Welcome from the Director

Rodney Johnson

Welcome to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois! The DNS is an interdisciplinary graduate program for nutrition research and education. Within this website, you will find information about our faculty and students, alumni, research opportunities, and curriculum. You can also read about our rich history in nutrition research and find information on how to apply for admission. The Division offers courses of study leading to a M.S. or Ph.D. degree in Nutritional Sciences. Graduate students may also attain registered dietician status through an American Dietetic Association-approved Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and a graduate Dietetic Internship, offered by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Students admitted to the Medical Scholars Program (M.D./Ph.D.) can earn the Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences.

At the University of Illinois, faculty conducting nutrition-related research are not concentrated in a few departments, but instead can be found all across campus. This is a testament to how the tentacles of nutrition have extended from the biological sciences to the social and physical sciences. Today the Division consists of approximately 65 faculty representing 18 departments in 8 colleges on the Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses. The scope of research is vast, and continues to grow, but is currently divided into 6 themes including Dietary Bioactive Components, Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Human and Clinical Nutrition, Animal Nutrition, Food Safety and Toxicology, and Community Nutrition, Nutrition Education, and Consumer Acceptance. More than 60 graduate students representing 9 countries are pursuing advanced degrees in the Division. Several students in the Medical Scholars Program are earning the Ph.D. in the Division. A major strength of our interdisciplinary program is that it is an interactive community of faculty and students with interests in diverse areas of nutrition. While visiting this website, please take time to explore the research opportunities we offer.

An interdisciplinary campus-wide graduate program in nutrition needs a flexible curriculum to take into account the needs of a diverse set of students. Thus, our curriculum provides a strong foundation in basic nutritional principles applicable to animals and humans but also allows each student to tailor his or her individual program of study to meet their unique professional objectives. For example, a student interested in nutritional neuroscience, may elect to take courses on neuroanatomy and neurochemistry, in addition to a nutrition core. Modular courses taught each semester address specific areas of basic, applied and clinical nutrition, providing additional opportunities for a specialized program of study. Ethics training and opportunities for professional development (e.g., grant writing) are also important parts of the curriculum. A seminar series with many external invited speakers introduces students to the multidisciplinary nature of nutrition research.

At Illinois, we are proud of our strong tradition of excellence in nutrition research and education. Moreover, we look forward to continuing this tradition! An exciting opportunity exists for nutritional scientists to define how nutrients, diet, and behavior can be influenced to achieve optimal biological and sociological outcomes. As you consider your options for pursuing graduate training in nutrition, I hope you will give our program a close look. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me or our Assistant Director, Dr. Jessica Hartke. We will be happy to assist you.

Best Wishes,

Rodney W. Johnson, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Nutritional Sciences