School of Health Professions

BSc (Hons) Dietetics

Healthy eating, nutrition and lifestyles are becoming key issues in today’s society. By focusing on the impact of food and nutrition on health, you'll use your knowledge and skills to make a difference to people’s lives. By combining theoretical modules with real life clinical placements you’ll gain all the skills you need for your future career. On successful completion of the course you'll be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Careers with this subject

Dietitians interpret the science of nutrition to improve health and treat diet related diseases and conditions. They educate and give practical and personal advice to patients, carers or colleagues. 
They advise and help to maintain nutritional status when individuals want to trial dietary interventions, such as exclusion diets, nutritional supplementation or dietary interventions, in a multitude of different areas. They use recognised methodologies to critically appraise all forms of evidence and research, to inform their advice. They help improve their patient’s quality of life.
Dietitians may work with the following physical disorders:
  • Neurological 
    Patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Diverse patient groups 
    Dietitians work with a wide range of different people and age groups, from babies through to palliative or end of life care. You may also work with people with physical or learning disabilities.
  • Physical conditions
    Some of the conditions dietitians might see are patients with cancer, inherited metabolic disease, cystic fibrosis, constipation, renal nutrition, obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions, HIV, fertility difficulties, heart disease, hypertension, those requiring parenteral or enteral nutrition, or people with weight management issues.
  • Dietary conditions 
    Dietitians work with people who may be malnourished, have allergies, consume vegetarian or vegan diets, or have coeliac disease.
  • Mental health conditions 
    Mental health conditions that dietitians might work with include patients with eating disorders or food attachment disorders.
  • Developmental conditions 
    Dietitians work with children or babies that may be suffering from a range of developmental conditions such as faltering growth or feeding difficulties. They work with these patient groups to ensure children hit key milestones, and progress into healthy adulthood.
Within the dietetics profession there are a multitude of job opportunities. You could work in the NHS, within the public or private sector. For example:
  • NHS hospitals
  • Public health, policy making and media
  • Communities
  • Sports nutrition
  • Food industry
  • Private practice
  • GP surgeries
  • Care and nursing homes
  • Education and academia
  • Research
  • Leadership roles
  • Voluntary roles.

Key features

  • Experience cutting-edge nutrition research with world-class academics, putting research into practice and developing the future dietetic profession.
  • Our BSc (Hons) Dietetics course is ranked 6th out of 43 universities, by the Complete University Guide 2023.
  • Accredited by the British Dietetic Association and the Health and Care Professions Council
  • Experience interprofessional learning throughout the programme.
  • On completion of the course you'll be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.
  • Innovative student-led Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS) in place.
  • Practice placements throughout the course allow you to gain experience in a range of different clinical and community settings, including unique specialist placements in paediatrics and mental health.
  • Innovative in-house nutrition clinics run alongside placements and academic study, providing additional opportunities to attain competency in practice-based learning.
  • Develop leadership roles for sustainability and explore an emerging range of professional opportunities for dietitians beyond our traditional role, including freelance and private practice, the world of media and social enterprise.
Please note: In order to successfully complete your course and be eligible to apply for a professional registration you must pass all practice based placement competencies along with your theoretical study. This is a requirement of the HCPC. You will only be able to take personal holidays during the specified leave periods for your course. This includes induction week where it is vital you attend all sessions.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • You will study psychosocial aspects of patient care, biochemistry, physiology, food science, and human nutrition to underpin modules in dietetics and applied nutrition in subsequent years. Sharing teaching with other health professions during part of the year helps you to understand the need for multi-professional working. You will learn how to critically appraise evidence and be introduced to the importance of public health nutrition. You will spend two weeks in your first supervised placement.

    Core modules

    • Human Nutrition, Food Studies and the Lifecycle (DIET409)

      To provide a foundation for the study of human nutrition, a global perspective of the food provisioning system and investigate relationships between food, diet and lifestyle. To investigate the theory and practical aspects of dietary intake assessment and evaluate nutritional requirements throughout stages of the life cycle.

