MSc Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 150)

Today's clinical nutrition and dietetics experts have an expanding field of career opportunities. For instance, the current rise in lifestyle related conditions and diseases has been identified by international and national government agencies and programmes as requiring nutritional interventions for their prevention and management. The expanding older population requires nutritional care to prevent and manage lifestyle-related conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, frailty, sarcopenia and osteoporosis. The creation of links between nutrition, health and community development provide opportunities for health promotion through nutrition interventions in many community settings, including pre-schools, schools, services for older people and those with disability and mental illness. Within the acute hospital setting, the effective management of chronic and acute medical and surgical conditions and the prevention and treatment of disease-related malnutrition are critical, wherein effective nutritional management is central to reducing the personal and economic costs associated with poor nutrition and health.The importance of nutrition to optimise sports performance is increasingly recognised with many career opportunities in this area.

The MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics is a full-time programme, designed for graduates who wish to develop expertise in areas ranging from the promotion of nutrition and health throughout the lifespan through to the management of clinical nutrition in community, primary care and acute settings. Moreover, practitioners in medicine, nursing, physiotherapy and the other health and social care professions, as well as practitoners in sport and exercise science have a need for evidence-based expertise in nutrition, health promotion and clinical nutrition so that they can manage clients and patients in a manner that permits optimal client/patient outcomes.

At the end of the programme, students will have developed the integrated scientific, clinical, psychological, communication, multidisciplinary team working and professional proficiencies that underpin a career in clinical nutrition and dietetics. The MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics aims to train graduates eligible to apply to the Dietitians Registration Board (CORU) for registration as a dietitian.

Careers & Employability

Graduates with the MSc in Clinical Nutrition Dietetics are well placed to gain employment in the following sectors and agencies:

  • Clinical nutrition & dietetics (hospital and community dietetics)
  • Public health nutrition, government health promotion agencies
  • Clinical nutrition industry (product development, marketing, consumer information)
  • Sports nutrition
  • Teaching opportunities (second or third level)
  • Academic, nutrition and medical research (public and private sectors) 
  • Private practice 

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

  • This full time programme is designed to be completed over two academic years.
  • Lectures and placements normally occur from Monday-Friday.
  • UCD expects that students undertaking the programme are aware of the following:
    • Practice placements are compulsory and may take place throughout the Irish Republic.
    • Placements are unpaid and may require temporary relocation. 
    • Students are responsible for their upkeep, lodging and travel during placements. 
    • Practice placements take place in a variety of different learning environments including community and GP clinics, hospitals, healthcare facilities, large scale catering and nutrition industry environments.
  • Assessment strategies include continuous assessment, assignments, projects, and examinations.
  • Exit routes from this programme include: Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nutrition, Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition, and MSc Health Sciences (Nutrition).
  • Graduates availing of these exit routes will not be eligible to apply to the Dietitians Registration Board (CORU) for registration as a dietitian.  
  • UCD expects that students who register for its programmes are in a position to commit to attendance and being available on scheduled programme, placement and assessment dates. 

The MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics programme aims to provide a postgraduate programme in clinical nutrition and dietetics that will develop competent practitioners in clinical nutrition and dietetics eligible to apply for CORU Dietitian Registration Board registration as Dietitians. Graduates of the programme will have a strong professional identity and understanding of their role in the wider healthcare context and their contribution as part of a multidisciplinary team, and will demonstrate well-developed autonomous learning skills. The educational philosophy of the MSc Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics programme is to provide a stimulating and collaborative educational environment which will build on existing graduate knowledge, skills and attributes. Student learning will be facilitated through a student-centred approach, involving experiential practice placement learning, so that graduates will have the opportunity to develop professional excellence. The curriculum introduces students to core theoretical and professional concepts in clinical nutrition and dietetics and these concepts are returned to at more advanced levels as the programme progresses, allowing students to develop professional proficiency. The programme design is strongly influenced by the current and future needs of clinical nutrition and dietetics practice and by the provision of student-centred learning in an environment where research and scholarship stimulate high achievement and access to cutting edge knowledge.

