The overall aim of the pre-registration MSc Dietetics programme is to provide science graduates with core knowledge, and professional competencies to practice as a registered dietitian (RD) and also develop advanced research skills.
Registered dietitians are qualified and regulated health professionals who assess diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems both at individual and population level. Dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
This 20 month accelerated programme builds on prior learning and provides students with a practical and scientific understanding in the study of food and nutrition and the effect of diet and health on wellbeing. Students undertake modules in: Applied Nutrition, Biochemistry and Molecular Approaches to Nutrition, Food Science and Microbiology, Research methods and Biostatistics, Nutritional Assessment, Recommendations and Requirements, Diet and Disease, Public Health and Nutrition Behaviour and an independent research project. Modules provide learning and teaching of relevant disease aetiology, pathology, biochemistry and management which is then applied throughout dietetic practice placements to promote health and treat acute and long term conditions to achieve effective care for service users and become an autonomous practitioner, ready for employment in a range of health and care settings (including the NHS).
On completion of this course, graduates will be eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a dietitian or apply to CORU as part of the recognition process for validation of qualification to practice as a dietitian in the Republic of Ireland. The course is also accredited by the British Dietetic Association (BDA). Graduates will also have advanced research skills having completed an independent research project as part of this degree.
There are 5 places on this programme, closing date for applications is 15th January of the year of entry.
This course is a professional master's course. It is studied on a full-time basis over 20 months where attendance is required on campus most days each week during semester. During clinical placement attendance is required each day. This course cannot be taken part time.
This course provides study of core modules in human nutrition and dietetics in year 1 and then progress to undertake an independent research project which is an integral part of the programme.
Practice based learning modules (28 weeks) are integral to this programme and undertaken in year 2. Clinical practice is consolidated with seminars and tutorials at University. Dietetic practice placements are generally undertaken within Health care Trusts in a hospital and/or health care setting and predominantly in Northern Ireland. All dietetic practice placements must be approved by the University in advance of allocation to students
On sucessful completition graduates will be eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a dietitian or apply to CORU as part of the recognition process for validation of qualification to practice as a dietitian in the Republic of Ireland prior to registration. The course is also accredited by the British Dietetic Association. Graduates will also have advanced research skills having completed an independent research project as part of this Masters degree.
Ulster University is a leading centre for internationally recognised teaching and research in the field of nutrition and dietetics. You will be taught by a dynamic team of expert nutritionists, registered dietitians, Medical doctors, researchers and scientists with involvement from service users.
There are 5 places on this course each year which are part funded. Closing date is 15th January for year of entry.
This professional course is a taught full-time programme over 20 months which includes human nutrition research project and dietetic practice placements. This is an intensive programme which requires regular daily attendance during semester. Dietetic practice placements are full time (37 hours/week) for 28 weeks which require full time attendance. This course cannot be taken part time or distance learning.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Ulster University is a leading centre for internationally recognised teaching and research in the field of nutrition. You will be taught by a dynamic expert of researchers, nutritionists, scientists and clinical practitioners. Teaching is delivered by a variety of methods including face to face lectures and also using on line lectures and discussions. A variety of assessments are used throughout the course to test knowledge and understanding. Assessments include examinations, class tests, practical reports, case studies, MCQs, oral presentations and reports and also through clinical placement portfolios.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
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Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
This module uses formal teaching methods incorporating practical and skills based learning to prepare the students for practice-based learning experiences and for a professional career.
This module discusses nutrition through the life-cycle, nutritional assessment, the aetiology, prevention and dietary treatment of common nutrition related diseases and nutrition support.
Biochemistry and Molecular Approaches to Nutrition
This module discusses the biochemical roles of the essential nutrients in metabolism, the possible aetiologies of major chronic diseases together with postulated nutritional involvement in the disease mechanisms. In addition, the module also reinforces for students the concept of nutrigenomics and the role of nutrition at the molecular level.
Diet and Disease
This module builds on the concepts developed in module NUT801 Applied Nutrition in semester 1, and provides an integrated study of the role of diet and nutrition interventions in the treatment and management of disease. It explores the rationale for and application of dietary interventions for service users with specific diseases and the means of evaluating dietary and health outcomes. This knowledge is integrated with an understanding of the medical aspects of common disease states
Public Health and Nutrition Behaviour
This module provides a broad overview of the concepts of health, health belief, health promotion and behavioural change and the sociological factors that influence that food related behaviour and the practical application of these to public health issues. It focuses on strategies for planning and evaluation of current health promotion and nutrition education, the scientific evidence behind nutrition policies and the principles of food labelling in influencing food choices
Research Methods and Biostatistics for Nutritional Sciences
This module provides the foundation for research methods for nutritional sciences. The design of experimental investigations and the use of statistical methods are discussed. The module requires the completion of computer sessions, a critical evaluation of published literature and development of the research project proposal, problem-based assessments; issues relating to research governance and research commercialisation are included.
Nutrition Research Project
This module provides the student with experience in research at MSc level in a selected area in human nutrition through conducting an independent research project under supervision. The experience will enable the student to develop effective research skills and competencies involving: the retrieval and critical evaluation of relevant scientific literature; formulation of an appropriate research question to be addressed; the planning and execution of an independent nutrition research project; the analysis, interpretation and critical synthesis of the results; the presentation of research findings to a scientific audience; the preparation of scientific papers in a format and standard suitable for publication in a nutrition journal.
Nutritional Assessment, Recommendations and Requirements
This module will introduce the principles of nutrition assessment. It will review the anthropometric, biochemical and dietary assessment methodologies, including the advantages and limitations of each.
Nutritional Metabolism in Sports and Exercise
This module is optional
This module provides an introduction to the biochemical principles of exercise and sport, the role of nutrition and exercise in the prevention of disease and the importance of nutrition in enhancing athletic performance.