    • Psychosocial Aspects of Patient Centred Care (DIET410)

      Students will explore the psychosocial aspects of patient centred care. An introduction to psychosocial aspects of care and impact on health and wellbeing. Students will study the concepts of patient centred care by exploring psychological and social aspects and how these impact on an individual's food choice, lifestyle and health behaviour.

    • Placement A (DIET411)

      You will build confidence in communicating with patients and gain an awareness of the diverse role of the dietitian. During the first year we encourage students to undertake an optional placement with our local partners in charities, industry, care homes and public health partnerships. Working within the optional placements has the benefit of providing students with the opportunity to practice, strengthen and develop the communication skills taught within the academic year.

    • Nutritional Epidemiology & Public Health Nutrition (DIET412)

      The module will introduce the principles of evidence based practice and the study of nutritional epidemiology. It will provide an introduction to the relationship between diet and disease, combining nutritional knowledge with skills in evaluation of dietary assessment methodologies to investigate the determinants of health and disease in populations. These epidemiological concepts will then be applied in the context of public health nutrition.

    • Preparation for Practice (SOHP401)

      This inter-professional module will introduce students to professional practice and the inherent standards expected of them. The characteristics and identity of allied health professionals, as evidence based practitioners, will underpin learning.

    • Interprofessional Learning 1 (HIPL400)

    • Nutritional Biochemistry (DIET413)

      This module provides an introduction to the chemistry, biochemistry and metabolic principles underpinning the science of human nutrition.

    • Physiology and Genetics (DIET414)

      This module provides the background in physiology and genetics to enable the learner to develop and incorporate these concepts into modules at level 5. The module has been designed to include the majority of the material that is considered to be essential in providing a sound understanding of the biosciences that underpin dietetics.

  • Year 2

  • You will work on an integrated and innovative series of problem-based learning exercises to extend the depth and breadth of your knowledge in nutrition, dietetics and clinical sciences. An understanding of immunology and pharmacology will be developed. You will undertake 12 weeks of supervised clinical practice to enable you to develop the confidence and personal skills required to work as a dietitian. We will introduce you to the concepts of professional studies, providing learning opportunities for problem solving with other healthcare professionals.

    Core modules

    • Pathophysiology (DIET501)

      This module runs in parallel with the major modules in dietetic practice. The module is designed to provide basic knowledge on basic pathophysiology as well as to introduce the student to the basic concepts of epidemiology and medical diagnosis. The appropriate pathophysiology is encountered at the same time as the conditions are examined from a clinical and dietetic viewpoint.

    • Dietetics 1 (DIET507)

      This module will introduce students to an evidence based approach to dietary modification for health in different care groups with a wide diversity of ages and social conditions. It will address, in particular, the factors which affect and difficulties of implementing dietary change.

    • Metabolism and Pharmacology (DIET508)

      The metabolic element of this module explores the physiological and metabolic background to nutrition through the lifecycle. Basic nutritional metabolism will be studied to provide the basis to look at (in other modules) the role of metabolism in various conditions. The pharmacological element of this module introduces the student dietitian to the basic principles of pharmacology. The mode of action of drugs, the absorption, distribution, and metabolism of drugs, and the interaction between diet and drugs.

    • Metabolism and Immunology (DIET509)

      This module explores the physiological and metabolic background to diet related diseases, the role of nutrition in immune function and the influence of nutrients and exercise on the maintenance of optimal health.

    • Placement B (DIET510)

      During this 12 week placement, students will begin to apply their theoretical knowledge through blended, virtual and on-site placements and develop the range of skills required to work as a dietitian. Including procedures for the assessment, intervention and monitoring of clients with a range of non-complex conditions in a variety of settings.

    • Dietetics in Practice 1 (DIET511)

      This module will require students to put into practice the theory studied in Dietetics 1. Students will learn how to adapt meals and use special products to meet an individual's nutritional requirements. They will develop their communication, educational and motivational interviewing abilities. Students will build confidence in core dietetic skills in preparation for their B placement.

