University of Chester

Programme Specification
Human Nutrition MSc
2015 - 2016

Master of Science

Human Nutrition

Human Nutrition

University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester Campus

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year FT, 2 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 postgraduate subject benchmarks exist.  The programme has been aligned to the QAA framework for higher education qualifications master's level benchmarks to identify generic characteristics.

An application for accreditation with the Association for Nutrition will be submitted within the first two years of running the programme.

Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

Wednesday 20th June 2012

The programme aims to develop an understanding of the principles of nutrition and enables students to evaluate scientifically the links between diet, health and disease. It will reflect the philosophy, values, skills and knowledge base for science–based nutrition professions.

Curriculum standards are based on  those required by the Association for Nutrition (AfN), to develop key features common to all professional nutritionists, including:

  • An ability to integrate the molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels of the biosciences
  • An ability to understand  the biological basis of the interaction between human beings and their food
  • An ability to take account of economic, social, and behavioural dimensions when applying nutrition and other sciences
  • An ability to use knowledge, understanding and skills to optimise the health and wellbeing or welfare of individuals, groups and populations


Knowledge and Understanding

Graduates will be able to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights at the forefront of nutrition. Subject-specific outcomes are based on accreditation requirements of the Association for Nutrition (AfN)
Graduates will be able to demonstrate breadth and depth of awareness and understanding of:

  • The nature of nutrients in terms of whether they are essential, conditional, or dispensable, nutrient limitation and beneficial non-nutrients.
  • Food-sources of nutrients, and other major dietary components, including toxins and anti-nutrients.
  • Digestion, absorption, metabolism and excretion of nutrients and an appreciation of the biological effects of inert ingesta on the organism.
  • The nature and extent of the metabolic demand of an individual for nutrients, and the effects of altered supply and demand of each nutrient.
  • The role of diet, foods and nutrients in the maintenance of health and in the prevention or aetiology of disease or dysfunction throughout the lifecycle.
  • Nutritional physiology and biochemistry including:
    1. Control of food intake and choice
    2. Bioavailability and utilisation
    3. Energy and nutrient balance
    4. Nutrient turnover and storage
    5. Nutrient-gene interactions
    6. Body composition
    7. Fertility, reproduction and lactation
    8. Homeostasis and homeorrhesis
    9. Adaptation and its limits
    10. Immunity and allergy
  • Methods for acquiring and interpreting information about diet and nutritional status, and about the interactions between diet, health and disease.
  • The derivation and purpose of dietary reference values, and sources, use of standards and other reference data.
  • How food production, supply, and preparation can determine chemical composition and content of dietary nutrients and other constituents.
  • The economic, social and behavioural factors that influence food supply, choice, access and consumption.
  • The links between evidence and action as a basis for policy concerned with food and nutrition in relation to public health.



Thinking or Cognitive Skills

  • Contextualise, synthesise, critically evaluate and create and justify links between information, data and appropriate literature.
  • Ability to appraise critically, strengths and weaknesses in research methods, in order to understand the limitations of the scientific basis of nutritional knowledge.
  • Devise and sustain an argument, supported by valid/significant, evaluated evidence, including some elements which are new/original/unusual and may offer new insights or hypotheses.
  • Familiarity with the principles associated with the formulation of a diet to meet a specification appropriate for a stated situation for an individual or group of humans.
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.



Practical Skills

  • Ability to record, collate, analyse, interpret and report nutrition-related data using appropriate statistical methods.
  • A comprehensive understanding of methods used to analyse the composition of foods.
  • A comprehensive understanding of methods used to assess diet and nutritional status of individuals and in populations, and critically appraise their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Ability to plan, conduct, analyse and report on investigations into an aspect of nutrition in the laboratory and/or in the field in a responsible, safe and ethical manner with minimal guidance.



Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving



Communication skills

  • Ability to deal with complex nutrition-related issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Ability to cite and reference work in an appropriate manner.

