Jump to: Overview | Why Aberdeen? | What You'll Study | How You'll Study | Assessment | Entry Requirements

A flexible online short course to feed a growing appetite for greater understanding of the impact of food on our health.

Learn from leading scientists and tutors at the University of Aberdeen’s School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition including experts from the Rowett Institute, one of Europe’s most prestigious nutrition research centres.

An ideal route to develop your career in research, food industry, government agency, health or other related profession, with the convenience of fitting your learning around your location, work and personal commitments.


This short course provides the knowledge which underpins the study of human nutrition and is vital to understanding the role of food in human health, preventing diseases, and managing them when they occur.

You’ll focus on the basic biochemistry and physiology relevant to human nutrition and how the human body responds to the food and nutrients we eat.

The course is designed for wide appeal, including as a refresher for graduates who have already studied nutrition at undergraduate level, for scientists keen to move into the nutrition field, and as career-boosting professional development for health professionals and those working in industry or government agencies.

The course has been specially designed by highly-experienced experts at the Rowett Institute, part of the University of Aberdeen and one of the leading and oldest nutrition research institutes in Europe.

For over 100 years, the Rowett Institute has played a major role in informing government policy and establishing the link between diet and health. Priorities today include the major diet-related health issues of our time such as obesity, food inequalities and food security, as well as the sustainable development of Scotland's food industry. You’ll have access to tutors/scientists at the forefront of their disciplines who are publishing world leading research and who regularly advise governments, other agencies and the food and drink industry.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

The combination of international profile, long experience, breadth of expertise and track record in research and teaching plus our close links with the NHS on the Foresterhill health campus makes Aberdeen the obvious provider of first-class education in all areas of health. We have long been home to leading pioneers in nutrition and many other medical and health areas.

Aberdeen was ranked top in the UK in the Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science category of the most recent national Research Excellence Framework (2014) which assesses research strength across UK universities. Our Public Health research was rated top in Scotland, and over three-quarters of Aberdeen research across the University was deemed ‘world-class’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Your course is delivered by experts at the University’s Rowett Institute, which has been responsible over many decades for ground-breaking nutritional research including the effect of milk on the growth of children, the development of partition chromatography, the establishment of the Food Standards Agency and the Scottish Diet Action Plan.

You can study this credit-bearing online short course standalone, or as a taster to continue your professional development with a PgCert, PgDip, and progress to a full online Masters programme in Clinical Nutrition.

What you'll study

You’ll study the basic physiology and metabolism relevant to human nutrition, and learn about the human body’s response to the food and nutrients we eat.

You’ll gain a detailed understanding of the digestion, absorption and metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, fat, alcohol, vitamins and minerals, as well as an in-depth knowledge of energy balance and metabolism.

Increasing your knowledge of what constitutes ‘healthy eating’ will give you the solid science to debunk popular myths, diet fads and misunderstandings commonly propagated today around the role of nutrition in maintaining health, and preventing and managing disease.

How you'll study

This online, 12-week distance-learning short course offers all the flexibility and convenience to study when, where and how you choose, and to fit your learning around your location, employment and personal commitments.

Our online courses are delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as self-contained units of learning, taught and assessed to the same quality as our degree programmes, and developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

We aim to create an online classroom and student community, which enables you to enjoy the same learning experience as students on our full degree programmes, including access to a suite of learning resources and support.

You’ll be guided through your programme with podcasts of lectures, reading list, case studies, projects, videos and plenty of interactive discussion and support.

The course will be divided into weekly learning sessions consisting of podcasts, study notes and seminars. Discussion boards will be used to encourage you to question accepted wisdom and interact with your virtual classmates on developing new ideas.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you are not alone in your study. Contact with your course tutors may be by email, Skype or Facetime, and you can use social media and discussion boards to find and talk to your fellow students wherever they are.

Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the convenience of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.


Our online courses are delivered through an online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and have been developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

You’ll have weekly multi-choice quizzes, and be assessed through four class tests each worth 25% of your marks. Feedback on all assessments will be provided within 14 days of submission for all assignments and in many cases sooner.

This will include detailed information about correct answers for quiz responses, and extensive feedback will be either written or audio recorded and highlight areas that you need to focus on to improve your understanding.

Entry Requirements

A second-class honours degree in Biological Sciences or Life Sciences, or equivalent research or field experience. Minimum 2.2, 60% or GPA 2.4/4 or 3.0/5 overall. Please check the In My Country pages to find out if your degree is equivalent.

In exceptional circumstances applicants without this qualification may be admitted at the discretion of the course coordinator subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of experience, appropriate to the field of study.

All students entering the University, including online courses, must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study our programmes effectively. Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. For details of our pre-sessional English courses see our Language Centre website.