UCC Undergraduate courses

Nutritional Sciences

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Nutritional Sciences

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science

  • Duration

    4 Years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    EU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    1 x H4, 1 x H5, 4 x O6/H7; Maths and a Lab science subject are required. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2022: 532

  • CAO Points Range


Course Outline

Our BSc Nutritional Sciences combines a number of scientific disciplines to provide a thorough understanding of the role of diet and nutrition in health and in the prevention of major diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.

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.

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. 

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

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) 

Year 2 Modules

  • Human Nutrition (eg Minerals & Vitamins, Nutrition Across the Lifespan)
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Food Chemistry
  • Food Microbiology
  • Biostatistics.

Years 3/4 Modules

You will focus on aspects of human nutrition including:

  • Physiological Functions of Nutrients and Human Metabolism
  • Effects of Nutrient Deficiencies and Excess
  • Nutrition within the Clinical Setting
  • Nutritional Status Assessment
  • The Nutritional Composition of Foods and the Safety of Foods for Human Consumption
  • Relationship of Food Intake to Health Status
  • Impact of Genome on Nutrient Needs
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Global Nutrition
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Independent Research Project in an area of Nutrition Science
  • Food Toxicology
  • Food Systems, Food. Security and Sustainability
  • Immunology
  • Sensory Science

These courses are complemented by courses in Food Science and Technology and Food Microbiology.

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.

Course Practicalities

Year 1

Approximately 300 hours of lectures, 100 hours of practicals and 58 hours tutorials in Nutrition, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.

Year 2

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

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

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.


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules will have formal examinations. Many modules use other types of assessment including in-semester multiple-choice question examinations and laboratory write-ups. Some modules will have a project report as the main outcome of the module and this is also assessed.

Who teaches this course

The lecturers listed below teach the Nutrition and Food Science components of the BSc Nutritional Sciences programme and are academic staff members of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at UCC. Academic staff from other schools and departments also teach other subjects on the curriculum.

  • Professor Mairead Kiely (Head of School)
  • Professor Kevin Cashman
  • Dr Aoife Ryan
  • Dr Alice Lucey (Programme Director)
  • Dr Majella O'Keeffee
  • Dr Elaine McCarthy
  • Dr Samantha Cushen
  • Dr Aine Hennessy
  • Dr Aylin Sahin
  • Professor Elke Arendt
  • Professor Alan Kelly
  • Professor Yrjo Roos
  • Dr Joe Kerry
  • Dr Seamus O’Mahony
  • Dr Eileen O’Neill
  • Dr Tom O'Callaghan
  • Dr Shane  Crowley

Why Choose This Course

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

Kate McGrath


View Student

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.

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

Placement or Study Abroad Information

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

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

Graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in research and development, production, management, quality assurance and health promotion, among others.

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

Please 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.

Please see our 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.

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 06/H7 in a Lab Science subject is also required.

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

Mature applicants

Applicants should apply directly to the Central Applications Office (CAO) and entry requirements can be found here.

Other qualifications: EU/EFTA/UK students presenting an alternative school-leaving qualification (e.g. A-levels or International Baccalaureate) or QQI/FE course should visit our EU/EFTA/UK Applicants pages for further information. 

Non-EU applicants

Please see the International Education Office website.

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 appicants 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

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. 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. In 2022/23 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €138.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

EU applicants

Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the CAO. Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

Mature applicants

Application is made through the CAO and the closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of proposed entry. 

Non-EU applicants

Please see the International Education Office website.

EU Applicants

The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over)

All interested mature applicants must make an application through the Central Applications Office (CAO). See the CAO Mature Applicants and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) pages. Visit our Mature Student Entry page for more information.


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

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information.

All Applicants

Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and are subject to change from year to year. Check the College Calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

  • In UCC, we use the terms programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact