Studying nutrition at school or college
Whilst at school, it isn’t always easy to imagine the kind of occupation that you would most enjoy, and choosing a degree course can be difficult. The answers below should give you an idea of the subjects that would be useful if you were considering studying nutrition at university.

What subjects should I study at school or college?
A professional career in nutrition may require a degree in nutrition. Nutrition degrees are science degrees (BSc), and so they require an understanding of biology, chemistry and mathematics. It can be helpful to keep this in mind as you choose your GCSE subjects and/or A or AS Levels.

As nutrition involves the in-depth study of metabolism and physiology, a strong interest in life sciences is essential. You will need GCSEs in maths and science. You will also need science subjects, either Chemistry or Biology or both at A2 level or their equivalent in the Scottish Higher or Irish Leaving Certificates (etc). 

What if I didn’t study science at school?
If you did not study science at school, you may be able to enter university to do the course you want to, after successfully completing a science access course or a foundation course. Course Leaders or Admissions tutors will advise you about their entry requirements so you should check with the institution. The University & College Admissions Service website lists approved access courses;

Will a nutrition degree involve Maths?
Yes, you will be expected to use maths and statistics throughout the course.

How much lab work is there in a nutrition degree?
The amount and type of lab work varies with the type of course. You can expect some lab work in the following areas typical of a nutritional science degrees: food science, food chemistry or technology, microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, immunology, sport nutrition, clinical nutrition, assessment of diet and nutritional status. You may also do a lab-based project.

How much fieldwork is involved?
Some courses include some fieldwork during work-experience placements, attachments or projects. It depends on the institution, but it can be useful to undertake a course offering professional placements to get relevant work experience and help you to get employment after graduation.

Does nutrition involve work with animals?
Some nutritionists do work with animals, for example developing feed products for livestock, or working with zoos. Animal nutritionists may study degree courses in, for example, Animal Science. Again, you would probably need to have studied science subjects at college to meet the entry requirements for these courses.

For more information about study and careers in dietetics contact:
British Dietetic Association
5th Floor, Charles House
148/9 Great Charles St Queensway
Birmingham B3 3HT

The BDA’s Career Choices supplement lists jobs in dietetic departments and in industry some of which are open to professional registered nutritionists.

For information about studying food science and technology, contact:
Institute of Food Science and Technology
5 Cambridge Court
210 Shepherds Bush Rd
London W6 7NJ

The IFST also have a careers site:

For information about study and careers in the biosciences contact:
Society of Biology
9 Red Lion Court 
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7936 5900
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7936 5901

A website from Department of Biological Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, endorsed by the Biosciences Federation: This site has a wealth of information about biology and the biosciences at all levels; it also has hyperlinks to the National Grid for Learning.

For information about sports sciences contact:
British Society of Sport & Exercise Sciences
Fairfax Hall,
Leeds Metropolitan University 
Headingley Campus 

For information on working with animals contact:
The British Society of Animal Science
PO Box 3
EH26 OR2
Tel: +44 (0) 131 445 4508
Fax: +44 (0) 131 535 3120

The University and College Admission Service lists courses, method of study, entry requirements and how to get contents of individual undergraduate and postgraduate courses from colleges and universities. or for anyone wanting to apply for postgraduate courses visit UK Pass.

Careers services that have good information and links include:

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