Core module 1a: Nutritional Physiology and Molecular Nutrition 

Nutritional status assessment

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.

Experimental nutrition research

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.

Advanced nutritional physiology

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.

Pathobiology of chronic diseases

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.

Core module 1b: Public Health Nutrition

This module has a choice from five 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 five courses of this module (15 ECTS in your core module + 10 ECTS additionally).

Nutrition and society 

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.

The Health promotion project work 

This course gives the student the possibility to apply what has been learned in the Nutrition and society –course using a real case. The participants in this core will work in small groups and make a situation analysis and health promotion and evaluation plan for a target organization, e.g. a school, a company or a local community.

Nutrition and Food Services

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.

Nutritional epidemiology

Epidemiological research settings (5 ECTS)
Epidemiological analyses in nutrition (5 ECTS)

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.

Willett W: Nutritional epidemiology
Hulley ym. Designing clinical research: an epidemiological approach.
Webb P, Bain C. Essential epidemiology, an introduction for students and health professionals.


Core module: Food-related Behaviour in a Changing Society

Theoretical and methodological approaches in research on food-related behaviour 

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

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

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.

In addition to the at least 75 ECTS advanced courses, you need a maximum of 45 ECTS of other studies. Two out of these courses are obligatory, but otherwise the choice is flexible and should go quite well along your interests. The only request we have is that you should choose one method course as a part of you optional studies.

Optional studies (25–30 ECTS)

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. 

The kaleidoscope of food and human nutrition –studies  (5 ECTS)

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.

Nutrition and health (5 ECTS)

The course focuses on the present evidence linking nutrition and other lifestyle factors with the risk or prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCD), especially obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancers, osteoporosis and dementia. A cross-cutting theme in the course is scientific evidence: what kind of evidence different study types can offer and how is scientific evidence evaluated for different purposes.

Methodology for food consumption studies

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.


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

For your Master's Thesis (30 ECTS) you study and analyse a significant topic related to this Master’s program. You may choose your topic from any of the study tracks, but obviously your studies and particularly the core module(s) you have chosen should support the topic of your thesis. You can write your thesis in connection with a larger research project, in collaboration with companies and public institutions, or independently. If you work full-time with your thesis, it should take about 6 months to complete the work and write the thesis.

During the semester when you start to plan you Master’s thesis, you also start the Master’s thesis seminar (5 ECTS). This is an obligatory seminar for all students. In this seminar, you will get guidance from the teachers, and also peer support and comments from other students who are at the same stage in the HNFB program. We aim at true multidisciplinarity and therefore all students in this seminar are in one group, regardless of the topic of their thesis. 

The advanced literature examination (5 ECTS) takes place in the end of the program. The examination is separate for the two study tracks. The examination may include reading scientific journals, mainly review articles, and/or very advanced text books. The idea of the examination is to bring you back to all relevant issues of this Master’s program and it will also make you realize how much you have learned.