Nutrition and Dietetics – Master of Science

Study Massey’s Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics to learn about the intricacies of and relationships between food, nutrients, health, and disease, and how they can be manipulated to improve health and wellbeing.

Where you can study

Auckland campus

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Not open to international students
Note: Selected entry qualification.

Specialise in Nutrition and Dietetics for your Master of Science at Massey

Note: All Master of Science students specialising in Nutrition and Dietetics need to pass health screening (including full COVID-19 immunisation, see further details below under Entry Requirements) to undertake clinical placements as a requirement of this subject. Currently, some health organisations, especially aged residential care, mental health, and primary care practices require vaccination as a condition of working in their organisation.

Dietetics is the application of nutritional science to providing care to people in health and various disease states.

The Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) provides specialised training in all aspects of nutritional science, including dietetics competencies, the research underpinning current practices, and an excellent understanding of professional and ethical practice.

Dietetics graduates will meet the registration competency requirements of the New Zealand Dietitians Board.

As a registered dietitian (RD), you will be uniquely qualified to translate the latest nutritional science into practical dietary care and advice. Dietitians promote good health, advise about prevention of nutrition-related problems, treat disease, and contribute to research informing evidence-based practice.

You can become a registered dietitian. See the ‘Meeting requirements for industry membership’ section on this page.

Further study

Graduates of the MSc (Nutrition and Dietetics) are eligible to apply for PhD study.

A Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics is a good fit if you:

  • have a passion for food, nutrition and health
  • enjoy working with people
  • want to become a registered dietitian.

Planning information

This qualification is only available for full-time study, and you will enrol into prescribed courses every year. This full-time qualification is completed over 24 months and includes:

  • course work (mostly in your first year)
  • professional dietetics practice training as work integrated learning (mostly in the second year; at least 20 weeks), and
  • research component (thesis - throughout both years).

You will follow a prescribed programme of study, where the courses, training and research components build on one another to achieve the required competencies and skills to comply with the New Zealand Dietitians Board requirements for registration.

Due to the specialised nature of the qualification and requirements of an accredited qualification, some course work and work integrated learning opportunities will be outside of the normal University semester weeks, utilising the full 24 months.

This is an intensive qualification placing high demand on both time commitments and personal resources.

Work integrated learning opportunities may be outside of Auckland, requiring students to travel. Travel and accommodation costs must be paid for by the students. Careful consideration should be given before committing to any part-time work whilst completing this full-time qualification.

A B grade average in your first year is required to be able to progress to the second year.  The second year involves the completion of the research thesis and professional practice components.

Meeting requirements for industry membership

The Massey University MSc (Nutrition and Dietetics) qualification outcomes align with the Professional Standards & Competencies for Dietitians (PSCD). This includes the Code of Ethics & Conduct for Dietitians as prescribed by the Dietitians Board, to ensure that on completion of this qualification, every graduate is competent to practise dietetics across the Scope of Practice for Dietitians in New Zealand.

Become a registered dietitian

Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) graduates will meet the registration competency requirements of the New Zealand Dietitians Board.

As a Registered Dietitian (RD), you will be uniquely qualified to translate the latest nutritional science into practical dietary advice. Dietitians promote good health, advise about prevention of nutrition-related problems, and are able to treat disease and ill health.

Working as part of a community or healthcare team, you will have the opportunity to specialise in areas such as diabetes or paediatrics, or you can employ your skills in the food or sports industries, education, research, or journalism.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Courses you can enrol in

Course planning key

Prerequisites
Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Corequisites
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Restrictions
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Part One

Choose 105 credits from
Course code: 151717 Selected Topics in Public Health Nutrition 15 credits

Public health nutrition is the promotion of good health through the prevention of nutrition-related illness in the population. This course will examine a selection of nutrition-related public health problems and describe how research-based evidence is used to develop effective promotion strategies.

