UCC Undergraduate courses

Nutritional Sciences

Course Fact File
Duration4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesEU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138. See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 511
CAO Points Range2023: 511-613

Course Outline

The BSc Nutritional Sciences course focuses on the role of diet in health promotion and disease prevention (including problems related to undernutrition and over-nutrition, and especially the major non communicable chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis). This is done from an individual, national and international perspective, using insights gained from a wide range of scientific disciplines.

Nutritional science is the study of food as it impacts our health and is concerned with the provision of food and nutrients to the body to facilitate optimum physical and mental development and maintenance of health throughout life.

A six-month work placement in third year forms a significant part of the course and, along with the rich learning load of the placement itself, will enhance your future employment and career development.

The course will give you a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between diet and health and you will learn how to apply this knowledge to the provision of nutritional advice to the public, as well as providing safe, wholesome and nutritious food to the consumer.

A six-month work placement forms an integral part of the course in Year 3. 

On completion of the course you will be able to:

  • apply current knowledge in nutritional science from a molecular, cellular and tissue level to the whole person and to population groups to calculate food and nutrient requirements across the life-span in health and disease;
  • devise nutritional guidance for individuals and population groups for the maintenance of good health, in the context of authoritative dietary reference and food safety standards;
  • employ specialist experimental skills in nutritional research and analysis;
  • identify and critically evaluate emerging knowledge in nutrition and use this as a basis for developing novel approaches to solving challenges in industry, research/academia, government agencies, healthcare and other sectors;
  • interpret and translate nutritional science meaningfully and communicate the science effectively;
  • and work effectively as a nutrition professional.

Year 1 Modules

  • BC1001 Introduction to Biochemistry and the Biological Basis of Disease (5 credits)
  • BC1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits)
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits)
  • CM1005 Introductory Chemistry for Food and Nutritional Sciences (15 credits)
  • MA1001 Calculus for Science Part 1 (5 credits)
  • MA1002 Calculus for Science Part 2 (5 credits)
  • NT1001 Introductory Nutrition (5 credits)
  • NT1002 Human Nutrition: Energy and Macronutrients (5 credits)
  • PY1010 Physics for Biological and Chemical Sciences (10 credits) 

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

  • Year 1 will consist of approximately 300 hours of lectures, 100 hours of practicals and 58 hours tutorials in Nutrition, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.
  • Year 2 will consist of approximately 234 hours of lectures, 126 hours of practicals and self-directed learning in Nutrition, Biochemistry, Food Chemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Nutrition, Physiology and Statistics.
  • Year 3 will consist of approximately 204 hours of lectures, 66 hours of practicals and self-directed learning, and eight hours of tutorials in Nutrition, Food Science, and Microbiology. You will also undertake a library project on a specialist Nutrition topic. During Year 3 you will undertake your six-month Work Placement (March-September).
  • Year 4 will consist of approximately 222 hours of lectures, 12 hours of practicals, 12 hours of directed or self-directed study, a 14-week independent research project, and seminars in Advanced Nutrition, Immunology, Public Health Nutrition, Sports Nutrition, Global Nutrition and Food Systems with a specialist focus on food security and sustainability.

Please note that from Academic Year 2024-25, students enrolled in the BSc Nutritional Sciences programme will be subject to the UCC Fitness to Practise policy.

Why Choose This Course

I’d recommend [Nutrition] to anyone interested in the relationship between diet and health.

Kate McGrath, Student

Find Out More

This course blends basic sciences, food science, human biology and nutrition in a unique and interesting way to give you the knowledge, skills and training you need to work as a nutritional scientist

As a nutritional scientist, you will increase knowledge of the relationship between diet, health and disease through research, and apply that knowledge through the provision of sound nutritional advice, and safe wholesome and nutritious food to consumers

Lecturers are internationally recognised researchers and are deeply committed to excellence in teaching

Graduates have excellent opportunities for employment and for further career specialisation. Our course has a long history of producing outstanding graduates who have gone on to have successful careers in areas such as dietetics, public health nutrition, sports nutrition, nutrition research, academic lecturing and a range of other career paths. Our graduates are also highly sought after by the food industry, especially for areas such as quality assurance and new product development.

An application for accrediation of the course by the UK Association for Nutrition is under review.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work Placement

Year 3 students are placed in a food-related industry placement for 24 weeks (April to September) in Ireland or abroad. During this placement, you will make a significant contribution to a relevant project under the supervision of an industrial and UCC mentor.

The placement will significantly enhance your prospects for future employment and career development, as many well-known national and international brands participate in the programme.

On work placement you will gain invaluable experience and acquire or improve key transferable skills such as teamwork, decision-making and initiative, as well as building communications, management, organisational and presentation skills. 

You will also foster a deeper understanding of food and nutrition by applying the theory you will be learning in college to practical situations.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduate Study Options

There are many options for further study in Nutritional Sciences. Our graduates have many courses to choose from including:

It is also possible to pursue a PhD in Food Science & Technology, Nutrition, or related subjects.

Career Opportunities

Nutritional Sciences graduates are equipped to work in a wide range of industries and other areas of responsibility including:

  • Food
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Healthcare
  • Governmental and non-governmental agencies

This course prepares you for working in a variety of career sectors including the biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical science sector, the medical and healthcare sector, and the food and beverages sector. The food industry is the major employer of our graduates, and graduates have secured employment in many national and international food companies including Abbott Nutrition, Coca Cola, Danone, Dairygold, Drover Foods, Glanbia, Glenpatrick Spring Water, Green Isle Food, Kerry Group, Kraft Foods, Nestlé, Nutricia, PepsiCo, and Sainsbury’s, as well as the national food agencies BIM, Ornua, Safefood, and Teagasc.

A smaller number of graduates have found employment in the pharmaceutical industry (e.g. Eli Lily, Novartis). Other graduates have gone on to further studies and careers in sports nutrition, medicine, public health, radiography, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and secondary school teaching.

Graduates also have many opportunities to advance to MSc and PhD courses in Nutrition and other life sciences and to pursue careers in academia.

Dietetics is another important career destination and each year approximately 20% of our graduates go on to study dietetics at postgraduate level, with the majority of these now working as dietitians either in Ireland or the UK.

Note that, while the course does not qualify you to work as a dietician upon graduation, many of our graduates go on to pursue one to two-year postgraduate courses in Dietetics. This allows them to gain the extra clinical and relevant skills to become a qualified dietician, and many have gone on to careers in Dietetics through this route.

See the School of Food & Nutritional Sciences page for more information on the MSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics programme at UCC.


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

At least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4 in one subject, minimum grade H5 in one subject and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry and Agricultural Science.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab ScienceNote
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 or H4* O6/H7 or H4* H4 in either a Lab Science subject, Maths or Applied Maths or Computer Science*

* If the H4 is in Maths, Applied Maths or Computer Science an O6/H7 in a Lab Science subject is also required.

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest. Applicants may also be called for interview.

Candidates are assessed based on academic and/or professional background in a laboratory science-related discipline, including Chemistry, Physics or Biology, as evidenced by exam results. Additional information such as a CV is considered once eligibility has been established.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student contribution and capitation fees are payable by the student.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact