School of Health Professions

MSc Human Nutrition

Designed for graduates with a non-nutrition background, this broad-ranging programme offers you an advanced understanding of nutrition and the links between diet and health, offered part-time over two years. Core nutrition science will underpin a critical evaluation of the role of nutrition in public health at the local, national and international level.

Careers with this subject

Successful completion allows graduates to work in a variety of nutrition-related areas such as public health, food and/or health industries, the media, nutrition policy development, teaching and research for health and education services, or other organisations.

Key features

  • Designed for graduates with a non-nutrition background, this part-time programme – the only one of this type in the South West – offers you the chance to discover a new and alternative career pathway, with the added flexibility of balancing study with other commitments.
  • Gain an advanced understanding of nutrition and links between diet and health. 
  • Critically evaluate the role of public health nutrition in addressing current issues in human health at the local, national and international level. 
  • Understand the role of nutrition in exercise and sports performance and be able to apply this in a real world setting.
  • Train to become an evidence-based nutrition professional, equipped to manage and lead in dynamic settings. Professional practice elements are embedded throughout the curriculum.
  • Develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of current and topical issues in sports nutrition and apply them to current practice utilising links with local sporting partnerships.
  • Benefit from the input of local registered nutritionists – take advantage of opportunities to engage and benefit from curriculum enrichment, local expertise and knowledge of future career pathways. 
  • Develop key skills in designing and undertaking high quality nutrition-based research – research-informed teaching is embedded throughout the programme.
  • Train and practice your professional healthcare skills in an inspiring purpose-built environment, InterCity Place
  • Explore sustainability in nutrition throughout the duration of your study. 
  • The programme is accredited by the Association for Nutrition (AfN). Students who have successfully completed the programme are eligible to apply via Direct Entry for the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionist as a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr).
  • Graduate equipped to succeed in a variety of nutrition-related areas such as public health, food and/or health industries (commercial or private), the media, nutrition policy development, teaching and research for health and education services, government and other organisations.

Course details

  • Programme overview

  • This MSc in Human Nutrition will be delivered on a two year part-time basis. Core modules in the science of food, nutrition and human health will underpin an advanced understanding of links between diet and health at the individual, population and strategic level. Nutritional epidemiology will be studied to inform the practice of public health nutrition and how key issues in population health may be addressed. Key and topical issues in sports nutrition will be studied and applied to real world situations. Research modules will provide you with key research skills to design and carry out high quality nutrition research under supervision. You'll become a nutrition professional equipped to work in a range of nutrition settings and you will be eligible to apply to register as an associate nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition.
    Nutrition Science (20 credits): Includes the science, application and consequences of food choice/ lifestyle and its impact on human nutritional health.
    Applied Nutrition (20 credits):  Examines basic nutritional metabolism and the link between diet and health.
    Applied Sports Nutrition (20 credits): Critically evaluate the role of nutrition in sports and exercise and cover the professional aspects of working as a registered nutritionist.
    Nutritional Epidemiology (20 credits): Critically evaluates key concepts and principles of nutritional epidemiology, and develop an evidence-based understanding of diet and occurrence of disease in populations.
    Public Health Nutrition (20 credits): Examines the role of nutrition in public health and critically evaluates the evidence base for applying interventions in public health.
    Project Design for Research (20 credits): Identify and appraise research and data analysis methods, allowing you to develop your own research proposal.
    Research Dissertation (60 credits): Complete your research dissertation under the supervision of a member of the programme team.
    Over the two years modules will be studied as follows:
    Year 1 – Nutrition Science, Applied Nutrition, Nutritional Epidemiology, and either Public Health Nutrition or Sports Nutrition
    Year 2 – Project Design for Research, Research Dissertation, and either Public Health Nutrition or Sports Nutrition.
    Please note that when you enrol on this programme, you always enrol to study the master degree but we offer three exit awards: PgCert, PgDip and MSc.
    For a Pg Cert in Human Nutrition – you need 60 credits 
    Core modules Nutrition Science (20 credits) and Applied Nutrition (20 credits) must be achieved.
    For a Pg Diploma in Human Nutrition – you need 120 credits 
    Core modules Nutrition Science (20 credits) and Applied Nutrition (20 credits) must be achieved.
    MSc Human Nutrition – you need 180 credits

    Core modules

    • Public Health Nutrition (HNUT705)

      This module judges the role of nutrition in public health and critically evaluates the evidence base for applying good nutritional principles to health and wellbeing, considering wider ecological aspects of the food supply system.

