Frequently asked questions about Emphasis areas in the Nutritional Science Major

What is an Emphasis?

An Emphasis is an interdisciplinary selection of courses that focus on a particular area that may be relevant to your career goals. There are four Emphasis areas: Public Health Nutrition and Policy; Nutrition and Foods in Business; Community Nutrition and Food Security; and Nutrition Education and Communications. A minimum of 15 credits is recommended for an Emphasis.

Do I have to complete an Emphasis?

No, students are not required to complete an Emphasis in any of the options in the Nutritional Sciences major.

If I’m in the Dietetics or Basic option, can I do an Emphasis?

Yes, you definitely can. These courses are used toward your required supporting courses. Alternatively they might be useful as a GN or GS in general education or an elective.

What are the benefits of completing an Emphasis?

Nutrition is a dynamic science. Students enter the major with many different interests and career objectives. An emphasis can help you focus your individual interests and provide you with a unique skill set that will appeal to employers. You will receive a departmental certificate acknowledging your accomplishment and you can list it on your resume.

How is an Emphasis different than a Minor?

A minor is a focused area of study usually in one department that typically requires 18 credits. Minors may be of interest to students in a variety of majors. Examples of common minors frequently chosen by Nutritional Science students are: Psychology, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Biology, and Spanish. Some interdisciplinary or intercollege minors share common characteristics with Emphasis areas. They utilize courses from across the university and follow a particular theme. Examples of interdisciplinary minors include Neuroscience or Gerontology. Emphasis areas are designed specifically to enhance career preparation and compliment courses in the Nutrition major.

If I find a course that is not on the official list but seems relevant for my Emphasis area can it apply toward my requirements?

Perhaps, new courses are frequently added across the University that may be relevant. Check with your academic adviser to see if this exception is appropriate.

How do I apply to complete an Emphasis?

You can let your adviser know you are working toward an emphasis during an advising session. Together, you can review your progress and future course selections. When you declare your intent to graduate on elion at the beginning of your final semester at Penn State, you can also notify your adviser by email that you expect to also be completing requirements for an Emphasis.