University of Chester

Programme Specification
Nutrition and Dietetics PGDip
2016 - 2017

Postgraduate Diploma

Nutrition and Dietetics

Nutrition and Dietetics

University of Chester

University of Chester


Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory, Work-Based inc.(practice / placement)

2 years

5 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

QAA for Healthcare Programmes: Dietetics (2001)

EQuIP Healthcare Education QA Framework (2005)

Health Care Professions Council

British Dietetic Association

Department of Clinical Sciences Module Assessment Board

Friday 1st January 2010

The programme is fully supported by the National Health Service (NHS) and commissioned by Health Education North West (HENW). In keeping with the philosophy of lifelong learning that is fundamental to the health professions, the programme aims are rooted in the development of appropriate attitude and skills together with the acquisition of knowledge and understanding. The students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics will be enabled to:

  • acquire an appropriate and relevant knowledge base, as a foundation for the understanding of health and its promotion, and disease and its prevention and/or management, in the context of either the individual or the population at large;
  • develop and exhibit a critical understanding of the scientific basis of disease and health along with an extensive knowledge of the role of dietary management in health and disease
  • develop clinical and other transferable practitioner skills, to assist in the processes related to healthcare delivery or dietary intervention, or to execute research in order to advance the practice of dietetics; resulting in an enhance the ability to make reasoned clinical judgements from a patient or client presenting clinical data or information
  • develop necessary attitudes for achievement of high quality dietetic practice, both in relation to delivery of care to individuals and to personal development.
  • develop a critical understanding of the scientific basis of the study of disease and health to assist with dietary interventions at both individual and population levels.


Knowledge and Understanding

Knowledge and Understanding
Develop a critical understanding of the theoretical basis for dietary intervention based on evidence; synthesize complex information and integrate key medical and fundamental sciences into the care process. Critically discuss the relationship between diet, health and disease; comprehend, with empathy, the relationship between dietary intervention and individualized outcome measures.

(XN7047, XN7048, XN7049, XN7057, XN7040, XN7041)


Thinking or Cognitive Skills

Demonstrate critical thinking to develop coherent clinical and therapeutic judgement. Reflect 'in' and 'on' development of dietetic practitioner skills in a range of environments. Evaluate the basis of dietetic interventions , including evidence and guidance in a working environment. Evaluate the impact of concomitant interventions, including medical, social and financial. Demonstrate discernment during therapeutic approaches, ability to undertake problem solving and task based learning strategies. Active use and recognition of the role of self directed learning. This includes, for example, self directed reading of named texts and primary research journals as well as personal research around the materials presented in the lecture programme

(XN7047, XN7058, XN7069, XN7060, XN7050, XN7039, XN7040, XN7041)

Practical Skills

Competent critical evaluation and judgement, based on presenting (case) information; reasoned evidence-based approaches in every facet of care. Use a variety of approaches to handle data and information effectively and in keeping with legal and local regulations. Demonstrate competent practitioner behaviour, consistent with professional standards of conduct

 (XN7056, XN7057, XN7047, XN7050, XN7058, XN7069, XN7039, XN7040, XN7041)


  • Communication

Emphasis is given to communication with different groups (for example hospital patients and health service managers) or communication using oral or written means. The programme is constructed to ensure that students are given the fullest opportunity to develop this skill group in context to the role of dietitian alongside those expected as a level 7 student

(XN7056, XN7057, XN7039, XN7040, XN7041, XN7047, XN7048, XN7049, XN7050, XN7058

The course curricula and learning outcomes are mapped to the BDA Curriculum Framework (2013), the HCPC Standards for Education and Training (2012) and QAA subject Benchmark Statements for Dietetics (2001). This enables students to acquire an appropriate and relevant Level 7 knowledge base sufficient for the award of Diploma and Masters degrees, and, in addition, develope appropriate clinical and healthcare practitioner skills. The mapping process also ensures graduates are eligible for the required professional registration with the HCPC and full membership of the British Dietetic Association.

The PG Dip in Nutrition and Dietetics is a two-year full-time programme arranged in a modular structure focused on an academic provision appropriate for Masters (Level 7) students. This structure enables students with a first degree, or equivalent, in Biological Sciences to develop their knowledge and learning to meet the learning otucomes from the previously mentioned standards and curriclum. Practical placement modules are also provided to ensure that students fulfil the practical learning outcomes also required. The learning outcomes within each of the modules are also designed to acheive an HE qualification in accordance with FHEQ (2008)





Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
XN7039 7 Dietetic Practice Placement A 0 Comp
XN7040 7 Dietetic Practice Placement B 0 Comp
XN7041 7 Dietetic Practice Placement C 0 Comp
XN7047 7 Evidence Based Nutrition 20 Comp
XN7048 7 Food and Nutrition for Health 20 Comp
XN7049 7 Nutritional Science 20 Comp
XN7050 7 Sociology and Psychology and Public Health 20 Comp
XN7056 7 Professional Development Seminars I 0 Comp
XN7057 7 Professional Development Seminars II 0 Comp
XN7058 7 Dietetics and Clinical Medicine I 20 Comp
XN7060 7 Dietetics and Clinical Medicine III 10 Comp
XN7069 7 Dietetics and Clinical Medicine II 10 Comp

To be eligible for the Postgraduate Certificate in Nutrition the student must pass three academic modules (XN7047, XN7048 and XN7049) equivalent to 60 credits.

