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An assortment of fruit and vegetables are at the heart of a healthy diet.

Nutrition and Dietetics

Nutrition and Dietetics focuses on the relationship between food and health and how to use this knowledge to improve the well-being of individuals and communities in a variety of settings.

Your Choice, Your Career, Your Future!

Dietetics is a diverse field, with practitioners employed in a variety of settings. These practitioners learn about food and nutrition not only in health care settings but also education, business, management and industry settings.

The primary areas of practice include clinical dietetics, community nutrition, nutrition and food service management, and education and research. After acquiring a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Southern Miss, our students are prepared to work in hospitals, clinics, wellness centers, and athletic clubs.

Additionally, they can provide consultation services to restaurants as well as pursue private practice. Current information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates growth in all areas of nutrition and dietetics.


Regardless of the emphasis, nutrition is a biological science and requires a background in chemistry and biology.

All majors contain the same core courses within the biological and physical sciences. Courses in English, statistics, social sciences and humanities, as well as the Southern Miss General Education requirements, are also essential. These courses are generally completed prior to the upper-division coursework.

Time in the junior and senior years allows for in-depth study in nutrition and dietetics, including nutrition principles, nutrition across the life cycle, diet therapy, experimental food, food systems management, and community nutrition.

Degree Options

There are four Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees available with this major.

  • Nutrition and Dietetics (Community Nutrition) BS

    Availability: Hattiesburg

    The Community Nutrition emphasis within the Nutrition and Dietetics degree is designed to meet the needs of students who want training in health promotion, disease prevention, program development, and nutrition interventions in the community setting.

    In order to meet the demand for practitioners that provide nutrition-related services in the public sector, the new emphasis incorporates a minor in Public Health as part of the degree requirements.

    View Semester by Semester Guide
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (Didactic Program in Dietetics) BS

    Availability: Hattiesburg

    The Didactic Program in Dietetics is designed to provide knowledge and skills required for students who want to pursue a dietetic internship resulting in the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential. Course requirements are designed to meet accreditation requirements through the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) (

    To become an RD, you must earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and complete requirements for an accredited dietetics program; complete an accredited post-baccalaureate dietetic internship, and pass the national registration examination for dietitians. The ability to complete both the undergraduate program and the dietetic internship at one institution is a definite advantage of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Southern Miss.

    View Semester by Semester Guide
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (Nutrition and Food Systems Management) BS

    Availability: Hattiesburg

    Nutrition and Food Systems Management is designed to meet the needs of students who are interested in food, nutrition, and getting the food to the customers in a variety of settings.

    Students enrolled in this emphasis will not only have a background in nutrition, but they will also have a broad knowledge of food, food delivery systems, management, and business skills needed in a variety of settings.

    View Semester by Semester Guide
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (Nutrition Science) BS

    Availability: Hattiesburg

    Nutrition Science is designed for students who wish to study nutrition but do not intend to pursue the nutrition or dietetics practice or Registered Dietitian (RD) credentialing.

    This route is most appropriate for students who wish to pursue post-baccalaureate professional programs or graduate education in nutrition, science, or health.

    View Semester by Semester Guide

More about this Major


Community Nutrition

This degree emphasis addresses the food and nutrition employment demands and priorities anticipated in the public and private sectors in the coming years. It is projected that employment of health educators and community health workers will grow by 21 percent from 2012 to 2022. The unique combination of this degree with a minor in Public Health prepares the students to address the health disparities not only in the Southeast region but also the entire country.

Didactic Program in Dietetics

The primary areas of practice include clinical dietetics, community nutrition, nutrition and food service management, and education and research. Current information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates growth in all areas of nutrition and dietetics. Program graduates are highly successful in passing the registered dietitian (RD) exam and securing jobs after completing the program. The program boasts a curriculum that offers many courses that provide experiential learning to assure that students not only have the knowledge to enter the workplace but they also have the skills to be successful.

