Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition Graduate Programs Frequently Asked Questions
What documents do I need for my application?
Applications and supporting documents should be submitted directly to Colorado State University Graduate Admissions.
- You must arrange to have one official transcript sent to Colorado State University, Graduate Admissions, from all colleges and universities attended.
- Three letters of recommendation are required. Provide email addresses of recommenders when applying. The CSU on-line system will solicit letters directly from these contacts.
- The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test is required for all applicants. Test scores should be sent directly to the University from the Educational Testing Service. Our University code is 4075. It takes approximately six weeks for us to receive scores after you take the test. You should enter your scores on the department application and these will be officially verified by the graduate school.
- The Statement of Purpose (see information about this below) should be no longer than two pages, single-spaced, standard 12-point font.
- Indicate your area of interest on the online application.
Official transcripts must be sent to:
Office of Admissions, 1062
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062
**For international applicants – please ensure that official transcripts include a certified translation into English
What if I have questions about my application?
Please direct your questions to:
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
234 Gifford Building
502 W. Lake Street
Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1571
What are required tests?
The GRE and TOEFL (for international students) are required as part of the application.
- Scores in ALL areas: above the 50th percentile
- GRE scores are good for 5 years
- MCAT scores can be substituted for the GRE
- 80 (internet version), 550 (paper), 213 (computer), or 6.5 on IELTS
GRE, TOEFL, IELTS scores should be reported to: Colorado State University (Code #4075)
What are the recommended GRE scores?
A score in the 50th percentile or above in each category and a writing assessment score of 4.5 or higher. Obviously, higher scores are more competitive.
How do I organize my statement of purpose?
The Statement of Purpose should include the following, in no particular order:
- a little about yourself, your background and how you got interested in nutrition;
- your specific interest area(s) (Nutritional Sciences, Community Nutrition, etc.);
- any particular focus within your interest area, e.g., childhood obesity or food security, etc. (This does not limit you but gives us an idea of where you are leaning);
- briefly, why you want the MS or PhD – what do you intend to do with your degree; and
- if appropriate, why you want to become a Registered Dietitian.
Is January 15th the deadline for both the online application AND the letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GRE scores
Yes. All materials MUST be received by this date.
How do I submit my official transcripts?
Official transcripts from all previous universities attended should be submitted electronically through the Registrar’s Office to Colorado State University or mailed via sealed envelopes to the following address:
Office of Admissions, 1062
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062
Do I have to complete all the pre-requisites BEFORE I apply to your program?
You must complete the required prerequisites for your application to be reviewed. If you are currently enrolled in pre-requisite courses at the time of your application, your application may be put on hold until such a time as the grades are submitted. You can, however, take Human Nutrition FSHN 350 the first semester you are enrolled or the online equivalent of FSHN 350 (FSHN 530) in the summer prior to enrolling. For those students in food science FTEC 447 can be taken during the first semester you are enrolled.
Can I take pre-requisites at a community college?
Courses from community colleges (CC) are acceptable but it is likely that you will not be able to find biochemistry, food chemistry or the advanced nutrition class (e.g. FSHN 350) at a CC. You should also be aware that some of the prerequisites that you could find as a one semester course at a university might be a two semester sequence at a CC.
How competitive is admission to the program?
We have approximately 140 applicants each year, and accept approximately 35 applicants.
Can graduate credits be transferred to CSU from another institution?
Acceptance of graduate transfer credits is determined on an individual basis with approval from your advisor, committee members, and the Graduate School. A minimum of 24 credits must be earned at Colorado State University, 21 of which must be earned after admission to the Graduate School. Our master’s degree requires a minimum of 35 credits, therefore, a possibility of 11 credits from another institution could be transferred. Information on transfer of credit from other institutions can be found in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin on the CSU Graduate School website.
Is there financial aid available for my graduate studies?
Our department offers a limited number of research and teaching assistantships that are awarded on a competitive basis. There are also competitive fellowships available through the College of Health and Human Sciences. Student Financial Services can provide information on other available assistance. Learn more about Graduate School Financial Aid.
Do you offer a graduate degree in sports nutrition?
NO, we do NOT offer a graduate degree in Sports Nutrition.
I am an international student. Are there additional requirements for my application than already stated above?
We welcome international applications to our graduate program. We require official GRE and TOEFL or IELTS test scores. TOEFL scores of at least 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 80 (internet-based) are required. An IELTS score of 6.5 is required. Test results are to be sent directly to the University from the testing center (code 4075). For the GRE minimum scores in the 50th percentile and above in each category and a writing assessment score of 4.5 or better are required.
If I wait until I'm accepted into the program and then move to Colorado at that time, will I be paying out-of-state tuition for the first year? If that is the case, is it possible to defer enrollment after acceptance so that I can establish residency in Colorado prior to matriculation?
Obtaining Colorado residency takes one year (365 days) prior to the beginning of classes in the semester for which you are expecting in-state tuition; this process can be complicated. Please refer to Student Financial Services website. Should you be accepted into the program, there is the possibility of deferring your admission term by one year. However, you must obtain advisor and Department approval before postponing your start date. Once approved, an Update Request Form will be emailed to you through your online application.
How do I apply for a teaching or research assistantship?
Our limited number of assistantships are highly competitive. Awards are based on the needs of our faculty, merit, and academic preparation in the appropriate course content. Assistantships pay a monthly stipend and a portion or full in-state tuition depending on the hours/week awarded. Research assistantships offer a tuition premium paying the difference of out-of-state tuition for the first year.
What are the different programs of study in the department?
A number of options exist, although ALL options lead to a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science and Nutrition. The department has two approved specializations, Nutrition or Food Science. Within the two specializations, it is possible to focus on Community Nutrition, Nutritional Sciences, and/or Food Safety.
The GP-IDEA on-line master’s program is ONLY FOR THOSE who are Registered Dietitians. This option is available through a number of universities including Colorado State University. If you are not a RD, the only option for a master’s degree at CSU is the on-campus program.
What is the process for becoming a Registered Dietitian?
This is a three step process:
- You must meet ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics) didactic course requirements (which differ slightly in different universities).
- Subsequent to the courses, you need to complete a ~ 1200 hour internship (supervised practice).
- You must take and pass a national exam.
Please note: NONE of the MS programs, by themselves meet the course requirements for a RD, but ANY option can be used to meet the course requirements. The number of additional credits that would be required will vary by the option and could include courses for credit or challenge exams.
Three required FSHN food service management and food science courses may be challenged. There is also a 1 credit food preparation lab and a food service practicum that you must take. The dietetic requirements also include a course in microbiology with lab and a business management course, which may be taken at CSU or transferred from another university or community college.
For further information, please view our Coordinated Masters Program page: CMPD Information
Or contact Dr. Leslie Cunningham-Sabo via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How does the Coordinated Master’s Program in Dietetics compare to a dietetics internship?
Although 6-7 current master students will meet their internship/supervised practice requirements through our Coordinated Program, most will complete an external post-graduation internship. Students CANNOT apply to the CMPD until they have completed at least one semester of graduate work. Applications for the CMPD program are in December and the “internship” starts in August. Unless you have an undergraduate degree in nutrition you are generally more competitive for the CMPD program during your second year of grad school.