Admissions Overview

The Nutrition and Health Sciences (NHS) doctoral program at Emory University trains students in nutrition both from a biochemical and public health perspective. This interdepartmental program is an indepenent graduate program in the Laney Graduate School based administratively in the Rollins School of Public Health but draws its faculty from across the University. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the program are below.

Please review the information on the website. If you have additional questions, please contact the Recruitment Coordinator, Dr. Melissa Young at melissa.young@emory.edu.


Questions about admissions:

What are the prerequisites for admission?
We do not have any required prerequisites for the program. Having some exposure to biochemistry is helpful for the nutrition core course, but this is not a requirement. Our top applicants often have taken courses in biology, biochemistry, epidemiology, statistics, nutrition, and/or public health.

What are the requirements for admission?
See below under "How to Apply."

What does a top applicant to the NHS program look like?
Our strongest applicants have strong GPAs, great letters of recommendation from people who know their research and/or work abilities, research interests that align well with Emory faculty, and research experience. These individuals' applications show that they would be a good fit for our program and will add to the diversity and richness of our student body. While a master's degree is not required, most of our admitted students have master's in nutrition, public health, or related fields.

What are the average GRE scores and GPAs of accepted students?
GRE scores are not required for applicants to the NHS program.

There is no set minimums for GPAs. The admissions committee takes into account all of the application materials when making its decision. The average GPA for recently enrolled students was 3.5 for undergraduate studies and 3.8 for master's studies.

What is the Institution code for Emory University?

The TOEFL code for Emory University is 5187. Emory does not utilize departmental codes.

When does the NHS program accept applications?
We accept applications each fall for enrollment the following fall, with an application deadline of December 1st. We DO NOT enroll students in spring semester.

Do you provide waivers for the application fee?

The Laney Graduate School provides application fee waivers to students who have participated in select training programs or to those with financial hardship. Please see here for more information. 

How many applicants do you receive each year and how many of those are admitted?
We receive around 40-60 applications each year and admit 3-5 students. Data on admissions and graduations is available here.

Can I have an extension to the application deadline of December 1st?
We do not offer extensions to the application deadline. We must receive all materials from you by the deadline. Although we will accept letters of recommendation after December 1st, we complete our initial review of your application very quickly after the deadline and having a complete application will help us best determine your fit for the program. Please reach out to your recommenders early to ensure your letters are uploaded on time. 

Do I need to identify a mentor before applying?
NHS students are admitted by the program and NOT by individual faculty. Our students select their mentors during their second year after doing three research rotations. If you have questions about faculty research, you are welcome to contact any of our faculty members, but there is no need to identify your dissertation project or mentor during the admission process.

Do you interview applicants?
Yes, we conduct virtual interviews via Zoom or phone for top applicants. Based on these interviews, we then invite a select number of US-based applicants for on-campus recruitment activites in late January/early February. Select international applicants are invited to attend virtual recruitment events to learn more about the program.

Questions about student life in the NHS program:

Is this a nine or a twelve-month program?
The program spans the entire calendar year. Although students only take classes during the academic year (September to May), they complete research rotations or dissertation research during the summer months.

How long will it take to earn my PhD?
The average time to completion in the NHS program is a little under 5 years. Statistics on admissions and graduations can be found here.

Can I keep working while I earn my PhD?
NHS doctoral students are expected to be full time students and are offered a stipend so that this is possible. Earning a doctorate takes both time and dedication, and it will not be possible for you to have additional outside employment. Students can work up to 10 hours per week on research or teaching that relate to or further their doctoral training.

Are your students funded? Will I need to take out loans?
All NHS students, including international students, are provided with a financial package that covers tuition and health insurance and provides a stipend to cover living expenses. Annual stipends for students starting in fall 2023 are $36,376. In most cases, this support is provided by the Laney Graduate School, but it may be in the form of training grants. After the second year, student funding is provided through the student’s research mentor.

Will I get experience teaching?
The Laney Graduate School requires all students to participate in the Teaching Assistant and Teaching Training Opportunity (TATTO) program, which provides training on teaching at the University level. All NHS students are required to complete one semester-long Teaching Assistantship, typically in one of the core Nutrition courses, although interested students can get additional experience.

Can I talk to a current student?

Yes! Our students are happy to talk about the NHS program with you. The Recruitment Coordinator (Dr. Melissa Young at melissa.young@emory.edu) can connect you with students who share your interests and experiences. You can learn more about our current students here.

Where can I learn more about what your students, faculty, and alumni are doing?

The Student and Faculty pages provide information and links to the work of our students and faculty. In addition, the NHS students produce a program newsletter that has lots of information about what is going on in our program. In spring 2018, we celebrated our 25th Anniversary as a program with a symposium on The Future of Nutrition, which featured talks by several NHS faculty and alumni. You can find copies of the newsletters and links to the Symposium talks on our Resources page.

How diverse is your student body?

NHS, the Laney Graduate School, and Emory University are committed to promoting diversity on campus. We understand that a diverse student body leads to a richer training experience for all of our trainees and better science and scientists. You can learn more about the Graduate School's stance on diversity and about diversity programs here. Admission for the NHS program can be found here.    

Other Questions about the NHS program:

What are some of the things your alumni are doing?
Our alumni are working in diverse settings across nutrition including government, academia, and industry.

Do you offer a Master's degree?
No. The Nutrition and Health Sciences Program only awards a Ph.D. degree.

Can I set up a time to visit the NHS program?
We do not do campus visits. This is for several reasons. First, the NHS program is interdepartmental, so we do not have a department office and our faculty members are located in different home departments. Secondly, we invite our top candidates to campus for recruitment events in late January/early February where they have the opportunity to learn more about the program, meet faculty and students, and visit Emory.

Can you send me a program brochure or additional information about the program?
All program information is available online, and we do not mail any additional information. If you have questions, we invite you to contact the Recruitment Coordinator, Dr. Melissa Young at melissa.young@emory.edu. She can answer your questions via email or set up a time to talk over the phone.

How to Apply

Apply Online

The application cycle for considation for admission next year begins in September. The application deadline is December 1

You can submit your application before your letter writers have submitted their letters of recommendation. Make sure you upload the correct version of your statement of purpose, resume and transcripts, as our office is unable to remove or add any document in your application once it has been submitted.

Required Application Material (see FAQ above for additional details)

  • $75 application fee.
  • A completed online application to the Laney Graduate School. The application is available on the Laney Graduate School website.
  • A copy of a transcript for each university you have attended. This transcript must be issued by the Registrar’s Office (a copy issued to the student is fine) and cannot be printed from the University’s web site. Each transcript must be uploaded during the application process. Scan the transcript at high resolution and make sure each can be read before uploading it. Each individual university transcript must be uploaded as one file and not page by page. If your transcripts are not in English, you should provide a certified translation.
    • Official transcripts are not required and will not be used in the review process. If you are offered admission and accept the offer you are then required to submit an official sealed transcript from each university you have attended. We ask that you not send us any material in the mail unless asked to do so
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose – Your statement of purpose should be approximately 500 words (2 pages double spaced) in length and should describe your reasons for pursuing a PhD in Nutrition and Health Sciences, your research interests, and why you feel the NHS doctoral program is a good fit for your doctoral training.
  • A CV or resume
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam is required if your native language is not English.

Our goal is to streamline the application process for you and to make the application review process as paperless as possible. 

Ready to apply? 

Go to the Laney Graduate School's Admissions page.