About this course
Develop the skills you need to help prevent nutrition-related disease around the world. This master's degree in public health nutrition focuses on both academic and real-world learning. You’ll be working with multi-disciplinary teams and practising tasks such as measuring children’s nutritional status and conducting dietary assessments.
This MSc Public Health Nutrition degree will give you the skills for a career that makes a difference. Graduates of this degree have gone on to work for the government and public bodies both in the UK and abroad, including Public Health England, local government, and non-government organisations.
You’ll learn how to:
- develop, plan and evaluate public health nutrition programmes
- initiate health behaviour change using social media, community engagement and advocacy
- apply quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques
- use SPSS statistics software
- manage undernutrition in humanitarian emergency settings
You can personalise this course to your interests through optional modules and your dissertation. In previous years students have worked closely with real-world partners on dissertation projects, including the Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils, and Age UK.
Public health nutrition is an interdisciplinary profession, and this is reflected in your learning. Your lecturers are academics from across the University, in Public Health, Health Geography, Demography and Social Science, who are actively involved in research or are working in the sector.
We are home to the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, which brings academic and clinical research together. This is the only such nutrition research centre in the UK.
We offer 4 other pathways on our Public Health Master's. If you decide that you’d like to change to a different public health specialism within the first 2 weeks of the semester you’ll be able to change your degree.
Your other Public Health MSc pathway options are:
- Public Health - Discover our Public Health master's degree at the University of Southampton. Boost your career skills in global disease prevention & management.
- Public Health Global Health - Discover our Public Health Global Health master's degree at the University of Southampton. Learn the links between health, climate change, urbanisation and conflict.
- Public Health Intelligence - Discover our Public Health Intelligence master's degree at the University of Southampton. Learn how to collect and analyse public health intelligence research.
- Public Health Management - Discover our Public Health Management master's degree at the University of Southampton. Learn to apply systems thinking to global and local health issues.
This course is also available as an intercalation degree for undergraduate medical students. Intercalation means that you'll take a year out of your undergraduate medicine degree to gain this extra award.
If you prefer, you can apply to study this course as:
- a part-time master's - study the same course content over 2 or more years
- a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) - you'll usually study for around 15 weeks and will not need to write a dissertation
- a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) - you'll usually study for around 30 weeks and will not need to write a dissertation
You can also take a single module as part of continuing professional development (CPD). Explore https://www.southampton.ac.uk/medicine/postgraduate/continuing-professional-dev…
Your modules and fees may vary if you choose a different study option.
Dr Penelope Nestel joined the Faculty of Medicine in 2006 and is a Principal Teaching Fellow.
Before joining us she worked in international nutrition for over 25 years and was involved in research, managing large research portfolios. As well as programme implementation related to dietary diversity, micronutrient supplementation, food fortification and biofortification.
She has worked for Tulane University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and the International Food Policy Research Institute.
“Our personal tutors and lecturers take a personal interest in us and provide support whenever it is needed. The facilities and teaching at Southampton are excellent.”
Download the programme specification
The programme specification sets out the learning outcomes of this course and details how the course is taught and assessed.
For this master's degree in public health nutrition you’ll need at least a 2:2 degree in a health sciences, biomedical or medical subject.
Find the equivalent international qualifications for your country.
English language requirements
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. You'll need an overall score of 7.0 and the following scores for reading, writing, listening and speaking:
IELTS score requirements
We accept other English language tests. Find out which English language tests we accept.
Recognition of professional experience
If you don't have the exact entry requirements, but you have significant work experience in this sector we’ll assess your relevant professional experience, your subject knowledge and your aptitude for learning.
Your application will be considered on individual merit and you may be asked to attend an interview.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
Your studies will run for a full year, from September through to the following September. This course does not follow the normal University semester/vacation timetable.
If you’d like to take longer to complete this master’s you can study part-time over 2 to 5 years.
On this full-time course you’ll study several taught modules over the first 8 months. In the final 4 months you’ll complete your dissertation.
The structure of the Public Health Nutrition MSc is:
- 7 core modules addressing public health nutrition
- an optional module that will allow you to specialise further
- a dissertation, which may be a professional, work-related project or a research project
Each 5 ECTS module is up to 100 hours of learning, and each 10 ECTS module represents up to 200 hours of learning.
You should expect to spend about 16 to 20 hours on campus every week.
Between your on-site learning you’ll take part in online discussions and seminars to support your independent learning; these take place through our online learning environment. Our academic team will support you throughout these sessions.
The core nutrition modules will give you a strong grounding in public health nutrition, covering everything you’ll need to start a career as a public health practitioner, an academic researcher, or a public health analyst.
