Applied Nutritional Science BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)



This course is taught on a semester basis.


Fascinated by diet and human nutrition? With our full-time degree in Applied Nutritional Science, you’ll explore the chemistry of food and develop practical skills in our Chelmsford SuperLabs. We’ve designed our course with consultants from the food industry to ensure you’re ready for a career in food science, clinical nutrition or public health.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Our Applied Nutritional Science degree has been designed with consultants from the food industry and UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) and the Association for Nutrition (AfN). Professional skills are embedded throughout the degree, ensuring that graduates are highly employable and have a portfolio of work experience to showcase at interviews.

The skills and knowledge you'll acquire on this course will be well regarded not just in the nutrition and healthcare sectors, but many others too. Graduates of nutrition-based degrees are in demand in various roles across the health and food sector from supermarkets to research labs. Roles include but are not limited to, nutritionist, food scientist, food safety advisor, food technologist, nutrition and food labeling coordinator wellbeing facilitator, quality specialist or community education officer.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Principles of Human Nutrition
    Explore the basic principles of human nutrition with an introduction to the core concepts and topics within nutritional science. We’ll introduce the broad nature of applied nutrition as a discipline (public health, clinical nutrition and food science and technology) and demonstrating the importance of a multidisciplinary approach from these applied fields and how they align to optimise health and wellbeing. Get to grips with the concepts of nutritional status, nutritional balance and turnover, along with macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The Key functions and biochemical roles for each macro- and micronutrient for human health will be explored including food sources, dietary reference values, and associated disorders with deficiency and excesses. Investigate issues facing Public Health Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition and Food Science malnutrition, obesity, food safety and food policy (contamination and poisoning). You’ll delve into the function of the Association for Nutrition (AfN) with respect to maintaining high standards in terms of ethics and professional conduct, alongside the role of Registered Nutritionists in the UK. The importance of engagement with professional bodies and societies will also be discussed including the Royal Society of Biology and the Institute of Food Science and Technology. You’ll bring your learning together in the form of a portfolio, the basis for your professional development throughout your degree.
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
    Cell biology studies the properties of cells including their physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division and death. Molecular and cellular biology are interrelated, as most of the properties and functions of a cell can be described at the molecular level. You’ll cover the relevance of cell biology to medicine with reference to various diseases, cancer cell biology, technologies and bioinformatics. The practical element of this module will ensure you’re familiar and competent with a range of fundamental laboratory techniques and skills. You’ll not only develop confidence in using equipment to collect data, but also in the presentation and interpretation of this data. You’ll have regular tests in class with feedback to allow you to monitor your own progress and understanding. In addition, you’ll work in a group to create a poster presentation.
  • Scientific Communication and Professional Skills
    Secure the scientific and professional skills that are essential for employment in the scientific industry. We’ll teach you the pre-laboratory work, planning and prep, health and safety and laboratory experimental design needed to work safely and competently in a lab. Secure the professional skills and training needed to operate common laboratory apparatus, such as glassware, microscopy, pH meter, weighing and measuring volumes, pipetting and spectrophotometer. Communication of scientific information is vitally important for your employability and it spans many forms such as laboratory reports, journal articles and presentation skills. We’ll teach you the skills you need to succeed. Skills such as referencing, and searching for literature will be addressed. You’ll cover related numeracy skills such as SI units, converting between different expression of concentration, and basic statistics. You’ll present your findings to different audiences (scientific and non-scientific) using a variety of methods. We’ll enhance your digital literacy skills, allowing you to drawing graphs, use functions in spreadsheets, present data in tables and creating presentation slides. Regular formative activities will be undertaken in class to enable you to monitor your progress, such as online quizzes and laboratory activities. You’ll complete a lab report and deliver an oral presentation.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
    The human body is a complex collection of systems interacting in a way that allows it to meet the demands of a daily routine. It has the ability to adapt to changing environments to maintain the internal environment within the physiological range for its survival. This module will span 2 semesters. In the first semester, you’ll focus on the basics of human anatomy and physiology that provide an underpinning basis for future modules. Links with ill health, well-being and disruption to homeostatic mechanisms will be put into context of normal anatomy and physiology. Followed up by cell structure, function and histology, the nervous system and endocrine system, and the musculoskeletal - and respiratory systems. In semester two, you’ll study the organ systems, including the cardiovascular system, urinary system, the lymphatic system, digestive system and the reproductive system. Where appropriate, you’ll be introduced to relevant pathophysiology in parallel with the normal structure and functioning of the systems. You’ll undertake physiology-based practical sessions in the SuperLab that will develop your practical lab skills.
  • Principles of Metabolism
    Get an overview of the biochemical, nutritional and physiological processes in health and disease. Form a solid basis to enable you to appreciate the major nutrient need and sources through the lifespan, how they are absorbed into our bodies and the metabolic reactions that occur to produce energy. You’ll become aware of the major nutrient sources required for health and the major biochemical processes occurring in human cells including the major pathways of carbohydrate, amino acid, lipid metabolism. Understand the relationship between diet, energy production and health forming a basis to understand how factors influence metabolic balance and whole-body homeostasis. Linkage to disease states also allows you to appreciate, at a basic level, how select states (e.g. ageing, nutrient deficiencies, digestive pathologies, endocrine imbalance or genetic mutations) can disrupt normal metabolism and/or physiological function. You’ll complete a skills log throughout this module alongside regular tests to facilitate your expansion of knowledge and understanding on the effect of altered states in health and in disease.
  • Principles of Biomedical Science
    Biomedical science is the application of biological sciences to the study of medical sciences. This module builds on the Human Anatomy and Physiology module and looks at the multidisciplinary nature of biomedical science. Biomedical science requires a sound understanding of each of the constituent clinical disciplines. These are medical microbiology, clinical biochemistry, haematology, histopathology and cytology, clinical genetics and clinical immunology. Focus on global diseases and infections, alongside methods of prevention and cure. Explore the diagnostic techniques used to analyse human samples in the investigation of causative agents. A range of common human diseases, such as cancers, anaemia, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and microbial infections will be used to provide background theory. Explore the mechanism of pathology, the physiological consequences to the human body and range of diagnostic investigations used as part of a differential diagnosis. Gain an understanding of the basic laboratory techniques which are relevant to the biomedical disciplines, such as aseptic technique, human blood smears, polymerase chain reaction and gram stain. You’ll put theory into practice to enhance your understanding, develop professional and practical skills and to enhance your employability profile. You’ll be assessed in a group through the oral defence of an e-poster based on a patient case study involving a disease or infection.

