What role does diet play in the development of chronic diseases?

This is an advanced distance learning nutrition course open to anyone with a background in food and nutritional science.

Learn to use the tools and research methods of clinical nutrition as you study the part diet plays in preventing and treating chronic illnesses.

  • Explore the latest evidence linking specific dietary components with the onset and development of disease.
  • Examine the nutrient-gene interactions involved in disease development.
  • Learn how clinical nutrition research informs public health policy in the UK and around the world.

You’ll develop the skills to assess scientific evidence in this area and to advocate responsibly for better health through diet and nutrition.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards either of these MSc qualifications.

What you’ll study

You’ll study the role of nutrition in disease, covering:

  • how the disease process affects metabolism
  • nutrient-gene interactions involved in disease development
  • how diseases change the nutrient requirements of the body
  • specific nutritional deficiencies in acute and chronic illness
  • metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gut health and cancer.

You’ll learn to use clinical nutrition tools so that you can investigate the role of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.

You’ll gain the skills to identify, understand and evaluate scientific evidence relating to diet and health.

Clinical nutrition and public health

Clinical nutrition evidence is vital to the development of public health policy frameworks, education and regulation.

You’ll explore:

  • the role of evidence-based health in maintaining and driving public health agendas
  • theories and application of a range of methods for behaviour change to improve health
  • theories of nutrition health education and nutrition health promotion
  • assessing the impact of nutrition and food policies at global, national and local levels.

Professional practice

This course unit explores the legal context of nutrition practice. You’ll develop the communication skills to advocate for better health through diet and nutrition, but also learn about your responsibilities and accountability in doing so. You’ll cover:

  • current UK and European legislation, national guidelines, local policies and protocols
  • clinical and corporate governance in relation to nutrition.

By the end of this course, you’ll understand…

  • The importance of nutrition in the maintenance of health and prevention of disease.
  • The role of diet in disease incidence and metabolic links between them.
  • The role of nutrition in metabolically compromised individuals.
  • How nutrient-gene interactions affect health and disease.
  • Research tools widely used in clinical nutrition research.
  • The importance of the nutrition research in maintaining and driving public health agendas.
  • The role and impact of nutrition and food policy, nutrition education and health promotion at a global, national and local levels.
  • The legal context of nutrition practice, including current UK legislation and guidelines for providing information to the public.

Feeding the future

For over 100 years, the Rowett Institute has played a major role in informing government policy and establishing the link between diet and health.

Read about the Rowett Institute’s work

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance learning Clinical Nutrition course is delivered part-time, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level by experienced nutrition researchers and academics.

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • videos
  • podcasts of lectures
  • slide shows
  • study notes
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Your course coordinator

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Build your learning

We have a range of online nutrition and healthcare courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Why study nutrition online with the University of Aberdeen?

Entry requirements

This course has no formal entry requirements. But you need to have a background in nutrition or food science to study it successfully.

This is an advanced nutrition course delivered at Masters level. At this study level you should have:

  • a 2:2 (second-class) degree in Biological Sciences or Life Sciences, or
  • professional or academic experience in nutrition or food science that supports this level of study.

If you do not have this professional or academic experience, we strongly recommend you complete these three online short courses first:

They will prepare you for this more advanced course.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 January 2023
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