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Nutrition has been playing a big role in our lives, affecting daily habits and health behaviours.

A career in nutrition is ideal for those seeking to promote a balanced lifestyle and improve people’s diets, while helping them to keep a healthy weight, boost their immune system, increase their energy levels, and reduce the risk of developing certain diseases.

Difference between nutritionist and dietician

Dieticians are qualified health professionals who look after a client’s nutrition and construct specific diets based on their medical conditions and personal goals. The path to becoming a registered dietician involves obtaining a four-year degree, a supervised internship and the Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN) designation. Dieticians usually work in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.

As opposed to dieticians, the career as a nutritionist is less regulated. Nutritionists focus on the relationship between food and health and teach about the nutritional value of food, necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. After their bachelor’s degree in nutrition, many nutritionists pass an advanced certification, through the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists, to obtain the title of Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS). Nutritionists usually work in hospitals, clinics, wellness centres, gyms, academic institutions and other healthcare facilities.

Career opportunities

Graduates in this field will work in hospitals, clinical dietetics, food manufacturing companies, academic institutions, public health organizations, government agencies, wellness centres and more.

Jobs within dietetics range from registered dietician, to renal dietician, paediatric dietician, sports dietitian, clinical dietician and more. Nutrition jobs vary from food product development scientist to nutritionist, food labelling specialist, public health nutritionist, nutrition educator, nutrition writer and more.  

Studying nutrition at St Mary’s

St Mary’s offers a wide range of undergraduate and post graduate degrees in nutrition and related fields.

Undergraduate degrees

Accredited by the Association of Nutrition (AfN) and the Hong Kong Nutritionists Society (HKNS), the Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition allows students to gain a solid understanding of nutritional science linked to dietary factors, health conditions and chronic diseases. Modules in the program cover lifestyle and industry case studies, and give students a chance to apply their knowledge in sports nutrition, clinical nutrition and other health fields. 

The Bachelor’s of Science in Sport and Exercise Nutrition gives students a firm understanding of academic disciplines related to sports performance and the practical knowledge they will need to work as sports nutrition practitioners. Students will learn from experienced sports nutrition practitioners and academics, and practice subject-specific skills in excellent sports facilities and BASES accredited laboratories. 

Postgraduate degrees

Post-graduate degrees at St Mary’s include Applied Sports Nutrition, aimed at students interested in becoming sports nutrition practitioners and seeking knowledge in the area of sports nutrition. 

The Chronic Disease Management post-graduate degree focuses on behaviour change and lifestyle prevention of chronic diseases. Students will be able to grow their skills and support behaviour change at an individual, group and population level. 

Other post-graduate degrees include Human Nutrition, that stresses on the importance of pursuing a balanced lifestyle and eating healthy. The degree provides students with the theoretical and practical skills to work in the fields of nutrition and public health. 

The post-graduate degree in Nutrition and Genetics incorporates genetics in nutritional and dietary assignments and allows students to gain practical skills associated with molecular nutrition techniques. St Mary’s is the first and only university in the UK that offers a degree in Nutrition and Genetics. 

The Master’s in Research: Sport, Health and Applied Sciences is ideal for students who are interested in developing their research ideas to apply in biomechanics, health sciences, nutrition, psychology, sport rehabilitation and more areas.