Nutritional Science Transfer Plan

No more than 65 semester credit hours earned at a two-year college can be applied to a baccalaureate degree from Iowa State University. Iowa State will accept up to 16 semester hours of credit earned in career-technical courses if the sending community college accepts such courses toward its Associate in Art or Associate in Science Degrees. These plans are suggestions only and may need to be adapted to meet individual needs and commitments.

Use the Financial Aid Timeline to plan ahead for financial aid and scholarship opportunities. 

Note on using transfer plans: This Nutritional Science transfer plan was accurate on the date it was prepared but may not reflect subsequent changes by Iowa State or your transfer institution. The transfer plan should be used as a guide only and should not replace consultation with an advisor at your current institution and Iowa State.


All courses on this plan do not need to be completed prior to transfer. An emphasis on completing science sequence courses will best help students move through the program at the quickest pace after transfer.

If you are a part-time student or cannot complete all of the suggested coursework on this plan, consider choosing the science coursework first since this begins the longest sequence of courses. (Begin the science sequence with General/College Chemistry equivalent(s) and Principles of Biology equivalents.)

Transfer plans are available for Iowa community colleges on the Iowa State Transfer Plan Portal.

View links to the course requirements, sample four-year plan, and course sequence flow chart on the nutritional science major page.


The Nutritional Science (B.S.) degree has two options: Pre-Professional and Research Option and Nutrition and Wellness Option. Please make sure to read the Notes column of the following transfer plan to determine how the suggested course will apply to your preferred option. The requirements are very different and have different outcomes.

  • The family health, global health and policy, health coach, and nutrition and wellness options looks at the connection between diet and health. Majors in Nutritional Science with this option learn how diet can play a crucial role in the cause, treatment, and prevention of many diseases. A good diet is also important in maintaining normal health, growth, and development. In studying for a degree in Nutritional Science, you will gain insights into the relationship of diet, disease, and wellness. Graduates of this major are well prepared to go on to health professional schools such as medical school, pharmacy school, dental school, or other related health professional programs. Students are also prepared for nutrition research and teaching.
  • The food service option focuses on the role of nutrition and healthy eating for disease prevention and wellness with an emphasis on communication of nutrition messages to the public and community agencies and effective program planning and evaluation. This major will prepare graduates to work in program planning and evaluation for community, public health, non-profit, and corporate wellness programs addressing the growing public interest in nutrition, health, wellness, and preventative health.

First Semester

Iowa State course number, nameISU creditNotes
CHEM 177/177L or CHEM 163/163L, General Chemistry I or College Chemistry4 (lecture), 1 (lab)Pre-Professional and Research option students should choose CHEM 177/L. Nutrition and Wellness option students may choose either course.
BIOL 211/211L, Principles of Biology3 
Select an interchangeable course from the list below3 
Select an interchangeable course from the list below3 
Library 160, Library Instruction1Some schools have an equivalent to this course, and some do not. If an equivalent doesn’t exist, this course can easily be fit into a schedule at Iowa State after transfer

Total credits: about 15 (varies based on credits of courses at transfer institution)

Second Semester

Iowa State course number, nameISU creditNotes
CHEM 178/L, General Chemistry II
Select an interchangeable course from the list below
3 (lecture), 1 (lab)OR3Only Pre-Professional and Research option students should choose CHEM 178/L. Nutrition and Wellness option students should select an additional course from the interchangeable list below.
BIOL 212/212L, Principles of Biology II3(lecture) 1(lab) 
Select an interchangeable course from the list below3 
Select an interchangeable course from the list below3 
Select an interchangeable course from the list below3 

Total credits: about 13-16 (varies based on credits of courses at transfer institution)

Pre-Health Professional and Research students who are not able to take an equivalent to BIOL 313, Principles of Genetics (see below) at their current institution are encouraged to transfer to Iowa State prior to the start of the fall semester of their second year. The reason for this recommendation is that Genetics leads to a fairly lengthy sequence of courses and could impact the timeline for graduation should this not be taken the fall following the completion of the equivalent to BIOL 212/L (Principles of Biology II).

