Core modules and information about courses

Information about the study tracks, core modules and courses in the Master's Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour.
Study track: Hu­man Nu­tri­tion

Human Nutrition track provides two core modules that focus on the biological and public health aspects of the discipline. 

Core module: Nutritional Physiology and Molecular Nutrition HNFB-2100

Advanced nutritional physiology HNFB-211

The course focuses on the physiological regulation of food intake, digestion and absorption of macro- and micronutrients as well as their transport, metabolism, and storage at the molecular level. In addition, short and long-term mechanisms involved in metabolic regulation will be covered.

Diet related molecular mechanisms of chronic diseases HNFB-212

The course deals with the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying age-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and sheds light on how diet, nutrients and diet-derived phytochemicals influence the development of these diseases.

Experimental nutrition research HNFB-213

The course aims to provide the students theoretical understanding of the methods and experimental designs (human interventions, animal experiments, cell culture studies) used to study the effects of nutrition on physiological and molecular pathways in health and disease. The study material are scientific articles.

Core module: Public Health Nutrition HNFB-2200

This module has a choice from four different courses, each 5 ECTS. To complete the module, you need three courses. However, since you need an additional 15 ECTS advanced studies, you may very well choose all four courses of this module (15 ECTS in your core module + 5 ECTS additionally).

Nutrition and society HNFB-221

The student will learn learn the basics of how to plan, execute and evaluate a health promotion program. We will also touch other issues related to the interactions between human nutrition science and the society, like global views on chronic diseases and the effect of the diet on environmental issues.

Nutritional epidemiology HNFB-223

Nutritional epidemiology focuses on the relationships between dietary factors and health outcomes in order to prevent diseases and promote health. First you learn the theory and design of epidemiological research settings. We will emphasize assessment of dietary exposures, methodological considerations in study designs, and statistical issues, including how best to address measurement error and adjust for total energy intake. You will also learn to critically interpret results from nutritional epidemiological studies and evaluate the association between a given nutritional factor and disease. The analysis course covers correlations, linear and logistic regressions, factor analyses, and analysis of variance.  Students will make extensive use of SPSS.

Nutrition and Food Services HNFB-225

The course focuses on food services and their role in health promotion. The course deepens the understanding of dietary guidelines in regulating nutritional quality of meals served in public food services. The role of nutritional expertise in food services is discussed. The course is organised every other academic year.

Food systems and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries HNFB-226 

The course focuses on the characteristics and determinants of food security and nutrition status in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Different forms of malnutrition, their consequences and approaches to improve the situation will be discussed.


Study track: Food-re­lated Be­ha­viour

Food-related Behaviour track provides one core module that focuses on the social and behavioural aspects of food and eating. 

Core module: Food-related Behaviour in a Changing Society HNFB-2300

Theoretical and methodological approaches in research on food-related behaviour HNFB-231

The course familiarises the student with various social scientific, particularly social psychological and sociological approaches to studying food and eating. The course focuses on how eating behaviours and food choices are shaped by emotions, self-regulation, habits, social norms, self-presentation and identity construction, how they are part of social practices, and how they are associated with social structures and cultural variations. The course covers research conducted with both qualitative and quantitative methods. After completing the course, the student is able to relate these different theoretical and empirical approaches to each other as well as to analyse their potential practical applications.

Behaviour change and intervention planning SOSM-SP305

The course will present the main social psychological theories that have been applied in behaviour change interventions. During the course students will learn the steps of intervention mapping (Bartholomew et al., 2016) and how to use behaviour change techniques in planning interventions for health and sustainability related behaviours. Students will do several practical exercises during the course and plan their own interventions.

Sustainable culinary culture EDUM504

The course familiarises the student with the key concepts and theoretical approaches in studies on sustainable food consumption, food choices and practices of eating. The thematical areas of the course cover the various dimensions of sustainability; environmental impacts of food production and consumption; ethical and responsible consumption; food culture; food politics and policies; and practices of food consumption from the perspective of sustainability.


Ob­lig­at­ory courses

The kaleidoscope of food and human nutrition studies HNFB-201

During the first autumn semester of HNFB, all students participate in an opening course called The kaleidoscope of food and human nutrition –studies. This course uses active student participation, group works, presentation, etc. in order to tackle a timely topic related to HNFB. The aim is to use a multidisciplinary approach, to learn from each other and to open up the width and possibilities of this Master’s program.

Dietary assessment methods HNFB-202

The student learns the main aspects of food consumption studies: dietary assessment methods and their validity, food composition databases, ethical and cultural aspects in dietary assessment, analyses and interpretation of data, and presentation of results.

Nutritional status assessment HNFB-203 (obligatory on Human nutrition study track only)

The course  aims to provide the students theoretical and practical understanding of the physiological and biochemical methods used to assess nutritional status, body composition, physical activity and energy expenditure and gives examples on the application of the methods.

Evidence on nutrition and health HNFB-204

The course deepens the student´s knowledge on study designs and the evaluation of the scientific evidence between human nutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCD). The focus is on the present evidence linking nutrition with NCDs. The roles of diet, other lifestyle factors, psychosocial factors and genes in the prevention of NCDs will be discussed.

Career and work-related skills

You may choose between 5 and 10 ECTS of work-related studies. Typically, this means practical training in a suitable company, municipality, research group, NGO or governmental organization. 

Op­tional/​com­ple­ment­ary courses

In addition to the 75 ECTS of advanced courses, you need 45 ECTS of other studies. Some of these courses are obligatory, but otherwise you may choose according to your own interests. However, you should choose one methodological course as a part of you optional studies.

Optional studies (20-30 ECTS depending on the study track)

The optional studies offer the student the possibility to strengthen the essential knowledge-base needed for the advanced studies. Optional studies also make it possible to focus the studies by choosing theoretical and methodological courses from other degree programmes at UH or in other universities. Courses completed in student exchange may also be optional studies. Advanced level courses from the HNFB programme that do not belong to the student´s advanced study module may also be used here. 

Optional studies in other degree programmes of University of Helsinki