Year two, core modules

  • Nutrition and Health
    Building on the depth and breadth of ‘Principles of Human Nutrition’ and ‘Principles of Metabolism’. You’ll investigate a wide range of current topics relating to nutrition, public health and wellbeing, providing core knowledge and understanding. You’ll explore and analyse nutritional requirements throughout the human life cycle; different foods/components, different global diets and trends. Interacting factors affecting diet and food choice will be examined, such as environment, locality, financial, sociocultural and religious practices, as well as the importance of social media and digital literacy. A sound working knowledge of nutritional assessment will give you an understanding how evidence on nutrition and health is formulated. Practical and workshop-based learning will be followed for diet analysis, diet planning and body composition assessment (body fat, body circumferences etc.). This will provide you with practical skills needed in nutritional assessment necessary for both nutritional practice and research.
  • Essential Physiological Biochemistry
    Biochemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. By controlling information flow through biochemical signalling and the flow of chemical energy through metabolism, biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life. Over the last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry has become so successful at explaining living processes that now almost all areas of the life sciences from botany to genetics are engaged in biochemical research. Today, the main focus of pure biochemistry is on understanding how biological molecules give rise to the processes that occur within living cells, which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of tissues, organs, and whole organisms. This module builds on ‘Principles of Metabolism’. It demonstrates how the physiological actions of selected organs can be explained by their particular biochemical processes. It focusses on the metabolic integration, rather than pathways, investigating the liver, communication systems (endocrine and neurological), blood and vascular system, muscle and adipose tissue and renal biochemistry. You’ll have regular in class test to prepare you for the end of module exam.
  • Research Methods
    As you’ll be completing a research project in your final year, this module will give you the tools you need to undertake qualitative and quantitative research; culminating in the development of your research proposal. You’ll develop your critical analysis of published research and build on those transferrable skills introduced from the beginning of the course. You’ll look at the development of a research project from conception to completion, concentrating on the shaping of a study using a variety of approaches. You’ll be introduced to the use of statistics in research and will use statistical data analysis techniques used in the medical and scientific literature. You’ll gain an appreciation for the rationale involved in making the correct choices when undertaking research and evaluating the relative ‘strength’ of evidence-based practice in healthcare.
  • Principles of Food Science
    Delve into the arena of food science. Key topics and issues will be defined and discussed; a range of practical laboratory techniques utilised to support practical understanding and appreciation of food science. You’ll cover food types and choice, food composition, energy content, macro- and micro-nutrient chemistry, food processing and preservation, food contamination, food safety and microbiology. You’ll get hands-on in the SuperLab with sensory analysis, calorimetry, chemical analysis, enzyme assays, chromatography, molecular, immunological and microbiological methodologies. This module will give you a strong background towards pursuing potential employability in the food science field through its practical work component. To test your competency you’ll have a skills log and a report portfolio.
  • Work Based Learning and Professional Skills
    Develop specific professional and employability skills through your work-based learning experiences. The current job market is highly competitive and the workplace setting provides opportunities to explore and develop essential knowledge, skills and attributes, hugely desirable by employers. Indeed, it is key that you are prepared for the professional workplace with well-developed employability skills, essential to secure graduate employability. This work-based learning module affords you the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills, experiences, behaviours and attributes to enables you, as graduates, to successfully make the transition into employment. Furthermore, it engenders essential lifelong learning skills required for career development and enhancement. You’ll work within a company or organisation where you’ll be supported to develop effective professional practice. You are required to secure your own placement (with support from our Employability Service and Volunteering Service) amounting to a minimum of 18 hrs over the delivery of the module.

