Postgraduate Diploma, Master of Science
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
School of Sport
This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.
Educating the Sports Nutritionists of the future
Diet and nutrition significantly affect sport and exercise performance. The food and fluid which an athlete consumes before, during and after exercise affects health and body composition, as well as performance and recovery. Sound knowledge of sport and exercise nutrition can ensure a healthy balance between exercise and diet for a range of athletes, from amateur to elite levels within different sports.
This programme provides a postgraduate pathway for those interested in pursuing a career in the area of sport and exercise nutrition. As an accredited course, graduates are eligible to register with the British Dietetic Association (BDA) Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr) as a graduate registrant, allowing them to work autonomously post-graduation.
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The programme is delivered by distance learning. Students enrolled for the PgDip Sport and Exercise Nutrition course need to undertake modules to a total of 120 credit points and for the MSc undertake an additional research project of 60 credit points. Modules studied will include: nutrition and exercise metabolism, nutritional assessment, recommendations and requirements, sport-specific nutrition issues, research methods and and biostatistics for food and nutrition, nutrition for health and disease prevention, evidence-based practice in healthcare sciences, practical sports nutrition and the sport and exercise nutrition research project.
The part-time programme (over 3 calendar years; i.e. six academic semesters) is comprised of taught modules in year one and two, and a research project module in year 3. All modules are delivered by distance-learning.
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 close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. A course handbook and other course related material is made available on the course support area to guide you through your studies.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. For this course, the majority of assessment is by coursework (and three MCQs for the nutrition and exercise metabolism module). 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: video cooking demonstration, essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, discussion board or portfolio.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 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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A work-based module where students review, after consultation with their line manager, an aspect of their professional practice identifying evidence to support their recommendations, initiate the keeping of a professional reflective diary and submit a report of evidence to support their action research plan. Students currently not in employment will be given advice on suitable topics from the module co-ordinator.
This module will provide an introduction to the biochemical principles of exercise metabolism and will highlight the importance of nutrition in enhancing athletic performance.
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.
This module discusses sport-specific nutrition issues and provides students with an opportunity to study in-depth current issues and challenges facing practitioners working within the area of sports nutrition.
This module provides the foundation for research methods for food and nutrition sciences. The design of experimental investigations and the use of statistical methods are discussed. The module requires the completion of a critical evaluation of published literature and development of the research project proposal and problem-based assessments; issues relating to research governance are also included.
This module considers the relationship between nutrition, health and disease. The module provides the student with the opportunity to further develop an understanding of the human body and how good nutritional practices can be effective for good health and disease prevention.
This module considers the practical application of sports nutrition knowledge. The module provides the student with the opportunity to further develop their skills when working with a diverse range of athletes and how good nutritional practices can be effective in improving exercise performance.
Carrying out an original, independent piece of research from the formulation of a research question through to reporting findings in accordance with the conventions of the academic area is an important part of the research training provided by Masters level study. This module provides students with an opportunity for students to carry out an original independent piece of research in the area of sport and exercise nutrition and present findings in the form of a journal manuscript and a conference presentation.
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.
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Applicants must hold a degree (2.2 or above) or equivalent in a related discipline (for example – BSc Honours in Biochemistry, Dietetics, Food and Nutrition, Human Nutrition, Physiology, Sport and Exercise Science, Sports Science or other relevant degree discipline) or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning. Applicants must also demonstrate evidence of competence in written and spoken English (e.g. GCSE grade C or equivalent). Students holding an IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition are eligible to apply for direct entry to the MSc programme following completion of a short research proposal module (10 credits) prior to completing the sport and exercise nutrition research project (60 credits) following approval of a suitable research project in consultation with the project module co-ordinator.
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
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Career options within sport and exercise nutrition are expanding and include becoming a freelance sports nutritionist/performance nutritionist or working with sporting/government organisations. Previous graduates have gained employment with leading organisations within the UK and Ireland including IRFU, Ulster Rugby, Dairy Council for Northern Ireland and United Kingdom, Rowing Ireland and Apple. We also have a number of graduates who following mentored experience have set up independent sports nutrition clinics within Ireland and on an international basis.
This programme achieves the competencies required for graduate registration of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr).
Fees illustrated are based on academic year 22/23 entry and are subject to an annual increase.
If your study continues into future academic years your fees are subject to an annual increase. Please take this into consideration when you estimate your total fees for a degree.
Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:
|Credit Points||NI/ROI/GB Cost||International Cost|
NB: A standard full-time PGCert is equivalent to 60 credit points per year. A standard full-time PGDip is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.
Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Masters), please note that the price displayed is for the complete Masters programme.
Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis.
On an annual basis, the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland sponsors the 'Dairy Council NI Sports Nutrition Award' for the student exiting the course with the highest mark. Please see https://www.dairycouncil.co.uk/milk-sport/sports-nutrition-award for details of previous award recipients.
£20 for a Nutritics software licence (annually)
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. See www.ulster.ac.uk/student/fees-and-funding/tuition-fees/tuition-fees-202223/ni-roi-students for most up to date costs.
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Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:
For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.
For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.
We look forward to hearing from you.
‘Completing the MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition gave me an understanding of the scientific principles required to maximise your sporting ability. Using the scientific knowledge gained through the course, as well as the learned ability to research, this has helped me keep up to date with new nutritional beliefs and therefore expanded my ability to perform my duties at a high level. I have had great success with individualising and tailoring athletes requirements to there specific sporting needs. The online element of the course also allowed for me to work alongside my MSc and complete the work required and submit it in my own time, having all information available to me online. Thanks to this course I received an offer for a full time Lecturing post at NRC. I have also had the pleasure of working with some high profile athletes and aiding them in their performances in GAA and Individual sports, as well as working with county and club teams. I am very grateful for the knowledge I learned thought my time studying the MSc'.
Gregory McGovern, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Sciences