"I want to be involved in food education and in promoting children’s nutrition and well-being – HNFB makes that possible"

Are you interested in food and why people eat how they eat? Do you want to study in the hustle of Helsinki? If you answered yes, this Master’s programme might be the choice for you.

About the programme

The Master’s programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behavior (HNFB) focuses on understanding the significance of nutrition to human physiology and health, learning to analyze the physiological, psychosocial, and cultural aspects linked to individuals’ and communities’ food choices as well as recognizing the issues of food and nutritional issues and ways to influence them. 

The scope of the HNFB Master’s programme is 120 credits, and it can be completed in two academic years. The programme has two study tracks, Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behavior, one of which is chosen during the application process. For both study tracks some background studies are required in order to apply. 

My journey to HNFB

My background is in food sciences. In high school I gained interest in nutrition and sports and wanted to study something related to those themes. In University of Helsinki it’s not possible to study specifically human nutrition at the Bachelor’s level, but after some research I found Food Sciences, which would give me the opportunity to study nutrition at the Master’s level. I graduated from the Food Science Bachelor’s programme in Spring 2020. I have been very happy with my decision, because Food Sciences gave a good base for nutrition studies, and it also broadens the possibilities in the work field. 

Studying in HNFB

Especially during the first autumn of studies, there are various “basics” courses with students from both the Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behavior study tracks. In the spring, students start to divide based on their study tracks and other interests. I feel like the advantage in HNFB is that there’s a lot of courses to choose from based on your own interests, but also the possibility to take courses outside of our own program and even from other universities. 

In addition to traditional lectures and exams, study methods include a lot of group works, reports, learning diaries etc. I feel like these methods require a lot of work, but they are definitely more suitable for my learning.

Courses where you get to learn in practice have been the most fruitful in my opinion. For example, in Nutritional Status Assessment -course we learned in practice how to measure body composition, energy expenditure and take clinical measurements. During my studies I have gained special interest in children’s’ nutrition and food education. I got the chance to do an internship in a research group that is a part of a research studying children’s eating habits and well-being. I’m also hoping to do my Master’s thesis related to children’s nutrition.

Student life

Courses in the HNFB program take place mainly in Viikki campus. Viikki has good transportation connections to the city center but also elsewhere. In Helsinki there’s a lot to do, but on the other hand the city is not that big, so you get familiar with places quite quickly.

There are quite a lot of student events organized, in which you can join with a low threshold. The events may include for example cultural events, get-togethers, excursions, academic dinner parties and other celebrations. Easiest way to know about all the events is to follow student organizations’ social medias (especially Instagram) and join their mailing lists. My personal favorite student events are dinner/table parties and “appro” where you go through different bars and collect stamps.