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Frequently asked questions

Nutrition and dietetics students

General FAQs

What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

In Australia there is a distinction made between dietitians and nutritionists in the nutrition and food science field.

The clinical management of patients is what distinguishes the dietitian from a recognised nutritionist (Health Workforce Australia 2014). A recognised nutritionist will be trained in human nutrition but will not have undertaken the substantial coursework, professional practice placements or assessment in medical nutrition therapy and food service management. Recognised nutritionists are primarily employed in health promotion, community education roles and public health roles with a focus on preventing nutrition-related diseases and conditions. A dietitian may refer to themselves as a nutritionist to reflect their broader, non-clinical role, but a nutritionist cannot use the title ‘dietitian’ (Lindemann, Wray & Matwiejczyk 2016).

The Bachelor of Human Nutrition and the combined degree (Bachelor Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science) will prepare you to become a nutritionist. For those wanting to specialise further into dietetics there is the opportunity to apply for transfer into the Bachelor Nutrition & Dietetics after second year or apply for the Masters Nutrition & Dietetics on graduation.

 

If I want to specialise with a post-graduate qualification, what are my options?

It’s difficult to know what we want to do as a career. The Bachelor of Human Nutrition and the combined degree (Bachelor Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science) qualifies you to work within nutrition but also gives you the option of continuing your study into a specialization. On completion of the Bachelor of Human Nutrition, graduates can apply to enter a range of Master courses. These include: Masters Nutrition & Dietetics, Master Teaching (Secondary), Master Public Health and the Graduate Medical Program. With the Master Teaching (Secondary) graduates can specialize in nutrition which is taught in Years 10-12. With the combined degree (Bachelor Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science), you can apply continue into the same range of Master degrees plus the Master of Exercise Physiology, Master of Physiotherapy and the Master of Occupational Therapy.

Graduates for all of our dietetic and nutrition degrees can also continue into Honours and higher research degrees. Nutrition & Dietetics is at the forefront of nutrition research in Australia and overseas, and is ranked above world standard in the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia rankings.

Can I apply to enter the Bachelor Nutrition and Dietetics?

Bachelor of Human Nutrition students and students doing the combined degree (Bachelor Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science) will obtain the required pre-requisites to apply for lateral transfer to the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics on completion of two years (72 units). Bachelor of Human Nutrition graduates and Bachelor Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science students will also be eligible to apply for entry to the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics on graduation. These are all competitive entry.

 

Where and how do I apply?

Australian Citizen/Permanent Resident Students

Applications are online through SATAC . Closing dates are also published online.

Applications for BND Year 3 entry are managed internally through the Office of Student Recruitment

 

International students

All international applications are through the Flinders University International Centre.

Nutrition and Dietetics

1. What do I have to do to become a dietitian?

You need to complete either an undergraduate or postgraduate university degree that is accredited by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).  Flinders runs two courses that are accredited by the DAA and will qualify you to practice as a dietitian.

  • Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (BND)
    • Four years full-time
    • HECS-HELP available
      Entry from school OR after no more than two years of tertiary study OR via Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) pathways
    • Entry by lateral transfer into Year 3 (after completion of two years of approved tertiary study at Flinders University or Charles Darwin University).
  • Master of Nutrition and Dietetics (MND)
    • Two years full-time
    • HECS-HELP available
    • Entry after completion of a tertiary degree which includes pre-requisite topics.
2. What do I have to do to get into the BND?

Option 1 - Completed high school

You can apply for entry directly from school after completing SACE Stage 2 studies or the International Baccalaureate or the interstate/overseas equivalent. Applicants who have completed higher education subjects as part of the SACE (or equivalent) are eligible to apply.  There are no pre-requisites but you will probably need an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) score greater than 90 to get a place.  You should also be aware that you need to do Biology and Chemistry in Year 1 of the course.  You do not need to have done them at school but nutrition and dietetics includes quite a bit of science so it is important that you are interested in and have reasonable aptitude for the biological sciences.  The first priority is to get the highest ATAR possible.

