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: €3,165. See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    2 x H5, 4 x O6/H7; O6/H7 in Maths, H4 in a Lab Science or Maths or Applied Maths. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2017: 484

Course Outline

The 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 through the life-cycle 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 problems in industry, research/academia, healthcare and other sectors
  • interpret and translate nutritional science meaningfully and communicate the science effectively
  • work effectively as a nutrition professional.

Year 1 modules


  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Introductory Nutrition
  • Macronutrients and Human Nutrition.

Year 2 modules


  • Human Nutrition (e.g. Minerals and Vitamins, Nutrition in Growth, Development and Aging)
  • 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
  • Effects of Nutrient Deficiencies and Excess
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Nutritional Status Assessment
  • Nutrient Composition and Safety of Food
  • Relationship of Food Intake to Health
  • Impact of Genome on Nutrient Needs
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • International Nutrition
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Research Project in the Area of Nutrition
  • Toxicology
  • 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 Biology, Chemistry, Nutrition, Mathematics, and Physics.

Year 2

Approximately 234 hours of lectures, 126 hours of practicals and self-directed learning in 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 Food Science, Microbiology and Nutrition. You will also undertake a library project

Year 4

Approximately 222 hours of lectures, 12 hours of practicals, 12 hours of directed or self-directed study, a 14-week laboratory-based research project and seminars in Immunology, Nutrition and Toxicology.


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 teach the other subjects on the curriculum.

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 on graduation, many of our graduates go on to pursue one to two year postgraduate courses in Dietetics in the UK. 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.


Leaving Certificate entry requirements

At Least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade requirement of 2*H5 and 4*O6/H7. Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:




Other Language

Other Requirement





H4 in Lab Science or Maths or Applied Maths

Mature applicants

Applicants should apply directly to the Central Applications Office (CAO) and include a statement of interest and may be called for interview. Applicants are assessed on the basis of academic and/or professional background in a laboratory science-related discipline, evidenced by exam results and the statement of interest. 

Non-EU applicants

Please see the International Education Office website.

FETAC applicants

FETAC requirements can be found here.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates 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 for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

The State will pay the tuition fees for students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. In 2017/18 the Student Contribution Charge was €3,000 and the Capitation Fee was €165. Full-time EU/EEA/Swiss State undergraduate students may be exempt from paying tuition fees.

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

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.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

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

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