Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition

Understanding nutrition-related biochemical and cellular processes has far reaching implications for maintenance of health and prevention of chronic diseases.

The Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition (BMN) Program trains students in the biochemical, physiological and molecular aspects of nutrition.

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Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition

This program is in the Division of Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition.

By working closely with expert faculty at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, the Tufts School of Medicine, the Frances Stern Nutrition Center, the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, and Tufts University Graduate Program in Arts and Sciences, students will graduate with the critical analytical, technical, and communication skills required for becoming a leader in academia, industry and government.


  • Candidates accepted for study are chosen for their outstanding performance in undergraduate study in nutrition, biology, physiology, biochemistry, and related fields. A fundamental interest in research is required. Undergraduate level courses in general nutrition, general biology, general chemistry (with lab), organic chemistry and biochemistry.
  • Please be advised that students taking General Nutrition courses to fulfill program prerequisites must have those courses approved by the Friedman School in advance.
  • The Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition Program leads to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, as well as a combined degree with MPH. The curriculum includes nine core courses in the areas of nutrition, graduate biochemistry including a molecular component, human physiology, biostatistics, and epidemiology. There are also mandatory laboratory rotations. Each student selects an area of specialization in consultation with their adviser and the exact number of required courses will depend upon the student's prior academic preparation. Students with adequate preparation and/or demonstrated proficiency in an area(s) of required study may substitute electives in biochemistry, genetics, cellular physiology, immunology, neuroscience, or developmental biology.

Master of Science

The curriculum includes core courses in nutrition, biostatistics, and biochemistry. Each student completes a specialization (three to five courses). A minimum of forty-eight semester hour units is required for the M.S. degree. Unless otherwise noted, each course is equivalent to three semester hour units. The exact number of required courses will depend upon the students prior academic preparation.

Doctor of Philosophy

Students enrolled in the doctoral program must have completed courses equivalent to the Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition master's degree based or previous graduate level coursework taken either at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy or elsewhere. Students entering at the Ph.D. level must complete or be exempted from all required courses of the M.S. curriculum. Students in the doctoral program must first pass a written and oral qualifying examination, and then complete and formally defend a doctoral dissertation based on original research.

Combined Degree Program: Master of Science/Master of Public Health

Students enrolled in the combined degree program complete all the requirements for both degrees, but by counting selected courses toward both programs, they reduce the total time required for completion. Students must be admitted independently to each program. Our combined degree program allows formal recognition of students emphasizing these additional areas of study, greater depth of professional preparation, and opportunities to make connections with students and faculty in other related programs.

  • A combined degree program in association with Tufts University School of Medicine, leads to the Master of Science and the Master of Public Health (MPH).

View Current Degree Requirement Worksheet

 Students currently enrolled at Friedman should refer to the degree requirement worksheet associated with their year of entry for the most accurate requirements.

Nutrition Science and Policy Core Course

The nutrition core provides students with an understanding of basic nutrition and nutrition science policy. Courses in these areas reflect the broad science and policy mission of the school. Each course is three semester hour units unless noted otherwise. Students with prior coursework or knowledge may be able to exempt a specific course.


  • Graduate Biochemistry - 6 semester hour units (BCHM 0223-Sackler)
  • Human Physiology (NUTR 208)
  • Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology Macronutrients and Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology: Micronutrients - 4.5 semester hour units (NUTR 370 and NUTR 371)


  • Principles of Epidemiology (NUTR 204)
  • Biostatistics I (NUTR 206)
  • Statistical Methods for Nutrition Research II (NUTR 309)
  • Introduction to Modern Biology Techniques - 1.5 semester hour units (NUTR 225)
  • Practicum in Bioresearch Techniques  (NUTR 236)
  • Nutrition Science Journal Club - no semester hour units (NUTR 240)

Policy (select one of the following courses)

  • Fundamentals of Public Policy and Programming: How Science and Practice Interact (NUTR 203)
  • Food from Production to Marketplace (NUTR 226)
  • Community and Public Health Nutrition (NUTR 228)
  • Basics of U.S. Public Policy (NUTR 234)
  • Economics for Food Policy Analysis (NUTR 238)
  • Determinants of U.S. Food Policy (NUTR 303)
  • Science-Based Interventions for Child Malnutrition (NUTR 325)


In addition to these courses, a standardized training in the ethical treatment of human subjects is a requirement for graduation.

Specialization Courses

Specialization areas are unique concentrations chosen by the student and adviser based on a knowledge base or set of skills desired. These courses are selected from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. Examples of areas of specialization include: bioinformatics, cellular and molecular biology, epidemiology, policy, immunology, and physiology.


Courses are chosen as electives in an area of specialization. Students are encouraged to do Directed Study courses, which are independent studies under the supervision of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy faculty members. Directed Study courses are in the form of lab training, data analysis and interpretation, and literature reviews, among others.

Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts

Scientists at the HNRCA examine how nutrition impacts healthy aging and the role nutrition plays in preventing diseases of the aging. The HNRCA, which is an independent research facility  located two blocks away from the Friedman school on the Tufts Boston campus, was established in 1977 as a unique partnership between the USDA and the University.  Many of the scientists at the HNRCA’s 20 research labs are also Friedman School faculty.  Friedman students have unique opportunities to conduct research  under the supervision of HNRCA scientists who have international stature in their respective areas of research expertise.

Read more on their web site

The Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences

The Sackler School was established in cooperation with the faculties of the Tufts University Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to further broaden the university's commitment to multidisciplinary health science investigation. A special goal of the school is to provide a graduate education program in the biomedical sciences for future leaders in research and teaching, stressing interdisciplinary approaches that will integrate basic and clinical sciences.

Read more on their web site

Tufts Medical Center

Nutrition resources at the Tufts Medical Center include both adult and pediatric clinical programs for hospitalized and ambulatory patients, as well as the Frances Stern Nutrition Center. Tufts Medical Center is the major clinical unit affiliated with the Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts Medical Center has established a national and international reputation for research, teaching, patient care, and graduate and postgraduate education.

Read more on their web site

The Frances Stern Nutrition Center

This is a subunit in the Division of Endocrinology of the Department of Medicine at Tufts Medical Center. The center is responsible for ambulatorynutrition services at Tufts Medical Center, a satellite nutrition education and resource center at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and several research grants and contracts involving clinical nutrition or nutrition education and information.

Read more on their web site

Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition (BMN) graduates emerge with a set of basic science, nutrition, investigative, analytical, and quantitative skills that will enable them to play leading roles in academics, government agencies or private industry. Here are a few examples of careers chosen by recent graduates of BMN (M.S. and Ph.D.):

  • Postdoctoral Fellow in academia or private industry
  • Faculty position in academia
  • Scientist for a biotechnology, food, or pharmaceutical company
  • Advisory position in government
  • Data analyst for population based studies