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    MSc PG Certificate PG Diploma
    2023 start September 

    Human Nutrition

    School of Health and Related Research, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health

    This course is accredited by the Association for Nutrition – graduates can apply for direct entry to the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists as Registered Associate Nutritionists. You’ll study different methods of dietary assessment and analysis, and you'll explore the importance of nutrition policy on a local and global scale.
    Image of Katharine Palmer, postgraduate School of Health and Related Research Student in the library

    Course description

    As one of the most established Human Nutrition MScs in the UK, this course provides world-class training in evidence-based nutrition delivered by a faculty of Registered Nutritionists actively working in research, knowledge exchange and health. 

    What makes this programme stand above others is the quality of training it provides and its comprehensive coverage of all areas of nutrition ranging from biochemistry and lab-based research to public health nutrition and epidemiology. This breadth and depth of training are supported by the world-class facilities and staff at Sheffield who have a long-standing reputation in nutrition excellence.

    What’s also special about the programme is its student-centred approach. Student interests and their training needs are at the centre of everything we do, and the programme places special emphasis on areas of contemporary importance such as food sustainability and decolonised learning.   

    The programme equips students with the knowledge, skills, tools, values and attributes needed for tackling the environmental, economic and social challenges the world faces, and at the same time nurturing successful nutrition careers that are global in outlook, rewarding, and able to meet contemporary nutritional challenges head-on.

    The course provides a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of human nutritional biochemistry, physiology and epidemiology, as well as public health nutrition, nutrition research, and global nutrition. You’ll study different methods of dietary assessment and analysis, enabling you to collect, analyse and interpret dietary information.

    You’ll also explore the nutritional challenges of vulnerable population groups and the importance of nutrition policy both locally and in a global context. A particular strength of the programme is that it provides opportunities for you to tailor your learning to your specific career needs and interests through a research project. You will be able to conduct a research study in any area of your choosing under the guidance of experienced staff members with topic expertise. 

    The course helps to prepare you for a career in research, the food industry, academia, community nutrition, nutrition policy, and international development and humanitarian work. Many of our graduates also go on to work as freelance nutritionists working with industry, policy and the public.  


    We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies. Find out more on the Medical School website.


    Accredited by the Association for Nutrition – graduates can apply for direct entry to the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists as Registered Associate Nutritionists


    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Continuing Professional Development

    All modules on this course can be studied as standalone CPD modules. It is possible to complete standalone modules and then apply to transfer to an MSc/PGDip/PGCert qualification. Any time spent on the CPD route counts toward the time-limit a student has to complete their chosen qualification.

    Core modules:

    Nutritional Biochemistry

    This module will provide you with an understanding of the way in which the body metabolises nutrients under a variety of different dietary circumstances.
    The chemical composition and characteristics of different classes of nutrients will be covered, with reference to their physical properties and functions in the body. Nutrients will be discussed with reference to the main dietary sources. The complexities of metabolism will be considered using an integrated approach with the concept of energy flux through metabolic pathways as a focus. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the mechanisms whereby the body can adapt metabolically to different dietary circumstances.
    Established functions of specific micronutrients will be discussed. Some important clinical and metabolic effects of deficiency of vitamins and minerals will be covered.

    15 credits
    Nutritional Epidemiology

    This module is designed to i) introduce students to the basic principles of nutritional epidemiology, ii) provide students with a knowledge of epidemiological study design and the ability to interpret epidemiological research, iii) introduce students to the methods of dietary assessment and analysis options, and enable them to collect, analyse and interpret dietary information, iv) provide students with a knowledge of the socio-ecological influences on food choice and v) introduce students to the nutritional challenges of vulnerable population groups and the importance of nutrition policy.Please note: there is a number cap of 50 for this module

    15 credits
    Nutritional Physiology

    This module will introduce the student's to the concept of homeostasis and the functions of the human body related to nutrition. The module introduces the major physiological processes occurring through life, as they relate to and are influenced by nutrition, beginning with the embryo, growing fetus, and considering the physiological adaptations of pregnancy, lactation and ageing. Included in the module are the principles and measurement of energy balance, energy expenditure, body mass and body composition and the physiological regulation of food intake.Please note: there is a number cap of 50 for this module

    15 credits
    Nutrition in the Global South

    The aim of this module is to promote an interest and understanding of the nutritional issues particularly facing countries in the Global South, through considering the nutritional situation in low and middle income countries with respect to food availability and consumption at all levels. Key topics encompass malnutrition in all its forms (micronutrient deficiencies and undernutrition, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases). It will explore the relationships between deficiency states with infection and growth, food security, the trend to urbanisation and the broad range of factors that influence food intake and nutritional status, e.g. socio-cultural and physical/financial access as well as climate change and global food systems. A range of learning methods will help students to understand how nutritional status in the Global South could be improved.

    15 credits
    Nutrition in Health and Disease

    This module is designed to develop students' knowledge and understanding of nutrition through the lifespan in relation to health and disease. In particular, the content of the module considers what our nutritional requirements are, how we determine nutritional status of an individual and how nutritional recommendations are adapted dependent on certain common conditions including obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Interactive sessions and case-based activities are used to demonstrate how evidence based practice is used in real world scenarios.

