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    Human Nutrition

    School of Medicine and Population Health, Faculty of Health

    Get the knowledge and skills to build a career in nutrition. The course is taught by Registered Nutritionists and other health professionals, who offer a global perspective on contemporary nutritional issues.
    Selection of healthy foods on a wooden table with a book marked "Food diary."

    Course description

    In this course, you will explore the relationship between diet, health and disease, and investigate the issues facing global food systems, food sustainability and public health.

    Our Human Nutrition course dates back over 30 years, so our team of experts bring a wealth of experience along with a detailed knowledge of the latest developments in the field. You will study in a university with a long-standing reputation for nutrition research and learning. You will be taught by Registered Nutritionists, and other health professionals, actively involved in research and knowledge exchange. They can train you to develop the knowledge and employability skills you need to pursue a career as a professional nutritionist or to move on to further studies. 

    What you will study

    You will be trained in a broad range of nutrition topics that are of current relevance, including the fundamentals of nutrition: from human biochemistry and physiology to public health, epidemiology, and nutrition and disease.

    You’ll explore how the food we eat affects the human body, and how our diets influence both our physical and mental health. You’ll investigate the current challenges facing vulnerable population groups and learn about the importance of global and local nutritional policy. There will also be opportunities to tailor your learning with optional modules in theory and research methodologies.

    You will take part in laboratory sessions where you can practise different methods of dietary assessment and analysis that you can use as a nutritionist. You can also learn how to conduct an anthropometry assessment of nutritional status, as well as methods of assessing household food (in)security. 

    Our programme includes discussions and debates on contemporary issues such as food sustainability, food policy and public health, and personalised nutrition.

    The course will help you to develop skills around communication, professionalism and practice that you need to work both independently and within multidisciplinary teams as a professional nutritionist. 

    Research project

    As part of the course, you will conduct a research project on a topic that interests you, under the supervision of an expert staff member. This could include primary data collection projects, secondary data analysis projects, or literature reviews. Previous projects include:

    • A primary data investigation into whether men and women respond differently to interventions aimed at reducing meat consumption.
    • A secondary data analysis studying the effect of cow milk on colitis.
    • A narrative review investigating consumer understanding of added sugar on packaging labels.

    Your research training will also give you the chance to learn about the ethics of scientific research, research methodologies, statistical analysis, and how to critically evaluate scientific studies.


    We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies. Find out more on the School of Medicine and Population Health website.


    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 and metabolic states. 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. Biochemical processes involved in the metabolism of macro and micronutrients will be covered. 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 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 in-utero, 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 is offered across several programmes. Learning activities for the module are tailored to your individual specialist areas to provide learning that is relevant and specific to your chosen degree programme.

    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

    This module is offered across several programmes. Learning activities for the module are tailored to your individual specialist areas to provide learning that is relevant and specific to your chosen degree programme.

    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. You will be provided with the knowledge and skills required for identifying a knowledge gap, developing a research question, selecting a suitable research design, and conducting an independent piece of research to completion. You will be able to select a dissertation topic of your own interest and a research type (primary data collection,  secondary data analysis, literature review). You can also select projects offered by staff members.

    The dissertation should demonstrate competence in the following areas, as applicable to your chosen specialism and dissertation topic; -Critically appraising and interpreting published literature; -Collecting and using data and information to answer a nutrition or clinical research question; .

    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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    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

    The course will help prepare you for a career in community nutrition, nutrition policy, international development, local and central government, or humanitarian work. You could also pursue a role in the pharmaceutical industry or food industry. 

    Many of our graduates also go on to work as freelance nutritionists working with industry, policy and the public, or go on to study dietetics and a career in the NHS. 

    Others have gone on to nutrition research careers around the world, and onto PhDs at top universities.

    Organisations that have employed our graduates include:

    • Nutritec
    • BUPA
    • Greene King
    • Nutripolis
    • Quorn
    • Ministries of Health 
    • UK National Health Service (NHS)
    • Korea Food Research Institute
    • United Nations
    • World Health Organisation
    • UNICEF

    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

    A woman stood in front of a river

    All my lecturers were incredibly kind, patient and encouraging

    Shiqi Bei MSc Human Nutrition

    Shiqi’s love of food and healthy eating led her to the Human Nutrition MSc at Sheffield. She tells us more about how supportive the University was during her studies.

    Danila Francis

    Designing and undertaking a research project

    Danila Francis MSc Human Nutrition

    “I have always been interested in nutrition and have always had a strong inclination to help other people. For this reason, combining these two passions has always been my biggest ambition.”

    Mikhael Aditya

    From Medicine to Human Nutrition

    Mikhael Aditya Human Nutrition

    Meet Mikhael Aditya, an international student from Indonesia pursuing an MSc in Human Nutrition at the University of Sheffield. With a strong academic background in medicine, Mikhael chose to further his education in nutrition to gain a deeper understanding of food and its impact on the human body.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:2 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant science subject or a relevant medical degree.

    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 now 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.