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Applied Human Nutrition


Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work

Accredited by the Association for Nutrition

Applied Human Nutrition is a practical, research driven master's course detailing the science behind the nutritional requirements of humans from pre-conception to old age. 

Poor nutrition is causing increasing public health problems in all sectors and ages, especially among the young and the elderly. Whilst in some areas of the world deficiency diseases and malnutrition are common. A key focus of this course is examining the provision of food and nutrients to the body to facilitate optimum physical and mental development and maintenance of health throughout a lifetime. It also emphasises the specific problems of global nutrition and the public health implications.

The course is suited to graduates with a background in the biological sciences. Applications are encouraged from UK, EU and international students with an interest in acquiring expertise in nutrition, and from graduates who wish to pursue careers as nutritionists.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: MSc: 12 months
  • Part time: MSc: 24 months, PGDip: 20 months, PGCert: 8 months

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • High profile speakers from the food industry, government and research bodies regularly present at our nutrition seminar series, keeping students up-to-date with current thinking on nutrition, food and policy topics.
  • You will have opportunities to work with our Functional Food Centre, the UK's first research centre dedicated to functional foods, in undertaking your research project - involving you in some of the cutting edge research that helps the government and food industry develop new products with specific health and nutritional benefits.
  • Our Functional Food Centre has excellent links with the food industry, providing you with an opportunity to undertake your research project externally or to develop contacts for career progression. 
  • Our course is accredited by the Association for Nutrition (AfN), the largest learned society for nutrition in Europe. There is increasing recognition among employers, in industry and in the public sectors that registration with the AfN is a sign of quality, which could enhance graduate career prospects.

Professional accreditation

This course is currently accredited by the Association for Nutrition (AfN). Please note that this AfN accreditation is subject to review and can be withdrawn at any time.

MSc students are required to complete 180 level 7 credits (ie all the following modules). PGDip students are required to complete 120 level 7 credits (ie all modules excluding the research project) and PGCert students are required to complete 60 level 7 credits including Human Nutrition, either International Nutrition and/or Food Science, and one other module.

  • Human Nutrition (20 level 7 credits) provides a comprehensive overview of the different nutrients required by humans throughout the life cycle and their sources in food in the UK and worldwide. It also critically evaluates methods used to assess nutrient intake at an individual and population level. The relationship between lifestyle and body composition will also be covered.
  • Food Science (20 level 7 credits) covers the properties of food components and their role in foods. It specifically addresses the measurement of food quality (including nutritional composition and manipulation), sensory and physical attributes, microbiological aspects of food production and preservation, new product development and the role of functional foods.
  • Research Methods (20 level 7 credits) provides a foundation and training in fundamental research methods, from literature searching, experimental planning and design to data analysis and presentation.
  • Nutrition, Physical Activity and Health (20 level 7 credits) examines the relationships between nutrition, physical activity and health outcomes in humans. In particular, the influence of diet and physical activity on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity will be considered along with counselling and goal-setting for diet, nutrition and exercise.
  • Global Nutrition and Public Health (20 level 7 credits) covers nutrition in the context of world health. It examines current global nutrition problems and their social context in low-income countries, together with their treatment and prevention. It is oriented to a practical approach for their control. The subject gives emphasis to mother and child health and nutrition.
  • Health Promotion and Professional Practice (20 level 7 credits) explores the concept of health promotion and where it originated from through goal setting for diet, nutrition, and exercise in health and disease. The class will develop students to act as a professional nutritionist within the AfN Standards of Ethics, Conduct and Performance.
  • Research Project (60 level 7 credits) involves original research in the study of a specific topic in nutrition. Past research projects include the effect of cocoa beverages on blood pressure, nutrient losses in cooking, and fruit and vegetable consumption of the elderly cf WHO guidelines. The choice of topic is by negotiation between you and an appropriate member of teaching staff acting as supervisor.

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the list of modules may vary from that shown here.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, with each module involving approximately 200 hours of student input and approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally delivered through three hours' teaching each week for 12 weeks. Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, practical and project work. The research project will be supervised on a one-to-one basis.