    • Nutritional Epidemiology (HNUT707)

      This module critically evaluates the relationship between diet and disease and explores the epidemiological data underpinning nutritional recommendations. It combines nutritional knowledge with skills in evaluation of dietary assessment methods and nutritional surveillance to investigate the determinants of health and disease in populations.

    • Nutrition Science (HNUT708)

      This module enables students to develop a sound scientific understanding of the role and function of nutrients and non-nutrients in the human body and impact on health. It includes the science, application and consequences of food choice/ lifestyle and impact on human nutritional health. In addition it explores the evidence behind health claims and impact of compounds such as drugs on nutritional status and function.

    • Applied Nutrition (HNUT702)

      This module examines the physiological and metabolic background to nutrition exploring the evidence base linking diet and health. Basic nutritional metabolism will be covered and then used as the basis to discuss the role of metabolism in various conditions as well as exploring practical difficulties of implementing changes to diet.

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    • Project Design for Research (ADV715)

      You’ll explore methodology and methods relevant to the development of a research project and by the end of the module you’ll formulate a research proposal. You’ll learn how to define and refine a research question, select and appraise methodology, address ethical considerations, and select and appraise data collection and analysis techniques.

    • Research Dissertation (ADV716)

      You’ll complete your dissertation as part of your Advanced Professional Practice Masters programme under supervision from the module team and a named dissertation supervisor.

    • Applied Sports Nutrition (HNUT703)

      This module will critically evaluate the role of nutrition in sports and exercise. It will look at the key physiological factors underpinning applied nutritional practices, as well as potential psychological/cultural/ psychosocial factors impacting on food intake in athletes. Professional aspects of working as a registered nutritionist will also be covered.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Human Nutrition programme specification_5743

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

We usually consider a BSc (Hons) degree with 2:1 or above (or equivalent) in a relevant science subject that provides underpinning knowledge in the biosciences (e.g. biology, psychology, food science). We may consider other degrees at 2:1 or above providing you have evidence of previous science study. Although priority will be given to those with a 2:1 degree, applicants with a 2:2 degree will be considered.
International students must provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with Plymouth Universities Admissions Code of Practice and requirements set out by the AfN, This will be a minimum overall International English Language Testing System (IELTS) of at least 6.0 in each element and a mean score of 6.5.
Scholarships are available for postgraduate taught programmes. Tell me more about scholarships and bursaries.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home N/A N/A
International N/A N/A
Part time (Home) £580 £610
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.
In order to cater for the needs of the NHS workforce, this programme is flexible in nature and allows up to five years for students to complete the full MSc. For this reason, students on the programme are unable to claim support via the Student Loans Company Postgraduate Loan. The SLC stipulates that part time programmes (which do not have a full time equivalent) must be offered for no longer than three years. If you think that you will have trouble funding your place on the programme, we would recommend a discussion with your employer to see whether any financial support can be granted.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.
  • 10% or 20% discount on tuition fees for home students 
  • For 2024/2025 entry, a 20% discount on tuition fees for international students (International alumni who have applied to the University through an agent are not eligible to receive the discount)

How to apply

When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 
Before you apply
Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.
Disability services
If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Additional support for students with an impairment, health condition or disability website. 
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email
Submitting an application
Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).
What happens after I apply?
You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.
We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.
If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:
Telephone: +44 1752 585858
Admissions policy
You can view or download our admissions policy from the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Human nutrition is more than just human health – it's also to do with social, cultural and environmental factors. In fact, it's related to human health, population health and planetary health.

Clare PettingerClare Pettinger
Associate Professor in Public Health Dietetics

Dr Clare Pettinger, Programme Lead, gives an introduction to the MSc Human Nutrition programme. 
Fresh and healthy vegetables and fruits isolated on white background. Health, nutrition, dietetics, food.Getty 1220415555

Annalise’s story

Student Annalise discusses her experience of the MSc Human Nutrition course.

Studying dietetics at the University of Plymouth

Find out more about the dietetics courses on offer at the University.
Plymouth Hoe

English Language Centre

We offer a range of courses to help you develop your academic English language skills.
These include pre-sessional academic English courses for undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research students along with insessional language classes, tutorials and activities to support students who have English as a second language.
Christina - student blogs page