Year three, core modules

  • Communication and Leadership in Applied Nutritional Science
    Here you you’ll build upon the professional skills that you gained in the previous two years. You’ll consider the importance of communicating effectively and the qualities (skills) required to become a leader within the field of applied nutritional science. You’ll undertake a skills audit and consider what is required to be an effective leader, and how to communicate to a variety of different audiences. You’ll identify your key strengths and weaknesses, and develop SMART goals. Explore the core competencies you are expected to demonstrate in order to pursue your future aspirations; to include becoming a registered nutritionist (AfN). You’ll produce a portfolio for future use in registration or interview contexts. You’ll have opportunities to engage with social media and understand the importance of having an appropriate online presence. This will culminate in a presentation and personal development plan alongside your professional portfolio.
  • Applied Food Science
    Critically examine the area of applied food science and the food industry. Current and topical issues will be presented including an overview of key legal and ethical requirements relating to the food industry, changes in legislation etc. Key professional bodies will be discussed and their roles in the UK, EU and globally. Food labelling and the marketing of perceived nutritious and healthy foods will be explored. Topical issues such as meat contamination, safety and testing, along with food poisoning, recent cases in the news, and food sustainability will be critically assessed. Product development will be investigated and specific foods and relevant supplements such as; functional foods, nutraceuticals, common supplements (e.g. vitamins, minerals, probiotics etc.), sport supplements and clinical nutrition products. Explore key analytical methods designed to measure food quality including chromatography, HPLC, Spectrophotometry, Immunoassay; Electrophoresis. You’ll do all this through practical lab sessions in the SuperLab and be assed via case studies and an exam.
  • Perspectives in Clinical Nutrition
    Explore current topics relevant to specific disease states and patient types. You’ll be equipped to critically evaluate how illness/disease states may affect human nutrition and metabolism. Important factors relating to nutritional and clinical assessment and the relationship with morbidity and mortality. This will include aspects such as malnutrition, cachexia and sarcopenia definitions, different assessment and treatment modalities. Furthermore, you’ll be exposed to interacting physiological and pharmacological factors which may affect nutrition and metabolism and will be critically analysed alongside dietary aspects. Specific disease states covered includes: inherited disorders of metabolism, gastrointestinal tract disease, cancer, HIV-AIDS, chronic kidney disease (CKD), chronic heart failure (CHF), frailty in older people and disease. This module will provide crucial underpinning knowledge for further study in Dietetics which students may consider following after graduation. You’ll be assessed through your modified dietary plan of a complex critical case study and an exam.
  • Public Health Nutrition and Lifestyle
    Understand the study and discipline of public health nutrition. Covering current and relevant global public health nutrition related problems with particular focus on the UK. Investigate public health nutrition issues including; progressive methods such as nutritional, clinical and molecular epidemiology. Traditional problems such as malnutrition, under and over-nutrition in developing in-transition and industrialised countries will be explored in depth. An array of cases will be presented including the relationship of nutrients (e.g. specific micronutrients, sugar, alcohol and salt/sodium) with disease risk and mortality; e.g. cancer and cardiovascular disease. Maternal nutrition and the ‘foetal and developmental origins of adult disease hypotheses’ will be explored in depth and topics such as age-related disease. A wide range of sources will be evaluated in this module including; current scientific sources, government and working group documents, the media and internet. Interacting factors such as food choice, government and relevant organisations be uncovered, and solutions and responses to public health nutrition (PHN) issues investigated; including health campaigns and nutrition education (e.g. in schools, hospitals and care homes). You’ll investigate and evaluate current potential, forecasted and emerging PHN problems and consider the potential solutions. This module provides crucial underpinning knowledge for further study in public health nutrition. For your assessment you’ll debate current health promotions schemes and suggest areas for improvement through a presentation.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The Undergraduate Major Project is the culmination of the degree – it gives you a chance to demonstrate all you have learned. This project module is very different from other modules. Although you are supervised, the onus is on you to identify the research question and generate aims, objectives and hypotheses. The Undergraduate Major Project therefore allows you to engage in a substantial piece of individual research that will focus on a topic relevant to you, which follows on the research proposal and ethics application developed in the ‘Research Methods’. Your project may be in the form of primary research (e.g. laboratory, population studies, generating questionnaire-based data, clinical service evaluation, or other relevant acceptable research). Your chosen topic will require you to apply your subject knowledge and apply suitable methodologies. Importantly, you’ll apply and demonstrate your problem-solving skills through creative and innovative thinking.


We'll make sure you're progressing in a number of ways, including multiple choice tests, practical exams, reflective essays, oral and poster presentations, scientific report writing and independent project work. In the first year of this degree, one-to-one tutor will help you acquire a solid understanding of all the relevant subject matter. In years 2 and 3, assessment will focus on helping you develop from someone who consumes knowledge, to someone who generates it and is able to think independently. .

This is a three year programme

Please note that you will need to complete all of the above core modules. This course does not have any optional modules. Modules are subject to change and availability.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2019/20 (per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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