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The University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is introducing several new nutrition programs. Beginning in the fall of 2021, these innovative programs, offered both online and on campus, will provide students with a flexible approach to gaining expertise for in-demand careers in areas of food service management, dietetics, and nutrition across the lifespan. They are:

  • Master of Arts in Foodservice Management and Dietetics (MAFMD) prepares students to communicate principles and practices of lifespan nutrition related to health and longevity as well as evaluate principles and practices related to wellness.  At the end of this program graduates will be able to implement best practices in personnel management related to foodservice systems and sit for the national Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM®) Credentialing Exam.
  • Master of Science in Nutritional Science (MSNS) gives students who have completed an undergraduate degree in nutrition and registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) an opportunity to earn a master’s degree with an emphasis on aging and wellness.
  • Master of Science Lifespan, Nutrition and Dietetics (MSLND) addresses the global need for professionals trained to provide nutrition and dietetics advice, information and recommendations. Students who complete the program are eligible to sit for the national Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM®) Credentialing Exam.

“Diet and nutrition play a tremendous role in health and wellbeing at any age,” said Pinchas Cohen, MD, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “These new programs leverage the world-renowned expertise at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to equip individuals interested in nutrition and dietetics with the skills and knowledge to help increase healthspan, longevity and wellness across diverse populations. They also address specific opportunities that are not currently addressed by gerontology or dietetics degree programs.”

Diet is known to play a role in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. USC researchers such as Valter Longo have shown that changing what and how we eat can promote better health and prevent decline. More trained professionals will be will be needed to provide care for patients with various medical conditions and to advise people who want to improve their overall health, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects that employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

The three new nutrition degrees are in addition to the USC Leonard Davis School’s Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity degree. Designed for students who want to pursue a career in nutrition and dietetics and approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), this degree promotes health and longevity based on scientific evidence, integrating academic study with professional practice experience. Graduates are eligible to sit for the registration examination to become RDNs.

“Our knowledge about the role that nutrition can play in preventing, treating and potentially curing disease is only growing,” said Cary Kreutzer, director of nutrition programs at the USC Leonard Davis School and an and associate clinical professor of gerontology and pediatrics. “Students enrolling in these new programs will be at the forefront of a dynamic field and at the center of where innovative research breakthroughs are taking place; they will learn from leading experts and leave here ready to make an immediate impact in improving people’s health and wellness through nutrition and dietetics.”

The three new programs are among a total of ten master’s degrees programs offered by the USC Leonard Davis School. Other pioneering offerings include the first PhD in the Biology of Aging; the Master of Senior Living Hospitality, and the Master of Arts in Medical Gerontology.

“Our expanded offerings give more students a chance to gain expertise that can be applied to numerous career paths, both in the U.S. and abroad,” said Maria Henke, senior associate dean of the USC Leonard Davis School. “We are proud to provide a challenging and evolving curriculum that prepares students to be the future leaders ensuring that we can live and age well.”

For more information on how to apply, visit

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