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Course code: 151741 Research Methods and Statistics for Dietetics 15 credits

Quantitative and qualitative research design, methods, approaches including statistical analysis in human nutrition and dietetics as applicable in a variety of groups and settings. Topics will include epidemiological and ethnographic approaches, assessment of food, nutrient and energy intakes, energy expenditure, body composition, biomarkers, eating habits, food behaviour, and dietary practices.

Restrictions: 151708, 151709, 117709

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Course code: 151742 Nutrients for Health and Disease 15 credits

Investigate relationships between nutrient intakes and health status, using an evidence-based approach to enable substantiation of recommendations. Critical examination of legal, ethical and scientific principles of dietitian prescribing practice pertaining to special foods, nutrients and supplements. Students will develop competence within the dietitian prescriber scope.

Restrictions: 151718, 151719

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Course code: 151743 Foodservice Management 15 credits

An introduction to the operational aspects of food service systems, principles of management and their application to food service to optimise nutrition, health and well-being. Students will develop practical skills within various food service systems as well as managerial skills to optimise service quality.

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Course code: 151744 Medical Nutrition Therapy 1 15 credits

A focus on medical nutrition therapy to improve the nutritional status / well-being of individuals and groups within clinical, community or public health settings. Forming the foundation for safe and effective practice within the core dietetic practice context of medical nutrition therapy, investigating all aspects of nutrition-related diseases – from aetiology to therapy.

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Course code: 151745 Medical Nutrition Therapy 2 15 credits

Building on the content of Medical Nutrition Therapy 1, this course focuses on medical nutrition therapy to improve the nutritional status / well-being of individuals and groups within clinical, community or public health settings. It will form the foundation for safe and effective practice within the core dietetic practice context of medical nutrition therapy, investigating all aspects of nutrition-related diseases – from aetiology to therapy.

Prerequisites: 151744

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Course code: 151746 Communications in Dietetic Practice 15 credits

This course introduces the theory and practice of communication approaches and strategies in the professional work environment, emphasising successful communication in a range of contexts including individual counselling, small group education, community consultation, within a management or media perspective, and presentation to any audience. Communication management and learning theory and skills will be examined and applied through practical examples and assessment tasks.

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Part Two

Choose 135 credits from
Course code: 151750 Professional Dietetic Practice 45 credits

This course comprises the total extent of professional dietetic practice to acquire practical training and experience within the three domains of dietetic practice as specified by the professional accrediting body. Experienced practitioners will supervise students in a variety of settings including hospitals, community health centres, industry and public health services where their skills and competencies will be developed in a range of areas.

Prerequisites: 151717, 151743, 151744, 151746

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Course code: 151891 Thesis 90 Credit Part 1 45 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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Course code: 151892 Thesis 90 Credit Part 2 45 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

Corequisites: 151891

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Course code: 151895 Thesis 90 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

This is a selected entry qualification. This means there are a number of extra requirements you must meet.

To enter the Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics), you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, or equivalent, with a minimum B average in the majoring 300-level courses, or
  • the Bachelor of Science with Honours, in the intended MSc subject, having achieved a B grade average over the contributing courses and a B grade in an approved research methods course, or
  • the Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology in the intended MSc subject, having achieved a B grade average over the contributing courses and a B grade in an approved research methods course, or
  • the Postgraduate Certificate in Science and Technology in the intended MSc subject, having achieved a B grade average over the contributing courses and a B grade in an approved research methods course. and
  • you will meet all the requirements of the New Zealand Dietitians Board for registration as an entry-level dietitian in terms of good character and fitness to be a dietitian.

Equivalent qualifications will be determined independently by considering whether you have successfully completed the required prerequisite knowledge. For equivalency, the qualification must include all of the following prerequisite subject areas:

At least four human nutrition majoring courses, with at least three at third year level:

  • First and second year biochemistry
  • First and second year physiology
  • Food chemistry.

For each intake, subject to availability, places will be reserved for Massey University students who meet a GPA of 6 (B+ grade average) and above as well as other entry requirements.