Students who successfully complete 120 credits of taught learning, but do not complete, or pass, all the practice placements will be eligible for a Postgraduate Diploma in Nutritional Sciences. This is differentiated by having XN7061 as an alternative final module, replacing to the assessment of clinical skills module (XN7060).

Satisfactory attendance on the non-credit bearing Professional Development modules must be demonstrated and all assessments for the credit bearing modules (excluding XN7060 Dietetics and Clinical Medicine III) must achieve a pass grade before the student can progress to Placements B and C. To pass the placements the student must achieve all the placement competencies. Post placements the student must then required to pass XN7060, Dietetics and Clinical Medicine III, to achieve 120 credits at Level 7, complete the Postgraduate Diploma and be eligible for HCPC registration.


All summative assessments must be passed at 40% to successfully pass each module

Completing the Postgraduate diploma means students are eligible for HCPC registration and membership of the BDA

Admission requirements seek to ensure recruitment of suitable students while also widening access into the dietetic profession to be representative of the population it serves.

  • Normally, a minimum of an upper second (2.1) class honours degree in a relevant subject with a substantial amount of Biochemistry (minimum 2 modules (approximately 30 CAT/ 15 IETS credits) at Level 5 or above) and Physiology (minimum 1 module approximately 15 CAT/ 7.5 IETS credits) is required. Students will be asked to provide a copy of their transcript outlining all previously studied modules, their credit value and marks awarded.
  • We may accept candidates with other qualifications of an equivalent standard to the above (AP(E)L will be applied).
  • Be able to communicate in English to the standard equivalent to level 7 (overall score of 7.0) of the International English Language Testing System, with no element below 6.5

Candidates must also:

  • Attend an interview;
  • Visit a dietetic department prior to commencing the programme
  • Satisfy the sponsoring NHS Trust’s occupational health and ‘fitness for practice’ requirements
  • Complete a Disclosure and Barring Service Check
  • Satisfy requirements for UK residency as stipulated by the NHS Student Grants Unit

Selection: All applications received will be scrutinised initially by the Admissions Team. Applications that do not meet the entry criteria are withdrawn at this stage. The applicant is informed of the decision. A short-list of candidates will be selected for interview. Applicants are invited for interview based on their academic qualifications and supporting personal statement demonstrating they have a genuine interest in studying on the programme and pursuing a career as a Dietitian; exceptional candidates with qualifications other than those outlined above (non-standard entry) may be interviewed to clarify their application. The interview assesses each candidate’s interest, enthusiasm and motivation for the programme along with their communication and other skills as outlined in their application. Evidence of having visited a dietetic department must be provided in the application and at interview. Offers will be based upon a composite score from the written application, the group task and the interview. All candidates will be notified by letter of the outcome of their interview. Unsuccessful applicants will be given constructive specific feedback if requested. A reserve list will be retained. Additional guidance and information regarding admissions requirements is made available to candidates during Open Day events and in response to enquiries. The programme team recognises the need to ensure equal opportunities in admissions. The application to entry ratios will be monitored for any sign of bias on a regular basis.

Statements have been taken from those outlined in the Quality Assurance Agency for Healthcare Programmes (2001). They represent the general expectations of standards for the award of qualifications at a given level and articulate the attributes and capabilities that should be demonstrated by individuals possessing such qualifications. The programme has been mapped against these academic and practitioner standards (HPC Standards of Proficiency, 2007; and Standards of Education and Training, 2014)

    • The programme of study is delivered using a variety of learning and teaching methods. The learning and teaching philosophy of the programme embraces fully the notion of the independent learner. In addition, learning support is provided to meet the needs of the student who requires additional guidance. The programme is delivered using a wide range of learning and teaching methods designed specifically to stimulate scientific enquiry and assist the student with the development of skills. Emphasis is placed on student participation rather than passive receipt of taught information. The curriculum is also be delivered to develop research skills, utilisation of evidence-based practice. and integration of disciplines using project-based learning (eg. World Food Project – XN7048), task-based learning (eg. XN7069, where students develop a presentation of the nutritional management of a clinical condition), plus self-directed and collaborative learning (eg XN7047, through group work on a problem based learning task). Learning and teaching examples include, but are not limited to, lectures, interactive lectures, discussion, seminars/presentations, role play and simulated problems, project-based learning, web-based learning, laboratory/practical classes, task-driven tutorials and case studies, work-based/experiential learning. Service Users are used in the delivery of programmes and will be used in practical and clinical teaching.
    • A number of teaching and learning activities in practical and clinical teaching involve consideration of ethics and consent processes including sharing personal information, role play and practising techniques specific to the profession, eg anthropometry.
    • Practice placements are also integral to the experience and are supported and assessed by University trained placement tutors . There are three placement opportunities for students within the programme which focus on developing practitioner knowledge and skills: Placement A - Awareness This is a four week placement occurring in the first semester of the first year 1 of the programme. Placement B - Building This is a 12 week placement in 2nd semester of the second year of the programme. Placement C - Consolidation This is a 12 week placement also in 2nd semester of the second year of the programme. A one week Reflection period is timetabled between placements B and C. Placement handbooks are used as a guide for preparing and supporting student learning and assessment on placement. All placement sites are Quality Monitored and Assured and sites are routinely visited as part of Student Experience Visits undertaken by UC staff.  

