Graduate Programs in Human Nutritional Sciences

The Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences offers both Masters (M.Sc.) and doctorate (Ph.D.) programs.

General Information:
The Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences is one of the largest in Canada and the University of Manitoba is the only university in the province to offer graduate programs leading to the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in the area of human nutritional sciences. Graduate programs in Human Nutritional Sciences integrate concepts in metabolism, food and community nutrition.

Research in experimental nutrition explores the role of nutrients and food components in basic biological processes from the whole organism to the molecular level. Community and clinical nutrition research focuses on policy development, food choice behavior and novel approaches to disease management. Research related to foods includes investigations of the quality and stability of ingredients, development of functional and nutraceutical components from grains, oilseeds and legumes, and consumer preference and sensory characteristics of foods. A multidisciplinary approach to research is common, with linkages to university departments such as medicine, agricultural and food sciences, management, dentistry, nursing and physical education and recreation studies.  Collaborations outside the University also exist with organizations such as the Canadian International Grains Institute, the Grain Research Laboratory, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Manitoba Health, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the Manitoba Institute of Child Health.

Courses offered in nutrition and metabolism address topics in phytochemicals, proteins, energy and carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Community nutrition courses include topics in qualitative research, epidemiology, public policy, nutrition education and theoretical approaches to dietary change interventions. Topics related to food research include nutraceuticals, functional foods, lipids, flavour chemistry and sensory properties of foods.

An informal atmosphere exists with free interaction between faculty and graduate students. The department attracts local, national and international students, many of them holders of prestigious scholarships.

Graduate student training in the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences has led to careers as:

  • research scientists in academic, public and private sectors
  • technical specialists and research supervisors in food and pharmaceutical industries
  • food and nutrition policy analysts
  • food service managers
  • health and wellness specialists and educators
  • nutrition consultants
  • university and government employees
  • food quality assessment and research supervisors in government and agricultural laboratories.

Graduates of the PhD and M.Sc. program are qualified to meet the demands of public, industry and government for food and nutrition specialists skilled in planning, administering and evaluating programs. The program also includes training in biochemical and analytical methods.

Research interests:

Specific areas of research interests include the following:

  • role of diet in health and disease
  • community nutrition, including nutritional assessment, the study of consumer perceptions and food choices, and evaluation of nutrition education and programs
  • effect of nutrients on body defense and immune systems including those involved in cell damage and repair and detoxification of environmental pollutants
  • nutritional biochemistry and nutrient-gene interactions
  • functional and health aspects of nutrients and foods in pediatric and geriatric populations
  • application of the knowledge of functional foods and nutraceuticals in the design of food products for the general population and specific groups of individuals
  • effects of modification and processing of oilseeds and oils on quality, stability and performance of foods
  • relationship of sensory and chemical flavour properties of foods
  • food security and policy development
  • cultural and social aspects of food choice behaviors.

Application Timeline and Procedures:

How does the application process work?
When an application arrives at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, it is evaluated to determine whether it is complete and meets the minimum requirements for graduate studies in the Department. Then a potential supervisor may be identified. This is necessary because the costs of the thesis research must be identified. This funding either comes from the research grants of individual faculty members, or could come from funds obtained by the student. A supervisor and student also must have a common research interest so that the supervisor can provide optimal supervision, and the student will be conducting research in his/her area of interest for the thesis project.

Identifying a supervisor is usually the limiting factor in accepting new graduate students. Therefore, before applying to the program, it is advantageous for interested individuals to visit the Department web site or visit the Department in person to learn about ongoing research in the Department. The potential applicant should contact (by email, letter, telephone or in person) faculty members with whom they would like to conduct their graduate research. The purpose of these discussions is to determine whether there is sufficient common interest in a research project and whether there are sufficient funds available to carry out the desired research. If a supervisor (with whom the applicant has communicated) is identified on the application form, it greatly enhances the likelihood of acceptance. If no supervisor is identified on the application form, the application will still be considered, however.

Once a supervisor has been identified, the Department indicates acceptance of the potential student to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The Faculty of Graduate Studies then evaluates the applications to unsure that the application meets the minimum requirements set forth by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Once complete a letter of offer of admission is sent to the student. Conditions of admission, if applicable, will be included in the letter. If the student is not accepted, the Faculty of Graduate Studies also will send out the letter indicating such.

Referees should, as far as possible, focus on your potential for graduate work and should include the following:
(a) the context in which they have known the applicant, and for how long;
(b) the appropriateness of the applicant's academic preparation to-date in relation to the program of study now proposed;
(c) the applicant's potential for leadership in the nutrition, food and health research field;
(d) the applicant's commitment to a career in nutrition, food and health; and
(e) the appropriateness of the program of study now proposed in relation to the applicant's career plans.
If you are currently working in a field related to nutritional sciences, one letter of reference could be from your employer/ supervisor/ senior colleague focusing on the relevance of the program to your work, both present and future.
For PhD applicants, references from the student’s intended advisor(s) attesting to the suitability of the candidate for Ph.D. studies in this program and acknowledging willingness to advise the applicant should they be accepted into the program; and from the student’s Master’s degree advisor.

An up-to-date resume or curriculum vitae also must be submitted. If applicable, include relevant work experience, a list of publications, presentations and grants. List the details in chronological order, starting with the most recent entries. Also include a paragraph explaining your reasons for choosing the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba. The CV should reflect the skills and experience that you want the Graduate Studies Committee to know about.
Submit ALL documentation in one envelope in the format specified on the application, unless your University will not give you transcripts in the required format (sealed and endorsed), and requires that transcripts be sent directly to the institution.

Lastly a statement of intent; a letter explaining the student’s rationale for choosing to apply to this program; should be submitted.

International students are advised to apply earlier to allow for assessment of non-Canadian degrees and to allow sufficient time for visa processing (see guidelines in the Graduate Calendar and Web site).

It is the applicants responsibility to ensure that all supporting documentation (official transcripts, letters of recommendation, copy of passport/birth certificate if applicable, test scores if applicable, etc.) is received by the deadline.

**Note that incomplete applications will not be considered.**

Please note that the HNS Graduate Selection Committee meets to review files in January, March, May, July, September, and November.

For more information, contact the Graduate Program Assistant.

Any required documents on original paper can be sent to:

The Faculty of Graduate Studies
Room 500 University Center
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Message from University of Manitoba Graduate Students' Association:

The University of Manitoba Graduate Students' Association (UMGSA) is the student-run association for graduate students at the University of Manitoba, and functions on all three of its affiliate campuses: Fort Garry, Bannatyne, and St. Boniface.  With over 3,700 members completing graduate work in over 90 different disciplines, the UMGSA is the official voice of graduate students.  We are guided by our vision, mission, goals and governing documents, which all focus on supporting graduate student advocacy, providing services and assistance to students, as well as encouraging a graduate student community involvement.

Our diligent work and diversity is reflected in the many graduate students who sit as department representatives on the Association's Councils (Fort Garry and Bannatyne).  To learn what services are available to you (e.g., department grants, travel grants, social events, printing services, awards), to find out how to become engaged as a counselor or for more information please visit or contact us at