I decided to study Human Nutrition at St Mary's University as I'd been in my job at a cancer charity for six years and was ready for a change. I'd completed an undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences back in 2008 that had set me up with a basis in physiology.
I'd enjoyed a nutrition module during that course and had several friends who'd gone on to become dietitians. Having worked in a hospital kitchen for 3 years and provided telephone support to people living with cancer, I wanted to bring these skills of active listening and translating scientific material into lay language together with my interest in food and medicine as a dietitian too.
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level. Developing my knowledge of nutrition on the course at St Mary's was the crucial first step in my journey towards this goal.
Studying at St Mary's
Many of the staff at St Mary's have postgraduate certificates in teaching - reflecting the University's focus in this area - and are committed to enabling and supporting the education of students.
My tutors gave engaging and interactive lectures and were receptive to questions or additional information we were able to bring to the table. The academic staff really listen and respond to feedback on the course. Several of my lecturers were also experienced registered dietitians and educators of dietetic students, meaning they were well-placed to advise me on my target profession.
During my time at St Mary's I received support from the programme director who was also my project supervisor. This took the form of timely guidance and feedback on my assignments. I also benefited from the experience and career guidance from my other tutors.
A member of the University's Careers Service provided me with a mock interview and feedback in preparation for my interviews to study postgraduate dietetics.
The administrative and security staff were also helpful whenever I needed.
What's special about St Mary's?
St Mary's represents a non-judgmental supportive environment within a small University that feels energised to help students develop their potential.
It has some lovely old buildings set in beautiful leafy grounds that provide a refreshing break from study.
Lecturers have a real interest in teaching and bring with them a diversity of expertise relevant to the public health, clinical, food industry and sports sectors.
The course's contact hours mean it can be completed alongside other commitments. For example, I was able to obtain relevant experience at a nutrition charity, a food bank and hospital alongside my Master's degree. Combined, these provided invaluable experience helping me access further study in dietetics.