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Nutritional Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Nutritional Sciences

Doctoral Program Faculty Contact

Dr. Debra B. Reed, Ph.D., RD, LD
Mailing Address:
Texas Tech University
NS Dept. Box 41270 Lubbock, TX 79409-1270, USA
Phone: 806-742-5720 Ext. 251

General Admission

Admission to the TTU Graduate Nutritional Sciences Program is a 2 step process. Some information must be submitted to the TTU Graduate School, and other information is submitted to the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Adviser as detailed below. If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Adviser for Nutritional Sciences (Dr. Debra Reed;; phone 806-742-5720, ):

  1. Apply to Texas Tech University's Graduate School
    In general this includes submission of the following:
    • Online application
    • Official transcript(s) of all previous college studies
    • Scores of Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
    • English Language Proficiency Tests (international students only)
    • Application fee
    For more details on the above, go to:
  2. The applicant should send directly to the Graduate Adviser for Nutritional Sciences (Dr. Debra Reed):
    1. A letter of application detailing the student's rationale for pursuing a Master's in Nutritional Sciences (including previous academic, employment, volunteer, and research experiences; goals; and interests, especially as they relate to current TTU faculty interests).
    2. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to address the student's suitability for pursuing a Master's Degree in Nutritional Sciences, including at least 2 references from previous professors.
    3. Professional Resume
    (1), (2), and (3) above should be sent to Dr. Reed at the address below for regular postal delivery:

    Dr. Debra B. Reed
    Dept. of Nutritional Sciences
    College of Human Sciences
    Texas Tech University
    Box 41270
    Lubbock , TX 79409-1270

    Or use this Street Address for courier/overnight delivery:

    Dr. Debra B. Reed
    Dept. of Nutritional Sciences
    College of Human Sciences
    Texas Tech University
    1301 Akron Avenue
    Lubbock , TX 79409-1270
    Phone 806-742-5720

Application Deadlines:

Nutritional Sciences Deadlines for students who are U.S./permanent Residents:
If you are not able to meet the above deadlines, please contact Dr. Reed to inquire if later admission deadlines are available.

Graduate School and Nutritional Sciences Deadlines for students who are international:

Minimal Nutritional Sciences entrance requirements for PhD applicants at Texas Tech University

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Subsequent to a student's admission to the program, the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Adviser (Dr. Debra Reed) assumes responsibility for serving as the temporary Adviser.

Advisery Committee

The student should select a Chairperson of his/her Doctoral Advisery Committee by the end of the first semester of study or as soon a possible thereafter. In consultation with the Chairperson, the student will select a Doctoral Advisery Committee. The Doctoral Advisery Committee shall be composed of at least 3 members of the graduate faculty from within Nutritional Sciences, at least 1 graduate faculty member outside Nutritional Sciences (either within or outside the College of Human Sciences), and a 5th graduate faculty member chosen at-large outside the College of Human Sciences. The Doctoral Advisery Committee must contain a total of 5 or more members of the Graduate Faculty for the final examination (dissertation defense), at least 1 being from outside the College of Human Sciences. The Doctoral Advisery Committee is responsible for approving the course work program (Program for the Doctoral Degree), advising the student regarding changes in his/her program, conducting the qualifying examination, approving the research proposal, supervising the conduct of the research, and participating at the defense of the dissertation.

Completion of the Program for the Doctoral Degree form identifies the Doctoral Advisery Committee and the Chairperson. Hence, official approval of this form by the Graduate School places the student under the direction of the Chairperson of the Doctoral Advisery Committee for the remainder of his/her academic program. If the Program for the Doctoral Degree form is not completed and the Doctoral Advisery Committee is not constituted and approved prior to the start of the second year, the student, at the option of the Graduate School, may not be permitted to register for courses.

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Preliminary Examination

At the beginning of the student's first semester, the student will take preliminary exams in all courses completed at the master's level that the student would like to have count toward the required 72 hours for the doctoral program of study. A score of 75% or higher on any exam taken will be required to receive credit for that course. The Graduate Adviser for Nutritional Sciences will arrange the testing date and time for all new doctoral students.

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Doctoral Program

The following is the general degree plan for the Nutritional Sciences PhD Program which requires 72 credits, including dissertation hours. It is important that students work with their Advisery Committee Chairperson and Committee to select appropriate courses for the student's interest and dissertation topic. Courses not listed here may become available and may be more appropriate than those listed. (Note: Advisery Committee Chairperson also may referred to as major professor.)

REQUIRED CORE in Nutritional Sciences:

12 semester hours
Nutrient Classes (take 3 of the following 4 courses)
NS 5327 Lipids (3 semester hours)
NS 5380 Carbohydrates and Proteins (3 semester hours)
NS 5329 Minerals (3 semester hours)
NS 5333 Vitamins (3 semester hours)
Seminars (take 3 times including student's last semester)
NS 6118 Seminar (taken 3 times including student's last semester)


3 semester hours
NS 5330 Introduction to Nutrition Research (3 semester hours)


3 semester hours
Student selects statistics courses based on the approval of the student's Doctoral Advisery Committee.


30 semester hours will be allowed depending on the evaluation by the student's Advisery committee.


12 semester hours minimum
NS 8000 Doctor's Dissertation - 12 Semester Hours Minimum
(Once a student begins enrolling in dissertation hours, enrollment must be continuous until the student graduates with 3 hours in the term [fall, spring, summer] of defense or 1 hour in the term of graduation if the graduation is in the semester after defense). Typically, dissertation hours are not taken prior to successfully completing the Qualifying Examination.

