Improve Human Health by Studying Public Health and Nutrition

If you’re interested in improving the health of the people around you and want to have the most far-reaching impact possible, studying public health and nutrition may be for you. As in many career paths, diversity counts: your voice, talents and interest are very much needed in public health and nutrition. Experts in this field have the ability to do research, teach, campaign and collaborate to create impactful new health policies, such as the recent FDA resolution to reduce sodium in commercially packaged, processed and prepared foods.

You may not have thought about public health or nutrition as disciplines aimed at social justice, but these disciplines offer opportunities to improve equity for people in systemically underserved and underinvested parts of the U.S. and world. This can be achieved through working in education, U.S. legislation, international law or with humanitarian organizations and campaigns.

Nutrition is a major factor in both preventive and treatment-related health. Working in this field has the potential to change the lives of all Americans from healthy individuals to those with almost any disease or health problem. Good nutrition and vitamin intake can even have a positive influence on mental health and general energy levels, which means that students in this field have quite a broad array of concentrations and careers to choose from.

Whatever your interest, students who plan to pursue careers in public health and nutrition will need to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in food and nutrition. These include a wide range of related course subjects, which may include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Food chemistry
  • Medicine
  • Lifecycle nutrition
  • Community nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Epidemiology
  • Food manufacturing
  • Food service management
  • Food marketing

Careers in Public Health and Nutrition

Graduates in this field may pursue careers in a wide variety of capacities. Some of these include:

  • Related community organizations and nonprofits
  • Educational institutions
  • Hospitals
  • Health and fitness companies
  • Nutrition and research laboratories
  • Related corporations
  • Government agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer degrees in public health and nutrition? Looking for help with financing this degree? 

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How to Prepare for Success

In order to be successful, students in public health and nutrition should have excellent critical thinking and analytical skills, strong attention to detail, accurate writing skills and keen observational skills. They should also be compassionate people, problem-solvers and good listeners and communicators, as well as flexible thinkers and workers.

Schools to Consider

To enter the field of public health and nutrition, students must at minimum earn a bachelor’s degree and preferably graduate from a master’s program as well. These UNCF-member schools offer programs in food and nutritional sciences or public health:

Professional Organizations

There are also many public health and nutrition organizations that can provide more insight into some of the specializations in this discipline. A sample list includes:

Scholarships Available

Several scholarships are available through UNCF. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major. The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.

Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities. Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study public health and nutrition.

Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in public health and nutrition. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!