University of Chester

Programme Specification
Obesity and Weight Management MSc
2016 - 2017

Master of Science

Obesity and Weight Management

Obesity and Weight Management

University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year (FT), 2 - 4 years (PT)

6 Years

Annual - September

N/A

B400

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

No definitive post-graduate subject benchmarks exist.  The programme has been aligned to the QAA framework for higher education qualification level 7 benchmarks to identify generic characterstics.

Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

Wednesday 1st March 2006

The programme aims to develop an understanding of the principles of obesity and weight management for individuals, groups and populations. The programme aims to develop key knowledge and skills in a number of areas relating to weight management including diet, exercise and behaviour change. In addition the programme aims to;

  • Provide an opportunity for students to advance their knowledge, understanding and skills and improve their capacity to contribute effectively to the promotion of evidence-based practice in obesity and weight management.
  • Provide an opportunity to evaluate scientifically the evidence base and the links between diet, exercise, behaviour change and weight management
  • Meet the market demand for professional development opportunities and qualifications in obesity and weight management for health professionals that will help local authorities and the NHS address obesity and weight management.
  • Provide a framework for the development of collaborative inter-professional learning in the context of obesity and weight management.

Students will develop the ability to:

  • analyse key issues in an objective and systematic manner;
  • critically explore and reflect on research findings;
  • identify and define key issues for analysis;
  • design and apply appropriate research methods;
  • communicate results of research to peers and staff;
  • identify key research resources and references using a variety of mediums;
  • write clear and systematic reviews of literature;
  • plan and execute independent research projects;
  • write clear and concise research reports;
  • plan and deliver clear oral presentations;
  • work independently and in group situations.

*Graduates will be able to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current issues and/or new insights at the forefront of obesity and weight management;

  • The obesity epidemic will provide students with a depth of understanding and awareness of the current issues and challenges of obesity and weight management, including the prevalence of obesity both nationally and internationally, the causes of obesity including diet, exercise, economic and social factors and the health consequences of obesity at an individual and population level (XN7201)
  • The role of diet in obesity and weight management will explore the evidence base on a range of dietary approaches to weight management and their role in the maintenance of health and weight and in the prevention or aetiology of disease, dietary requirements and dietary intervention at an individual and population level (XN7203)
  • The role of exercise in obesity and weight management will explore the evidence base on the impact of exercise on obesity and weight management, including the role of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, exercise prescription for individuals, groups and the population (including lab practical's on physical activity) (XN7204)
  • The role of behaviour change in obesity and weight management will explore the evidence base on behaviour change theories and approaches and their application to weight management at the individual and population level. (XN7205)
  • Causes and assessment of obesity will explore the evidence based including a range of methods, assessments and techniques in relation to body composition, energy expenditure, food intake (XN7202)
  • Childhood obesity will explore the prevalence, causes and consequences of childhood obesity and explore a range of interventions at both the individual and population level across a range of populations including pregnant women and early years (XN7207)
  • Research methods will provide students with an in depth understanding and awareness of research and data collection and practical's which will provide students with an introduction to data analysis and statistics (XN7209)

* The above outcomes will be dependent on module choices and exit award (i.e. PG Cert, PG Dip, MSc)

  • Contextualise, synthesise and critically evaluate the evidence base and research literature, including data and policy documents (all modules)
  • Ability to critically appraise the strengths and weaknesses in research methods and the wider research literature in order to understand (all modules)
  • A problem based approach is adopted within modules and a critical analysis is required throughout (all modules)
  • Demonstration of originality in tackling and solving problems and the ability to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks throughout the course (all modules)

  • Laboratory classes and practicals are included in a number of modules, including exercise and weight management and causes and assessment of obesity (XN7202, XN7204)
  • Ability to record, collate, analyse, interpret and report data using appropriate and statistical methods, this is central to the programme (all modules)
  • Ability to plan, conduct, analyse and report on research into an aspect of obesity and weight management, in a safe and ethical manner (XN7211)
  • Although not designed as a professional qualification the programme includes the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of professional skills of relevance to practice within the field of weight management (all modules).

