Accelerated nutrition programs for master’s degrees are a fast path to earning a degree and starting a rewarding career in nutrition. Many programs exist, especially for people already working in the nutrition field, that can get into a Nutrition Master’s Program whether you have a Bachelor’s in Nutrition or not.
Originally published in September 2022 and last updated in December 2023.
Once you have your Master’s degree, you qualify to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. The clinical role of the nutritionist is changing in today’s culture. Specialists are valuable stakeholders in both institutions and fork-to-farm programs.
Certified nutritionists significantly increase stakeholders’ chances of living a fuller and healthier life. Getting an accelerated online nutrition master’s degree could be the best way to a rewarding career in nutrition and dietetics.
One of the biggest advantages of an accelerated online master’s of nutrition program is the field is rapidly changing and evolving. But there are plenty of positions. Many accelerated online Master’s of Nutrition program plans include a 4+1 program. So, students can earn both a master’s and a bachelor’s in 5 years. Professionals will often consider taking an accelerated Master’s within 1 year.
Our Method: Ranking the Best Accelerated Online Master’s of Nutrition Programs
For nutrition professionals who want to advance quickly, an accelerated online Master’s in Nutrition is a smart choice. Speed isn’t everything, though, so Best Health Degrees editors have ranked programs according to tuition, student reviews, and salary potential. To qualify, programs must be accredited and offer students a path to complete their master’s in 18 months or less.
1. Texas Woman’s University
When you are looking for an accelerated online Master’s of Nutrition program, you want to consider the MS in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.
The degree program allows students to complete their education within 12 months, so it helps students keep up with professional goals without wasting time in a complicated program.
Texas Woman’s University offers flexibility to help students accomplish their educational goals. The online degree program lets students work at their own pace, so it allows full-time students to complete their program faster.
It also recognizes that students may need to work on their degree part-time due to obligations at work or home, so students develop a strategy that works with their specific needs.
Highlight: Texas Woman’s University offers small class sizes to help students keep up with course material and connect with faculty when questions arise.
Length of Degree: 12 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 70%
2. Abilene Christian University
Abilene Christian University offers an online MS in Nutrition that allows students to work at a faster pace. Students work at their own pace, so it allows students to finish their degree within 12 months when taking full-time courses.
Students can expect to learn about the science behind nutrition as well as the ways that nutrition applies to different areas of health and well-being.
Abilene Christian University emphasizes Christian values as they apply to nutrition and health. Since it takes a Biblical approach to the topic of nutrition, students can expect to learn about the different recommendations for diet as it is described in the Bible.
Students will also learn about scientific research into different foods that are described as healthy in Biblical texts. The program takes a holistic approach to nutrition and gives students a well-rounded view of how diet impacts individual well-being.
Highlight: Abilene Christian University provides six credit hours for students who complete a dietetic internship before applying for the master’s program or who complete an internship during the program.
Length of Degree: 12 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 61%
3. Arizona State University
The accelerated online Master’s of Nutrition program from Arizona State University prepares students to develop a strong foundation in nutritional science and studies.
The MS in Nutritional Science emphasizes the research behind nutritional sciences as well as the ways that nutrition may impact human health. It also discusses different aspects of science, such as biology and chemistry, and how those areas may impact nutrition.
Arizona State University allows students to take accelerated courses to complete a master’s degree within 12 months. The online program allows students to take classes that are 7.5 weeks long and it emphasizes an evidence-based approach to nutrition. Since the degree program focuses on the science and the evidence behind nutrition, it prepares students for a challenging career in a research or clinical role.
Highlight: Arizona State University is the most innovative college according to U.S. News and World Reports for its online degree programs.
Length of Degree: 12 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 66%
4. Simmons University
Simmons University offers an accelerated online MS in Nutrition and Health Promotion that allows students to finish their degree within 12 months.
The program emphasizes the role of nutrition in wellness and also teaches students about fitness and overall health outcomes.
It gives students a strong foundation in topics related to good health and well-being, so it ensures that students are ready to handle challenges when working in a clinical environment or when developing health promotion programs.
Simmons University emphasizes the value of promoting good health within local communities. It strives to ensure that students can take measures to improve the health of their communities through effective programs and measures to improve health outcomes among different groups. The focus on community health ensures that students recognize variations within demographic groups to provide effective advice.
Highlight: Simmons University offers financial aid to students in the graduate program to help with the costs of obtaining a degree.
Length of Degree: 12 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 81%
5. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers an MS in Health Sciences with a concentration in Nutrition that allows students to complete the program at a faster pace.
The online program lets students finish a degree within 12 months and emphasizes the role of science in good health and nutrition.
The degree program teaches students about nutrition and the sciences involved in nutrition research to prepare students for the challenges of working in a clinical or research environment.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is the only accelerated online nutrition program in the state of Texas and it focuses on building on student knowledge and previous training. It is designed around the needs of adults with complex work situations or limited time due to personal obligations. The flexibility of the program combined with the accelerated pace helps students focus on accomplishing their long-term goals.
Highlight: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers specialized scholarships for students in the online degree program.
Length of Degree: 12 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 47%
6. SUNY Oneonta
The accelerated online Master’s of Nutrition program from SUNY Oneonta allows students to advance in their careers within 12 months of starting the program. The online MS in Nutrition and Dietetics prepares students to take the exams to become a registered dietitian.
It requires students to complete the supervised practice hours that further improve student capabilities. The hands-on practice ensures that students are ready to handle the challenges of working in a clinical setting or dealing with challenges as a leader.
SUNY Oneonta stands out by offering a dietetic internship to qualifying students in the online degree program. The internship allows students to develop their skills and gain hands-on experience while they work on their degrees.
