Frequently asked questions
What is Nutrition?
Human nutrition is the science of how the human body obtains and uses nutrients from food for maintenance, growth and renewal of body tissues necessary for life.
The scope of human nutrition extends far beyond the classical study of the physiological and biochemical processes involved in nourishment.
Nutrition also considers why people choose to eat the food they do, even after they have been advised that doing so may be unhealthy. The study of food habits and people's attitudes, beliefs, likes and dislikes overlaps with the social sciences of psychology, anthropology, sociology and economics.
What does a Nutritionist do?
Nutritionists apply scientific principles and methods in the field of nutrition to influence the broad environment affecting food supply and eating behaviour, to enhance nutritional status and prevent chronic diseases. Nutritionists design, coordinate, implement and evaluate a range of population health interventions to improve the wellbeing of individuals, communities and the population as a whole, through better food and nutrition.
Who can call themselves a Nutritionist:
There are a diverse range of qualifications that can lead to people calling themselves as Nutritionist. A Nutritionist may have a Bachelor level degree with majors in nutrition, a postgraduate degree such as Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Masters degree or even a PhD specialising in nutrition.
Some people call themselves Nutritionists even though they do not have suitable qualifications as there is no legal protection of the title 'Nutritionist'. Voluntary registration systems do exist through the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA) and this will help support the profession and its development into the future.
What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Dietitian?
Nutritionists design, coordinate, implement and evaluate a range of population health interventions to improve the wellbeing of individuals, communities and the population as a whole, through better food and nutrition.
There are a diverse range of qualifications that can lead to people calling themselves a Nutritionist. A Nutritionist may have a Bachelor level degree with majors in nutrition, a postgraduate degree such as Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Masters degree or even a PhD specialising in nutrition.
Dietitians are health professionals specialising in foods and nutrition who have received clinical training to prescribe special diets for medical conditions. Dietitians are trained to work in the clinical setting and currently it is their qualification which allows them to work as a Dietitian in a hospital, community or private practice setting. Dietitians are eligible for membership of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and to participate in the Accredited Practising Dietitians (APD) and/or Accredited Nutritionist (AN) program. The titles APD and AN are protected by law so that only qualified practitioners who have met certain requirements can use this title. Please refer to the Dietitians Association of Australia website for further details on the APD and AN program.
Refer to the Deakin Masters of Dietetics for more course information.
Can I be a Dietitian after this degree?
No, however if you choose the recommended electives and core units to meet the dietetics pre-requisites, then you may be eligible to apply for the Deakin Master of Dietetics course.
What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Public Health Nutritionist?
A Public Health Nutritionist is a nutritionist who has received additional specialist training and experience to promote nutrition related health and well-being specifically to populations. The Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA) has a Register of appropriately trained and qualified Registered Public Health Nutritionists and further details on the required training and experience to register as a Public Health Nutritionist can be found on the NSA website.
What is the difference between the Master of Public Health (nutrition stream) and Master of Human Nutrition?
The Master of Public Health focuses primarily on public health and health promotion with nutrition as a minor stream component. The Master of Human Nutrition focuses purely on nutrition and can be tailored to include health promotion within the elective components of the course.
More information can be found on the current students course search web page.
Are qualifications recognised overseas?
Nutritionists may obtain work overseas depending on the job title and employment setting.
The registration of Nutritionists will vary between countries but subject to individual requirements and the assessment of qualifications, graduates can normally work in most countries.
If you are interested in working overseas look at Going Global which can be accessed through the Deakin Careers and Employment website or research organisations such as WHO and Australian Volunteers.
What are the career opportunities for a Nutritionist?
Refer to Careers in Nutrition section.
What electives do I need to complete in order to pursue my preferred career in nutrition?
The type of electives will vary depending on the career path in nutrition you are interested in pursuing. Please refer to the suggested electives sections under the different career areas.
In each of the three Human Nutrition courses it is a requirement that two core units are completed. Electives can then be selected according to preference. Each course has specific elective requirements. Refer to the Deakin University course information page.
The Graduate Diploma of Human Nutrition and Master of Human Nutrition allow flexibility and diversity to be added to your studies by allowing you to choose up to two electives outside of the Human Nutrition course-specific listed electives they can be from any postgraduate units offered by any Faculty of the University (subject to approval and availability).
Is there any order in which I have to complete the units?
No, but for those students who are completely new to nutrition it is recommended you do the core units early on in your studies.
What opportunities exist for further education/research?
There are many opportunities for further study or research depending on your interests. A further qualification can help to enhance your existing skills and allow you to specialise in an area of your choice. Deakin Univeresity offers a wide variety of other courses at postgraduate level and has a strong research degree program.
How can I find out what types of careers nutritionists have and what their jobs entail?
The information contained within these pages on different careers pathways will provide you with helpful direction on what each career path covers.