    The University's assessment criteria underpin the design and assessment of learning. In addition assessments are designed to assess critical appraisal skills critical as appropriate for a healthcare practitioner. Transferable and employability skills are also embedded through the programme from taught module assignments through seminars into reflections and portfolios completed during practice placements. 

    Formative assessment is built into the learning experience via interactive class work, peer assessment of collaborative projects and reflective practice, in addition to oral and written feedback from tutors. Multiple assessment modes such as: written assignments; seminar work: presentation, debate and defence of argument; formal examination; and practical clinical skills are utilised throughout the programme.

    Assessment of practice placement learning is based on a competency framework that enables the student to develop progressively through each placement, which is illustrated in a 'Know-Can-Do' model of achievement. In addition a personal portfolio which prepares the student for continuing professional development (CPD) as required by the HCPC for continuing registration is used. Evidence collated in the portfolio must therefore meet the learning outcomes and competence levels for each practice placement, which is assessed as pass or fail. Reassessment of placement learning is by extended or repeat training, however under the BDA Curriculum Framework (2013) students should normally be allowed to extend or repeat no more than 500 hours (or 50% of the total hours) of practical placement in total i.e. the maximum number of placement hours overall will be 1500.

For the most part, graduates are being prepared to enter careers within the NHS. The benchmark statement mapping exercise highlights the graduate characteristics achieved at the completion of the programme (that is, at the point of Registration). Whilst it is expected that most of each cohort will go on to careers within the Health Service, at least initially, the embedded transferable skills throughout the programme make the graduate very employable in other related fields. The primary output of the programme will be the dietitian as part of the healthcare workforce. However, the increasing profile and interest in nutrition-related careers allows the graduate to widen their career routes into the fields of the food industry, the retail pharmaceutical industry, health advisory posts, education, health promotion, policy-making agencies, research and medical publishing.

The programmes of study in the Department of Clinical Sciences fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active

The programmes of study in the Department of Clinical Sciences fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or 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 needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for. At 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 and programme is 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 and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues. Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year 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. The introduction of anonymous marking also enhance equal opportunity to all students.
  • 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 will be made based on requirements. Inclusion plans developed by Student support and Guidance are provided to relevant module leaders to ensure all students receiving an appropriate and equitable level of support. In addition these inclusion plans may be shared with placement trainers to adapt clinical placements to meet students' learning needs. Students with disabilities should also refer to the HPC document: A disabled person's guide to becoming a health professional (2005)
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their Personal Academic Tutor roles with knowledge and sympathy. PATs are registered dietitians who can provide specialised guidance and support if required. The PAT system involves routine meetings at the beginning of each semester as well as pre-placement A, B and C.
  • All students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise.


The University has an intranet (Portal) available to all students and staff on and off-campus. This facility offers access to a wide range of resources including learning resources, the library and all modular materials. Staff increasingly use SharePoint to make additional support materials available for students through the Virtual Learning Environment SharePoint hosts, and to integrate blended learning strategies which facilitate experience and development of computer based skills.

The University also has a formal scheme in place such that each student within the University is allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT). The role of the PAT is central to helping the student make the transition to learning in Higher Education and to support academic progress through each year level. Within the Nutrition and Dietetics programme students are allocated a tutor who is a Dietitian. This is to ensure that the student has the opportunity for professional guidance in preparation for the practice placements, to consider the student’s strengths and weaknesses in the context of the professional needs for placement, and to facilitate communications with placement trainers.

In relation to the practice placement elements of the programme, there is a comprehensive Practice Placements Allocation Policy and Procedures published on the University intranet, detailing the information and systems in place for supporting students through the process. Links to information about individual dietetic departments (placement providers) are included in this facility. Prospective students may request an information leaflet about the practice placement provision.

The programme team has a strong and active working relationship with our NHS partners and service users, via Local Programmes Partnership forums, and regional training workshops, which ensure that Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement agenda for academic and practice placement learning are met. In addition dietetic managers and trainers from across the region further contribute to achieving equality standards through their participation in recruitment interviews.

The University of Chester has a contractual obligation to provide mandatory training prior to placement to ensure that all students about to proceed on their clinical placement (A,B,C)  have appropriate training.

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