Nutrition and Food Systems Management

Graduates are prepared to improve the health of individuals and families, while participating in the delivery of food in a variety of settings. Many of the classes in the curriculum include experiential learning, making students ready to enter the workforce upon graduation. This program prepares the students to become a part of the food industry while understanding the underlying role of food in promoting good health.

Nutrition Science

Students who have completed this emphasis have been able to secure placement in post-baccalaureate professional programs such as medicine, dental, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physician's assistant, etc. Most recently, one of our students was accepted into the dental program at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, while another was accepted into the Physician Assistant Studies program at the University of South Alabama.

• In addition to the high-quality curriculum, the Didactic Program in Dietetics has a 90+% placement rate for students into post-baccalaureate dietetic internships and an 89+% first-time pass rate on the registration examination for dietitians.
• The Workforce Demand Study completed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration indicates an increase in the need for credentialed Registered Dietitians from 2010 to 2020. The report projects an annual increase in demand for all dietetics services.
• Completion of the Nutrition and Food Systems Management emphasis area will qualify the students to sit for the nationally-recognized credentialing exam to become a Certified Dietary Manager and Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM and CFPP).
While Nutrition Science is not the typical path to dental school, the coursework gave me the requisite science foundation, while fostering skills in health care communication and cultural competence. No other route would have been more worthwhile.

Courses You Might Take

NFS 272: Principles of Food Preparation

Two students wearing hair nets and white laboratory coats study in a classroom.

Study of theories and techniques of food preparation and their effects on food products

NFS 420: Lifecycle Nutrition

A student presents a learning-aid to school-aged children.

Study of the role of nutrition in health, growth, and development at each stage of the life cycle

NFS 430: Experimental Foods

Two students in white laboratory coats take part in an experiment.

Study of selected nutrition, chemical, physical and sensory properties of foods in relation to preparation procedures

NFS 463: Community Nutrition

Students and an instructor stand in a field of vegetables while the instructor lectures.

Study of nutrition assessment methodology and resources within the community

NFS 477: Administrative Dietetics

Students stand and sit around a table after a presentation.

Study and application of management theory and techniques in the supervision of food service personnel

Meet Some of Your Professors

Ms. Renee Rupp


Favorite Courses: NFS 485/L: Medical Nutrition Therapy II and NFS 486/L: Medical Nutrition Therapy III

Mrs. Roxanne Kingston

Instructor, Dietetic Internship Director

Favorite Course: NFS 477/L: Administrative Dietetics

Mrs. Teresa Walker-Cartwright


Favorite Courses: NFS 272/L: Food Preparation and NFS 362: Nutrition

Carol Connell, PhD, RD

Professor, Undergraduate Program Director

Favorite Course: NFS 410: Macronutrients

Expertise: Research focus has been on the nutrition needs in populations experiencing health disparities, with additional interest in measuring food insecurity and food access in the rural Mississippi Delta.

Holly Huye, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: NFS 480: Current Topics in NFS

Expertise: Current research activities include integration of the humanities (poetry and art analysis, storytelling, etc.) across our sciences-driven curricula. She also works in community nutrition, implementing nutrition interventions.

Jennifer Lemacks, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: NFS 411: Micronutrients

Expertise: Current research activities include implementing interventions to decrease preventable chronic diseases and health disparities in underserved populations. Her work includes utilizing mobile technology.

Elaine Molaison, PhD, RD

Department Chair and Professor

Favorite Course: NFS 640: Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy

Expertise: Research focuses on child obesity prevalence rates in Mississippi. She is also interested in the impact of nutrition interventions to improve patient outcomes.

Kathy Yadrick, PhD, RD

Distinguished Professor

Favorite Course: NFS 715: Recent Developments in Nutrition – Cultural Competence for Dietetics and Child Nutrition Professionals

Expertise: Research focuses on engaging with communities to identify solutions to the high rates of chronic diseases and obesity in Mississippi.

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