Dietetics and Nutrition

QMU is a leading provider of courses in dietetics and nutrition, and at postgraduate level we offer an MSc Dietetics and an MSc Public Health Nutrition.

An understanding of the nutritional status of the individual is of key importance in the ongoing quest to develop a healthier population, both in Scotland and the wider world. Therefore it is essential to have a provision of care that can both reduce the occurrence of the major diseases and improve the quality of life of those who have, in some cases, a severely debilitating illness. It is to this end that the education and training of both public health nutritionists and dietitians, respectively, is essential. The link between promoting a better understanding of the importance of nutrition, in both healthy individuals and those suffering from a specific illness, is obvious. That is why one of the key strengths of the teaching at Queen Margaret University is the shared, core teaching in which both groups of students can engage.

Why QMU?

The Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences (DNBS) subject area has an established reputation for high-quality teaching and research. Similarly, our achievements in research and other scholarly activities have been recognised in national research assessments. Students are at the core of our priorities, and we aim to enrich both the teaching and the academic environment for them. We emphasise development of independence and effective group-working in students while offering the academic and personal support to help individuals fulfil their full potential. We aim to be flexible and responsive to the requirements of our students.

Professional links

Our proximity to Edinburgh city centre positions us close to many of the leading players in both national and local government, as well as many large hospitals, companies, research laboratories, and government offices. The link to our hospital partners across Scotland is essential to ensure that our dietetic students have access to the high-quality placement experiences that are at the core of their training with us. The staff within the Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological sciences subject area have very close links with the dietetic profession across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Regarding public health nutrition, the high number of policy and decision makers who are found in the Edinburgh area, together with many local community nutrition projects, offers the ideal setting in which to provide a teaching environment for our public health nutrition students.

Our approach to learning and teaching

At postgraduate level, we appreciate that you will come to us with a whole host of skills and knowledge that you have acquired from a previous undergraduate degree or work experience. We anticipate that you will draw on your previous knowledge and skills to enhance both your learning and that of your fellow students. Our courses are taught by a variety of methods including lectures, seminars and tutorials. We believe that as a student you will benefit from a variety of interesting ways to learn, participate and share experiences and opinions with classmates. One of the key aspects of our teaching methods is to provide the ideal environment to enhance the critical analysis and reflective skills of our student group.


The students studying on the postgraduate dietetics and public health nutrition courses have access to a number of specialist areas to enhance their learning experience, including a postgraduate area in the learning resource centre, and a clinical skills laboratory.


In the recent national research excellence framework, our joint submission with rehabilitation sciences showed our research to be rated as world leading, internationally excellent, and/or internationally recognised. Research conducted in clinical nutrition and biological sciences is both basic and applied. Since it is well established that the quality of the diet impacts on both development and progression of disease, we investigate how food modifies the risk of diet-related disorders and physiological impairment. For example, we have been exploring the increasing prevalence of coeliac disease in adolescence, the impact of food texture on appetite and nutritional status of older people and of children with cancer, and how this can be improved. We are also investigating the use of functional foods to optimise dietary intake. Our knowledge exchange activities have indentified potential sources of antioxidents and novel ways to introduce them into the diet.

Dietetics, Nutrition, Biological Sciences (DNBS) staff have a broad range of expertise which support research activity, teaching and knowledge exchange and these include:

■ Body composition;

■ Dietary assessment;

■ Microbiology;

■ Physiological and metabolic measurements and

■ Steroid hormone analysis and identification.


Currently the staffing complement which constitutes the core teaching team includes three registered nutritionists, four registered dietitians and seven biological scientists. Of the 12 members of academic staff within DNBS, 10 have PhDs, one has an MSc, and one is currently registered for an MSc. Technical support staff also contribute significantly to the successful provision of the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum delivery by facilitating laboratory and workshop provision.

All subjects are taught by staff with relevant subject and specialist knowledge and expertise. Relevant aspects of teaching are carried out by public health nutritionists, dietitians, biological scientists and other healthcare professionals who have relevant experience in the area being taught.

In addition to teaching, the core staffing complement in DNBS are active researchers which enhances the student learning experience. Research-teaching linkages are a considerable strength of all courses delivered by DNBS and this can be demonstrated through the integration of research into the curriculum including the dissertation component of the courses. DNBS is also one of the most successful subject areas within QMU for educating postgraduate research students to PhD level.


Find out more information on how to apply for a course at QMU.

Dietetics and Nutrition at QMU