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 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. Mary Beth Weber at mbweber@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?
Applicants will need to provide the following:

  1. $75 application fee
  2. A completed online application to the Laney Graduate School. The application is available on the Laney Graduate School website.
  3. Transcripts from each university you attended. If your transcripts are not in English, you should provide a certified translation. 
  4. GRE (general test) scores are required for all applicants. We do not waive the GRE requirement, and do not accept the MCAD in place of the GRE. These scores must be no older than five years old.
  5. Three letters of recommendation
  6. 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.
  7. A CV or resume
  8. For applicants whose native language is not English, a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score is required.

What does a top applicant to the NHS program look like?
Our strongest applicants have strong GPAs and GRE scores, 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 individual’s 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 Masters degree is not required, most of our admitted students have masters in nutrition, public health, or related fields.

What are the average GRE scores and GPAs of accepted students?
Students applying to the NHS program should have scored at the 50th percentile or higher on each section of the GRE. The mean percentile scores of enrolled students over the last few years were: 80th percentile verbal; 66th percentile quantitative; and 73rd percentile analytical writing. The average GPA for recently enrolled students was 3.61 for undergraduate studies and 3.87 for Masters studies.

There are no set minimums for GRE scores or GPAs. The admissions committee takes into account all of the application material when making its decision

What is the Institution code for Emory University?
The GRE/ 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.

How many applicants do you receive each year and how many of those are admitted?
Each year, we receive between 50 and 70 applications and admit 3-5 students. Data on admissions and our current student body 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 letters of recommendation can arrive later. Official GRE scores may also arrive at Emory after the deadline, but you must have taken the test before applying and be able to provide scores in your application.

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 invite our top applicants for on-campus interviews in late January/early February.

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 lab 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 5 years.

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 employment.

Are your students funded? Will I need to take out loans?
All NHS students are provided with a financial package that covers tuition and health insurance and provides a stipend to cover living expenses. The stipend for students matriculating in Fall 2016 is $22,920 for twelve months. In most cases, this support is provided by the Laney Graduate School, but 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.

Other Questions about the NHS program:

What are some of the things your alumni are doing?
Are 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 interviews 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. Mary Beth Weber at mbweber@emory.edu. She can answer your questions via email or set up a time to talk over the phone.