In addition to the courses related to Required Core, Research Methods, Statistics, Transfer Credits, and Dissertation, 3 tracks with course suggestions are listed below. These tracks are guidelines for general advising by your Advisery Committee Chairperson and Committee.

Track 1: COMMUNITY NUTRITION (12 hours)
Required course:

NS 5360 Advanced Community Nutrition
Plus any 3 of the following:
NS 5310 Maternal and Child Nutrition
NS 5345 Nutrition, Sustainability, and Global Food Production
NS 6320 Nutritional Epidemiology
RHIM 5385 Focus Group Research Methods (will not count toward Research Methods hours)
HLTH 5313 Health Behavior and Health Promotion
SOC 5316 Seminar in Social Gerontology
COMS 5302 Intercultural Communication
COMS 5314 Communication Issues in Health and Healthcare
PUAD 5334 Healthcare Policy and Administration
PUAD 5335 Management of Nonprofit Organizations
PUAD 5352 Public Policy Analysis
ADRS 6329 Eating Disorders

Required courses:

NS 6340 Nutrition and Chronic Disease
NS 6315 Genetic Regulation of Metabolism
Plus any 2 of the following:
NS 5350 Nutritional Pathophysiology
BIOL 5301 Advanced Genetics
BIOL 5303 Advanced Experimental Cell Biology
BIOL 5306 Advanced Cancer Biology
BIOL 5320 Advanced Molecular Biology
CHEM 5334 Principles of Biochemistry
GBTC 5338 Biochemical Methods
GBTC 6301 Introduction to Biotechnology

Track 3: SPORTS NUTRITION (12 hours)
Required courses:

NS 6325 Nutrition, Exercise and Sport
NS 5000 Sports Supplements and Ergogenic Aids
Plus any 2 of the following:
ESS 5332 Applied Physiology of Exercise
ESS 5334 Clinical Exercise Testing and Prescription
ESS 5335 Cardiopulmonary Exercise Physiology
ESS 4336 Skeletal Muscle Physiology
ESS 5339 Laboratory Techniques in Exercise Physiology
NS 5335 Issues in Sports Nutrition

Track 4:
Can be a Track that includes courses from any of the other tracks that are selected in consultation with your Advisery Committee Chairperson and Committee.

Other Course Options to Complete 72 hours Required (decided in consultation with Advisery Committee Chairperson and Committee):

(1) Select other Nutritional Sciences courses to make up the hours needed, including NS 5000 and NS 7000 courses.

(2) Select courses outside of Nutritional Sciences to have a minor in another area. You will need to check with the other department's requirements for a minor; it is usually 12 -15 hours. 18 hours is the minimum hour requirement to qualify an individual to teach a particular content area at the post-secondary (college) level. Your diploma will just list your major of Nutritional Sciences, but your transcript will state the minor area, if applicable.

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Residency Requirement

Graduate School residency requirement must be fulfilled. Enrollment pattern for the year of residence must be reported on the Program for the Doctoral Degree form. See the Graduate School Catalog for more information:

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Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination is a comprehensive written and oral examination, administered by the Doctoral Advisery Committee, covering competencies in synthesis and application of knowledge acquired during the course of study. This must be taken after most of the course work has been completed. At least 4 months must elapse between the qualifying (written and oral) examination and the final examination (dissertation defense).

Written questions will be graded, and an oral examination will be held usually within three weeks of the written examination. The Doctoral Advisery Committee may terminate the student's program after the qualifying examination if the performance is not satisfactory.

Admission to Candidacy

The Doctoral Advisery Committee Chairperson will send a letter of recommendation for admission to candidacy to the Dean of the Graduate School with a copy to the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Adviser after the candidate has successfully completed the qualifying examination.


A dissertation proposal must be approved by the Doctoral Advisery Committee in advance of initiating the research. A dissertation must be written under the direction of the Doctoral Advisery Committee in accordance with instructions from the TTU Graduate School: Doctoral students are required to provide the chairperson of their Graduate Advisery Committee with a bound copy of the dissertation unless the chairperson signs the waiver form indicating that he/she does not want a copy.

The doctoral student will prepare a manuscript for publication (as first author) of dissertation research findings. If work is not submitted for publication within one year after thesis completion, the Advisery Committee Chairperson and committee members will have the right to publish research findings. Authorship will include the student's name.

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Final Oral Examination

A required final public oral examination (defense of dissertation) will be scheduled after the dissertation has been reviewed by the Doctoral Advisery Committee Chairperson. The revised copy will be distributed to the Doctoral Advisery Committee members at least 3 weeks prior to the examination. The Graduate School requires 3 weeks notification prior to the examination. The required Defense Notification Form noting the time, place, and other information is available at: The examination is conducted by the Doctoral Advisery Committee, the Graduate Dean or his/her representative, or other designated person(s), constituting a total of at least six persons. A period of at least 4 months must elapse between the dates of the Qualifying and Final Examinations.

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Responsibilities in the Doctoral Program

Doctoral Degree Student's Responsibilities

General responsibilities:

For Required Steps and deadlines in the Doctoral Program, go to this TTU Graduate School website: Please note deadlines such as Statement of Intention to Graduate, submission of dissertation, and required payment of various fees.

For Required Forms in the Doctoral Program, go to this TTU Graduate School website:


Specific responsibilities:

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Nutritional Sciences Graduate Adviser's Responsibilities

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Doctoral Advisery Committee Chairperson's Responsibilities

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Doctoral Advisery Committee's Responsibilities

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Graduate Courses in Nutritional Sciences