    • Interprofessional Learning 2 (HIPL500)

  • Final year

  • You will develop skills to work with more complex patients. An understanding of the principles of sustainable leadership, digital marketing and effective management skills will be embedded. You will work on an in-depth research project in an area of personal interest related to dietetics or nutrition. Your final clinical placement will have a strong patient focus, emphasis being on professional mastery and fitness for practice required for employment and registration as a dietitian with the HCPC.

    Core modules

    • Project Design (DIET605)

      Students will explore methodology and methods relevant to the development of a research project and by the end of the module will formulate a research proposal. The module will explore defining and refining a research question, selecting and appraising methodology, ethical considerations, selecting and appraising data collection and analysis techniques.

    • Dietetics 2 (CBL) (DIET606)

      This module will help students review their practical dietetic experiences and build on these through a questioning/problem solving approach. Students will justify approaches and consider the concept of evidenced-based practice in dietary therapy for complex conditions to put together nutrition and dietetic interventions for case scenarios.

    • Dietetics in Practice 2 (DIET607)

      The module will require students to put into practice the theory studied in Dietetics 2. The major emphasis is on communication and educational skills; presentation and evaluation of different techniques used by dietitians for individuals and groups.

    • Placement C (DIET608)

      This 12 week placement builds on the practical skills and knowledge acquired in placement B with an increasing focus on clients with complex needs. Students become competent in translating theory into practice and in demonstrating the range of skills needed to work as a newly qualified dietitian.

    • Dissertation (DIET609)

      This module builds on DIET605, the 'Project Design' module. Students will investigate systematically and in-depth a topic of relevance to the field of nutrition and dietetics. They will present and discuss their findings in the context of the contemporary evidence base, and consider the implications of their findings on practice. A report will be prepared, suitable for publication. Through this module students will deepen their understanding of the process of research and link theory to practice in their chosen area.

    • Leadership Roles for Sustainability (DIET611)

      This module provides an understanding of sustainability leadership roles for Allied Health Professionals relevant to supporting their skills development for a changing healthcare future. Students will learn how to design, evaluate and communicate the impact of a more sustainable area of practice. They will use sustainability leadership techniques and appraise how these will impact more effective sustainable management of practice in both the public and private sector. There will be a focus on the use of quality improvement frameworks and effective use of digital marketing to promote best practice.

    • Interprofessional Learning 3 (HIPL600)

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

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

BSc Hons Dietetics Programme Specification 2023 24 7188

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

112 - 128

GCSEs
All applicants must have at least 5 GCSE (or equivalent) at grade C/4 or above and must include English, Maths and a Science. Preference is given to applicants who have obtained these grades on application. Please note the institution may consider equivalent numeracy and literacy qualifications 
PLUS ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
A Level
Typical offer of 112-128 points to include BB at A level from one of the following two subjects include Biology plus a second science, preferably Chemistry but will accept Maths/Physics/Psychology/Sociology/Geography/Geology/Environmental. Please contact the admissions team if you are not studying a second relevant subject.
(Extended project will be counted if nutrition related subject – this will be considered at confirmation)
IB
30-28 points must include Higher Level 5 in both Biology and 5 in a second Science: preferably Chemistry but will also consider, Maths, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, Geography, Geology and Environmental science. Please contact the admissions team if you are not studying a second relevant subject.
English and Maths accepted within Higher Level = 4 Standard Level = 5
If overseas and not studying English within IB – MUST have IELTS 
IELTS
7.0 Overall with 6.5 in all elements
Access
Pass a named Access to HE Diploma (e.g. science, combined science, medicine) with at least 45 credits at level 3 of which 30 must be at distinction level with 15 credits in biology and 15 credits in a second science (preferably chemistry, but others might be considered including maths, physics, psychology, sociology, geography, environmental science). The remaining 15 level 3 credits must be at merit. 
T level
Accepted – preference pathways would be Health and Science. Typical offer will be confirmed once an application is received.
BTEC
BTEC National Diploma/Extended Diploma: DMM-DDM – Science related. Must contain strong Biology and second science module (preferably Chemistry, but may also consider Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, Geography, Geology and Environmental science). An A level alongside is preferable. 
BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules including their credit rating within your qualification at the time of application.
Equivalent qualifications may be considered. Alternatively if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on +44 1752 585858 or email admissions@plymouth.ac.uk, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.
For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
Direct entry to year 2
If you have achieved certificated learning in addition to the entry criteria required for your programme of study, it may be possible to accredit this learning towards your chosen course. Full details on how to make an application are available on our open access MOODLE site ( download details on how to access the site and submit your claim and supporting evidence). Your application will then be assessed and you will receive confirmation by email on the status of your claim.

