Skip to main content


NUT3004 : Selected Topics in Food and Human Nutrition

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Thomas Hill
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


i) To encourage students to develop a critical approach to the analysis of dogma and to the resolution of controversies. To enhance the student's ability to acquire, assess and communicate complex information both orally and in written forms appropriate to the audience. To provide in-depth exposure to current research in the areas of food and human nutrition.

ii) To encourage students to develop knowledge and understanding of a broad range of current issues relating to the area of Food & Human Nutrition that impact on human health, the food industry, and society. To encourage the development of skills in the assessment, and written communication, of complex information.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is divided into two integrated parts:

1. The first part uses a didactic approach. It will be based on case-studies, seminars, and assignments and will focus on new research, current official publications and controversial topics in the field of food and human nutrition. The module will provide a balance of subject matter representing the breadth of the degree programme.

The subject material will be chosen from a range of topics which are considered as ‘hot topics’ in the nutrition field, such as:

- Recent research on e.g. gene: nutrient interactions and the role of specific foods or nutrients in health and disease; their implications for both the food industry and public health policies.
- Novel food products and processes e.g. genetically-engineered plants and animals and development of modified fats and carbohydrates with specific technical or organoleptic properties.

Exposure to high level research: Students will attend a relevant meeting of a Learned Society or visit organisations with remits in food and human nutrition to hear from and meet leading scientists and to discuss current research issues.

Each student will be expected to prepare a written case study from a topic of choice from the conference

2. The second part of the module contains a non-taught component for aggregated assessment at the end of Semester 2. The purpose of this part of the module is to assess students’ cross-modular understanding of learning material across the field of Food & Human Nutrition.

There is no specific syllabus for this part of the module. Students will be guided on the purposes of the module, and the need to integrate material learned across the whole degree programme, in particular those topics taught at Stage 3.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Revision for a completion of Semester 2 examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Preparation for individual written report
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Non-sync online. Pre-recorded research seminars on range of contemporary topics - external speakers
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00Reading and research using key materials provided for examination
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading122:0022:00Reflection and additional reading based on material provided at conference
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching82:0016:00PIP - Selected seminars on a range of topics
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching22:004:00PIP - Tutorial to provide guidance on assignment and examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Attendance at full day online conference
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00Students read widely and develop broad understanding integrating materials from relevant sources
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module builds on (1) A set of specialized and relevant seminars delivered by key teaching staff in Food and Human Nutrition (assessed by a written exam) and (2) student attendance at national or international nutrition conference based in the UK which delivers key information relevant to the subject and provides information upon which the students can extend their learning by private study using on-line resources provided (assessed by preparing a scientific briefing paper).

This module strongly emphasises independent, private study by students.
Students will assimilate and integrate material learned across all of the modules in the Food & Human Nutrition degree programme, especially at Stage 3.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A60Invigilated exam: 2 from 6 questions. Exam divided into two equally weighted parts.1 hour per question
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M40Written individual conference briefing paper 8 pages plus executive summary
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment of a briefing paper building on topics covered at the conference are designed to test students' abilities to integrate material across module boundaries to develop understanding in selected fast developing topics and to present complex and conflicting information clearly in a written form.

2 from 6 questions. The exam will be divided into two equally weighted parts.

Part 1 (1 from 3 questions) will assess knowledge and understanding of the seminars delivered as part of the module.

Part 2 (1 from 3 questions) will assess the student's ability to integrate subject material across the degree programme.

The examination tests the ability of students to:
(1) critically discuss a range of pertinent topics delivered in the seminars and
(2) integrate material across the field of Food & Human Nutrition, and to present the material in a coherent and structured manner.

The examination is scheduled for 120 minutes, with 2 questions from a wide selection of topics. This allows the students time to develop the content of the answer and to demonstrate the breadth of their knowledge and understanding of the material and their ability to draw conclusions which are justified by the evidence base.

Public Health contingency:
The exam will move to 24h take home, 2 essay questions 750 words per question.

Reading Lists