Nutrition and Health Claims
This module is optional
Development, implementation and evaluation of Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (Regulation 1924/2006) in the European Union and comparison with other regulatory regimes.
This module is optional
Available evidence linking diet and disease is often conflicting. This module enables nutritionists to appreciate the current consensus of scientific opinion on specific nutrition issues which are particularly controversial. The emphasis is on student-centred enquiry into controversial issues and critical analysis of relevant scientific evidence in oral/online and written assignments.
Food Science & Microbiology
This module is optional
The module provides an integrated overview of food science and microbiology including the structure of major food components, processing and elements of food microbial safety. Students are introduced to some commercial constraints relevant to the large-scale production of food that is affordable, palatable and safe.
Dietetics Practice-Based Learning 1
This is a 14-week practice-based learning module within a dietetics department approved for training learners, incorporating tutorials and seminars as appropriate. It will allow learners to begin developing the skills and knowledge required for safe and effective dietetic practice.
Dietetics Practice-Based Learning 2
This module is a 14-week practice based module within an integrated health care setting and/or public health environment approved for training dietetic learners. This module incorporates practical experience with solution-focused tutorials and seminars using model and process for nutrition and dietetics practice to integrate theory and practice. It will allow learners to demonstrate competency in the skills and knowledge required for effective and safe dietetics practice with transferable employability skills to work in a patient-centred manner to demonstrate clinical competency and become a competent practitioner who can deliver effective, evidence-based and quality-driven care.
Clinical Competency in Dietetics
This module requires students to demonstrate clinical competence in dietetics by the application of clinical reasoning and integration of academic and practice based learning knowledge to provide evidence of safe and effective dietetic clinical practice.
Professional Competency in Dietetics
This module allows postgraduate students to demonstrate competence in professional dietetics practice by the integration of academic and practice-based learning modules completed throughout the course.
Standard entry conditions
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
Applicants are required to have achieved BSc Hons Science degree, 2:1 classification which contains a substantive component of biochemistry and physiology or equivalent related science subjects which demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals in biosciences and also have studied research skills and methodology within a previous degree or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.
EU students are eligible to apply. However this course is not currently open to overseas applicants due to placement constraints.
Students must be in good health as evidenced from a satisfactory medical report (SENDO compliant) and entry is also subject to a satisfactory criminal record check carried out through AccessNI.
The closing date for applications is 15th January of the year of entry. Each application form must be accompanied by a copy of degree transcript, two academic references and a 500-word supporting statement to clearly outline why you are applying for this programme and relevant information to support your application, all of which is used to select students for interview. Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that 2 written references are uploaded by closing date: names of 2 referees is not sufficient. Interviews (in March/April) form part of the selection process at which attendance in person is usually required. There are currently 5 places which are part-funded by Department of Health NI (135 credits) and self funded for remaining modules (180 credits). Students living in GB are not eligible for this part funding due to regulations by DoHNI. Further information on admissions process and fees can be obtained from Course Director or Admissions Office, Coleraine
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for students whose first language is not English The minimum requirement is Academic IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.5. Graduates must be able to communicate in English to the equivalent of IELTS level 7 with no element below 6.5 to apply for registration with HCPC.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level in respect of a master's award at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect of a Postgraduate Diploma.
Exemption is not permitted from the research project or from dietetic practice placement.
The academic content of the programme together with the experience gained from practice based learning leads to excellent employment opportunities. There are excellent opportunities for graduate dietitians in hospitals, community or public health as well as the food industry, research, sports or to pursue a higher research degree (PhD) in the area of human nutrition.
Work placement / study abroad
Practice based learning is an integral part of this programme. Dietetic practice placements are generally undertaken within hospital and/or health care Trusts within Northern Ireland. Students are allocated placement locations and all are approved by the University.
Placements are unpaid and full time (37 hours/week). Practice based learning settings are approved by HCPC therefore graduates from this programme are eligible to apply for registration with the Statutory Regulator for Dietitians, the HCPC. The course is also accredited by the British Dietetic Association.
5 places on this programme are part-funded by Department of Health NI (funding is subject to change by DoE NI). If you are successful in being offered a part-funded place, you automatically receive a bursary from the University which covers part of Year 1 (135 credits); students are required to pay for remainder of course (180 credits).
On completion of MSc Dietetics specific prizes are available and awarded by the Board of Examiners.
Additional mandatory costs
Students who agree to self-fund (n=5) are required to pay for the full course (315 credits) and are also required to pay an additional payment to Dietetic Practice Educators for 28 weeks duration of placement. Full details of fees will be issued at Interview stage.
Placement is unpaid and therefore all students (n=10) are expected to pay for travel and living expenses associated with placement.
All students must also pay and complete at AccessNI application
In order to ensure your safety and to permit you to fully avail of the many learning opportunities available you may require vaccinations which will incur additional costs.
You are also required to undertake a Food Hygiene certificate which will incur an additional cost.
Previous students have requested that nutritional analysis software be available to download onto personal computers which may incur an additional small charge.
Additional items for example a lab coat, textbooks may be required.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.
'When deciding to study Dietetics, Ulster was the obvious choice. NICHE has a world renowned reputation for teaching and research and fantastic facilities. It is set in a beautiful location in the Northern Irish North Coast and has a feeling of being a home from home'. Louise Ball 2021
'The diversity of the modules from the fundamental biochemistry up to the clinical nutrition allowing me to see how my learning will be essential and benefit me in my future role as a dietitian' Clare Murphy 2021.
What I enjoy the most about the course is the diversity of the modules e.g. biochemistry, research methods, as well as the passion and expert knowledge delivered by the academic staff in all of our lectures! Sarah Carney 2021