Communication skills (all modules)

  • Ability to cite and reference work in an appropriate manner
  • Ability to critically evaluate the evidence base in relation to obesity and weight management and communicate conclusions to a range of audiences in a range of formats e.g. written and oral

Numeracy and problem solving skills (all modules)

  • Ability with minimal guidance to receive and respond to a variety of complex sources of information: textual, verbal, numerical and graphical
  • Ability to carry out sample selection; record and analyse data in the field and/or the laboratory; ensure validity, accuracy, calibration, precision and highlight issues that may arise
  • Ability to process, interpret and present complex data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods, statistical programmes, data sheets and programs for presenting data visually
  • Ability to solve problems by a variety of methods both autonomously and in groups

Information literacy and technology (all modules)

  • Proficiency in the use of the internet and other electronic sources as a means of communication and a source of information 

Working with others (all modules)

  • Ability to identity individual and group goals and responsibilities and perform in a manner appropriate to these roles
  • Ability to recognise and respect the views and opinions of others
  • Ability to self reflect and evaluate contribution and performance as an individual and member of a group, evaluate the contribution and performance of others

Improving own learning and performance (all modules)

  • Demonstrate the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working independently, organisations and time management skills
  • Ability to identify and work towards targets for personal, academic and professional development
  • Ability to develop an appropriate, adaptable, flexible and effective approach to study and work 

The MSc involves the study of:

  - Five core (compulsory) modules

  - One optional module

  - A Research project.

The PG Dip involves the study of:

  - Five core (compulsory) modules

 - One optional module.

The PG Cert involves the study of:

 - Module XN7201 The Obesity Epidemic

 - At least one other core module

 - One optional module

 

The MSc, PGDip and PGCert are all available as entrance awards (as well as exit awards).

Each module comprises 200 hours of total student study time which is split broadly as below:

  • An intensive course of lectures, seminars, group discussions, laboratories and practical activities (delivered over three to four days)
  • Practical activities and support tutorials
  • Self-directed study 
  • Students prepare an assignment using the Module Resource Pack, on-line learning resources and primary research journals. The specific assignment requirements are set out in the module descriptors but are each equivalent to a 4000 word written assignment.

Each module is worth 20 Level 7 Academic Credits.

 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
XN7201 7 The Obesity Epidemic – weight management as a public health issue 20 Comp
XN7202 7 Causes and assessment of obesity 20 Optional
XN7203 7 Dietary Approaches to Weight Management 20 Comp
XN7204 7 Exercise and Weight Management 20 Comp
XN7205 7 Behaviour modification in weight management 20 Comp
XN7206 7 Pharmacotherapy, surgery, supplements & alternative methods 20 N/A
XN7207 7 Childhood Obesity 20 Optional
XN7209 7 Research Methods and Data Analysis 20 Comp
XN7210 7 Dissertation 60 N/A
XN7211 7 Research Project 60 Comp

MSc - 180 credits at Level 7 (5 comp modules, 1 option modules plus Research Project)
PGDip - 120 credits at Level 7 (5 comp modules plus 1 option module)
PGCert - 60 credits at Level 7 (at least 2 comp modules plus 1 option modules) The Obesity Epidemic XN7201 must be one of the comp modules.

N/A

  • Minimum 2:2 honours degree (or equivalent) in a related subject areas
  • Other related/unrelated subjects will be considered on an individual bases
  • Experience within the field may also be considered
  • An interview may be requested for those with non-standard qualifications

There are at present no definitive post-graduate subject specific guidelines, therefore the generic level 7 QAA criteria and benchmark statements have been used to guide programme developments. Listed below are the seven QAA generic criteria (a-g) mapped to the programme.

a) systematic understanding of knowledge;

These aspects will be developed in all modules of the programme.

b) critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice;

These aspects will be developed in all modules of the programme.

c) a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship;

These aspects will be developed in all modules but most notably in XN7202 (Assessment of overweight and obesity), XN7209 (Research Methods and Data Analysis), XN7211 (Research project)

d) originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline;

These aspects will be developed in all modules of the programme, the core modules, will reflect the current knowledge in the field. Research on obesity and weight management is constantly evolving, for example in XN7203 (Dietary approaches to weight management) the research literature, guidance and policy documents changes regularly and the module provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to interpret this changing field.