It is designed around the needs of registered dietitians and working professionals. It also allows students to work on their degree and advance in a career when they have already obtained certification and want to advance into a leadership role.
Highlight: SUNY Oneonta is ACEND-accredited for the online master’s degree program.
Length of Degree: 12 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 76%
7. The University of Rhode Island
The MS in Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island is an accelerated online course that allows students to complete their degree within 14 months. Individuals complete coursework in seven-week blocks.
So, students can work around their schedules to keep up with courses when they have obligations or job responsibilities that limit their time during traditional class hours.
The University of Rhode Island offers two concentrations for students in the online accelerated program. Students can complete the dietetic internship track or can focus on the registered dietitian nutritionist track. The nutritionist track offers a generalist track that allows students to gain a broad perspective on nutrition and dietetics, while the internship track gives a more specialized education.
Highlight: An estimated 98 percent of graduates from the online master’s program at the University of Rhode Island recommend it to new students.
Length of Degree: 14 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 69%
8. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers an accelerated MS degree program in Food and Nutrition online that allows students to finish their degree within 16 months of starting the program.
The online degree program offers two tracks for students: the administration track and the education track.
- The administration track focuses on leadership and management skills that apply to corporate environments and related industries.
- The education track emphasizes research and evidence-based practices to work in an educational program, community services, or similar fields.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania provides a strong foundation in nutrition studies before students develop specialized skills for their career goals. That ability to focus on a specialized area of nutrition studies ensures that students are prepared to handle the challenges they may face in certain careers and opportunities.
Highlight: Indiana University of Pennsylvania is one of the best online programs for a master’s in nutrition by Best Schools.
Length of Degree: 16 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 55%
9. Russell Sage College
Russell Sage College offers an online MS in Applied Nutrition. This program lets students work at an accelerated pace and finish the master’s program within 18 months. The degree program focuses on the practical application of nutrition in research, community health, and clinical environments.
It teaches students the practical skills and critical thinking skills they need for employment. Graduates work with doctors and professionals in a variety of different settings.
Russell Sage College stands out from other programs by emphasizing effective communication skills. It teaches students the proper ways to communicate during presentations, one-on-one discussions, and similar situations.
Students learn to communicate through writing as well as oral communication which allows them to take on leadership positions. It gives students a strong foundation in the skills they need to handle a variety of tasks in a clinical, corporate, or public career.
Highlight: Russell Sage College requires students to complete a group thesis project to complete the degree program.
Length of Degree: 18 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 71%
10. The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an MS in Nutrition Sciences Clinical Track – Prior Learning online that provides the opportunity to complete the program within 18 months. The accelerated program emphasizes nutritional studies and evidence-based nutrition as it applies to clinical work.
The degree program recognizes that students may work in a clinical environment and offers the hands-on training students need to work with patients in a medical facility.
The university prepares students to take the licensing exams to become registered dietitians with an internship program. Students will have the chance to gain experience through the internship and develop useful skills that improve their capabilities when they start working in an advanced position.
Highlight: The University of Alabama at Birmingham is ACEND-accredited for the online nutrition sciences degree program.
Length of Degree: 18 months
School’s Overall Graduation Rate: 63%
“I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and health writer for National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC). I have been working within the nutrition field for about 13 years, with multiple years within clinical in-patient nutrition care, outpatient counseling, community clinics and clinical dietitian management. I was also an adjunct professor in nutrition for a private university for a couple of years and taught online during the covid restrictions. I would love to contribute to your inquiry.
I believe that the future of my profession stems from the education that new graduates receive.
Although I am not a fan of an accelerated masters program since there are key aspects that can be missed in such a program all for the benefit of saving time.
Of all of the programs that were listed, I would have to choose SUNY Oneonta since it is a state school which often comes with a lower tuition price tag and includes an internship. The internship needed to become a dietitian is difficult to obtain and is often a barrier to entry for many prospective dietitians. Additionally, since the Master’s degree is now required to become a dietitian, it is all that more impressive that this Master’s program is online, accelerated and provides the needed internship.
Many programs tend to steer their students into clinical or food service since those have been the traditional jobs, however, information technology, journalism, web building and business development are all now avenues that registered dietitians are branching out into with their nutrition expertise.”
Yelena Wheeler Registered Dietitian Nutritionist of National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC)
What if I Don’t Need an Accelerated Online Nutrition Master’s Degree?
Certain cases don’t require you to have a graduate certificate nutrition degree. However, ACEND only offers certificates for entry-level academic requirements with graduate degrees. While you are getting a graduate certificate in nutrition online, you can apply to ACEND and take the test early.
What does ACEND stand for? Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
If you decide not to go the route of a graduate certificate in nutrition, you can still have a Bachelor’s in Nutrition or Dietetic credits and apply for your RD or RDN.
Most dietitians are expected to at least have a Bachelor’s in something related to nutrition. If you have a full graduate certificate in nutrition, you are not required to have ACEND but many that go to graduate school will meet state requirements for RD and RDN. ACEND also has a lot of different continuing education certificates to explore.
Should I Get a Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Online Instead of an Accelerated Nutrition Master’s?
An online certificate in nutrition is something that is commonly sought by students who have studied courses in nutrition whether at the associate, bachelor’s, or master’s level. It is possible to get certificates in nutrition online without a prior degree, but it won’t necessarily be state-approved and may limit some of your career opportunities.
If you already have a Bachelor’s in another area, you can easily apply for a Master’s online certificate course in nutrition and dietetics that would prepare you to take the nationally recognized ACEND certification and open up the door to a lot of higher-paid managerial nutrition and wellness jobs.
It’s a good idea to get a graduate certificate in nutrition online if you work in the field of nutrition. They are usually self-paced or accelerated, depending on what your needs are.
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