Fall Deadline January 1
Spring Deadline January 1*
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Candidates for graduate study in nutritional sciences should have a strong background in mathematics, chemistry, biological sciences, medical sciences or social sciences.

Specific prerequisites for the graduate program include the following:

  • 2 semesters of General Chemistry
  • 2 semesters of Biological Sciences
  • 1 semester of Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry with an Organic Chemistry prerequisite
  • 1 semester of Calculus or Statistics
  • 1 semester of Physiology

 Students who have not completed all the requirements may be admitted, but deficiencies should be made up during the first year of graduate study.

All applicants must have a minimum grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) as well as three references and a personal statement. Acceptance requires approval by the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Graduate School.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

IGPNS students receive a full stipend, as well as tuition remission and comprehensive health insurance. The stipends take the form of traineeship, research assistantships, or fellowships and are guaranteed for all IGPNS Ph.D. candidates in good standing. The application for the IGPNS program is also the application for funding. IGPNS will also assist students in competing for UW and/or national funding awards (e.g. NIH, NSF, etc.)

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations Students must take and pass a preliminary exam and a final defense. Students must take the first exam prior to the end of the fifth semester; summer session does not count as a semester.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements Students are not required to complete a minor, but are heavily encouraged to pursue a minor.

Required COURSES

Core Courses
NUTR SCI/​BIOCHEM  619 Advanced Nutrition: Intermediary Metabolism of Macronutrients3
NUTR SCI/​POP HLTH  621 Introduction to Nutritional Epidemiology1
NUTR SCI 623 Advanced Nutrition: Minerals1
NUTR SCI 625 Advanced Nutrition: Obesity and Diabetes1
NUTR SCI/​AN SCI  626 Experimental Diet Design1
NUTR SCI 627 Advanced Nutrition: Vitamins1
NUTR SCI 600 Introductory Seminar in Nutrition1
NUTR SCI 931 Seminar-Nutrition 11
NUTR SCI 799 Practicum in Nutritional Sciences Teaching 21-3
NUTR SCI 745 Grant Writing for Nutritional Sciences Research2
NUTR SCI 731 Research in Progress Seminar1
NUTR SCI 991 Research Nutrition 31-12
Students select 6 credits of electives from the following or from other courses in consultation with their advisor:6
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I
Statistical Methods for Bioscience II
Human Biochemistry Laboratory
Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function
Prokaryotic Molecular Biology
Eukaryotic Molecular Biology
Mechanisms of Enzyme Action
Mechanisms of Action of Vitamins and Minerals
Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms
Biophysical Chemistry
Topics in Eukaryotic Regulation
Biochemical Applications of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
Total Credits51

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With approval of the certification committee, students are allowed to count up to 19 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With approval of the certification committee, students are allowed to count up to 7 credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree, numbered 400 and above, toward the Ph.D. degree, provided the course satisfies a requirement within the student’s core curriculum or IGPNS emphasis group. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of coursework taken as a UW–Madison Special student, provided the course satisfies a requirement within the student’s core curriculum or IGPNS emphasis group. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The IGPNS requires a cumulative 3.0 GPA for all courses taken in the UW Graduate School. Grades in research (NUTR SCI 991 Research Nutrition) are not included in the calculation of the GPA. A student who does not maintain a 3.0 GPA can continue on probationary status for two semesters at the recommendation of the major professor. If, at that time, the student does not achieve a cumulative 3.0 GPA, they will be dropped from the program.

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.


Every graduate student is required to have an advisor and a committee.  PhD students must have a committee of at least four members.  Students have time in their first year of study to build their committees.  An advisor is a faculty member from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. The Director of Graduate Studies will be assigned as a student's advisor for the duration of their laboratory rotations.

To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor and committee on a regular basis.


12 credits: fall and spring semesters
2 credits: per eight-week summer session

Time Constraints

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

A candidate for a Doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

A student’s program may appeal these time limits through a written request to the Graduate School Office of Academic Services.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences: Grievance Policy

In the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), any student who feels unfairly treated by a member of the CALS faculty or staff has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing. Some complaints may arise from misunderstandings or communication breakdowns and be easily resolved; others may require formal action. Complaints may concern any matter of perceived unfairness.