Extended requirements

  • You must pass disclosure and barring service and occupational health checks satisfactorily in order to be able to start this course
  • If English is not your first language and you do not have GCSE English grade C or above you will have to achieve an IELTS or equivalent qualification at the grades stated below.
  • IELTS – 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all elements.
  • Meeting the academic minimum is the first stage of an application being considered. Applicants must also submit a strong personal statement in order to be considered further
  • English language requirements
  • We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
  • Students must be 18 years old or over at the start date of this programme.
Further information
Deferred entry
Deferred entry is not physically possible for us (but we can waive your interview in the next cycle if you have already been interviewed successfully this cycle).

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £18,100
Part time (Home) £770 £770
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.

Additional costs

Placements
All students within the School of Health Professions will spend time in placements away from university. The South West is a largely rural region, which often requires students to travel longer and further distances than may be expected when universities are in largely urban areas. In many cases, students will stay away from home for the duration of that placement. Some students on these courses are eligible for reimbursement of additional travel and accommodation costs over normal daily travel costs. This support is part of the Learning Support Fund administered through the NHS Business Services Authority. However, this should be investigated by the student to make sure this applies to their chosen course of study.
It is difficult to give a precise estimate of placement costs for each individual programme, due to the geographical spread of placements, and duration. However it is recommended you attend an Open Day to find out more about what placement costs can be anticipated or discuss placement with a member of our admissions teams.
Despite these costs, placements offer an excellent opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners and are recognised as an essential part of students' development towards becoming a registered practitioner.
Further information
More details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are included in Faculty of Health additional costs

NHS Learning Support Fund

The NHS Learning Support Fund provides additional funding for eligible healthcare students. It is supplementary financial support to the mainstream student loans system and is intended to support students whilst they train and gain professional registration. Please be aware that this funding is provided by the NHS and is reviewed periodically, which means levels of funding could be subject to change. For more information, please see the guidance available: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-learning-support-fund-lsf.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 
UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 
Apply for this course on the UCAS website.
For more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.
The deadline for the receipt of international applications is 31 May 2024 for entry in September 2024. 
As from 2014-15 academic year, all NHS funded professional courses are required to select and interview their applicants using a ‘values based’ approach. As part of this process, your UCAS personal statement will now also require this additional information, which will demonstrate insight into your understanding of the importance of NHS values in your chosen professional discipline.

Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.
Find out more at plymouth.ac.uk/upic or contact our team at info@upic.plymouth.ac.uk

Health students may be eligible to receive an additional £5000 each year

The NHS Learning Support Fund provides additional funding for eligible healthcare students. It is supplementary financial support to the mainstream student loans system and is intended to support students whilst they train and gain professional registration. The training grant is for £5,000. 

The moment I realised... I wanted to be a dietitian

Rosanna Strickland describes the moment she realised that studying to become a dietitian was the right choice for her.
“Having shadowed dietitians on my first placement, being trusted with the responsibility of providing dietetic advice to patients was exhilarating.”
Rosanna Strickland, third year 
BSc (Hons) Dietetics

student

It wasn’t easy for me to make the decision to study abroad in a country that I had never been to before, but I am so glad and grateful that I was given this chance to study in Plymouth with the dietetics team. I felt so welcomed by the staff and students on the course, all the lecturers have been very supportive, and they are more than happy to listen to you and help you if you are struggling with something. It was really an eye-opener for me when I went out on placement. There is something magical about applying the dietetics knowledge that I have learnt in real life. I feel that is my mission to help people who have diet or nutrition needs, which is what I am passionate about in life.

