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PgDip/ MSc Dietetics

Course Description

This course is for graduates of biological sciences who want to extend their studies into the professional field of dietetics.

Dietetics is the management of diseases that are amenable to dietary intervention and the prevention of nutrition related disorders. A dietitian influences food selection and eating behaviour of an individual based on specific nutritional or food requirements.

With a clinical and health promotion focus, this course includes three blocks of integrated practice placements of 4, 12 and 12 weeks duration within a hospital and/or primary care setting.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The emphasis is on student-centred learning where your previous knowledge and skills are used to develop your new subject area. Learning activities include lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical classes and are guided using web-based supported materials.

You will also attend three practical placements to enable the integration of theoretical knowledge with practical experience. A variety of assessment methods are used across the course. Normally, there are 12 - 15 students on this course. This ensures that individuals receive excellent support and benefit from sharing their experiences with classmates.

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module is equivalent to a notional 150 hours of work which is made up of attendance in class and independent work. The structure of each module is different with different attendance requirements for each timetabled module. Over an average semester the expectation is that during 14 weeks of teaching this will equate to approx. 40 hours per week of student effort (contact classes plus independent study time). Students normally complete the course via a full time route but part-time routes are available and can be discussed with the Programme Leader. All placements are completed on a full-time basis normally Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm.

Links with industry/professional bodies

This course provides eligibility to apply for registration as a dietitian with the Health and Care Professions Council. It is also accredited by the British Dietetic Association.


15 credits: Food and Nutrition/ Principles of Nutrition Science/ Clinical Sciences/ Therapeutic Interventions/ Professional Studies/ Professional Practice/ Evaluation of Practice/ Pharmacology and Pharmacogenetics.
You will also carry out practice placements, which you must pass but which do not carry any credit.

If studying for an MSc, you will also complete a dissertation (60 credits).


Career prospects on completion of the course are varied. Most graduates normally choose to work within the NHS as dietitians. Others will work in health education, health promotion, general practice, private healthcare and government advisory posts. Opportunities also exist in the food and pharmaceutical industries in, for example: food labelling; nutrient profiling; product and recipe development; product evaluation and special diet foods. Some graduates may apply for the opportunity to study for a higher degree (MPhil or PhD).

Quick Facts

- The PgDip/MSc Dietetics course is well established, extremely popular, and well respected throughout the profession and has good graduate employability rates.
- The teaching team includes four registered dietitians who have strong links with the dietetic profession both within Scotland and across the UK.
- The University'’s clinically relevant research along with the broad range of experience of the teaching team ensures that the course remains current.

Visit the PgDip/ MSc Dietetics page on the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Lisa Williams

I initially studied for a BSc in Biology. Having enjoyed the modules which looked at the biochemical changes that occur during illnesses and the mechanisms behind metabolic diseases, I was keen to progress my career in the area of dietetics. I saw dietetics as a career that would allow me to combine my interest in science with a wish to help people.

QMU is one of only a few places in the UK to offer an MSc Dietetics. I had heard from dietitians through my work experience that the QMU course was excellent. I really enjoyed the course, particularly the opportunity to go on clinical placements. I went on one in Aberdeen, one in Edinburgh and one in Dundee – my favourite as it was in a large, acute hospital. Module-wise, I really enjoyed ‘Therapeutic Interventions’ where we learned all about the dietetic process and how to assess and treat patients, covering a wide range of clinical conditions and working through patient scenarios.

The support at QMU was really good. The lecturers are friendly and approachable, and a personal tutor was always on hand to help with any problems. The support that I received during my final project was great. My supervisors even helped me submit abstracts of my work to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) with the possibility of presenting them at a big malnutrition conference which was a great opportunity.

On graduation, I was immediately offered a job as a dietitian at a large, acute hospital in Cambridge where I have been working since. I work across the hospital in a vast variety of wards as well as covering outpatient clinics and cardiac rehabilitation sessions. I really love working here and I have great training opportunities in a wide range of different clinical areas. I enjoyed the acute hospital work most on placement, so working here is just right for me. I am very glad I chose to do the course to enable me to get this job. In order to work as a dietitian you need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council which you can only do if you complete a course which confers eligibility to register with them, which this one does.


Entry Requirements

An honours degree (normally an upper second class or above) that includes significant emphasis on human physiology and biochemistry. An application should illustrate what has been done by the applicant to research, and understand more, about the role of a dietitian. Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 7.0 and no individual component score below 6.5. A satisfactory criminal records check will be required.

Last Updated

05 January 2017

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Recipient: Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

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