    15 credits
    Introduction to Research Methods

    This module provides students with an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods; it covers all stages of the research process from planning and design and research ethics and public and patient involvement, through to data collection and analysis and dissemination stages. It is specifically designed for students who do not have prior research experience and would be suitable for students from a range of backgrounds, but is particularly relevant to those interested in applied health related research. The course also provides a foundation for further learning in specific research methods.

    15 credits
    Introduction to Statistics and Critical Appraisal

    The unit introduces students to basic concepts and techniques such as hypothesis testing and confidence interval estimation in statistics. Students will learn some simple statistical methods and the principles behind some advanced methods such as regression. It will equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and critically appraise statistics in research literature.The course is not aimed at 'doers' of statistics, that is, students who are going to design their own studies to collect and analyse their own data. It will not teach you how to analyse, present and report your own data.

    15 credits

    The aim of this module is to enable students to develop an understanding and obtain practical experience of the research process and research skills required to undertake a supervised research project. Students will be required to identify relevant information on a topic and critically review the research of others. A range of approaches should be used to assess the impact this information will have on either the planning of services or improving health. The dissertation should demonstrate competence in the following areas, as applicable to their chosen dissertation topic;
    -Critically appraising and interpreting published literature;
    -Using epidemiological approaches to describe health status;
    -Collecting and using data and information to answer a clinical research question;
    -Assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of health services.

    60 credits

    Optional modules:

    Health Promotion

    The module seeks to elaborate on the theoretical background of health promotion with the aim of developing a critical awareness of the key concepts, debates and methods. The module also aims to evaluate a range of health promotion strategies in different fields. Teaching will be presented through a series of lectures and workshops that will also include group discussion, case studies and examples, to develop the lecture themes, and problem-solving skills.

    15 credits
    Further Statistics for Health Science Researchers

    The unit covers fundamental statistical concepts, and both simple statistical methods and the more widely used advanced methods of multiple regression, survival analysis and generalised linear models. It will be a practical module, including the teaching of the statistical software SPSS, equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to design and analyse a study to answer specific research questions; to understand and critically appraise the literature; and to present research findings in a suitable fashion.

    15 credits
    Systematic Reviews and Critical Appraisal Techniques

    To familiarise students with principles of systematic reviews and critical appraisal and the acquisition of skills necessary to undertake such work. The unit includes an introduction to information systems; principles of systematic literature reviews and critical appraisal; search strategies; computer-assisted search methods; practicalities of writing up the results of a systematic review; introduction to Meta- analysis; and dissemination of findings.

    15 credits
    Qualitative Research Design and Analysis

    On completing the module students will be expected to be able to: understand a range of qualitative research approaches, data collection methods and forms of analysis; plan and undertake a simple analysis of student-generated qualitative data; critically appraise the methods and results of qualitative research.

    15 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Book open day

    ScHARR campus open day

    Wednesday 25 January 2023, 12-1pm UK time

    Come and visit us to find out more about studying at Sheffield. You'll have the chance to ask course tutors your questions during question and answer sessions.

    Register now: ScHARR campus open day


    • 1 year full-time


    You’ll learn through lectures and seminars, practical sessions, workshops, group debates, self-study units and individual presentations. You’ll work independently on your research project, with guidance from an academic.

    Our teaching combines authentic and social learning:

    • Authentic learning: we use real-world, real-life, up-to-date case studies, examples and scenarios. You can immediately see how your learning is 'authentic' and applicable to your own working life
    • Social learning: We learn from each other as much as from purely independent study. This course uses multiple tools to deliver content and facilitate interaction with and between tutors and students


    You’re assessed on written reports, laboratory practical classes and group and individual assignments, which may involve oral presentations. There is a written examination at the end of some modules. The research project is assessed by a written dissertation.

    Your career

    After successfully completing their course, graduates have had the opportunity to secure roles within food manufacturing, the pharmaceutical industry, local and central government, overseas aid agencies and teaching.

    Many alumni have also gone on to study dietetics, resulting in a career in the NHS. Others have gone into research or PhD student positions both nationally and internationally.

    Our masters graduates go on to work in very diverse areas and found many exciting opportunities within well sought after organisations:

    • Nestle
    • Bakkavor
    • Marks & Spencer
    • Danone, Ireland
    • Mondelez International
    • Public Health England
    • Food Standards Agency
    • Nutrition Society
    • University of Oxford
    • MRC Human Nutrition Unit, Cambridge
    • Mesa Community College, San Diego
    • Centro de Nutricion Clinica, Costa Rica
    • Anjali Mukerjee Health, Mumbai
    • NY Vasta Global LLC. Mumbai, India
    • Helen Keller International
    • Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Malaysia

    Student profiles

    I highly recommend the course to anyone interested in pursuing a career related to nutrition, not only from my personal experience but how positively the degree is spoken about from professionals I have met through my work.

    Bethan Hamilton
    Human Nutrition

    Entry requirements

    You'll need at least a 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant science subject or a relevant medical degree.

    We may consider your application if you have a 2:2 undergraduate honours degree and your practical experience is particularly strong.

    We also accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


    You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 5454

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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