Ph.D. in Dietetics & Nutrition

The Department of Dietetics and Nutrition’s doctoral program prepares graduates to assume leadership roles in research, academia, government agencies, private industry and community-based organizations. Stempel College graduates have been successful in securing dynamic positions, including those who chose to be self-employed. This degree is the perfect credential for increasing your stature and earning potential.

Our doctoral program allows students to study and work side-by-side with esteemed educators, researchers and practitioners who serve as mentors. The department also boasts state-of-the-art laboratories for research and teaching. Additionally, our faculty conduct research off-campus in community-based settings, including acute/long-term care facilities, schools and medical settings.

All of our doctoral students complete a 15-credit Research and Methods Core. In addition, each student develops, in consultation with his/her Dissertation Committee, an individualized plan of study for advanced coursework in dietetics and nutrition science. The plan of study may also include graduate courses from other Stempel College departments or from elsewhere within FIU, as appropriate to achieve individual educational and research objectives. Following these courses, and advancement to candidacy, a minimum of 15 credit hours of dissertation work must be completed. This degree requires a minimum of 55 credits after an MS or 75 credits after a BS degree. For more information about the coursework requirements please review the PhD Advising Form.  In addition to the Ph.D. curriculum and dissertation, students participate in various career and research development seminars, colloquium presentations and workshops within the department and college.

Ph.D. Curriculum Schedule

Year 1:

  • Begin coursework
  • Select a major professor and graduate committee by the end of the first year
    • Submit the “Appointment of Dissertation Committee” online milestone form
  • Begin working on research activities with major professor

Year 2:

  • Complete core curriculum and electives courses
  • Complete oral and written preliminary examinations
    • Submit the “Program for Doctoral Degree and Application for Candidacy” online milestone form

Year 3-5:

  • Develop and defend the dissertation proposal
    • Submit the “Doctoral Dissertation Proposal” online milestone form
  • Work on dissertation research
  • Complete dissertation
    • Submit the “Preliminary Approval of Dissertation and Request for Oral Defense” online milestone form
  • Defend Ph.D. Dissertation
    • Submit the “Final Electronic Dissertation Approval” online milestone form

*Throughout the program students are expected to work with their major professors and committees to conduct research resulting in presentations at professional conferences and peer-reviewed publications.


Applying to the Program

Applicant process

  1. Review the program website, PhD Handbook and PhD Advising Form to gain an understanding of how the program works.
  2. Identify Dietetics & Nutrition faculty members that you might be interested in working with based on their research areas.
  3. Reach out to faculty members you are interested in to learn more about their research, available openings in their research labs and/or potential funding opportunities.
  4. Reach out to the Ph.D. Program Director, Catherine Coccia ( or Graduate Student Academic Support Services Administrator Julia Gonzalez ( with any questions you have about the program, curriculum or admissions.
  5. Apply to the program early for the best chances to receive fellowships, scholarships or assistantships!

Admissions criteria

Applicants must meet the following admission criteria:

  • Must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university, or in the case of foreign students, an accredited institution recognized in its own country as preparing students for further study at the graduate level.
  • Students with a background in Nutrition, Dietetics, Biology, Chemistry, Biological and Biomedical Sciences are encouraged to apply.
  • Must have a minimum of a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale. The GPA is calculated on the student’s last 60 credits of undergraduate upper division hours.

To be considered for admission, all applicants must submit the following required application materials:

  • Admissions application, which can be accessed at
  • Official transcripts from accredited institutions.
  • Official Proof of Degree.
  • Updated resume/CV.
  • Three letters of recommendation—preferably from past faculty members.
  • A personal statement describing the applicant’s purpose to pursue doctoral studies at this time and at this institution. This written statement will be evaluated for organization, content, individuality, spelling/grammar, connection to the profession of dietetics. In the personal statement students should:
  • Demonstrate background and experience (include examples) and how your attitude, value, skills and character demonstrate your ability to pursue a Ph.D. in Dietetics and Nutrition and how it relates to your overarching goals
  • Describe your research and specialization interests
  • Describe your career goals following receipt of your Dietetics and Nutrition Ph.D. at Florida international University
  • Identify at least 3 Florida International University Dietetics and Nutrition professors that you may be interested in working with along with a rationale for why you are interested in working with those professors
  • Indicate and explain the reason for selecting the Ph.D. program in Dietetics and Nutrition at Florida International University


  • International Applicants

    Must submit documents mentioned above, in addition to items listed below: 

    • Official translations in English for non-English transcripts/documents.
    • International applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A total score of 80 on the iBT TOEFL or a 6.5 overall on the IELTS is required.
    • Must complete the Declaration of Finances form located at
    • Must submit official bank letters.
    • Must submit Financial Sponsor Letter.
    • International students (currently in the U.S.) must submit their F1-Transfer forms located at

    All documents must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

    Florida International University
    Graduate Admissions Office
    PO Box 659004
    Miami, FL 33265-9004

    For overnight/courier services mail to:

    FIU Graduate Admissions
    Modesto A. Maidique Campus
    11200 S.W. 8th St., BT 201
    Miami, FL 33199
    305-348-7441 fax