To ensure a prompt and fair hearing of any complaint, and to protect the rights of both the person complaining and the person at whom the complaint is directed, the following procedures are used in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies.

  1. The student should first talk with the person at whom the complaint is directed. Most issues can be settled at this level. Others may be resolved by established departmental procedures.
  2. If the student is unsatisfied, and the complaint involves any unit outside CALS, the student should seek the advice of the dean or director of that unit to determine how to proceed.
    1. If the complaint involves an academic department in CALS the student should proceed in accordance with item 3 below.
    2. If the grievance involves a unit in CALS that is not an academic department, the student should proceed in accordance with item 4 below.
  3. The student should contact the department’s grievance advisor within 120 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment. The departmental administrator can provide this person’s name. The grievance advisor will attempt to resolve the problem informally within 10 working days of receiving the complaint, in discussions with the student and the person at whom the complaint is directed.
    1. If informal mediation fails, the student can submit the grievance in writing to the grievance advisor within 10 working days of the date the student is informed of the failure of the mediation attempt by the grievance advisor. The grievance advisor will provide a copy to the person at whom the grievance is directed.
    2. The grievance advisor will refer the complaint to a department committee that will obtain a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed, providing a copy to the student. Either party may request a hearing before the committee. The grievance advisor will provide both parties a written decision within 20 working days from the date of receipt of the written complaint.
    3. If the grievance involves the department chairperson, the grievance advisor or a member of the grievance committee, these persons may not participate in the review.
    4. If not satisfied with departmental action, either party has 10 working days from the date of notification of the departmental committee action to file a written appeal to the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee. A subcommittee of this committee will make a preliminary judgement as to whether the case merits further investigation and review. If the subcommittee unanimously determines that the case does not merit further investigation and review, its decision is final. If one or more members of the subcommittee determine that the case does merit further investigation and review, the subcommittee will investigate and seek to resolve the dispute through mediation. If this mediation attempt fails, the subcommittee will bring the case to the full committee. The committee may seek additional information from the parties or hold a hearing. The committee will present a written recommendation to the dean who will provide a final decision within 20 working days of receipt of the committee recommendation.
  4. If the alleged unfair treatment occurs in a CALS unit that is not an academic department, the student should, within 120 calendar days of the alleged incident, take his/her grievance directly to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The dean will attempt to resolve the problem informally within 10 working days of receiving the complaint. If this mediation attempt does not succeed the student may file a written complaint with the dean who will refer it to the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee. The committee will seek a written response from the person at whom the complaint is directed, subsequently following other steps delineated in item 3d above.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Articulates research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to theory, knowledge, and practice in nutritional sciences. Specific knowledge areas of focus include intermediary metabolism, functions and metabolism of vitamins and minerals, nutrition-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes, and fundamental principles of epidemiology and nutrition policy.
  2. Formulates ideas, concepts, designs, and/or techniques beyond the current boundaries of knowledge in nutritional sciences.
  3. Creates original research and scholarship that makes a substantive contribution to nutritional sciences.
  4. Demonstrates breadth of knowledge of nutritional sciences.
  5. Advances contributions of the field of nutritional sciences to society.
  6. Communicates complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner through both written and oral presentations.
  7. Fosters and practices ethical and professional conduct.


Members of the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences within the Department

Eide, Dave (Department Chair), Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D., 1987. Nutritional genomics and molecular responses to changes in nutrient status

Eisenstein, Richard,  Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D., 1985. Iron metabolism; posttranscriptional control of proteins required for the uptake, storage, and use of iron

Fan, Jing, Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Ph.D., 2014. Cancer metabolism; metabolic regulation in dynamic mammalian systems

Groblewski, Guy, Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D., 1991. Intracellular signal transduction and membrane/ protein trafficking in gastrointestinal epithelial cells

Kuchina, Adam, Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D., 2017; Muscle and Protein Metabolism; Understanding how disease affects muscle and protein metabolism and muscle assessment techniques

Lai, Huichuan, Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D., R.D., 1994. Epidemiological studies linking nutrition and disease outcomes in pediatric populations

