The programme provides training for careers in dietetics. Registered Dietitians (RDs) are uniquely qualified to translate scientific information about food and nutrition into practical dietary advice. As well as providing impartial advice about nutrition and health, dietitians are also involved in the prevention and treatment of nutrition-related problems and in the dietary treatment of disease. The programme provides a sound background in nutrition, the scientific study of the foods we eat, the nutrients contained in foods, the fate of the nutrients when they are eaten and the effect of diet on health and well-being.
The BSc in Dietetics therefore, includes the study of the science of nutrition and dietetics, the supportive sciences of chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, biology, immunology, genetics, pharmacology, pathology, food science, epidemiology and statistics, as well as inputs from the social sciences, such as sociology, psychology, communication and management.
The number of places available on the dietetics course is limited by the availability of dietetics clinical practice placements.
The programme is of four years duration, with two semesters each year and three or four modules studied in each semester. Elements of nutrition, biochemistry and statistics are taught in all years.
In Year 1, you take science foundation modules, including physiology and anatomy, cell biology, chemistry and biochemistry, psychology, biostatistics and study skills. In Year 2 modules in food science, nutrition through the life cycle, clinical biochemistry, management including NHS and professional issues, epidemiology and statistics are undertaken. The final taught year (Year 3) provides an in-depth study of nutrition and dietetics together with the planning and carrying out of an individual research project. In addition, over the course of the degree students are required to undertake 2 clinical placements as outlined below.
Dietetics students undertake 2 x 14 weeks placements which, can be either at the end of year 3 and beginning of year 4 or during year 4. The majority of clinical practice placements are in healthcare settings throughout Northern Ireland although a small number of placements may be in healthcare settings in England, Scotland or Wales approved for the training of Dietetics students.
As this is a professionally validated programme, exemptions and transferability are not normally considered.
Eligibility to apply for registration with the Health Professions Council, the Statutory Regulator for Dietitians, is obtained on graduation following satisfactory completion of the course, which includes the clinical practice placement and subsequent examinations in Year 4.
Students who complete the programme and wish to be eligible to apply to register with the HPC must be able to communicate in English to the standard equivalent to IELTS level 7, with no element below 6.5.
Further information regarding the Dietetics profession can be found on The British Dietetic Association web-site: http://www.bda.uk.com/
The academic content of the programme, together with the experience gained from clinical practice placement, leads to excellent employment opportunities in the National Health Service as well as the food industry, health promotion or in nutrition overseas. There are also opportunities for suitably qualified graduates to pursue higher degrees (MSc, MRes, MPhil, PhD) through further taught studies and/or research at both this University or at other institutions of higher education and research.
Teaching and Learning Methods
The programme is taught through lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials. All students give oral presentations in class in all taught years. You use computers for computer-aided teaching, data and dietary analyses and word-processing as well as for access to the Internet, online literature searches and email.