- assessing the nutritional health and wellbeing of groups or populations
- developing, planning and evaluating public health programmes / projects
- using social marketing and media, community engagement, advocacy and innovation to initiate health behaviour change
- exploring the links between agricultural production, food availability, access to food and public health nutrition in both developed and developing countries
- conducting epidemiological studies, looking at elements such as chance, bias, risk estimation and hypothesis testing
- when and how to apply quantitative analytical techniques and how to use SPSS statistics
- methods of data collection and analytical techniques used when conducting qualitative research
You’ll be able to specialise even further with your choice of an optional module from the following:
- dealing with nutrition in humanitarian emergency settings
- understanding the economics of health policies
Your dissertation gives you the chance to pursue your interests even further in your choice of topic. Previous dissertation projects have included:
- an assessment of whether young people understand the risks of performance-enhancing drugs
- determinants of stunting and wasting in children under 2 years in Kenya
- a process evaluation of the PaperWeight Armband in screening for malnutrition among older adults
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
Your module choices, and what you must study, will vary on the Nutrition pathway and may be different to what is listed below.
Download the programme specification in the about this course section for full details.
For entry in Academic Year 2020-21
Year 1 modules
You must study the following modules:
You must also choose from the following modules:
Learning and assessment
There's a strong focus on interactive learning in this master's, bringing together theory and practice. We’ll help you to develop a reflective and problem-solving approach to your practice.
You'll work closely with students from a wide variety of backgrounds and will learn from sharing diverse experience.
As well as lectures and tutorials, learning your methods may include:
- patient case studies
- problem-solving exercises
- interpretation of data
- computer demonstrations
You’ll be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent learning.
We'll assess you through a variety of methods, including:
- position papers
- needs assessments
- reports and briefings
- team debates
- gap analysis
- written exams and essays
- research proposals
Your dissertation can be either a research or a professional project. You’ll need to complete a 6,600 word report and present a summary to an audience.
You'll be supported by a personal academic tutor and have access to a senior tutor.
When writing your dissertation you’ll be supported by a primary supervisor on a one-to-one basis.
“The MSc Public Health equipped me with the skills I needed to successfully gain employment and flourish in roles with a local authority public health team.” Rachel Brown, MSc Public Health
This master’s degree is very applied. Learning reflects real-world multi-disciplinary teams and assessment is by practical tasks. This will prepare you well for employment across the sector, particularly:
- as a nutrition practitioner in public health, developing, implementing and evaluating nutrition policies and programmes
- as an academic researcher
- as a public health intelligence officer, looking at the incidence, distribution, and possible control of nutrition-related diseases such as obesity
Previous graduates have gone on to work for the Medical Research Council, Health Education England, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Portsmouth City Council, charities such as Action against Hunger and private food companies such as Waitrose.
Some graduates go on to take a PhD and some are working for themselves as independent consultants or educators.
Once you successfully complete this course you’ll be able to register as a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) with the Association for Nutritionists.
You’ll also gain transferable skills that will improve your employability in whichever career you choose, including:
- how to conduct research projects
- collaboration, negotiation and influencing skills
- effective communication using a range of methods
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a thriving entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK students pay £9,250.
- EU and international students pay £20,693.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and any exams.
Find out how to:
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
International Postgraduate Taught Merit Scholarship
You are eligible for this scholarship if you:
are an international student who hasn’t taken a master's with us before
are enrolling to start a master's in September 2020
gained a 1st class honours degree at undergraduate level
If you meet these criteria you’ll be awarded an automatic £3,000 scholarship. This will mean a £3,000 reduction in your tuition fees. We’ll confirm your scholarship in your offer letter.
Unfortunately this offer isn’t open to UK / EU students.
Other postgraduate funding options
A variety of additional scholarships, grants and bursaries may be available to help you fund your master’s study, both from the University and from other organisations.
Funding for EU and international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
How to apply
- Use the 'apply for this course' button on this page to take you to our online application form.
- Search for the course you want to apply for.
- Complete the application form and upload any supporting documents.
- Submit your application.
Applications must be received no later than 4 weeks before the start of the course. You must supply all supporting documentation at least 2 weeks before starting your course.
We recommend you apply at least 6 weeks before the start of the course to ensure you're able to meet our requirements and apply for a visa in time.
We cannot guarantee students who do not meet these deadlines will be able to begin their course.
Single module (CPD) applications
To apply for a single module (CPD), you'll need to fill in a physical application form that you can download from our continuing professional development pages.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
You may also be asked to provide:
- a degree transcript
- evidence of professional qualifications
Learn more about how to apply with our postgraduate application guide.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We'll assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We'll get back to you within 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000