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PgDip/MSc Public Health Nutrition

Course Description

Public health nutrition is a new and interesting subject area that concentrates on achieving a sound knowledge in nutrition and public health providing participants with the expertise to work in a variety of settings to promote nutrition for the benefit of public health. A public health nutritionist influences food selection and eating behaviour of a population, based on research and national dietary guidelines. Public health nutritionists can expect to find themselves in advisory and policy/advocacy roles as well as engaged in research in the UK and internationally.

This course will allow graduates of biological sciences to build on their knowledge, and aims to promote the critical appraisal of the theory and application of public health nutrition, and nutrition policy planning and practice, to improve the health of the population through nutrition.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The emphasis is on independent problem-based learning where your previous knowledge and skills are used to develop an understanding in the new subject areas you will be studying. The course is taught using a variety of interactive learning methods including lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, laboratories, group work, role-play and interactive computer sessions.

Development of interpersonal skills and professional skills and attitudes are also a major focus of the learning and teaching programme. Learning activities are guided using web-based programmes. The course is modular and each module is assessed mainly by course work, except for one examination in Food and Nutrition. Normally, there are approximately 12 students on this course but some modules are shared with the MSc Dietetics which can result in a class of no more than 24 students. These small class sizes ensure that students receive excellent support and benefit from sharing their experiences with classmates.

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module which you study on campus will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. It is estimated that each module will require 150 hours of your time. Your attendance requirements at QMU will depend on which module you are studying and whether you are studying full or part-time.

Links with industry/professional bodies

The course is accredited by the Association for Nutrition. This enables graduates to register with the Association for Nutrition as an Associate Nutritionist.


15 credits: Food and Nutrition/ Principles of Nutrition Science/ Food Policy and Planning/ Public Health Nutrition/ Epidemiology/ Clinical Sciences/ Research Methods/ Detriments for Health

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


Opportunities exist for public health nutritionists in the following areas: public health; health promotion (specialising in nutrition); government advisory posts; food companies; research; health media and pharmaceutical industry.

Quick Facts

- Lecturers are experienced registered nutritionists who are research active.
- The full MSc is accredited with the Association for Nutrition (AFN), UK.
- The broad range of staff research skills in Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences offer students a wide range of MSc dissertation topics.

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

(Student Profile)

Rhona Archibald

I had completed an honours degree in Neuroscience at Glasgow
University and, although I was still interested in health, I decided
I didn't want to work in a medical environment and would prefer to
use my scientific knowledge in a more creative preventatitive role.

I found the nutrition aspects of health very interesting and I originally
looked into studying dietetics. However, I wanted to work towards
preventing nutrition-related illness in populations and the MSc Public
Health Nutrition course at QMU was more tailored to this and really
attracted me.

QMU came highly recommended from friends, especially in the fact that
classes are smaller and there is more one to one lecturer contact than
a lot of other universities. The course was really enjoyable and support
was there whenever I needed it.

I am currently working on secondment as a Food and Health
Development Officer with West Lothian Community Health and Care
Partnership. I'm also back at QMU studying part-time for a Professional
Doctorate - Health and Social Sciences.


Entry Requirements

An honours degree, that includes significant emphasis on human biochemistry and/or physiology, normally at 2:2 classification or above. Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 6.0 and no individual component score below 5.5.

Last Updated

05 January 2017

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Recipient: Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

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