Bachelor of Science (Human Nutrition)

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Turn your passion into your profession with nutrition at Massey

If you are passionate about food and nutrition and want to learn more about the science of how what you eat affects health, then Massey’s BSc (Human Nutrition) is for you.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Science parent structure

What is it like?

Nutrition has become one of the key issues facing society. Knowledge about human nutrition and the application of this knowledge are essential elements in maintaining a healthy society.

Human nutrition is a progressive, multi-disciplinary science requiring knowledge ranging from nutrient supply and metabolic processing by the body to psychosocial and behavioural factors influencing diet. The human nutrition major is designed to give you a clear understanding of basic nutritional principles.

Areas covered in your Bachelor of Science (Human Nutrition) include the composition of food, human requirements for nutrients, and how the body processes food and nutrients.

The programme also highlights the physiological changes that occur as a result of excesses or deficiencies of various nutrients in the diet, as well as the changes in nutritional needs from conception through birth, growth, adulthood, and ageing. You’ll gain an understanding of factors that influence food choice and awareness of practices to promote dietary change.


Some of the topics taught in human nutrition courses include:

  • Food chemistry
  • Nutrition and metabolism
  • Maternal, child and adolescent nutrition
  • Food choice
  • Adult nutrition
  • Human lifecycle physiology
  • Sport/performance nutrition

Help ensure that New Zealanders - and people all over the world - are healthy

With Massey’s BSc (Human Nutrition) you’ll gain an integrated understanding of nutrition, biochemistry and physiology all related to the human body.

This will give you the basis of knowledge required for enhancing health and fitness in individuals of all ages, and in groups and communities. The major will provide training in practical skills such as dietary assessment and body composition assessment and general skills required for critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication. With this knowledge you’ll be able to work at promoting good nutritional practices to individuals, communities and industry. In addition to the professional skills you’ll gain, the programme provides an excellent general education in how diet contributes to optimal personal health and well-being.

A career that makes a difference

You will receive training in practical skills such as dietary assessment and body composition assessment, as well as transferable skills required for critical thinking, problem-solving and effective communication.

This will prepare you for a career where you can make a difference to individuals and your community, and contribute to improvements in the population’s health. Nutrition is increasingly relevant in today’s society and your skills will be in demand. The availability of suitably qualified human nutritionists contributes to the economic viability of New Zealand as a food-producing and exporting nation.

Nutritionists will also play increasingly important roles in the public health sector as the move towards health promotion continues.

As well as the professional skills you will gain, the BSc (Human Nutrition) gives you an excellent general education in how diet contributes to your own optimal personal health and wellbeing.

Only offering in the North Island

Massey University in Auckland and Palmerston North are the only places where you can study a specialised human nutrition major in the North Island.

First-class facilities; top lecturers

Benefit from a range of first-class facilities for study and research, including the only two Bod Pods in New Zealand and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) equipment for measuring bone density and body composition.

Your lecturers are highly qualified and have specialist research interests ranging from public health nutrition and nutrition through the lifecycle to cellular mechanisms and nutrient metabolism.

Choose when, where and what you study

You can choose from full-time or part-time study and even take some first year courses by distance learning, so you can combine your studies with work and other commitments. Nutrition courses can also be taken as electives or for personal interest.

Loads of flexibility

The human nutrition major can be taken as a double major by combining with other disciplines such as exercise and sport science, biochemistry, physiology or other biosciences so you have loads of choice. You can also take a minor in another subject to broaden your expertise. In your first year, you’ll take courses common to all these disciplines so you maintain a lot of flexibility. In your third year, courses for the major in human nutrition are highly specialised, but you’ll still be able to explore advanced study in other relevant areas.

Future pathways

Take your degree into a number of organisations or progress on to more specialised areas in the Master of Science, including our limited entry nutrition and dietetics programme in Auckland.

A good fit if you:

  • Enjoy working with people
  • Have a passion for nutrition
  • Are fascinated by the relationships between food, nutrients, health and disease
  • Are curious about what makes your body tick
Carmel Trubuhovich
Bachelor of Science (Human Nutrition and Physiology)
Nutritionist, New Zealand Nutrition Foundation

“I really liked the smaller classes and how the lecturers get to know you…”

I have always been very passionate about food and how it is essential for good health. I wanted to find a way to turn my passion into something that can benefit others, so I decided to study Human Nutrition and Physiology.

I found the programme challenging, but all that hard work makes the reward of graduating even better.

One of the most important skills I learned during my studies was critical evaluation, essential in the public health and nutrition industry as there is a huge amount of misinformation being published every day and a large part of what we all do here at the Nutrition Foundation is to provide the public with information based on scientific research.

I really enjoyed studying at Massey. The Albany campus is such a nice campus with great facilities. It’s easy to get to and you have to love the free parking! I really liked the smaller classes and how the lecturers get to know you. It makes it easier to ask for support if you need it.

My suggestion to future students is to work hard and do as much volunteer work as you can before you graduate so you can gain some confidence and make great industry contacts.

Also, subscribe to any relevant blogs, newsletters and websites so that you keep up-to-date on the latest industry happenings as it changes fast!


Qualified human nutritionists contribute to the economic viability of New Zealand as a food producing and exporting nation - they are essential in maintaining the health of our society at minimum cost. Human nutritionists can work with organisations such as Crown Research Institutes, in the dairy industry, and many other food-related companies. Graduates will also play increasingly important roles in the public health sector as the move towards health promotion continues.

There is a wide range of career opportunities for human nutrition graduates, including:

  • Health promotion/public health agencies (e.g District Health Boards, Ministry of Health, NZ Heart Foundation)
  • Sports and exercise nutrition (e.g. elite and recreational sports teams, fitness industry)
  • Research in universities and Crown Research Institutes (such as AgResearch, Plant and Food Research)
  • Secondary and tertiary educational institutions
  • Consultancy and private practice
  • Food companies and food industry
  • Government adviser on policy, education, nutrition and physical activity
  • Industry (e.g. corporate health and wellness, private consulting)
  • Media (e.g. writing publications, television, marketing)
  • Medical nutritional companies (e.g. nutrition advisor, nutritional representative)
  • International relief work

Our graduates have internationally marketable skills. Many spend time outside New Zealand, working or furthering their studies.

After five years in a nutrition-related occupation, graduates can apply to the Nutrition Society of New Zealand for professional accreditation as a Registered Nutritionist. If successful, you can append the title RegNut(NZ) after your name.

Many students go on to complete a postgraduate qualification, such as the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Human Nutrition) or a Master of Science in either Human Nutrition or Nutrition and Dietetics. This allows you to specialise for various working environments.

Students who continue their studies to the MSc in Nutrition & Dietetics, are eligible to apply to be registered with the New Zealand Dietetics Board to practise as a dietitian in New Zealand (NZRD), and will become eligible to apply for registration in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Dieticians can be found working in hospitals or health clinics providing meal plans and nutrition counselling, and also in food services within hospitals, prisons and hostels.

Join the engine of the new New Zealand

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