An offer made for a place in the qualification is only valid for the particular application year, therefore deferment is not possible and you must apply again.

Documents you will need to supply to support your application:

  • verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University
  • a copy of your current curriculum vitae (CV) (including your relevant training and experience, and a current photo)
  • a personal statement/cover letter
  • a short summary of your research interests (200 words or less)
  • contact details of two referees (one work, one academic)
  • a completed police vetting form.

If selected for an interview you will be required to attend in person or on zoom in early December at Massey University’s campus in Albany (Auckland).

Any offer of place on the programme is conditional on:

  • passing the police vetting check and health screening (including full COVID-19 immunisation)
  • availability of clinical placements.

See below for more details.

Application closing date

Applications for this qualification close on 1 November, for all students to study in the following year.

There is only one intake at the start of each year, but applications are open throughout the year for future intakes.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards for postgraduate study.

The New Zealand Dietitians Board has additional English language requirements for registration (refer to their website).

Current curriculum vitae

This is a document of approximately three pages documenting your relevant training, experience and professional memberships, including a current photo.  Please include all work and volunteer experience.

Personal statement/cover letter

This is a one page document explaining why you would like to become a dietitian and why you chose the Massey University Dietetics qualification. List any personal characteristics you have that demonstrate your suitability.

Referees

We require two people who can act as referees for you and who are able to provide informed responses on your personal suitability for the qualification. They should know you well in relation to your professional potential as a registered dietitian.  One referee must be able to comment on your academic suitability, ie a lecturer from your most recent academic course.  The other referee should be someone who has known you for one year or more in the capacity of employer, educator, work colleague or person of community standing, ie Kaumatua, Minister or similar. This referee should not be a friend, flatmate, relative or someone who has not known you for at least a year. The information your referee supplies is confidential to those involved in the selection process. You will need to provide their full name, email, telephone number, organisation, position and relationship to yourself.

Health and disability

If you disclose any disability, health or personal information as part of your application, this will be assessed during the selection process and is confidential to the University staff processing your application.

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

Graduates are eligible to apply to be registered with the New Zealand Dietitians 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.

Working as part of a community or healthcare team, you will have the opportunity to specialise in areas such as diabetes or paediatrics, or apply your skills in the food or sports industries, education, research, or journalism. Career opportunities include:

  • clinical dietetics (e.g. hospitals, clinics, private practice)
  • community dietetics (e.g. marae, public health, rest homes, schools)
  • consultancy and private practice
  • management or research and development roles in food companies and food industry
  • food service management
  • industry (e.g. corporate health and wellness)
  • health promotion or public health agencies (e.g. NZ Ministry Of Health, NZ Heart Foundation)
  • media (e.g. publications, television, marketing)
  • medical nutritional companies (e.g. nutrition and dietetics advisor, nutritional representative)
  • research and education
  • sports and exercise nutrition (e.g. elite and recreational sports teams, fitness industry).

DietitiansNZ is a professional association that represents dietitians practising in diverse areas of dietetics.

“I would recommend studying at Massey University due to the high level of support, guidance and valuable expertise from staff from both the academic and practical placement setting. I am now in a career where I feel I am making a true difference to the nutrition and health of the community.”
Dushanka Hettige

Clinical Dietitian at Capital and Coast DHB: Based in ICU, medical oncology, haematology and renal.

Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)

“I have gained evidence-based nutrition knowledge, and learnt one of the most important skills in life - reflective practice - which helps me keep growing, professionally and personally.”
Andrew Xia

Specialist Critical Care and Surgical Dietitian at Middlemore Hospital, Counties Manukau Health, Auckland

Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) - First Class Honours

“The theoretical and practical components developed my nutrition and dietetics skills, along with critical thinking, problem solving and communication. The placements gave me experience in different areas of practice, and great contacts.”
Dayna Stockley

Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)

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