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Dietetics

Summary

The overall aim of this master's programme is to provide science graduates with core knowledge and skills to practice as a dietitian and develop advanced research skills. Registered dietitians are qualified health professionals who assess diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems both at individual and population level. Dietitians use the most up to date research on diet and health which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

This course is an intensive 20 Masters taught course designed to provide a scientific base in the study of food and nutrition and the effect of diet and health on wellbeing. On completion of this course, graduates will be eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a dietitian or apply to CORU as part of the recognition process for validation of qualification to practice as a dietitian in the Republic of Ireland prior to registration. The course is also accredited by the British Dietetics Association (BDA). Graduates will also have advanced research skills having completed an independent research project as part of this degree.

This course is designed for pre-registration training in Dietetics. It is not aimed at qualified dietitians wishing to take a masters research degree. Qualified dietitians are encouraged to apply for the MSc Human Nutrition.

About

This course is a professional master's course. It is studied on a full-time basis over 20 months where attendance is required on campus most days each week during semester. During clinical placement attendance is required each day. This course cannot be taken part time.

This course provides study of core modules in human nutrition and dietetics and includes two practice based learning blocks. Year 1 semester 1 (60 credits) and 2 (75 credits) are taught modules in core subjects. Year 1 semester 3 students undertake Human Nutrition Masters research project which is an integral part of the programme where students undertake an independent research project. Practice based learning modules are undertaken in year 2 and are generally within a hospital and/or health care setting. Practice based learning placements are predominantly in Northern Ireland with consolidation tutorials at University. Graduates will be eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration as a dietitian or apply to CORU as part of the recognition process for validation of qualification to practice as a dietitian in the Republic of Ireland prior to registration. The course is also accredited by the British Dietetic Association.

Practice based learning blocks are an integral part of this course. Placements are generally undertaken within Health care Trusts in Northern Ireland and must be approved by the University in advance of allocation to students.

Teaching and learning assessment

Ulster University is a leading centre for internationally recognised teaching and research in the field of nutrition. You will be taught by a dynamic expert of researchers, nutritionists, scientists and clinical practitioners. Teaching is delivered by a variety of methods including face to face lectures and also using on line lectures and discussions. A variety of assessments are used throughout the course to test knowledge and understanding. Assessments include examinations, class tests, practical reports, case studies, MCQs, oral presentations and reports and also through clinical placement portfolios.

Work placement / study abroad

Practice based learning is an integral part of this programme. Placements are generally undertaken within hospital and/or health care Trusts in Northern Ireland and are approved by the University in advance of allocation to students.

Placements are unpaid and full time. Practice based learning settings are approved by HCPC therefore graduates from this programme are eligible to apply for registration with the Statutory Regulator for Dietitians, the HCPC. The course is also accredited by the British Dietetic Association.

Professional recognition

Health and Care Professions Council, the (HCPC)

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a dietitian.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have gained a Bsc Hons second class upper (2:1 classification minimum) in a science based course which has provided substantial background in core science subjects in particular biochemistry and also physiology or equivalent science subjects from a recognised institution or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning. All applications are screened on a case by case basis.

EU students are eligible to apply. However this course is not currently open to overseas applicants due to placement constraints. Students must be in good health as evidenced from a satisfactory medical report (SENDO compliant). Entry to the course is also subject to a satisfactory criminal record check carried out through AccessNI.

The closing date for applications is 15th January of the year of entry. Each application must be accompanied by a copy of degree transcript, a brief personal statement highlighting the reasons for applying and also two academic references in support of your application which are required for shortlisting. Please note that it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that referees have provided a reference. Applications are scored on the information provided and shortlisted for interview. Interviews (in March/April) form part of the selection process at which attendance is required. Interviews cannot be conducted by SKYPE. The number of places available on this course is limited by the availability of dietetics clinical placements. There are currently 5 places, although it is anticipated that this number will increase. Further information on admissions process and selection can be obtained from Course Director.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for students whose first language is not English
The minimum requirement is Academic IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.5. Graduates must be able to communicate in English to the equivalent of IELTS level 7 with no element below 6.5 to apply for registration with HCPC.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level in respect of a master's award at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect of a Postgraduate Diploma.

Exemption is not permitted from the research project or from placement.

Duration

Attendance

This professional course is a taught full-time programme over 20 months including master's research project and practice based learning. Attendance is required during semester most days each week. Placements require daily full time attendance. This course cannot be taken part time.

Careers or further progression

Career options

The academic content of the programme together with the experience gained from practice based learning leads to excellent employment opportunities. There are excellent opportunities for graduate dietitians in hospitals, community or public health as well as the food industry, research, sports or to pursue a higher research degree (PhD) in the area of human nutrition.