Ney, Denise, Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D., 1986. Nutritional management of phenylketonuria and gastrointestinal physiology

Ntambi, James, Steenbock Professor of Nutritional Sciences (also Biochemistry); Ph.D., 1985. Mechanisms of fat cell differentiation; regulation of gene expression by dietary and hormonal factors

Olson, Beth, Associate Professor. Ph.D. – Nutrition, University of California at Davis. Breastfeeding support and improving infant feeding practices
Parks, Brian, Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Ph.D., 2008. Systems genetics, Gene-diet interactions, and molecular mechanisms of obesity and diabetes

Sunde, Roger, Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D., 1980. Selenium deficiency as a model for nutrient regulation of gene expression; molecular mechanism of selenium regulation and homeostasis; biochemical functions of selenium

Tanumihardjo, Sherry, Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D., 1993. Vitamin A assessment methodology; carotenoid bioavailability; and international nutrition

Yen, Eric, Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences; Ph.D. 2000. Intestine, assimilation of dietary fat, and energy balance

Members of the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences from outside the Department:

The department faculty above are also included in the trainers for IGPNS.

Anderson, Rozalyn, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., 2000. Nutrient sensitive regulatory pathways in aging and age-associated disease

Arriola Apelo, Sebastian I, Assistant Professor of Dairy Science; Ph.D., 2013. Mechanistic mathematical models of nutrient metabolism and cellular signaling, with the major goal of maximizing nutrient efficiency for a sustainable dairy industry

Attie, Alan, Professor of Biochemistry; Ph.D., 1980. Cell biology of lipoprotein assembly; genetics of obesity and diabetes

Binkley, Neil, Associate Professor of Medicine, M.D., 1979. Vitamin K insufficiency and osteoporosis

Bolling, Brad, Associate Professor of Food Sciences, Ph.D., 2007, Food chemistry and analysis, dietary phytochemicals, functional foods and prevention of chronic disease.

Carey, Hannah, Professor of Veterinary Medicine; Ph.D., 1983. Gastrointestinal physiology; intestinal adaptation; mammalian hibernation and its application to biomedicine; cellular and physiological responses to stress

Crenshaw, Thomas, Professor of Animal Science; Ph.D., 1980. Skeletal tissue growth and assessment; statistical approaches to establishment of mineral and amino acid requirements; swine nutrition

Davis, Dawn, Assistant Professor; M.D., Ph.D., 2003. Dissertation: “Changes in pancreatic beta cell gene expression in response to obesity and in the setting of beta cell proliferation”

Denu, John, Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry; Ph.D., 1993. Investigation of the proposed “Histone Code”; understanding the mechanisms of enzymes that reversibly modify proteins and the effects of these modifications on protein function

Engelmann, Corinne, Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences; Ph.D. (2006). Study design and data analysis of genetic, demographic, socioeconomic, behavioral, physiological and environmental factors of complex diseases, including biomarkers and preclinical traits related to Alzheimer’s disease, and also vitamin D deficiency

Engin, Feyza, Assistant Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry; Ph.D., 2007. Investigating the molecular mechanisms of organelle dysfunction and celullar stress responses in the pathogenesis of diabetes

Fenandez, Luis, Professor of Surgery, M.D., 1987. Islet cell transplantation and beta cell biology

Funk, Luke, Assistant Professor of Surgery. 2005 MD, Ph.D., FACS. Bariatric and metabolic surgery, esophageal and gastric disorders, abdominal wall hernias and gall bladder disorders

Galmozzi, Andrea, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., 2010. Trafficking of signaling metabolites.

