Program Director - Michael Paalani

Units Cost per Unit LLU Quarterly Fee Average Completion Time
48 $895 $910 1.5-2 years
(4-6 quarters)

MS Plant-based Nutrition

The first online Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in plant-based nutrition, is coming to the school of public health at Loma Linda University in Fall 2021. This is a competency based program developed in direct response to the increasing demand (registered dietitians and other health care professionals) for a graduate curriculum focused on plant-based nutrition. Over the past few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of people turning to plant-based diets or plant-based food choices for a variety of reasons which makes it critical to train registered dietitians and other health care professionals seeking to promote plant-based diets for the prevention of chronic diseases, health and longevity. 

This one of a kind program in the United States aligns with the core legacy of vegetarian nutrition at LLU. It can also serve as a stepping stone for the PhD in Nutrition, focused on plant-based nutrition research at the LLUSPH or any other PhD Nutrition programs. It is aimed to provide evidenced-based didactic and research training to registered dietitians and other health care professionals on plant-based nutrition for the health of the individual, population, and the planet. 

The new program is projected to open for enrollment Fall 2021. This program is completely online (combines synchronous and asynchronous classes) with didactic training in nutritional science with a focus on the role of plant-based diet patterns, plant foods and nutrients with respect to promoting health, preventing disease, and for sustaining the planet, along with the evidenced-based approach to applying the principles of plant-based eating for the health of the individual and population. The program culminates in a research project with a publishable manuscript or a written report.

The program provides background experience for those interested in research careers in academic or industry settings and provides advanced training in basic nutrition for physicians and other health professionals.

A legacy of vegetarian nutrition of 50 + years at LLU

Currently, the faculty in the nutrition program at LLUSPH are recognized as leaders in scientific inquiry and research related to vegetarian and plant-based nutrition.

The Online MS in Plant-based Nutrition, coming Fall 2021!

Program details

Learner Outcomes

Upon completion of the MS in Nutrition, you will be able to:

  • Understand physiological and biochemical mechanisms influencing human systems and how food and nutrients impact function.
  • Understand the role of vegetarian dietary practices in human health, the environment, and ecology.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct and publish applied research in nutrition.

Admissions Requirements

  • BS in biology, nutrition, or equivalent field, or health professional degree (MD, DDS, etc.) from a regionally accredited institution
  • If undergraduate degree is not science based, then besides the listed pre-requisites additional pre-requisite courses may apply
  • Three reference letters
  • GPA of 3.2 or higher


  • Organic Chemistry
  • Human Physiology
  • Human Nutrition or equivalent


  • NUTR 506 - Nutritional Metabolism or nutritional biochemistry or equivalent

Culminating activity: Research (Non-thesis)

The MS Nutrition program requires that students complete a culminating activity (NUTR 694- Research) which is a research project carried out under the supervision of the program faculty.  The deliverable will be either a publishable peer-reviewed manuscript, or a written project report.

Meet your program director

Michael Paalani

Program Director

Michael Paalani, DrPH, MS plant-based Nutrition program director

Meet Dr. Haddad

Ella Haddad, DrPH

Emeritus Professor

Ella Haddad, DrPH MS plant-based nutrition faculty

Meet Dr. Siapco

Gina Siapco, DrPH

Associate Professor

Gina Siapco, DrPH, MS plant-based Nutrition faculty

Meet Dr. Rajaram

Sujatha Rajaram, PhD


Sujatha Rajaram, PhD MS and PhD plant-based nutrition faculty

Meet Dr. Sabaté

Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH


Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH Nutrition faculty

Meet Dr. Heskey

Celine Heskey, DrPH

Assistant Professor

Celine Heskey, DrPH, MS, MPH nutrition faculty

Meet Dr. Jaceldo-Siegl

Karen Jaceldo-Siegl, DrPH

Associate Professor

Karen Jaceldo-Siegl, DrPH Nutrition faculty

Meet Dr. Orlich

Michael Orlich, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Michael Orlich, MD, PhD Nutrition and Epidemiology faculty