To meet the growing needs for translational research expertise in both dietetics practice and policy and to enhance the effectiveness and impact of clinical and public health nutrition, we offer a combined PhD-RD program to highly qualified applicants from any ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics program. Accepted students begin their doctoral studies in the Graduate Field of Nutrition in the first year, complete the dietetic internship in their second year, and then continue their doctoral studies. Completion requirements for the dietetic internship are the same as for non-PhD-RD students in the program. Students who successfully complete dietetic internship requirements are eligible to sit for the RDN examination before finishing PhD requirements. Hallmarks of the Cornell Field of Nutrition include 1) an acclaimed faculty with a wide-variety of research interests, which provide an exceptional range of opportunities for multidisciplinary research and 2) the preeminence of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell globally for nutrition education, research and service. Doctoral students can plan their graduate programs to fit their career goals in one of four specializations: molecular nutrition, human nutrition, community nutrition or international nutrition. Combined PhD-RD students also complete courses in Nutrition in Action: Theory to Practice, Epidemiology, and Translational Research and Evidence-based Practice and Policy and a 4 to 6 month translational 'field' experience in national nutrition policy or clinical nutrition research. Funding support is available from a graduate training program.

Graduates of this combined PhD-RD program are well-prepared to meet the pressing needs in academic, medicine and policy sectors for translational nutrition researchers. They also are well-positioned because of the limited number of R.D.s in the US who also hold a PhD (4%), few of whom have direct translation and evidence-based policy experience.

Combined PhD-RD Applications  must be submitted by December 10 to the Graduate Field of Nutrition (see Admissions) and by January 2 on-line through DICAS to the internship as a pre-select applicant.

  • Dietetic internship application requirements are the same as for applicants to only the DI.
  • The GRE is required.
  • Additional coursework is helpful for molecular nutrition (molecular/cell biology, genetics, etc.) and community nutrition (statistics, social sciences, etc.); significant experience in a developing country is required for international nutrition.
  • Prior research experience is advantageous for all specializations.
  • Admission by both the Internship and Graduate Field of Nutrition Admissions committees and funding (providing a stipend and tuition waiver) are decided by early February before the dietetic internship match.
  • Applicants not selected for the PhD-RD option may be considered for dietetic internship openings through the match process.

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