Programme contents

HNFB Master’s Programme has two study tracks: Human Nutrition and Food-related Behaviour. Each student is enrolled on one of the study tracks. The curricula of the study tracks differ to some extent. 

The core modules of the HNFB studies cover three thematic areas: Nutritional Physiology and Molecular Nutrition, Public Health Nutrition and Food-related Behaviour in a Changing Society. You have to include at least one core module in your studies.

Knowledge on the mechanisms by which diet affects cellular processes is fundamental in the understanding of diet-health interactions. Furthermore, insight into the research settings and methods is needed if one wants to understand and evaluate scientific evidence. Nutritional Physiology and Molecular Nutrition focuses on the biological aspects of nutrients, other food constituents, diets and eating as well as the experimental study designs in nutrition science.

The courses provide the student an extensive theoretical background on the metabolism of nutrients and their role in regulation of physiological functions as well as in disease pathophysiology. The diet and gene interactions, including gene regulation by nutrients and diet and epigenetics, are covered. The student will gain understanding on the core study designs and methods in experimental nutrition research. 


By studying public health nutrition, the student will learn about interactions between diet and health from a population-based view. The topics include determinants of food intake, that is, how food habits and dietary intakes relate to different sociodemographic factors like sex, age, educational background, income and place of residence. Further, the students get new insights on how food consumption and dietary intakes can be studied in large populations and how they are related to population health. Some courses have more applied topics, such as how to change dietary behavior of a population and how to plan diets in food services, for example, for a large kitchen providing meals for schools.

The studies comprise advanced epidemiological methods and statistics. Learning will be facilitated by using real data and statistical training. Methodological considerations in nutritional epidemiological studies and critical interpretation of results are emphasized. In courses of health promotion, the student will also have a possibility to jump into a real project work and plan a health-promotion project as a group work. Global issues, particularly with a focus on chronic diseases in developing countries, are also considered in the studies.       


Food-related Behaviour in a Changing Society addresses the ways in which food choices and eating patterns are linked to individual, cultural and social-psychological factors. It focuses on current phenomena related to eating, as well as on changes in society and the lives of individuals. Theories and both quantitative and qualitative methodologies from the social sciences are examined and applied.

Food-related Behaviour in a Changing Society develops and deepens the student's understanding of the role of food in modern consumption society. It shows how food culture is related to the construction of identity and social movements. It studies the means of influencing food choices through policies, interventions and communication. Food-related Behaviour in a Changing Society is oriented towards students interested in the diversity of food and nutritional issues and ways explore and to influence them based on social scientific approach.