Public Health Nutrition

PgCert | PgDip | MSc
MSc Public Health Nutrition

This online MSc Public Health Nutrition course provides teaching and learning around the role of food and nutrition in health and disease, and how this knowledge can be applied to improve public health.

We will support you to develop the professional skills required for a successful career in the field – working to improve the diet and nutritional status of individuals, communities and populations with the aim of improving health and wellbeing, and reducing the burden of disease.

Food and nutrition policies for improving health and preventing chronic disease are required worldwide. Undernutrition and obesity are global public health problems, and food security and sustainable diets are of increasing importance as we adapt to feed a growing population whilst mitigating the effects of climate change on food production.

This course has multiple study options
View study options

Mode of Attendance

  • Online Learning

Mode of Study

  • Full Time

Start Date


Course Length

12 months

Mode of Attendance

  • Online Learning

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date


Course Length

24 months

PgCert Nutrition (Stage 1)

You will develop a comprehensive understanding of the major food commodities, energy and nutrients, and the factors that influence their intake and requirements throughout the lifespan in order to identify dietary improvements for human health. You will also evaluate the anthropometric, biochemical, clinical and dietary assessment methods for determining nutritional status, and develop professional skills in the design, analysis, interpretation and critical appraisal of research studies.

PgDip Public Health Nutrition (Stage 2)

You will apply the principles from Stage 1 to examine the associations between diet and chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and obesity. You will evaluate the key issues relating to public health nutrition policy in the UK and internationally, and apply the health psychology theories of behaviour change to health promotion. Finally, you will examine the key challenges to food security and propose practical solutions to improve the global food system and produce sustainable diets.

MSc Public Health Nutrition (Stage 3)

You will undertake a self-directed, supervised, research project relevant to public health nutrition. The aim is to enable you to demonstrate critical, integrated and applied understanding of planning, execution, analysis and reporting of independent research in public health nutrition.



Modules and delivery order may change for operational purposes. The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Detailed module information

Learning Methods

The course will be delivered using a range of synchronous (real time) and asynchronous (participating at a time suitable to the learner) activities. Direct contact time with academic staff and peers will involve group tutorials/workshops via the virtual classroom. Non-contact time will involve online activities such as listening to recorded lectures, participating in online discussion forums, independent learning activities, and reading textbooks and scientific journal articles. You will also spend time working on a range of challenging and engaging assessments which are designed to allow you to demonstrate your learning whilst using a range of professional skills.

Activity Summary

  • Tutorial - 15 students per group, 4 hours per week (stages 1 and 2)
  • Project Supervision - individual project, 3 hours per week (stage 3)

How long is a Public Health Nutrition course?

The Public Health Nutrition MSc can be successfully completed within:

  • 12 months (full time)
  • 24 months (part time)

Independent Study

  • 37 hours per week in stages 1 and 2 rising to 38 in stage 3.

Much of this course is underpinned by independent learning. You are expected to be responsible for managing your coursework, reading and other learning activities. Delivery via online learning provides considerable flexibility, enabling you to study from home or the workplace, allowing easy integration of course materials with everyday practice.


Typically full time students are assessed each year:

  • 2 written assignments, including essays
  • 3 reports
  • 1 dissertation
  • 2 portfolios
  • 3 oral assessments


We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of submission for all written exams, coursework and practical exams.

Staff Delivering on This Course

Key staff members teaching on this course include Registered Nutritionists and lecturers in nutritional biochemistry and physiology. Staff have a research background and are also Fellows or Senior Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.

Our lecturers have excellent links with Food Standards Scotland, the National Health Service, food industry, research institutes, foodbanks and various health-related charities. These links are fully used to provide external speakers and projects, which means that our course is aligned to employer needs.

Our staff feature in the annual Support and Teaching staff with Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) awards voted by students and organised by RGU:Union.


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All undergraduate and postgraduate students, whether you are learning on campus or by online learning, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.



This course does not incorporate a placement opportunity. However, it is possible that research projects may involve collaboration in the UK or abroad, e.g. with other academic institutions, NHS, foodbanks, charities or food companies. Importantly, students undertaking this MSc as part of their job will be able to carry out their project in their own organisation. Whilst a list of potential project topics will be provided, we also encourage students to develop their own project proposal to ensure relevance to their individual workplace/circumstances.

Job Prospects

Public health nutritionists provide information and advice on food, diet and their impact on health and wellbeing. They play a key role in managing malnutrition; reducing intakes of saturated fat, sugar and salt; improving consumption of fruit, vegetables, oily fish and fibre; and preventing development of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. In addition, public health nutritionists develop, implement, monitor and evaluate nutrition policies and programmes. They carry out research to generate an evidence base linking food and nutrients to health and disease, and apply scientific knowledge to ensure understanding of the impact of food and diet on health and wellbeing. They work to improve the diet, nutrition and health of people and communities, and address inequalities in nutrition and health.

Public health nutritionists may work for organisations that assist people with specific illnesses, especially where ill health can be prevented or improved by diet, e.g. obesity and diabetes. They may work in health promotion through, for example, government organisations and initiatives to improve nutrition in the elderly, improve school food, or increase physical activity. Public health nutritionists may be employed by the NHS, Government departments, charities, the food industry, or by academic institutions as researchers or lecturers.


What is needed to study MSc Public Health Nutrition?

  • Applicants should normally hold at least a 2:2 undergraduate science-based honours degree (or its equivalent) in biological or life sciences, which includes Chemistry and Biology within the course.
  • Applicants with a lower degree classification and/or relevant work experience would need to demonstrate a sound underpinning knowledge in the biosciences to meet the demands of the course and will be considered on a case by case basis.

There is no interview procedure for entry to the course.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must have an English Language level of not less than 6.5 IELTS (or equivalent), with no individual section less than 6.0.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.


Tuition fees for this Public Health Nutrition course are as follows:

For Academic Year 2022/2023


  • Scottish/RUK students - £7,590 
  • EU students - £7,590
  • International students - £12,850


Scottish/RUK students

  • Year 1 £3,795
  • Year 2 £3,795

EU students

  • Year 1  £3,795
  • Year 2  £3,795

International students

  • Year 1  £6,425
  • Year 2  £6,425

For Academic Year 2021/2022

Full-time Online - entire course

  • Scottish/RUK students - £7,370 
  • EU students - £7,370
  • International students - £12,480

Part-time online

Scottish/RUK students

  • Year 1 £3,685
  • Year 2 £3,685

EU students

  • Year 1  £3,685
  • Year 2  £3,685

International students

  • Year 1  £6,240
  • Year 2  £6,240

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

Student Funding

Postgraduate students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees.

There are a limited number of funded places on this course.

There are also sources of funding that are applicable to categories of student.

Alumni Discount

Robert Gordon University is delighted to offer a 20% loyalty discount on course fees for all alumni who have graduated from RGU.

Scholarships and Financial Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter. For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with our Student Admissions Service and we'll do our best to help.

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Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

We've invested more than £100 million in the development of our campus, new facilities and new resources.

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