Third Semester

Iowa State course number, nameISU creditNotes
CHEM 331/331L, Organic Chemistry I
PSYCH 101 or 230, Intro. to Psychology or Developmental Psychology
3 (lecture), 1 (lab)OR3Pre-Health Professional and Research option students should select Organic Chemistry. Nutrition and Wellness option students should select psychology.
BIOL 313, Principles of Genetics
MICRO 201/201L
3Some community colleges offer equivalents to BIOL 313, while others do not. Pre-Health Professional and Research option students who are not able to take a BIOL 313 equivalent at their current institution are encouraged to transfer to Iowa State before the start of the fall semester, their second year. Nutrition and Wellness option students should select Microbiology. Microbiology courses that transfer as MICRO 2T** on the Course Equivalency Guides, are at least 3 credits, and include a laboratory, will fulfill the MICRO 201/201L requirement for Nutrition and Wellness option
Select an interchangeable course from the list3 
Select an interchangeable course from the list3 
Select an interchangeable course from the list3Select this additional course based on your needs/ability to balance your course load this semester.

Total credits: about 16 (varies based on credits of courses at transfer institution)

Fourth Semester

Typically, at this point in the sequence of courses, it is important that students have transferred to Iowa State. You should visit with the FS HN transfer advisor to determine the best time for you to transfer based on your specific situation. If possible, early planning is recommended to determine the transfer semester that will result in the timeliest completion of your degree requirements.

Interchangeable Courses

Where the transfer plans says, “select an interchangeable course”, select one of the courses below. All courses must be taken to fulfill requirements for your degree program, but the order of these courses prior to transfer is typically less significant.

Iowa State course number, nameISU creditNotes
Math 140, 142, 160, 165 or 1814Take an equivalent to one course from this category
STAT 101, Principles of Statistics or STAT 104, Introduction to Statistics4,3Take an equivalent to one of these two courses
ENGL 150, Critical Thinking & Communication3 
ENGL 250, Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Communication3Usually an equivalent to ENGL 150 is the pre-requisite to an ENGL 250 equivalent
SP CM 212, Speech Communication3 
FS HN 167, Intro. to Human Nutrition3 
Social Science3Nutrition and Wellness option students should select and equivalent to POL S 215, Intro. to American Government.
Humanities3-9Consult with the Iowa State FS HN advisor regarding how many credits of humanities classes you should take prior to transfer. Refer to the humanities requirements list for Iowa State courses that can fulfill this requirement. Additionally, classes listed on the Course Equivalency Guides as HUM 1T**, 2T**, 3T**, 4T** can also serve as humanities.

Total credits: about 22-23 (varies based on credits of courses at transfer institution)


I am planning to go on to a health professional program so I have selected the Pre-Health Professional and Research option. When selecting courses from this list, are there any special considerations that I should keep in mind?

Students planning to go apply to health professional school should always review entrance requirements and select appropriate courses as electives, humanities, and social sciences. Many health professional programs require Physics 111 and 112 equivalents or PHSY 221 and 222 equivalents. Health-professional programs also often specific which math courses should be taken, so students should review typical math requirements before selecting a math course from the list on this plan.

I see on the sample 4-year plan that is recommended to take BIOL 255/255L, Human Anatomy and BIOL 256, Human Physiology (Nutrition and Wellness option only). Should I plan to take this course at my transfer institution?

Maybe. Some schools offer equivalents to BIOL 255/255L or courses that we can approve as substitutes, while other schools offer courses that are not close enough to be equivalents or substitutes. Often it is necessary to take both parts of the Anatomy and Physiology sequence in order for the courses to transfer, so your specific timing of transfer will impact whether or not you should take these courses at your transfer institution. You should visit with FSHN transfer academic advisor about this situation for your specific school and circumstance.

What if I have finished the Biology sequence on this plan (gotten to or finished BIOL 313)?

It’s time to visit with the FSHN transfer academic advisor. It is likely time for you to transfer to Iowa State so that you can stay on track with your coursework.

Do I need any electives for this major? What counts as an elective?

Students in this program must have completed 120.5 credits to graduate. Students usually need to take between 0 and 6 credits, minimum, of electives to get to 120.5 credit hours. You may need a few more or less as a transfer student depending on the number of credits that the courses are at your transfer institution. Any course that is accepted by Iowa State as a transfer course that isn’t already fulfilling a degree requirement can be considered an elective.

What if I have finished all (or most of the interchangeable courses on this list) and am now just working on the science coursework so I don’t have a full-time course load? Is there anything else that might transfer?

Maybe. If you haven’t already, it’s appropriate to be visiting with the FSHN advisor at this point. You might be able to choose additional humanities or social science courses. It might also be appropriate to discuss with the advisor if there is a minor that you could start working toward that would complement your degree selection.

Need More Information?

Amber Kargol

220 MacKay Hall
2302 Osborn Drive
Ames, IA 50011-1078

515-294- 2553