Numeracy and problem solving skills

  • Ability, with minimal guidance, to receive and respond to a variety of complex sources of information: textual, numerical, verbal and graphical.
  • Ability to carry out sample selection; record and analyse data in the field and/or the laboratory; ensure validity, accuracy, calibration, precision, replicability and highlight uncertainty during collection.
  • Ability to process, interpret and present complex data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques, statistical programmes, spreadsheets and programs for presenting data visually.
  • Ability to solve problems by a variety of methods, including the use of computers.

Information literacy and technology

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

Working with others

  • Ability to identify individual and collective goals and responsibilities and perform in a manner appropriate to these roles.
  • Ability to recognise and respect the views and opinions of other team members; negotiating skills.
  • Ability to evaluate performance as an individual and a team member; evaluate the performance of others.

Improving own learning and performance

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



Transferable Professional Skills

  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

  • Contextualise, synthesise, critically evaluate and create and justify links between information, data and appropriate literature. 
  • Ability to appraise critically, strengths and weaknesses in research methods, in order to understand the limitations of the scientific basis of nutritional knowledge.
  • Devise and sustain an argument, supported by valid/significant, evaluated evidence, including some elements which are new/original/unusual and may offer new insights or hypotheses.
  • Familiarity with the principles associated with the formulation of a diet to meet a specification appropriate for a stated situation for an individual or group of humans.
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.

  • Ability to record, collate, analyse, interpret and report nutrition-related data using appropriate statistical methods.
  • A comprehensive understanding of methods used to analyse the composition of foods.
  • A comprehensive understanding of methods used to assess diet and nutritional status of individuals and in populations, and critically appraise their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Ability to plan, conduct, analyse and report on investigations into an aspect of nutrition in the laboratory and/or in the field in a responsible, safe and ethical manner with minimal guidance.

Communication skills

  • Ability to deal with complex nutrition-related issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Ability to cite and reference work in an appropriate manner.

Numeracy and problem solving skills

  • Ability, with minimal guidance, to receive and respond to a variety of complex sources of information: textual, numerical, verbal and graphical.
  • Ability to carry out sample selection; record and analyse data in the field and/or the laboratory; ensure validity, accuracy, calibration, precision, replicability and highlight uncertainty during collection.
  • Ability to process, interpret and present complex data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative  techniques, statistical programmes, spreadsheets and programs for presenting data visually.
  • Ability to solve problems by a variety of methods, including the use of computers.

Information literacy and technology

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

Working with others

  • Ability to identify individual and collective goals and responsibilities and perform in a manner appropriate to these roles.
  • Ability to recognise and respect the views and opinions of other team members; negotiating skills.                  
  • Ability to evaluate performance as an individual and a team member; evaluate the performance of others.

Improving own learning and performance

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

  • The MSc comprises six core taught modules, and a research project
  • The PGDip comprises six core taught modules
  • The PGCert comprises three taught modules to include XN7001 Principles of Nutrition, which is core to the PgCert
  • 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 incorporates:

  • An intensive course of lectures, seminars, group discussions, laboratories and practical activities
  • Support tutorials
  • Self-directed study
  • Preparation of an assignment using the module resource pack, on-line learning resources, textbooks and primary research journals. The specific assignment requirements are set out in the module descriptors.

Each taught module is worth 20 Level 7 academic credits, and the research project is worth 60 academic Level 7 credits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
XN7001 7 Principles of Nutrition 20 Comp
XN7002 7 Human Metabolism 20 Comp
XN7003 7 Nutrition in Health and Disease 20 Comp
XN7004 7 Sports Nutrition 20 Comp
XN7005 7 Nutritional Assessment 20 Comp
XN7006 7 Research Methods and Data Analysis 20 Comp
XN7007 7 Research Project 60 Comp

MSc - 180 credits at Level 7 (6 core taught modules plus research project)
PGDip - 120 credits at Level 7 (6 core taught modules)
PGCert - 60 credits at Level 7 (XN7001 Principles of Nutrition plus any 2 taught modules)

The MSc in Human Nutrition is accredited with the Association for Nutrition (AfN)

  • Minimum 2:2 honours degree (or equivalent) in a biological or health science, including components of biochemistry and physiology


Non-standard admisions requirements:

  • Other related/unrelated subjects will be considered on an individual basis
  • Students with a degree in an unrelated subject with a minimum 2:1 degree classification with science A-Levels may also be considered
  • 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 postgraduate subject specific guidelines, therefore the generic Master's level 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) a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a 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 within all modules of the programme.

b) a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.        