  1. Meet the standards of proficiency specified by Irish and international regulatory and professional bodies.
  2. Integrate independent, autonomous and problem-solving professional values and skills into daily practice and promote these in a wider societal context.
  3. Act as reflective practitioners and demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning, research and audit within the field of clinical nutrition and dietetics.
  4. Engage with the professional education of students, colleagues and other health professionals to foster an ethos of continuing learning and knowledge sharing.
  5. Acquire the relevant knowledge of underpinning nutrition principles, clinical nutrition and dietetic practice.
  6. Demonstrate professional competence, using an evidence-based approach, in clinical nutrition and dietetic practice within the multidisciplinary healthcare environment.
  7. Competently assess nutritional status, identify the nutrition diagnosis/problem, intervene, monitor and evaluate nutrition and dietetic interventions in patients, clients and groups.
  8. Plan, design, execute and report on a piece of independent research of high scientific merit.

View All Modules Here

Modules include

  • Dietetics through the Lifecycle
  • Dietetics Professional Practice 1 and 2
  • Medicine for Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Nutrition Communication
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Health Promotion
  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • Applied Nutrition for Health, Exercise and Sports Performance
  • Practice Placement
  • Advanced Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
  • International Health in Action

MSc Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics (X820) Full Time
EU          Year 1 - € 14500 zsg
nonEU    Year 1 - € 29100 zsg
EU          Year 2 - € 14500 aa
nonEU    Year 2 - € 29110 aa

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2024 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2023/24
zsgAll students entering X820 or X723, MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, are required to pay a Healthcare Screening Charge on registration €310
***Fees are subject to change

Fees include tuition and examination fees. The fee schedule for all programmes is shown on the UCD Fees website ( and refers to the fee for a single academic year, including the fee schedule for non-EU nationals and the annual fee for the outgoing year.

  • The MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics welcomes International applications.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English and whose primary degree was obtained in a country where English is not the official language of instruction must provide proof of proficiency in English such as IELTS or TOEFL.
  • The original certificate of completion of an English language test must be submitted with the application (IELTS score of 7.0 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.5)
  • Test results must not be more than 2 years old.

  • Applicants should hold a second class honours degree (2.1 or 2.2 in exceptional circumstances e.g. extensive prior clinical experience) or higher in science e.g. biochemistry, food science, human biology, human nutrition, nutritional science, pharmacology, physiology, in health sciences e.g. medicine, nursing or a health and social care profession or in sports performance science.
  • Prior qualifications should include evidence of study of human biochemistry and physiology or other relevant degree discipline from a recognised university.
  • Good communication skills are essential. Candidates may be interviewed.
  • Two references should be included with the online application, one of which should be an academic reference and one an employment-related reference.
  • Garda vetting is required, prior to undertaking practice placements.
  • All students must attend UCD Student Health Services for pre-entry screening and must be compliant with Irish Immunisation Guidelines. All costs associated with health screening and vaccination must be met by the student. 
  • In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route.  Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

  • Please note, the closing date for applications is June 20th

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics (Jan) FT (X820)
2 Years
Full Time

Applicants apply using the UCD online application system. To apply, simply click on and follow the instructions. A non-refundable application fee applies. The application fee is paid online.

1. Why study the MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics in UCD?

The UCD MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics programme was the first graduate programme in dietetics in the Republic of Ireland. The programme was CORU-approved in 2017 and underwent a successful monitoring visit in 2021. Staff working on the programme are nationally and internationally recognised as experts in clinical nutrition and dietetics. The learning environment in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science facilitates students’ development of autonomous and life-long learning skills, professional knowledge and practice, in an evidence-based, research-oriented and international context.


By the end of the programme, students will have developed the integrated scientific, clinical, psychological, communication, multidisciplinary team-working and professional proficiencies that underpin a career in clinical nutrition and dietetics.

Successful graduates are eligible to apply to the Dietitians Registration Board (CORU) for registration as a dietitian. Graduates of the MSc programme are also working as dietitians in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.


