Nutritional sciences is an independent discipline rooted in biology and biochemistry. The major integrates the study of nutrition with studies of the role of diet in health and disease, and with studies of the biological, genetic, social, and economic factors influencing the diet and nutritional status of humans. Nutritional sciences combines the basic and applied sciences that address issues relevant to agriculture and medicine. The Department of Nutritional Sciences offers two areas of study, both of which require a core of courses that emphasize the chemistry and physiology of nutrition. Additional courses focus on the biochemical, clinical, business, or public health aspects of nutrition. Students who complete the nutritional sciences major in the dietetics degree program receive the bachelor of science–dietetics degree, and students who complete the nutritional sciences major in the bachelor of science degree program receive the bachelor of science degree.
Students who wish to gain practical experience are encouraged to participate in independent studies and coordinative internships, as well as laboratory and clinical research projects offered through the department, the Waisman Center and Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences. In addition to the financial support offered by these opportunities, the department annually awards a number of scholarships. All students are also encouraged to apply for scholarships awarded by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and UW–Madison.
The department also serves as the administrative home for the popular undergraduate certificate in global health. The certificate is open to all undergraduate UW–Madison students and complements a variety of majors.