Further enquiries

Admissions Office
T:+44 (0)28 7012 3210
E: admissionsce@ulster.ac.uk

International Admissions Office
E: internationaladmissions@ulster.ac.uk

Course Director Dr Alyson Hill
E: aj.hill@ulster.ac.uk

Subjects taught

Year one

Dietetics Professional Practice GT
This module uses formal teaching methods incorporating practical and skills based learning to prepare the students for practice-based learning experiences and for a professional career.

Applied Nutrition
This module discusses nutrition through the life-cycle, nutritional assessment, the aetiology, prevention and dietary treatment of common nutrition related diseases and nutrition support.

Biochemistry and Molecular Approaches to Nutrition
This module discusses the biochemical roles of the essential nutrients in metabolism, the possible aetiologies of major chronic diseases together with postulated nutritional involvement in the disease mechanisms. In addition, the module also reinforces for students the concept of nutrigenomics and the role of nutrition at the molecular level.

Diet and Disease
This module builds on the concepts developed in module NUT801 Applied Nutrition in semester 1, and provides an integrated study of the role of diet and nutrition interventions in the treatment and management of disease. It explores the rationale for and application of dietary interventions for service users with specific diseases and the means of evaluating dietary and health outcomes. This knowledge is integrated with an understanding of the medical aspects of common disease states

Public Health and Nutrition Behaviour
This module provides a broad overview of the concepts of health, health belief, health promotion and behavioural change and the sociological factors that influence that food related behaviour and the practical application of these to public health issues. It focuses on strategies for planning and evaluation of current health promotion and nutrition education, the scientific evidence behind nutrition policies and the principles of food labelling in influencing food choices

Research Methods and Biostatistics for Nutritional Sciences
This module provides the foundation for research methods for nutritional sciences. The design of experimental investigations and the use of statistical methods are discussed. The module requires the completion of computer sessions, a critical evaluation of published literature and development of the research project proposal, problem-based assessments; issues relating to research governance and research commercialisation are included.

Nutrition Research Project
This module provides the student with experience in research at MSc level in a selected area in human nutrition through conducting an independent research project under supervision. The experience will enable the student to develop effective research skills and competencies involving: the retrieval and critical evaluation of relevant scientific literature; formulation of an appropriate research question to be addressed; the planning and execution of an independent nutrition research project; the analysis, interpretation and critical synthesis of the results; the presentation of research findings to a scientific audience; the preparation of scientific papers in a format and standard suitable for publication in a nutrition journal.

Nutritional Assessment, Recommendations and Requirements
This module will introduce the principles of nutrition assessment. It will review the anthropometric, biochemical and dietary assessment methodologies, including the advantages and limitations of each.

Nutritional Metabolism in Sports and Exercise
This module is optional
This module provides an introduction to the biochemical principles of exercise and sport, the role of nutrition and exercise in the prevention of disease and the importance of nutrition in enhancing athletic performance.

Nutraceuticals and Supplements
This module is optional
Up-to date and in-depth coverage of field of nutraceuticals and supplements with focus on vitamins, minerals and herbals and their characteristics, mode of action and safety.

Nutritional Controversies
This module is optional
Available evidence linking diet and disease is often conflicting. This module enables nutritionists to appreciate the current consensus of scientific opinion on specific nutrition issues which are particularly controversial. The emphasis is on student-centred enquiry into controversial issues and critical analysis of relevant scientific evidence in oral/online and written assignments.

Food Science & Microbiology
This module is optional
The module provides an integrated overview of food science and microbiology including the structure of major food components, processing and elements of food microbial safety. Students are introduced to some commercial constraints relevant to the large-scale production of food that is affordable, palatable and safe.

Year two

Dietetics Practice-Based Learning 1
This is a 14-week practice-based learning module within a dietetics department approved for training learners, incorporating tutorials and seminars as appropriate. It will allow learners to begin developing the skills and knowledge required for safe and effective dietetic practice.

Dietetics Practice-Based Learning 2
This module is a 14-week practice based module within an integrated health care setting and/or public health environment approved for training dietetic learners. This module incorporates practical experience with solution-focused tutorials and seminars using model and process for nutrition and dietetics practice to integrate theory and practice. It will allow learners to demonstrate competency in the skills and knowledge required for effective and safe dietetics practice with transferable employability skills to work in a patient-centred manner to demonstrate clinical competency and become a competent practitioner who can deliver effective, evidence-based and quality-driven care.

Clinical Competency in Dietetics
This module requires students to demonstrate clinical competence in dietetics by the application of clinical reasoning and integration of academic and practice based learning knowledge to provide evidence of safe and effective dietetic clinical practice.

Professional Competency in Dietetics
This module allows postgraduate students to demonstrate competence in professional dietetics practice by the integration of academic and practice-based learning modules completed throughout the course.

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2019

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