Nutrition and Food Science

A mother and daughter pick out fruit and vegetables from a farmer's market stand.


The Department of Nutrition and Food Science is known for our dedicated faculty who are committed to student success. As a student, you will learn from faculty who have the skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm for their various areas of expertise. These include human nutrition, clinical nutrition, food and nutrition management, food science, and counseling and education. Faculty members, in addition to teaching and advising, are actively involved in research and other professional activities. 

Facilities include a food and sensory laboratory for courses and research in food science and nutrition. Students learn to use software programs for nutrient analysis, food cost control, recipe and menu evaluation, and electronic health records.


Students choose from a variety of educational and hands-on experiences. One such opportunity is participating in an externship where students work in a clinical, community, or foodservice setting obtaining valuable real work experience. Examples of externships students have participated in include eating disorders, skilled nursing facilities, hospital settings, school nutrition, quality assurance, sustainability in a university dining hall, and others. Students work closely with a faculty supervisor to guide them through their externship.

In addition to opportunities with individual faculty, the Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) is closely affiliated with our campus. The CHC provides civic engagement and service-learning externships to more than 120 California State University, Chico students each year. These structured externships—a requirement to apply for CHC student employment, another civic engagement opportunity—are open to students from all colleges and disciplines.


Dietitians and nutritionists plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to help people lead healthy lives. Dietitians and nutritionists work in many settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, cafeterias, and for state and local governments. Other options span opportunities in food and nutrition, from production through promoting wellness and nutrition support in health care.

The median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists was $63,090 in May 2020. Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. About 5,900 openings for dietitians and nutritionists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force.

Graduates from the option in food and nutrition communication pursue careers in many areas including community nutrition/wellness. Others have found positions in personal training, product development and quality assurance in the food industry, public relations and marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Graduates from the option in nutrition management have found employment as a foodservice director/manager for senior care facilities or school foodservice, distribution specialist for Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, restaurant manager, and dietary manager/director.

Graduates from the general dietetics option have found employment as a clinical dietitian in a hospital, community dietitian for WIC, eating disorder dietitian, diabetes educator, wellness dietitian, and private practice.