutrition and dietetics is expected to grow 15 percent between now and 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

To learn more about the nutrition program, visit

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