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.
Learn with the Rowett Institute
For over 100 years, the Rowett has played a major role in informing UK government health policy and establishing the link between diet and health.Read about the Rowett Institute’s work
How you’ll study
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.
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:
- online tutorials
- discussion boards with classmates and tutors
- the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.
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.
The course totals approximately 150 hours of study and assessment time. That’s around 10 – 15 hours per week.
This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes.
You can largely set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.
Activities at fixed times
There may be some activities scheduled for fixed times, such as assessments with deadlines or online meetings with your tutor. But otherwise, you can access and work through the course at your convenience.
This course is assessed entirely online via:
- an essay (worth 30% of your final grade)
- an online class test (30%)
- two reports (25% and 15%).
Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your tutors throughout your course. This could be by email, MyAberdeen, online call, or phone. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.
We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:
- Careers and Employability Service
- Disability support
- IT support
- Library support
- Student Support Service – help with finances, stress, wellbeing and non-academic issues
- Student Learning Service – study support, with advice sessions available via phone or Skype
- Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) – run by students for students
- Toolkit – clever apps and free training that can make your study life easier
Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.
Your course coordinator
Dr Bill Rees
Bill is a Senior Research Fellow at the Rowett Institute. He’s currently researching nutrition during pregnancy and how changes in the mother’s diet can affect the growth and metabolism of the baby.View Bill’s profile
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:
Masters in Applied Health Sciences
Fast-track your career in healthcare with our uniquely flexible MSc Applied Health Sciences. Study 100% online or combine with on-campus courses at our Foresterhill Health Campus. 10% discount for NHS staff.View MSc Applied Health Sciences
Masters in Clinical Nutrition
Join an online Nutrition degree accredited by the Association for Nutrition. Study the link between diet and health, and how issues of over and undernutrition affect populations today. 10% discount for NHS staff.View MSc Clinical Nutrition
Master of Public Health (MPH)
Join an online Master of Public Health (MPH) you can tailor to your career. Study with experts and choose from a wide range of courses to focus your training. 10% discount for NHS staff.View Master of Public Health (MPH)
Build your learning with more short courses
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
Why study nutrition online with the University of Aberdeen?
Learn from tutors and scientists at the forefront of nutrition studies, publishing research into gut health, metabolism and obesity.
Nutritional health pioneers
Study with the Rowett Institute. Governments and the food and drink industry have turned to us for research for decades.Find out more about Rowett research
NHS and alumni discounts
NHS staff get 10% off this online course. University of Aberdeen alumni get 20% off.
We welcome students from all over the world.
This course has no formal entry requirements. You do not need to provide proof of your qualifications.
But you do need to check the entry guidance above to understand the level of teaching delivered, to decide if this course is right for you.
If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check the equivalent teaching level for your country.
You do not need a visa to study online with us.
English language requirements
Teaching is delivered in English.
You do not have to provide proof of your English language skills to join this course. But we want to make sure that you can use English well enough to study successfully.
Recommended level of English
This course uses our Postgraduate Higher level of English language proficiency.
These are our Postgraduate Higher requirements, and these are minimum scores.
IELTS Academic and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)
- 6.5 overall
- 5.5 for listening and speaking
- 6.0 for reading and writing
TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition
- 90 overall
- 17 for listening
- 21 for reading
- 20 for speaking
- 21 for writing
- TOEFL DI code is 0818
Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency
- 176 overall
- 162 for listening and speaking
- 169 for reading and writing
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken)
- Overall High Pass
- 33 for listening, reading and speaking
- 38 for writing
PTE Academic (online test not accepted)
- 62 overall
- 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing
For more information about language qualifications see our English Language Requirements page.
You will need access to:
A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either:
- Windows 10 or later
- macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.
Most teaching materials are smartphone- and tablet-friendly. But we recommend a proper laptop or desktop for completing assignments comfortably.
Reliable internet access
- a wired connection
- a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps so you can take part fully in live sessions.
Speakers or headphones
- We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
- A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one from some interactive sessions.
We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.
If your course requires specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.
See our detailed IT requirements for more information.
When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.
But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.
Your most important commitment to your course will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.
Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your course each week:
- Be realistic
- Create a weekly schedule as a guide
If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.
Your course fee needs to be paid in full before you start your course.
We accept payment via Visa Debit, Visa Credit and Mastercard.
Ways to save
You may be able to get help funding this course via:
- discounts – if any discounts are available for this course, they’ll appear in the section below
- employer sponsorship – we accept full and partial fee payments from sponsors.
Find out more about funding options.
All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.
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