Applicants into the BND will have the option of sitting the Unitest and using the results of the Unitest +ATAR to be ranked for entry into the BND.  A small number of places have been set aside for students using this application process.  Applicants will still need a good ATAR to achieve a good ranking.  If applicants have a strong ATAR and the Unitest result does not improve their ranking, then Admissions office will use their ATAR only. 

Option 2 - Not completed high school

For applicants who have not completed SACE Stage 2 studies, there are a number of alternative pathways for consideration into the first year of the BND.

  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) - please refer to the South Australian Tertiary Admission Centre (SATAC) Guide for eligibility or contact (08) 8224 4000 or go to www.satac.edu.au (note we have a place each year reserved for a special entry candidate)

  • Flinders Foundation Studies Program is a preparation program for undergraduate degrees at Flinders . Please contact Admissions/Prospective Students on (08) 8201 3074 / 1300 354 633  (local call cost) or go to www.flinders.edu.au/foundation

Option 3 - Commenced tertiary study

Applicants who have done no more than two years of tertiary study (including Bachelor degrees from TAFE or RTOs) can apply to enter the BND at Year 1 on the basis of their ATAR score. These applications will compete with those applying directly from school.

Option 4 - Completed two years of relevant study

Applicants who have undertaken two years of full-time study at Flinders University or Charles Darwin University will be eligible to apply for transfer into the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics and commence at Year 3 if they have completed the necessary pre-requisites outlined in the table below.

If you have completed your undergraduate degree you are no longer eligible for entry to the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics. You should apply to enter the Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics at Flinders University.

You will need to achieve a good credit Grade Point Average (≥5/7=≥65%) to be competitive for a place in the course at Year 3 entry and you must meet all biochemistry, human physiology and tertiary level nutrition topic pre-requisites as outlined below:

FLINDERS UNIVERSITY: BACHELOR OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS PROGRAM OF PRE-REQUISITES (YEAR 1 & 2)
 Year 1  Topic Description  Year 2  Topic Description
 Sem 1    Sem 1  
 BIOL1102  Molecular Basis of Life  BIOL2771  Biochemistry
Select either CHEM1101 or CHEM1201  MMED2931  Human Physiology
Select either MMED1005 or HLTH1004    NUTD2102  Food Products and Preparation
     NUTD2105  Individual, Social and Environmental  Perspectives on Food Consumption
 Sem 2    Sem 2  
 NUTD1105  Food Systems  MMED2932  Integrative Human Physiology
 NUTD1106  Nutrition, Physical Activity & Health  MMED3933  Biochemistry of Human Disease
 Select either CHEM1102 or CHEM1202  NUTD2101  Nutrition Across the Lifecycle
 HLTH2102  Indigenous Health for Health Practitioners    

CHARLES DARWIN UNIVERSITY: BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (NUTRITION) PROGRAM OF PRE-REQUISITES (YEAR 1 & 2)

 Year 1  Topic Description  Year 2  Topic Description
  Summer Semester SBI172 Anatomy and Physiology 2
 Sem 1    Sem 1  
 NUTD1101 The Australian Table- An Introduction to Food and Food Culture (FU)  NUR231  Challenge & Response to Body Integrity 1

 SCH104

 

 SCH101

Introductory Chemistry A

or

Chemical Concepts

 SBI245  Biochemistry
 SBI171  Anatomy and Physiology 1  NUTD2105*   Individual, Social and Environmental  Perspectives on Food Consumption
 CUC107  Cultural Intelligence and Capability  HSC203  Indigenous Health Perspectives
 Sem 2    Sem 2  
 SBI105  The Life of Cells  NUR241  Challenge & Response to Body Integrity 2
 SCH102  Organic and Inorganic Chemistry  NUTD2101*  Nutrition Across the Lifecycle (FU)
 NUTD1105*  Food Systems  NUTD2102*  Food Products & Preparation (FU)
 NUTD1106*  Nutrition, Physical Activity & Health  PHA311  Clinical Biochemistry
 * Flinders external unit    
3.  What do I have to do to get into the MND?