Each module is assessed individually, generally on the quality of written or design work, and to some extent on verbal presentations. Assessment methods may include essays, seminar papers, formal written examinations, in-class tests, project work, design and verbal presentations, workshops, simulations, and practical exercises.

Teaching staff are drawn primarily from the Department of Sport and Health Sciences, but will include visiting speakers from business and industry, local government, consultancies, research bodies and other universities.

The Functional Food Centre is an internationally-renowned research group consisting of visiting professors, fellows, research assistants and PhD students, who are all researching nutrition and food topics. 

Specialist facilities

As one of the biggest European Centres for Glycaemic Index testing, the Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health (formerly Functional Food Centre) boasts impressive facilities including a dedicated product development kitchen and fully equipped sensory booths. Find out more

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £7,490 2020/21: £7,500

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £3,820 2020/21: £3,750

International - full time: 2019/20: £14,880 2020/21: £15,400

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

In order to successfully complete a postgraduate course, applicants are usually expected to have (or be about to attain) at least a second class honours degree in a related scientific subject from a recognised institution of higher education. If you do not have these academic qualifications, you could still be offered a place on this course if you can show evidence of the potential to succeed based on professional and/or related experiences.

English language requirements

Please see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

There are a number of networking opportunities with people from the nutrition profession through the Functional Food Centre's links with the food industry, public health bodies and other research institutes.  In addition, students will benefit from the experience of meeting and listening to high-profile speakers from food companies, government  and other universities who give key-note lectures.


Graduates pursue a range of nutrition-related careers, particularly in health promotion as food and health co-ordinators: in industry with food and drink manufacturers and retailers, medical food companies, food service providers and trade associations; in government and policy to improve the health of the population; and in research in universities, food companies or research institutes.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

  • Supervision from internationally recognised academics.
  • Part-time opportunities for students based in the workplace.
  • Excellent facilities giving access to the latest technology.
  • High profile research events.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

References for our recent research:

  • El-Chab A, Simpson C, Lightowler H. (2016) The reproducibility of a diet using three different dietary standardisation techniques in athletes. Eur J Clin Nutr. In press
  • Clegg ME, Thondre PS. (2014) Molecular weight of barley β-glucan does not influence satiety or energy intake in healthy male subjects. Appetite. 83:167-7
  • Coleman H, Quinn P, Clegg ME. (2016) Medium-chain triglycerides and conjugated linoleic acids in beverage form increase satiety and reduce food intake in humans. Nutr Res.36(6):526-33.
  • Morey S, Shafat A, Clegg ME. Oral versus intubated feeding and the effect on glycaemic and insulinaemic responses, gastric emptying and satiety. Appetite. 96:598-603.
  • Coe SA, Clegg M, Armengol M and Ryan L. (2013) The polyphenol-rich baobab fruit (Adansonia digitata L.) reduces starch digestion and glycemic response in humans. Nutrition Research 2013, 33(11):888-96
  • Thondre PS, Shafat A and Clegg ME.(2013) Molecular weight of barley β-glucan influences energy expenditure, gastric emptying and glycaemic response in human subjects. British Journal of Nutrition. 2013, 110(12):2173-9
  • Clegg ME, Ranawana V, Shafat A and Henry CJK. (2013) Soups increase satiety through delayed gastric emptying yet increased glycaemic response. European Journal of Nutrition. 2013, 67(1):8-11
  • Lett AM, Thondre PS and Rosenthal AJ (2013). Yellow mustard bran attenuates glycaemic response of a semi-solid food in young healthy men. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, 64, 140-146.

Research areas and clusters

We have a number of research strengths and exciting projects currently underway that you can can get involved in during your research projects.Some of the areas of interest include:
  • Glycaemic control and the development of low glycaemic index foods
  • Female nutrition and the role of the menstrual cycle in energy regulation
  • Appetite and satiety
  • Childhood obesity and the factors influencing it
  • Sensory testing of foods
  • Weight management 
  • Management of type 2 diabetes with nutrition and physical activity
  • Functional food ingredients and their effect on energy regulation
  • Antioxidant properties of foods