Nutrition Courses

Cornell University has long been a leader and pioneer in nutrition, bringing together scientists and practitioners to expand the frontiers of this interdisciplinary field. Whether you’re a nutrition and wellness professional or simply interested in learning to improve your diet and live healthier, we invite you to discover a Cornell nutrition certificate program that fits your goals.

eCornell currently offers programs in Nutrition and Healthy Living and Nutrition Counseling through Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences and offers a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Explore Courses

Diseases of Affluence

Students will become familiar with the scientific data that reveal the fact that dietary habits can reduce the risk of, and even reverse the progression of, chronic degenerative diseases.

Nutrition and Society

Fundamental concepts in nutrition are introduced, as well as an examination of the broader context of nutrition science regarding the environment, public policy, industry and societal worldviews.

Plant-Based in Practice

The focus is on the practical application of a whole food plant-based diet and lifestyle by understanding behavior change, differences between various “healthy” diet plans, raising a family, athletic performance and practical tips on how to adopt an optimal diet.

The Science of Exercise and Weight Loss

For people who want to lose weight, navigating the hundreds of weight loss programs available can be confusing. How then to choose a sound, workable method? This course provides you with the tools you need to critically evaluate weight loss claims and understand who stands to profit from each program. Then, you will learn how social and psychological mechanisms impact how much you eat in order to learn what factors you can control to manage your weight in a healthy, sustainable way.

Control of Food Intake and Body Weight

The rise in chronic diseases linked to obesity is one of the most important public health issues facing our society today. From diabetes and heart disease to certain kinds of cancers and breathing disorders, such conditions lead to costly lifelong management and suffering. In this course, you will learn why obesity is on the rise, the underlying metabolic causes of weight gain, and how to correctly measure energy intake and expenditure in order to compare the effects of each on weight loss. You also will build your understanding of how biological and environmental factors determine body weight, as well as the amount of food we eat daily.

Energy and the Role of Carbohydrates

The nutrients our bodies use fall into two major categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. In this course, you will learn about carbohydrates—macronutrients that comprise the majority of all calories we consume. You will explore why we need to eat carbohydrates, how their energy is transformed and stored in our bodies as glucose, and how diseases like diabetes can be managed by regulating the intake of carbohydrates and the expenditure of energy.

The Role of Fats in Atherosclerosis

In this course, you will learn about fats—a major macronutrient in our diets—and how they are used and transported in our bodies. You will also learn how atherosclerosis develops; this dangerous condition, in which fats build up and clog arteries, is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. This course walks you through what happens when too much fat circulates in our arteries and offers ways to delay and prevent atherosclerosis so you can live the longest and the healthiest life possible.

Nutrition and the Digestive System

This course will teach you how the digestive system works to extract critical nutrients from food, how we incorporate those nutrients into our body, and how the autonomic nervous system facilitates these processes. You will also learn how bacteria from the environment may affect our digestive processes and why consuming foods containing specific nutrients can minimize some illnesses that occur with normal living.

Counseling Skills: Blending the Art of Counseling with the Science of Nutrition

Your knowledge of the science of nutrition is powerful, but not necessarily more so than the way you convey that knowledge to clients. In this course, you’ll more deeply examine both your capabilities for eliciting positive behaviors from clients, and important nuances in the art of effective counseling. You will learn to mindfully match your communication style and interpretation of scientific information to your clients’ abilities and readiness to listen. And you will explore how your personal needs influence your behavior as a counselor, using this insight to create best practices for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and stories within counseling sessions.

Counseling Skills: Eliciting New Behaviors

For many nutrition professionals, motivating clients to change their behavior is a daunting task. But, by revising how you approach goal setting—by focusing on your clients’ wants and needs—new behaviors become easier to elicit. In this course, you’ll learn how to recognize what’s valuable to clients for goal setting and work with them to determine realistic, actionable goals that align with their specific desire for change. Using empathy, and a variety of tools and techniques, Beth McKinney helps you bring out the best in yourself and your client as you navigate the goal-setting process.

Counseling Skills: Understanding the Problem

Although your clients present problems that appear amenable to nutrition education strategies, education alone doesn’t lead to long-lasting behavior changes. This gap in practice is often due to the inability of counselors to uncover the real nature of their clients’ needs. In this course, you’ll expand your ability to elicit information and use new techniques to better identify the root of the (nutrition) problem from the client’s perspective. Within this approach, you’ll also learn to combine your expertise and intuition to create valuable, effective solutions for clients.

Counseling Skills: Understanding the Person

Nutrition professionals are experts in nutritional sciences, sought after for this specialized knowledge. Yet their crucial role as counselors and change agents is seldom given as much attention in nutrition degree programs, despite the increasing need in the field for skilled counselors. In this course, experienced wellness educator and counselor Beth McKinney, MSEd, RD, CHES, will explain how and why client-directed counseling can effectively influence healthy behavioral change and prepare you to use research-based techniques to create rapport, build trust, and elicit useful information from clients.

How Nutrition Affects Cancer, Osteoporosis, and Hypertension

In this course, you will learn the latest research on how nutrition may prevent and improve symptoms of cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), and osteoporosis. Specifically, you will explore the relationships between the food we eat and risk, understanding the role of animal protein, vitamins, and minerals in these major diseases and conditions. This course also builds your ability to critically analyze nutrition labels, understand dietary recommendations, and provides three key principles to follow for leading a healthy lifestyle.