Skip to main content

Benefits of Earning an MSHS With an Emphasis in Nutrition

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM

A Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) degree with a concentration in nutrition carries many benefits. The degree teaches core research skills useful for continuing education, expands the nutritionist’s knowledge base, and defines the importance of healthcare communication.

Benefits of Earning an MSHS in Nutrition

One of the biggest benefits of earning a master’s degree with a concentration in nutrition is developing the expertise to lead in a rapidly evolving field. Nutrition is a vital component of patient care at hospitals, and many initiatives are in the works to improve patient care through better nutrition. Nutritional leaders, such as registered dietitian/nutritionists (RDNs) with MSHS degrees, are necessary to create institutional cultures in which all stakeholders value nutrition. They must redefine clinical roles to include nutritional care while finding ways to help recognize and diagnose all malnourished and at-risk patients.

Studies show these measures yield significant improvements in patient outcomes, which encourages the rapid implementation of comprehensive nutrition interventions and continued monitoring in a hospital or outpatient setting. Of course, healthcare communication and sharing nutritional information are as vital as the creation of post-care plans that keep discharged patients engaged with nutrition.

Patient and Career Outcomes

What exactly are the outcomes? For hospital patients, dietary changes can shorten stays by about two days and decrease the chance of readmission by almost 30 percent. Cutting down on the number of days spent bedridden helps prevent hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPU) and loss of lean muscle mass. For example, St. John’s nutrition-focus initiative has already affected HAPU, cutting the rate in patients over 65 from 0.74 to 0.59 percent in just one year.

There are also many studies that show nutrition’s influence on overall health as well as prevention of specific diseases. For example, a two recent studies show that the Mediterranean diet can cut breast cancer risk by 40 percent and risk for type 2 diabetes by about 30 percent. RDNs and professionals with solid healthcare background with master’s level training emphasizing nutrition care can help guide clients to healthier choices that can directly affect their quality of lives and life expectancies.

Earning a Master’s Degree With a Concentration in Nutrition

An MSHS with a concentration in nutrition broadens a healthcare professional’s skill set. This degree helps you develop a stronger foundation in areas like healthcare communication, nutritional research, nutritional changes, disease prevention, healthcare policy and financing. These subjects offer degree candidates the tools they need to set department-wide goals, and they provide pathways to achieve them. Students can earn an MSHS degree with a concentration in nutrition in as few as 12 months in the accelerated online degree program offered by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Career opportunities for graduates are strong. RDs with master’s degrees, for example, stand to earn more than their bachelor-degreed counterparts. A survey from 2012 shows that RDs with a bachelor’s degree earn about $54,995 per year, while those with master’s degrees had a median wage of $60,008 per year.

If you are a practicing healthcare professional with an interest in learning more about nutrition and advancing your career, consider earning a master’s degree with a nutrition focus. This degree will position you to assume a leadership role in many settings and allow you to help improve client outcomes as you guide others to better nutrition.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online MSHS with an emphasis in Nutrition program.


(2015, December 17). “Dietitians and Nutritionists.” (2015, December 17).

(2015, May). “29-1031 Dietitians and Nutritionists.” (2015, May).

Vesely, Rebecca. (2014, March 11) “Hospitals Put Nutrition on the Front Burner.”

Severson, Dana. (N.D.) “The Salary of a Registered Dietitian With a Master’s Vs. One With a Bachelor’s Degree”

Mulcahy, Nick. (2017, March 8). “Mediterranean Diet Cuts Some Breast Cancer Risk by 40%”

Tucker, Miriam E. (2014, January 6). “Mediterranean Diet Cuts Type 2 Diabetes Risk by a Third”

Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.

Click on the link below to request more information regarding the UTRGV Graduate Programs.

Request More Information