You might want us to point out what exactly nutrition is, especially if you're confused about the difference between this and dietetics. And how exactly is this a science of food, how does it convert to a bachelor or master degree, and how exactly does this work?

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Some essential knowledge requirements about nutrition for students before they start their course

In this guide, we will talk you through the basics of nutrition and its studywhat knowledge you will work on during your time in your program and what on-campus or online delivery will be like, what information applicants should know about Australia and education and English entry requirements, as well as some career or professional pathways you might be eligible for after you graduate from your diploma, bachelor degree, or master degree in nutrition, food science, or dietetics.

What is the point of nutrition and what should I note about it?

This all comes down to the very human side of food science - it's about how food and drink work together to keep us healthy and how knowledge of this can help public health initiatives.

Make sure you're up to date with the changes in the food pyramid.
The food pyramid is regularly updated, which makes a nutritionist's job interesting. | Source: ICNF Germany

The nutrients under study often include fats, fibre, sugars, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and water. 

A person who has extensive study or is a professional in nutrition or dietetics can help any human apply this knowledge in plain English to their own diet without having a degree in science themselves - this sort of education is of public benefit.

This really is a food science and has a full course of benefits in an Australian context. You will find that at any given point in your life, you will have different dietary needs and may seek the help of a professional to address these.

You can work together to find and apply a food program that can work for you. Poor or incorrect diet can lead to digestive problems, fatigue, sleep problems, obesity, mental health problems, or even death (over a long time, a course of years, with excessive bad food consumption).

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What does a nutritionist do?

Students who embark on a program of study at diploma, bachelor degree, or master degree level will find that there is a full course of benefits to having professional work in nutrition - both for you and your clients.

First of all, for your clients, the point of your time at school and the purpose of your work will be to offer the Australian public ways to have balance in their food and drink intake.

The nutrition professional will usually also have knowledge of education, psychology, biology, therapy, or counselling which they have acquired independently or throughout the course of their study.

This is precisely because they also help with any issues that may cause bad eating and help people find the mental and physical health benefits of a balanced diet.

A non-exhaustive list of some of the functions of a nutritionist are:

  • Help clients alter and apply healthy eating habits
  • Help with weight loss or nutritional and hormonal balance
  • Create a diet program for those with allergies
  • Give an education program on the correct delivery and duration of meal time
  • Help a food professional with entry into the culinary or restaurant market
  • Offer their knowledge to a school/place of work/business to create health focussed meals there
  • For a small fee, point out public health initiatives that a government could take to address endemic problems

Essentially, a nutritionist uses their years of expertise to help an individual or public apply knowledge about their own health and diet, at a local or international scale, in order to be as healthy as possible.

And to come back to our initial question on the difference between nutrition and dietetics, the former is generally less medically focussed and will not study the therapeutic side of health as much in their program as the latter would.

Dietetics is generally regulated by a government body also, whereas anyone with a degree that fits the study of nutrition can call themselves a nutritionist.

What will students study throughout the years of their course to become a nutritionist?

Health and food related issues are within a nutritionist's remit.
A nutritionist's job is to help with weight, food consumption, and balance. | Source: Sport Nutrition Certification

Studying nutrition in Australia is a very popular choice for Australian and international students alike. 

We should point out though that you need to note whether there will be any of your education that can take place in a language other than English in your school, however this is highly unlikely in Australia.

Nevertheless, if you are eligible for an online or on-campus degree in nutrition in Australia, there is a wide range of topics you will study.

As a student in such a course, year to year your professional and education knowledge will change as new foods become available and you have to apply this knowledge to a market or public directly. 

In line with this, you will discover during the time in your course that a student of nutrition will use their knowledge to improve public and individual wellbeing using the science of food and nutrition.

You will achieve these ends by focussing primarily on: food analysis, science-informed best courses of action for public health promotion, lab-quality assurance, or at a more personal level, crafting meal plans to help those who need more attention, from overweight individuals to elite athletes.

Such a degree can last from one year for a certificate or diploma to three years for a student wanting to do a full bachelor degree. 

This extends to five years if you graduate from your bachelor and want to embark on a master in a more streamlined field, like moving from a bachelor of nutrition science to a master of dietetics.

Who might want to study it?

There are two main facets of wanting to study nutrition: wanting to help people and wanting to have knowledge of the science of food.

If you're looking to start study for next year or a couple of years in a nutrition or health focussed program, this will probably mean that you want your courses to be highly practical too. 

When you study focused content as you do in nutrition, you'll want to break out of the theoretical and apply your knowledge straight away, which thankfully you can.

Specific interests that a student might have which would push them to want to work with the human public sides of nutrition would fall into: those interested in how diets can help performance (as for athletes), those who want to have an impact on the kinds of food the general public eats, those interested in food regulation at a national or international level, those who are curious about chain reactions in human behaviour, those who like working with people about issues that affect them directly day to day and year to year, or even those who want to use nutrition knowledge for personal and family use.

Different ways you can study

There is a large range available for any person curious about a university course, be it bachelor level or master level, in Australia. There is also many a private school where you can get a diploma and they will offer you a similar quality of education, and point scale for applicants might be less competitive for those who are international students.

Based in Melbourne, Deakin university has a great range of nutrition courses.
Deakin University is just one of the many in Australia where you can get a great nutrition education. | Source: Deakin University

It is worth noting though that such a school might only offer a certificate and for entry into Australia, you may need to study a degree or already be a graduate to get the visa. 

Also note that there will probably be English requirements on the course, and you will probably need to spend the whole time studying during your duration in Australia.

With this in mind, there are university campus-based and online options for everyone.

There are however also fees for all courses to bear in mind, and you will find it costs more to live on campus at your school, for which they will obviously charge extra fees. There are also hidden costs like student amenities fees that you will want to keep an eye out for.

Some different ways you can study a nutrition certificate, diploma, bachelor, or master degree as an undergraduate or graduate in Australia include:

  • If you're an international student but still waiting for your visa, online with a university of nutrition school in Australia
  • On-campus at a nutrition school in an Australian city
  • Through a degree program with an Australian university like Deakin, Monash, University of Queensland, Curtin University, Flinders University, or the University of Newcastle
  • With a qualified professional from the industry who can help with your education
  • Alongside a private tuition program through a platform like Superprof
  • Through public community initiatives

Keep in mind though that in order to offer nutrition services, you do actually need a degree so if you want to get that certificate, you need to graduate officially.

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