Jennifer Lei – BSc (Hons) Dietetics 3rd year student

I chose to work as a dietitian as I am naturally a curious person and I love knowing about things that spark curiosity. One of the most confusing things in this world, which people almost talk about every day, is their diet. I wanted to know the evidence-based truth and inform others about nutrition and health. Whether it be a specific food, a nutrient, a medical condition, a supplement, or a trend, dietitians are the best people to go to for the unbiased evidence behind it.

Jonathan Sumner – BSc (Hons) Dietetics 3rd year student

Zoe Andrews BSc (Hons) Dietetics

Placement learning

Placement learning is an integral part of the experience of training to become a dietitian.
Placements are of 4, 12 and 12-weeks duration, and occur in Years 1, 2 and 3 respectively. These take place in a variety of settings, with a blend of simulation experiences based at the University, and placements accessed across the South West (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset, Avon, and Wiltshire).
Placement opportunities provide practical experience allowing you to apply theory learnt at university into a variety of different specialist, clinic areas and settings.

A lot of people think dietitians just advise and support people with weight problems. That's a relatively small part of what they do.

Academic lead Dr Avril Collinson talks you through the key features of our BSc (Hons) Dietetics course. 
Watch the video to find out more about learning, placements and careers and see what's it's like to study at Plymouth.

A day in a life of a dietitian

Dietitians understand the science behind what we eat and use this to help people be as healthy as possible when they are ill and beyond.
Follow Monika Siemicka on a typical day
#WeCare2 and NHS Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust logos

Consider postgraduate study

We also offer postgraduate opportunities in dietetics. Our masters programmes are designed for registered dietitians and will prepare you become an evidence-based practitioner, ready to manage and lead in dynamic settings.
You’ll leave the programme with the advanced skills and knowledge to make a real and profound impact on patient care.
Find out more about our programmes:
Students talking

My Ketogenic Journey – Lee's story

A ketogenic diet (KD) is a very high fat, adequate protein and low carbohydrate diet, used since the 1920’s to treat very difficult to manage epilepsy that is resistant to anti-epileptic medications. It is also the sole treatment for two complex metabolic disorders; Glucose Transporter Type 1 Deficiency Syndrome and Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Deficiency. In recent years so called “keto” diets are growing in popularity in the press and social media as a ‘one size fits all’ diet for everything from acne to weight loss. Being described as a miraculously enjoyable and easy diet, eating all the fat and protein you want while simply reducing carbohydrate intake. 
When used appropriately as a medical treatment, a dietitian calculates and prescribes a bespoke KD regime for each patient. Working closely together to ensure the KD is palatable, well tolerated with minimal side effects and fine-tuned for effectiveness. These prescribed KDs may reach as high as 80-90% of calorie intake from fat. It is incredibly rewarding to support and empower patients to make the extensive dietary changes required and see the remarkable reduction in seizure frequency that can be achieved. So challenge those social media influencers and look deeper into the evidence supporting the ketogenic diet and its true uses! 
Watch Lee’s story to hear how the ketogenic diet has helped to control his epilepsy and inspired him to study BSc (Hons) Dietetics at Plymouth.

“The ketogenic diet for epilepsy has had a positive impact on my health and quality of life. So much so, it has inspired me to study dietetics and I'm loving the journey so far. I look forward to my future and hope to have a positive impact on others too.”

Our research

Nutrition is integral to life and health; it influences growth, development, maintenance of health, and can be used to treat disease. We are working to further understand the relationship between nutrition and health.
Our Dietetics, Human Nutrition and Health research group encompasses all these aspects of nutritional research and collaborates across professions and with other institutes, promoting inter-disciplinary research between the area of nutrition.
Fruit at a farmers market

Screening for health students

Additional checks are required for all health students. All offers are made subject to receipt of satisfactory screening in terms of your health, welfare and police checks. 

NHS Constitution

All our students are expected to adhere to the principles and values laid out in the NHS Constitution

People