Goldman, Irwin, Professor of Horticulture; Ph.D. Vegetable breeding and genetics, human health attributes of vegetable crops and breeding of vegetables for culinary quality

Hernandez, Laura, Assistant Professor of Dairy Science; Ph.D., 2008. Regulation of lactation and milk synthesis in relation to the autocrine, paracrine, endocrine and serotonin systems.  Regulation of mammary gland calcium transport and maternal calcium homeostasis during lactation

Kanarek, Marty, Professor of Population Health Sciences and Environmental Studies; Ph.D., 1978. Environmental epidemiology; potential population health effects from consumption of fish contaminated with mercury, PCBs, and other chemicals

Karasov, William, Professor of Wildlife Ecology; Ph.D., 1981. Molecular mechanisms of intestinal enzyme adaptation, intestinal absorption, nutritional ecology of wild vertebrates

Kimple, Michelle, Assistant Professor of Medicine; Ph.D., 2003. Pancreatic beta-cell response to nutrient and hormonal stimulation

Kling, Pamela, Associate Professor of Pediatrics; M.D. 1985. Erythropoiesis, iron metabolism and roles of erythropoietin in early development

Knoll, Laura, Associate Professor of Medical Microbiology & Immunology; Ph.D., 1994. Using -omics technology to study host/ pathogen interactions and metabolism of the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii

Kudsk, Kenneth, Professor of Surgery; M.D., 1975. Effect of route and type of nutrition on surgical outcome; mucosal immunity and response to infection

Lamming, Dudley, Assistant Professor of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism; Ph.D., 2008. Protein regulation of cellular processes that affect growth, metabolism, and aging

Leone, Vanessa, Assistant Professor of Animal Biologics and Metabolism; Ph.D., 2009. Intersection of diet, gut microbes, circadian rhythms, and metabolism using preclinical models.

Mares, Julie, Professor of Ophthalmology; Ph.D., 1987. Epidemiological study of relationships between diet and age-related eye disease

Malecki, Kristen, Assistant Professor of Population Health Sciences, Ph.D. 2005. Epidemiological study of relationships between environment and health; system-science approaches to addressing health disparities, translational community base environmental health research

Merrins, Matthew, Assistant Professor of Medicine; Ph.D., 2008. Ability of pancreatic islet beta cells to trigger cell proliferation and release of insulin during periods of increased insulin demands

Prolla, Tomas, Professor of Genetics and Medical Genetics.  Ph.D. 1994.  Molecular mechanisms of ageing and its retardation through caloric restriction

Reed, Jess, Professor of Animal Sciences; Ph.D. 1983. Flavonoids and other phytochemicals in animal and human health and nutrition

Reeder, Scott, Professor. M.D.,  Ph.D. Abdominal adiposity, liver fat, liver iron overload and other features of diffuse liver disease, quantification of perfusion in liver tumors, hemodynamics of portal hypertension, and the use of new contrast agents in liver and biliary diseases

Rey, Federico, Associate Professor of Bacteriology; Ph.D. 2006. Understand how variations in the gut microbiome modulate the effects of diet and host’s susceptibility to cardiometabolic disease

Schrage, William, Professor of Kinesiology; Ph.D., 2001 (Physiology). Human cardiovascular studies focused primarily on regulation of skeletal muscle or cerebral blood flow in response to exercise or environmental stress, and how obesity and insulin resistance alter this regulation.

Simcox, Judith, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry; Ph.D., 2014. Transcriptional Regulation of Nutrient Responsive Pathways in Thermogenesis

Simon, Philipp, Professor of Horticulture; Ph.D., 1977. Biochemical genetics and breeding of carrots, alliums, and cucumber; genetic improvement of vegetable culinary and nutritional value

Trentham-Dietz, Amy, Professor of Cancer Epidemiology. Ph.D. 1997. Modifiable lifestyle factors including obesity, physical activity, and environmental factors to better understand breast cancer etiology and reveal avenues for prevention

Van Pijkeren, Jan Peter, Assistant Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., Diet-Microbe-Phage interactions in the gut ecosystem.

Westmark, Cara, Assistant Professor of Neurology. Ph.D. Alzheimer’s disease and fragile X syndrome focuses on the synaptic function of amyloid beta protein precursor (APP) and amyloid-beta

White, Heather, Assistant Professor of Dairy Science; Ph.D. 2010. Nutritional Physiology – Focus on hepatic carbon flux specifically during the coordinated responses to the transition to lactation, nutrition, and stress in dairy cattle and during onset and progression of NAFLD and NASH in humans

Support Staff

Graduate Coordinator: Katie Butzen MS.Ed.,