These aspects will be developed within all modules but most notably XN7006 Research Methods and Data Analysis and XN7007 Research Project.

c) 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 within all modules of the programme.

d) 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 XN7003 Nutrition in Health and Disease and XN7007 Research Project for point (i) and XN7004 Sports Nutrition, XN7005 Nutritional Assessment, XN7006 Research Methods and Data Analysis and XN7007 Research Project for point (ii).

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

These aspects will be developed in all modules but most notably XN7004 Sports Nutrition, XN7005 Nutritional Assessment, XN7006 Research Methods and Data Analysis and XN7007 Research Project.

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 within all modules.

The programme is delivered by a mix of: academics from the University of Chester (including Registered Nutritionists and Dietitians), specialist practitioners in nutrition and related fields; health 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 by a 3 or 4-day short course followed by a period of directed learning and the submission of coursework set out in each module.

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 online resources (delivered by Learning and Information Services); high level information presentation skills; IT  and specialist professional development activities.

Students are encouraged to attend external conferences/workshops in nutrition and related fields as part of their professional development. 


Assessment within the programme conforms to the University Level 7 assessment criteria for written assignments, research projects, practical assessments and presentations. 

All assessments are linked to modular learning outcomes and are of a length commensurate with current University of Chester modular guidelines (4,000 - 5,500 words, or their equivalent).

A variety of approaches to assessment are utilised which reflect the demands of the modules. There are opportunities for students to contextualise their assignments in terms of their professional settings.

The assessment of modules is both formative and summative. Summative assessment includes essays, exams, case studies and oral presentations. Formative assessment includes peer assessment of collaborative projects and reflective practice and skills assessment by objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)

 The standard percentage marking scale for postgraduate programmes is used: 

  • 70% - 100%  Distinction
  • 60% - 69% Merit
  • 40% - 59% Pass
  • 0% - 39% Fail                               

For modules where there is more than one component to the assessment, failure in one or more components can be compensated for by the results in one or more other components within that module, provided that the overall pass mark for the module of 40% is attained and a minimum of 20% is attained for each assessment component within the module. 

  • Each module is assessed and must be passed at Level 7 and carries 20 credits
  • The research project module carries 60 credits
  • Assessments are based around consideration of authentic problems and circumstances related to the field of nutrition
  • Assessment tasks vary from module to module but include, for instance, preparation of reports on dietary recommendations, research posters, presentations, analysis of datasets
  • Demonstration of critical thinking is essential to achieve the Master's level requirements
  • A minimum of 25% of assessed work is second marked and externally examined in accordance with University policy. All research projects 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


Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • 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 audiences
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level
  • continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level

Subject specific skills include:

  • An ability to integrate the molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels of the biosciences
  • An ability to understand  the biological basis of the interaction between human beings and food
  • An ability to take account of economic, social, and behavioural dimensions when applying nutrition and other sciences
  • An ability to use knowledge, understanding and skills to optimise the health and wellbeing or welfare of individuals, groups and populations

The programme will enhance graduates’ career opportunities in the food/nutrition industries as well as in health-related professions. The course will also equip graduates with the skills required for further academic research.

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 requirements do not suffer discrimination and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.

The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered 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. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and 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  given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality
  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to 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

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is generally not required. However, if  the students' research  project (XN7007) involves contact with vulnerable groups a DBS check will need to be obtained. The Supervisor and Life Sciences Faculty Research Ethics Committee will advise on this in due course.

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