MSc in Nutrition Science and Practice - how the course progresses
You will cover the following modules:
The Principles of Nutritional Science module features substantially in your first year. It will build on the learning outcomes covered on the Access Course which you will find particularly relevant when you start to see real clients in the clinic. It will also help you to understand the more scientific aspects such as biochemistry, metabolic pathways and drug and nutrient pathways of assimilation and excretion. This will then build into pharmacology and drug/ nutrient/herb interactions in the later modules. You will also learn about different types of diets, their potential uses and limitations. This module forms the foundations on which to build your nutritional knowledge and skills for the rest of the course.
In this module you will learn how to use the “functional medicine matrix” to analyse cases and develop a functional nutrition approach to the conditions that you will see as a nutrition practitioner.
It is essential as a practitioner to have effective interpersonal skills which enable clients to make realistic and sustainable dietary and lifestyle changes. This module will introduce you to the principles of motivational interviewing, transactional analysis and NLP and there will be opportunity to practise these skills in the classroom. You will also have the opportunity to observe videos of clinic consultations during the first term. At the beginning of the second term you will take part in our three day clinic teaching long weekend, to prepare you for work in the teaching clinic. This leads on to you formally attending the teaching clinic, initially observing second year students running the consultations and joining in with the case analysis discussions. As your experience builds towards the end of the first year you will be ready to manage a consultation yourself, with close support from the clinical supervisor. Between client appointments you will also be researching and completing a ‘strategy’ sheet for the client’s next visit to clinic. This helps to focus your learning and ‘personalise’ the information you give to your clients. Dietary evaluation also covers measuring the body (anthropometrics) in order to work out specific nutritional requirements; and dietary analysis using the Nutritics software.
Features of the first year
We provide lots of opportunities for practical application of your learning. Our students really enjoy the themed lunchtime sessions where each person brings a dish and its recipe. We all share the lunch and recipes, which can be added to your portfolio so you have a ready-made collection when you graduate. It is a great opportunity for networking, sharing ideas and generally getting to know one another. The themes we have for the lunches are living foods, gluten-free and dairy-free. You are expected to follow these particular dietary approaches for a week prior to the lunch so you can share your experiences and get a feel for what you may ask a client to undertake.
Throughout the first year, there are a number of e-learning sessions which are available via our online learning platform. These sessions are usually ‘live’ for 2 weeks, during which time they are monitored by tutors and there is an opportunity to use the online “hands up” facility if there is something that you are struggling with. These e-learning sessions are in addition to the weekend attendance and are essential as they provide you with the knowledge that is then further developed in the classroom.
All assessments are focused around clinical application of your learning so that what you learn academically is converted into practice. There are a number of both formative and summative assessments within the programme, details of which will be provided within the Module Handbooks and in the Assessment Calendar. A summative assignment is marked by a tutor and counts towards your final grade while a formative assessment builds on your knowledge and understanding, is marked but is not graded. Each module contains at least one summative assignment and several formative assessments which may take the form of a short reflective essay or class presentation. There is also a Food Safety test which has to be passed as part of the Principles of Nutrition module.
Throughout the nutrition science and practice course we encourage you to reflect on your learning and experiences and students keep their own learning journal. Self-reflection is invaluable as a tool for evaluating your skills and improving and adapting your clinical practice. Reflection is built into several formative assessments and is an essential part of the Clinic Portfolio which is submitted at the end of both the first and second years.
The evening seminars are run on Saturday evenings from 6.30pm - 8pm and whilst these sessions are not compulsory, they are strongly recommended. They have been designed to help consolidate your learning and most often the student group decide themselves which topics they would like to discuss further.
You will receive plenty of support from the beginning of the course. Your personal tutor will ensure you are settling in and getting the basics on board and will also guide you with your personal development plan. There is also College-wide support available including IT support and Learning Support, and there is also access to a counselling or coaching service.
How the year develops
Year one – term one
We have designed the beginning of the course so that you will learn the basic concepts and foundation blocks on which you will build your nutrition knowledge. You will be introduced to the principles of personalised medicine and the interconnectivity of systems. You will start to identify the key interpersonal skills required to support behaviour change and will have the opportunity to practise these within the classroom. You will start to develop your research skills, which are increasingly important both as an MSc student and when you are working in the profession.
Year one – term two
During the second term you will be analysing case studies in class and your knowledge base will build rapidly as will your ability to critically appraise the evidence base. Case studies are both academic and clinical and help bring the teaching to life by discussing real cases in a group setting.
Year one - term three
You will be consolidating your learning, completing your assignments and continuing to spend time in clinic, gaining confidence and leading client consultations. Your mandatory clinic days may continue into the summer period, and you also have the opportunity to gain additional clinical experience during the summer.