University College Dublin
Ireland's Global University 

BSc Human Nutrition FAQ's

Before you apply for the BSc in Human Nutrition, please read the below FAQ's.

Can I become a dietician after this degree?

No, this degree is in Human Nutrition. It will give you a broad understanding of the science behind nutrition and will give you a broad outline of many areas in which a nutritionist can work – Public Health Nutrition, Communication, Food Regulatory Affairs, Research, Molecular Nutrition etc. Although you will cover some aspects of clinical nutrition you will not receive a dietetic qualification on graduation. However, there are several dietetic post graduate courses in UK which you will be eligible to apply upon graduation.

What is the difference between and dietician and a nutritionist?

Dietitian - A dietitian is an individual who is qualified to work in a hospital or community environment giving dietary advice to individuals who need it. Dieticians can work in a hospital in various different areas as needed. They can also set up their own clinical practice in the community. They can specialise in various areas both within the hospital and outside – sports nutrition etc. They can also work in food companies as reps and in customer care, marketing etc.


Nutritionists - Nutritionists are much like dieticians but they are NOT qualified to work in a hospital. They can do all other private practice etc and can go on to obtain specialist qualifications such as sports nutrition. A lot of nutritionists work in research and in the food industry. They are more likely to do so than a dietician. They can work as reps, set up their own practice, work in public health and many other aspects of the health and food industry


What are the key differences between nutrition and dietetics?
Dietetics is the interpretation and communication of the science of nutrition to enable people to make informed and practical choices about food and lifestyle, in health and disease. All dietetics courses must include nutrition. However, all nutrition courses do not lead to a qualification in dietetics. So, if you want to become a dietitian, you must study in a course that will give you a certified qualification in dietetics. A list of accredited courses are available in Ireland from and in the UK from

Can you study dietetics within UCD?

Yes, a postgraduate MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics is available. After completion of the UCD BSc Human Nutrition you can apply to undertake the MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. More information is available from

How do you become a registered Nutritionist?

To become a Registered Nutritionist there are two stages. You first register as an Associate Nutritionist and after approx 2 years of work in the field of nutrition you can then ‘graduate’ or change your title to Registered Nutritionist (RNutr).  Our course is one of the Association for Nutrition (AFN) accredited courses which means you can become an associate nutritionist on graduation.

Can you practice as a Nutritionist as soon as you graduate?

Anyone can practice as a nutritionist regardless of having qualifications in Nutrition or not, since the title is not regulated or protected. But we would hope that individuals both practicing as nutritionists and those visiting them would recognize that there is a need for quality – hence the registration as a nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition (AFN). In fact there is some good information on the Nutrition Society website in this regard (

What jobs can I get after graduating from this course?

Graduating from this course, you will have a broad understanding of many aspects of nutrition, and it will be up to you what avenue of nutrition you want to pursue. Those interested in Public Health Nutrition may work in the area of health promotion and population health in such places as Health Promotion Unit, Safefood, Food Safety Authority of Ireland, etc. Nutritionists are also sought after within industry, working in areas such as marketing, food regulatory affairs and many more.


If you wish to specialize, you can look to complete post-graduate courses in areas such as Sports Nutrition, Dietetics, Clinical Nutrition, Molecular Nutrition and many more. You may also wish to go into research and complete an MSc (Res) or PhD. The contacts made during your PWE will be invaluable for this.


Graduates from our course have gone on to a number of jobs within the food industry, health promotion, research and many more. 

What does this course entail – what will I do in it?

During the first year you will cover the basic science subjects – chemistry, physics, biology, maths, etc. This will give you a basic understanding, upon which you will build your knowledge in the next years. You will be given an introduction to Nutrition, starting you on your path to becoming a nutritionist.


In second year, your teaching will become more focused and you will have several nutrition modules – covering nutritional biochemistry, nutrition research methodology and applied nutrition.


Your third year is a full placement year, where you will work within a nutrition team in your chosen placements for a full year. Examples of these placements are research placements in Universities in California (UC Davis), United States Agricultural Department (USDA), Netherlands (Wageningen University), UK (University of Aberdeen, University of East Anglia, University of Reading). Placements in Industry (Danone, Nutricia, Unilever), health promotion (FSAI, Safefood) and hospital settings (CUH Temple St, NHM Holles St.). Whilst on placement you will complete a research project and several assessments that contribute to your degree in UCD.


In your final year, you will come back to UCD and cover a wide variety of nutrition courses such a Molecular Nutrition, Public Health Nutrition, Nutrition and Consumer, Food Regulation and Nutritional Biochemistry. 

What is the difference between Nutrition and Food Science in UCD?

The easiest way to understand this is that Food Science is the science of getting a food on the table, of good nutritional value, looking nice, tasting nice and staying fresh. A Nutritionist is concerned about that food once it has been consumed – so what happens when people eat certain foods (biological effects), what people eat, why etc. Nutritionist are more concerned with the interaction of food and health, what foods / nutrients are linked to particular health problems and understanding ways to modify disease risk.


A good food scientist will have a good understanding of nutrition, but perhaps not in as much detail as a nutritionist. Vice versa a good nutritionist should have some understanding of the composition and chemistry of foods they are examining intake of.


The two work hand in hand, but the science behind them is quite different, one more concerned with chemistry of food (Food Science) and the other the biochemistry of food (Nutrition).