In addition, UCD offers brilliant exercise facilities and many healthy eating options on campus making it easy to keep well and stay fit. You can have a busy social life with a student centre, student's union, clubs and societies. UCD also offers comprehensive health services and support for students with disabilities.


2. If I meet the MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics required prerequisites, how am I ranked?

CORU is the regulatory body for the health and social care professions. As well as meeting the prerequisite requirements, applications are scored on criteria agreed by the MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics programme with CORU. These include:

  • Evidence of academic ability.
  • Communication skills: oral and written, as demonstrated in your application. We also reserve the right to call applicants for an interview.
  • Motivation and interest as evidenced by your CV and personal statement.
  • References: at least one academic and one workplace.



3. How long is the programme?

The programme is full-time over 2 years. Students are expected to commit to attendance and being available on scheduled programme, placement and assessment dates.


4. What modules will I cover on the MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics programme?

In Year 1, core modules include:

  • Dietetics Through the Lifecycle
  • Medicine For Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Dietetics Professional Practice 1


You will also take two of the following four modules, depending on your previous qualifications:

  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Nutrition Communication
  • Applied Nutrition for Health, Exercise and Sports Performance
  • Health Promotion


In Year 2, the core modules include:

  • Advanced Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Dietetics Professional Practice 2


You will also take one of the following four options, again depending on your previous experience:

  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • Health Promotion
  • Applied Nutrition for Health, Exercise & Sports Performance
  • International Health in Action


5. Will I do a placement on the MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics programme?

Over the two years of the MSc programme, you will complete 1000 hours of CORU-registered dietitian supervised practice placement education. Students must be successfully Garda vetted and compliant with Irish Health Service Executive health screening and immunisation requirements before starting any placement. Placements are undertaken in a variety of learning environments in which dietitians practise and include hospitals and other healthcare facilities, primary, residential and community care settings, national sporting organisations and the nutrition medical industry. Placements are intended to develop competence to work as a dietitian and are assessed using a competency framework. A mandatory 2-week institutional catering placement to achieve specified catering competencies must also be successfully completed.

  • In Year 1, the placement is focused on the role and competencies of a dietitian working in the non-acute setting and is undertaken between September and December (minimum of 14-15 weeks).
  • In Year 2, placement is focused on acute clinical patient care and is usually undertaken from April to July (minimum of 14 weeks).

Placements are unpaid.


6. What does the MSc Dissertation entail?

The MSc Dissertation is completed in Year 2 of the MSc programme and consists of a 14-week research project relevant to clinical nutrition and dietetics. It is intended to augment skills previously achieved within the academic and work environments.




7. Can I apply to the MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics as an international applicant?

Yes, international students are welcome to apply for a place on the MSc programme providing they meet the prerequisite requirements. If English is not the applicant’s first language, or the primary degree was obtained in a country where English is not the official language, then proof of English language proficiency must be provided with the application. This can be done through IELTS or equivalent. An overall IELTS score of 7.0 is required with no component score below 6.5. The test must be no more than two years old.


8. What should I include in my personal statement?

Your personal statement should summarise how your academic and work-related experiences have provided you with the necessary skills and competencies for a career in dietetics.

Describe how these experiences have contributed to your learning, what you will bring to the MSc programme, and to a career in dietetics. Additional qualifications and/or demonstrating how your work experience has provided you with transferable skills can strengthen your application. Experience may include spending time with a dietitian to gain knowledge about the role of a dietitian or can be demonstrated by volunteering experiences, for example, meals-on-wheels, Laura Lynn, Barretstown Camp, Plate Pals or other volunteer experiences, particularly with older adults and/or with children. The personal statement should be well-structured, approximately 500-600 words and free of spelling and grammatical errors.


9. When is the closing date for applications?

June 20th


10. What are the career opportunities upon completion of the programme

There are many career opportunities for dietitians available. These include:

  • Clinical nutrition, within both the hospital and community settings
  • Public health nutrition and health promotion, often within Government agencies
  • Clinical nutrition industry
  • Nutrition and medical research
  • Food industry
  • Sports nutrition
  • Teaching at second level
  • Academia
  • Private practice