Massey University Nutrition

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.

First-class facilities and 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.

Research expertise


Consumer interest in improving health and performance with foods containing bioactive ingredients is growing. Our research demonstrates the health benefits of bioactive ingredients (eg, antioxidants and probiotics) and foods (eg, milk, fermented products, fruits, beverages) in both animal models and in humans as well as investigating their mechanisms of action. We examine the bioactive effects on immune function, resistance to infection, blood pressure, diabetes, prediabetes, cognitive function, sports performance and other health measures.


Dietetics and clinical nutrition

We conduct research in a variety of settings including hospitals, residential care and the wider community. Research Dietitians must be able to measure food and nutrient intake with precision in order to evaluate how health and risk for disease are influenced by diet. We use different nutrition assessment methods to better understand the impact of diseases and to design interventions that enhance length and quality of life. We explore eating behaviours and food and nutrient intakes to develop national and international guidelines for nutrition and dietetic practice. ####Contact

Human lifecycle nutrition

The unique nutritional demands at each stage of the lifecycle is the focus of this field of research in the nutritional sciences. Massey University researchers study nutrition of infants, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, adults of all sizes and older people. Researchers also carry out community-based studies to identify at-risk populations and to develop novel intervention strategies.


Human nutrition and bone and joint health

Dietary factors, such as dairy foods and micronutrients or lipids can affect bone health and joint cartilage. Our staff use a range of research technologies to determine the effect of dietary factors on bone health and cartilage degradation.


Milk quality and composition

A cross-disciplinary team of Massey scientists is researching milk quality, composition and health benefits for humans.


Nutrient metabolism and metabolic health

Implicit in the goal of achieving optimal health and wellbeing is an understanding of how our bodies absorb and metabolise nutrients from our diets. We use human, animal and cell studies to investigate the physiological response to dietary modifications and to understand underlying mechanisms that lead to good health outcomes. We are particularly interested in new pathway to obesity prevention and metabolic health. We explore dietary approaches for the prevention of common diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.


Nutrition and physical activity

We focus on the nutritional requirements of physical activity and sport training. We evaluate the effects of diet modification or supplementation strategies on the performance of the physically active recreational athlete and the elite athlete. Our researchers also explore the relationship between diet, physical activity, the living environment, metabolic health and rehabilitation outcomes in diseases such as type-2 diabetes and vitamin deficiency.


Public health nutrition

Promoting and maintaining the nutritional health of populations is fundamental for the social, cultural, and economic wellbeing of communities. We seek to understand the complex relationship between diet, the food environment and determinants of health to plan, implement and evaluate nutrition promotion strategies that reduce inequity in health outcomes, and improve population health status. Our researchers apply skills in dietary assessment and surveillance, food systems analysis and development to support improved population health and wellbeing.


Contact us

Academic advising is primarily about establishing a good fit between you as an individual and a particular programme of study. We would like to help you make the right decisions. There are people who can give you the academic advice you need to meet your personal study goals.

Massey University Contact Centre

Our Contact Centre will provide information about Massey University programmes and courses and can direct you to additional help. You can contact one of our friendly staff by email, fax, phone, live chat, using an online form or visit one of our campuses.

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Telephone: 0800 MASSEY (0800 627 739) 
Telephone (from outside NZ): +64 6 350 5701 
Facsimile: +64 6 350 5618 
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Online form: Information request form 
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Academic Advice

Contact an adviser from our Student Advice and Information Unit to get all the information you need on your study and any programmes and courses you are interested in. This includes advice on progress to completion, graduation, credit for previous study, changing programmes, progression between qualifications, as well as advice on planning and sequencing your course choices.

For academic advice please use the contact details above and the Massey University Contact Centre will arrange for an adviser to assist you further.