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The School of Public Health has been training and educating highly employable nutrition graduates for 25 years. In addition, the School of Public Health has strong state government and industry links which help to ensure graduates have extensive hands-on experience in the working life of nutritionists.

nutritionist with pasta

What is nutrition?

Nutrition is the science of how the human body obtains and uses nutrients from food for maintenance, growth and renewal of body tissues necessary for life.

Nutrition is one of the newest biological sciences and its study integrates basic science, such as biochemistry and physiology, with the latest research findings in nutrition in order to understand how the human body uses nutrients from foods to sustain life. Highly trained professionals in nutrition are needed to provide expert advice on the nutrition, safety and health benefits of foods for individuals, the community and the food industry.

What does a nutritionist do?

Nutritionists advise individuals and the community about food choices for a healthy and nutritious diet. Nutritionists do this by using their extensive knowledge of the nutritive value of foods, the important nutrients required by the body at different stages of development, and the role of nutrients and diet in health and the prevention of disease. Nutritionists can be involved in the delivery of public health nutrition programs to communities and can also research the role of nutrients and dietary patterns in health and disease.

Career Opportunities

Nutrition graduates may find careers in Australian or overseas as a public health nutritionist, nutritionist, research assistant, or a project officer. They are found working in health agencies, community food groups, the food industry, educational institutions, in the government. Most graduates undertake an additional year of study in order to provide a clear career path. The most common postgraduate courses are in health promotion, dietetics, food science, research or education.

Study options

Undergraduate study  options

There are two study options for this area of study. Students can choose to take a three year BSc (Nutrition and Food Science) or a four year double degree BSc (Health Promotion)/BSc (Nutrition).

The BSc (Nutrition and Food Science) prepares students for a number of postgraduate study options. The first two years of the BSc (Nutrition and Food Science) provide the theoretical and skills base for the third year of the course. These skills include physiology, biochemistry and the foundations of epidemiology. The third year allows students to develop their skills for working in food and related industries or public health nutrition. Students also participate in research relating to nutritional status. Upon completion of an undergraduate degree in Nutrition there are a number of career options that graduates might wish to pursue. The range of possible postgraduate courses are listed below.

Information about scholarships and closing dates can be found on the scholarships website. You must complete the requirements of the BSc (Nutrition and Food Science) to be eligible to apply for postgraduate dietetics.

The second study option in the area of nutrition is the double degree in Health Promotion and Nutrition. This is a four-year degree that selects from units in the single health promotion and nutrition degrees. The focus of units is on the public health role of nutrition. There is less emphasis on laboratory-based expertise and more emphasis on the planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion programs. Upon completion of the double degree in Health Promotion and Nutrition a graduate would directly pursue public health nutritionist, project officer or health promotion officer positions. Students who complete the double degree program are not eligible to apply for postgraduate dietetics.

Postgraduate study options

There are a range of nutrition units that can be taken as part of a range of graduate certificates, graduate diplomas or master courses in areas like health promotion or public health for students who have an undergraduate degree in a non-nutrition area or who are returning to postgraduate study and wish to undertaken advanced practice units in nutrition. Curtin postgraduate nutrition units are listed under the various postgraduate study options descriptions.

“Having dual qualifications in Nutrition and Health Promotion has given me the change to work in some amazing areas in Australia, and overseas, with some fantastic people and experiences and these are the qualifications that I, and many other team leaders, now look for when recruiting staff to public health nutrition positions.”

Kym Blechynden, Nutrition Graduate