Thesis Option


The student begins research activities upon signed approval of the proposal by their committee and by The University of Utah Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) as required.

The Committee Chair is primarily responsible for directing and guiding the student's research and writing activities. However, the student has the responsibility to keep all members of the committee informed of the scope and progress of both the research and thesis.

Whenever there is a change in the direction of the research, or a change in proposed procedures, it is to the benefit of the student, as well as the committee members, to document such changes and approvals in written form.

Following the concurrence of the student’s Committee Chair, the thesis may be distributed to the committee members. A copy of the thesis, comprised of original work, must be submitted to the members of the supervisory committee at least 10 working days prior to the final thesis examination. The original raw data must remain in the department files. Students should obtain copies of all raw data for their files to be used in preparing a journal article for publication of their research.

In writing the final thesis the student must distill down the various aspects of the research project and produce a succinct, yet complete thesis. The thesis format is very similar to a full length journal article. The purpose of the thesis format is to facilitate the transition of the student’s thesis to a journal submission following the successful thesis defense.


Students should access a copy of the Handbook for Theses and Dissertations from The Graduate School website for use in preparing their thesis.


Twenty to fifty (20-50) is usually appropriate. These references should be in the style of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It is strongly recommended that you use reference manager software which is available on the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology Clinic lab computers.


No limit on pages, however this section must conform to margin guidelines set by the University Handbook for Theses and Dissertations. Any raw data, detailed methods, questionnaires, diet compositions, etc. that are interesting and pertinent to the project, but not appropriate for the Thesis sections as described should be included here.

Thesis Checklist

  1. Do you have a committee? Committee consists of three faculty members, includes chair (tenure-track appointment in Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology) and 2 additional members with a PhD degree who are approved for thesis committees. Your chairperson can assist you in forming your committee. Please submit the Supervisory Committee form to the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology Executive Secretary no later than the second semester of your graduate program.
  2. Did the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology Executive Secretary enter the names of your committee members into the Graduate Tracking System (GTS)?
  3. May need to take additional classes to support the research project.
  4. Plan and define the research project, formulate hypothesis, protocols, IRB approval.
  5. When do you plan to defend your proposal? Set a timeline for getting the proposal to the committee chair, then give to each committee member 10 working days before the committee meeting.
  6. Did you schedule the proposal with all committee members? Confirm with written memorandum and schedule facility and media equipment.
  7. Did the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology Executive Secretary enter your Program of Study into GTS so it can be approved by committee members following your proposal? Please complete this form and give to the Executive Secretary to do so.
  8. Did you get the Executive Secretary to enter your comprehensive exam (proposal) information into GTS?
  9. Is there a significant change in the research project? If so, document changes and approvals in written form.
  10. Begin research upon signed approval of the proposal by committee and IRB approval.
  11. Chair is responsible for directing student’s research and writing activities.
  12. Use Handbook for Thesis and Dissertations for formatting guidelines.
  13. Check graduate office calendar to plan defense and graduation dates.
  14. Defense presentation must take place by the last day of the semester to avoid the tuition incurred when registering for thesis hours the following semester.
  15. Copy of thesis should be submitted to supervisory committee at least 10 working days prior to final thesis examination.
  16. Schedule defense, facilities, media equipment and prepare “Announcement of the Final Examination”; post one week prior to defense date by e-mail and on the department bulletin board.
  17. Obtain committee signatures for “The University of Utah Graduate School Supervisory Committee Approval” and “Final Reading Approval” forms. These forms are available on the graduate school website. Bring them to your defense.
  18. Do you plan to publish your research? Chair is expected to assist in preparation of abstracts or manuscripts for submission, be included as coauthor in publications. If you do not submit the research for publication, then the chair is free to do so.
  19. Keep raw data in department files; obtain copies for resulting publications.

Contact Us

Coordinated Master’s Degree Program in Dietetics

Carisse Winegar 
Administrative Assistant-Academic Affairs
Phone: 801-581-6730

Jean Zancanella, MS, RD
Graduate Advisor
Phone: 801-581-5280