Explore the nutritional needs at each stage of human life and how nutrients are used by the body.

Our nutritional requirements change throughout our lives. First, we need the raw materials to grow rapidly as a baby, small child and adolescent. Then to help maintain our health as adults, and eventually stave off the frailty of old age.

  • Gain detailed knowledge of the complex relationships between diet and human development, health, and disease – including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Develop the skills to select and critically appraise scientific evidence.

You’ll learn from applied health specialists, clinical practitioners, and leading scientists at the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute.

Who is this online course for?

This distance-learning nutrition course is designed as career-boosting professional development for your future in health, fitness, research, the food industry or government agencies – but it’s open to anyone with an interest in this topic.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

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

What you’ll study

You’ll study topics including:

  • diet and nutrition across the life course
  • integration and adaptability of different metabolic pathways, eg, starvation, exercise
  • the role of diet in the development of diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Your course is divided into units, each one focusing on a different stage of life. You’ll begin at conception and birth, move through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood and the requirements of old age.

You’ll build your knowledge and understanding of the relationship between nutrition and health at every stage, and how good nutrition can help prevent or mitigate the effects of disease. We’re particularly interested in examining how early life experience influences the risk of developing disease later in life.

You’ll explore the best current knowledge of nutritional science, with access to a variety of modern research. This includes studies of cohorts of individuals over time, complex metabolic studies, and cell biology research taking place in our laboratories and elsewhere.

During the course, you’ll also develop the skills to select and critically appraise scientific literature, understand scientific reports, and be able to make your own judgement on evidence and how it could be applied.

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 nutrition course is delivered flexibly, 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.

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
  • online tutorials
  • discussion boards with classmates and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from nutrition experts at the Rowett Institute and colleagues in applied health sciences and clinical specialities. Relevant experts are involved in each ‘life stage’ of your course.

The Rowett is one of Europe’s most prestigious nutrition research centres. Read more about the Rowett Institute.

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:


The course provides a career development route for health professionals and those working in industry or government agencies.

If you’re a scientist or graduate keen to move into the nutrition field, this is a step towards a career in this area.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for CPD hours. 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. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:2 (second-class) undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences or Life Sciences
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 January 2023
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