e) conceptual understanding that enables the student: (i) to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline (ii) to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses;

These aspects will be developed in all modules of the programme most notably in XN7203 (Dietary approaches to weight management), XN7204 (Exercise and weight management), XN7205 (Behaviour modification in weight management) and XN7206 (Pharmacotherapy, surgery, supplements and alternative methods). For point (i) and XN7209 (Research Methods and Data Analysis) For point (ii) XN7211 (Research project)

f) deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audience;

These aspects will developed in all modules but most notably in XN7202 (Assessment of overweight and obesity), XN7205 (Behaviour modification in weight management)

g) demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;

Students will engage in these aspects in all modules, in particular XN7211 (Research Project)

  • The programme is delivered by a mix of: academics from the University of Chester and other UK universities; healthcare professionals from a range of disciplines; and other visiting lecturers with appropriate specialist knowledge and skills.
  • The programme is comprised of series of taught modules each delivered over a three to four day, 25 hour short course followed by a period of directed learning and the submission of a 4,000 word assignment, or its equivalent.
  • A diverse range of teaching and learning modes are utilised for this programme (lectures, seminars, group activities, case studies, student presentations, laboratory classes and practical activities). Independent learning following an intensive "taught" element is a key feature of the programme.
  • Throughout the programme students are encouraged to interact with the teaching teams through individual tutorials which may be face-to-face, by telephone or email. There is opportunity for formative comment on assignment drafts.
  • The formal modular programme is supported by a range of extra-modular workshops covering (for instance): e-learning and use of on-line resources (delivered by Learning Resources); high level information presentation skills; IT (including use of research software such as Nvivo); and specialist professional development activities.
  • Where appropriate, students are encouraged totake up placement opportunities / work experience with collaborating health-care units.
  • The above approach offers higher learning in a client-focused manner which suits the requirements of busy practitioners who wish to update their knowledge and skills.
  • Each module is assessed and must be passed at Level 7 and carries 20 credits.
  • Assessments are based around consideration of authentic problems and circumstances. Assessment tasks vary from module to module but include, for instance, preparation of reports, research posters, presentations, analysis of datasets.
  • Demonstration of critical thinking is essential to achieve the Masters' level requirements.
  • A minimum of 25% of assessed work is second marked in accordance with University policy. All dissertations are independently double marked.
  • Where a student fails to achieve the required standard the assignment must be revised and resubmitted in accordance with the recommendations made by the examiners.

Students on this programme will develop subject specific skills as identified below:

  • identify and describe the key competencies of the weight management professional;
  • identify and use key theoretical, behavioural, physiological and or, nutritional perspectives;
  • identify and analyse how contemporary themes have been informed by field advancements;
  • identify and analyse key problems in obesity and weight management;
  • ability to use knowledge, skills and understanding to enhance the health and well-being of individuals, groups and populations

The generic and subject-specific skills outlined above will mean that graduates of the programme will be well qualified to meet the growing demand for appropriately qualified obesity and weight management professionals within the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Graduates from the programme are highly sought after in numerous diverse areas including but not restricted to: continued study at PhD level research, lecturing and teaching in both further and higher education; diet and physical activity work within Public health teams and health promotion teams. Some graduates from this programme have also gone on to develop and manage successful weight management businesses.

The programmes of study in the Department of Clinical Sciences fully embrace the University's commitment to the active promotion of equality and opportunity.

The University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of age, gender, sexual orientation, racial group 9race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs of principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. it also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special requirements do not suffer discrimination and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.

the ultimate aim of the programme is to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and that all students can participate to the best of their ability.  The programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and that the diverse needs of our students are provided for. As a Departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality.
  • Each module has been developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds. The teaching staff work closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • Supportive formative feedback is offered in all modules to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments made based on requirements.

Student support:

  • All modules have resource packs of support materials to aid directed study.
  • Students are counselled on admission with regard to sensible module selection.
  • A personal academic tutor is allocated to each student
  • The Research Co-ordinator provides additional tutor support during the research phase of studies.
  • A Disability Link Tutor provides support to students with disabilities.

Volunteer work placements, shadowing and other professional development experiences are facilitated wherever possible.

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