Department of Health Professions

M.S. in Health Sciences with a Concentration in Nutrition & Physical Activity

James Madison University is planning to transition the Master of Science in Health Science: Nutrition, Physical Activity Concentration to a Master of Science in Applied Nutrition. The Master of Science in Applied Nutrition has been granted Precandidate status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040 ext. 5400. Http://

About The Program

This 33 credit hour master's program permits students to major in health sciences with a concentration in nutrition and physical activity. This graduate program has been planned for registered dietitians or persons with an undergraduate degree in dietetics, kinesiology or a related area. This program is designed for the student who has an interest in nutrition and its role in physical activity.

Admission to the Program

An undergraduate degree with a major in dietetics, kinesiology or a related field is required. Courses in nutrition, exercise physiology, anatomy and physiology are prerequisites for admission to the program. Students should also check the prerequisites listed in the catalog for each course required. Thirty-three hours are required for the degree program, including a thesis or directed research on a selected topic in nutrition and physical activity. The degree program can be completed in as few as two academic years, with a maximum of six academic years. This program does not lead to the RD status recognized by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; however, students are encouraged to obtain the RD status by completing the Didactic Program in Dietetics requirements and applying for a dietetic internship.

Refer to the undergraduate program for a list of DPD requirements; refer to for a list of all dietetic internships available in the United States.

If you have further questions please contact Jeremy Akers at 540-568-8974 or

Mission and Goals

The graduate programs in health sciences are dedicated to preparing students to become evidence-based critical thinkers in the health sciences. Specifically, these programs build upon the undergraduate health sciences programs by providing a more detailed knowledge base that is fortified by self-directed learning experiences and the development of practical, clinical and/or research skills.

The specific goals of the graduate programs in health sciences are designed to help students develop their critical thinking abilities while expanding their knowledge in the rapidly changing health-related environments. Specifically, students will be able to:

  1. critically evaluate the current research in the ever-broadening field of health.
  2. access current literature in the health fields.
  3. interpret current health-related research.
  4. develop basic research skills.
  5. describe and evaluate various health education models.
  6. critically evaluate past and present health care administration strategies.

The mission and goals are based, in part, on the Standards for the Preparation of Graduate-Level Health Educators.

In the Master of Science programs, courses must be selected with the approval of the major adviser in accordance with the program requirements. Students electing a major in the health sciences department are expected to have adequate undergraduate preparation in the chosen area of graduate study and satisfactory Graduate Record Examination scores.

Students entering the dietetics or nutrition and physical activity concentrations of the health sciences graduate program who do not possess the required prerequisites must obtain them before beginning the program.

A complete listing of all core and elective courses is available in the official JMU Graduate Catalog.

Curriculum Overview

Minimum Requirements

Information on required and optional courses by course number, title, and credit hours.
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
NUTR 555 Theories and Practices of Weight Management 3
KIN 644 Metabolic & Cardiorespiratory Aspects of Exercise 3
KIN 645 Muscular, Hormonal, & Environmental Aspects of Exercise 3
KIN 650 Exercise Testing, Prescription, & Evaluation 3
NUTR 660 Research Methods in Dietetics 3
MATH 522 Statistics for Researchers 3
NUTR 545 Nutrition and Exercise 3
NUTR 582 Nutrition & Metabolism 3
NUTR 652 Nutrition Assessment 3
Directed Research Option: choose one of the following:
NUTR 681 Directed Research in Dietetics I 2
NUTR 682 Directed Research in Dietetics II 2
NUTR 695 Research Interpretation in Dietetics 1
NUTR 696 Graduate Seminar in Dietetics 1
Thesis option:
NUTR 700 Thesis Research I 2 or 3
NUTR 701 Thesis Research II 2 or 3
NUTR 695 Research Interpretation in Dietetics 1
NUTR 696 Graduate Seminar in Dietetics 1