For students applying to enter the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics course you must hold an approved Bachelor degree or an equivalent qualification that includes the following pre-requisites:

  • at least the equivalent of 13.5 Flinders units across the course of their undergraduate program in human nutrition and food science topics in the areas of basic nutrition principles, life-cycle nutrition and food science
  • at least the equivalent of 9 Flinders units of human biology topics studied at a first year leve
  • at least the equivalent of 9 Flinders units of chemistry topics studied at a first year level
  • at least the equivalent of 9 Flinders units in human biochemistry topics studied at second year level
  • at least the equivalent of 9 Flinders units in human physiology topics studied at second year level
  • a minimum of credit average (ie ≥5/7=≥65%).

Applicants will be ranked for admission on the basis of their GPA.

The Faculty Board may however, under certain circumstances and subject to specific conditions, admit others who can show evidence of fitness for candidature.

 

4.  Will having Honours or another degree help?

Yes, but the main criteria for selection is your Grade Point Average. If you have completed more than one undergraduate degree then it will be your highest Grade Point Average that will be considered.

 

5.  Can I get in if I am a mature age student and/or do not have any previous tertiary experience?

We welcome mature age students who have had a range of relevant work experience and will add some points to your ranking score to acknowledge this experience (Q4).  If you have a previous degree with the appropriate pre-requisites you would be eligible to apply for the MND. There is no restriction if your degree was completed some time ago. We would be happy to recommend some texts and encourage you to brush up on your human physiology, biochemistry and nutrition before you start the course.

Generally it is easier to get into the Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition stream) course at Flinders University and mature age students starting university and studying for the first time are encouraged to seek entry to this course and then apply for tertiary transfer into Year 3 of BND after completing Year 2.

 

6.  What can I do if I have a science-based degree but do not have the appropriate pre-requisites?

If you have a Science degree or similar, you may build on your existing human physiology, biochemistry and nutrition topics on a non-award basis. You will be required to pay up-front fees for non-award topics but you will be issued with a formal transcript. Be sure to include these topics on your application form so that we can see that you meet the pre-requisites but, they are not counted in your Grade Point Average. Contact the Flinders University Enrolments Services Enquires on 1300 354 633 for more information.

 

7. Are the courses available part-time or off-campus mode?

The BND course must be undertaken on a full-time basis. In exceptional circumstances the Course Coordinator may approve part-time study in the first 2 years. The MND is only available on a full-time basis.  The courses are not available in distance or off-campus mode.

 

8.  Can I defer?

Courses may NOT be deferred.

 

9. How are the courses different?

Because both courses will qualify you to work as a dietitian or a nutritionist, the courses run in parallel and there is overlap between the courses, particularly in BND Year 3 and MND Year 1.  However in the final year the Masters students undertake a research project and/or may have an opportunity to select electives in particular areas of relevance to nutrition and dietetics practice.

BND students will undertake a Research Methods topic but generally will not have the opportunity to do any actual research. The exception to this is if you are accepted into the BND Honours program which involves a 24 week research placement in an extended Year 4.  Graduates from the MND or BND (Honours) may enrol directly into a PhD and will be competitive for a stipend if a Grade Point Average of 75% or better is achieved.

 

10. What is the structure of the course?

The first two years of the BND include the basic science and nutrition topics and are mainly completed in the School of Biological Science and the School of Health Sciences with the opportunity for some electives in other areas. The more skills based dietetic topics commence in Year 3 for the BND and Year 1 of the MND.  They cover nutritional biochemistry, communication and behaviour change, management, public health nutrition, community nutrition, and clinical nutrition and dietetics. 

BND Year 3 and MND Year 1 is mainly course work and provides the theoretical preparation for BND Year 4 and MND Year 2. We use a range of teaching methods and many topics rely on students working together in small groups with readings and study questions or on applied projects rather than traditional lectures.  The majority of assessment is based on assignments and participation and there are only a few exams.  BND Year 3 and MND Year 1 students must also do a three day observational placement at some time during the year.

BND Year 4 and MND Year 2 involves a course work intensive over three weeks. The rest of the year is devoted to supervised practicum and either research projects, independent studies and seminar participation. Practicum involves working full-time in a health care facility under supervision; this usually includes 10 weeks in a hospital, 7 weeks in a community or public health setting and 4 weeks in food service.

 

11.  Are placements guaranteed for international students?

Yes, if we accept you into the program you will be guaranteed the opportunity to complete the placements as required for the degree.  Students from Singapore will generally be expected to return to Singapore for final year placements.

 

12. Must I do placements in South Australia?

Generally the answer is yes. There are a limited number of metropolitan placement sites. Interesting and diverse placement experiences are available in a range of rural and interstate health settings.  Travel and accommodation costs to rural and interstate placements will be subsidised.  Some professional practice placements will need to be taken outside semester periods.

Students who are admitted under any special state-based quotas eg from the Northern Territory must undertake placements in their home state. We also have opportunities for a small number of students to undertake their placement in Tasmania.

Students from interstate may also be able to undertake part of their placement in their home state, but this is subject to case by case negotiation and approval.  The student must fund costs associated with interstate placements in their home state.

 

13. What is the work load and contact time like?

There is no doubt that the workload for both courses is challenging and that they require a full-time commitment.  You are advised to try to keep paid work commitments outside 9am-5pm.  All assessments are virtually continuous, most topics require substantial preparation for classes on a weekly basis and this preparation and participation are assessed in many topics.

You can expect at least 20 hrs contact time by BND Year 3 and in MND Year 1 in addition to preparation and completion of assessment tasks. In the final year students will commence in mid-January and be required to undertake full-time between 26 and 31 weeks of placement. In addition there is a requirement to attend the University at specified times throughout the year.

 

14. Are there any special requirements?

It will be an enormous advantage if you have access to a car or motor bike as it will be necessary for you to travel from Flinders to a range of other hospitals and community health centres.

Good communication skills are vital for dietitians.  As such there is a big emphasis in the course on one-to-one communication, small group facilitation and large group presentations.  You will be expected to participate and speak in small and large groups from Day 1.  We will not allow you to sit quietly in the corner without talking and contributing to class activities but will work with you to build your skills and confidence.

Students undertaking placements are required to have adequate protection from infectious diseases through immunisation and comply with the immunisation and blood-borne viruses policy of the School of Health Sciences, Flinders University.

All students are required to have a current Department of Families and Communities (DFC) Criminal History Check (National Criminal History Record Check) as part of curriculum activities.

 

15. What are my career options?

Both courses are accredited by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).  Graduates will be eligible for membership of DAA and can practice as dietitians-nutritionists in Australia.  Graduates will be able to go on to practice and specialise in one or more of the following areas: clinical dietetics, community nutrition and nutrition promotion, private practice and consultancy, sports nutrition, research, public health nutrition, government health departments, education and training, and the food industry.  Student membership of DAA is also available and students are encouraged to become members and participate in local branch activities.

It is fair to say that the job prospects for dietetic graduates are brighter than for most other science graduates.  The availability of jobs varies widely depending on area and time of year.  Rural and maternity leave locum positions are common and provide a good starting point for many graduates.  Dietitians have good training in a broad range of skills and there are still opportunities for dietitians to contribute and further develop our role in areas that have not traditionally received comprehensive nutrition and dietetic services eg care of the elderly, mental health, gymnasiums and health clubs.

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Human Nutrition

What are my career options?

More than 9 out of 10 Australian adults have a nutrition related risk factor for chronic disease and preventable nutrition-related diseases and conditions are our biggest public health issue. There is an increasing demand for preventing illness and chronic disease through evidence-based nutrition. Healthy nutrition is crucial across all life stages: infants, children, and youth, working aged and older adults. This degree will qualify you to work in a range of settings with individuals, groups and communities. Roles supporting people with preventable nutrition include local governments (councils), the government sector such as SA Health and Community Health Centres, non-government organisations such as the Heart Foundation, not-for-profit groups and workplaces. Roles within nutrition are expanding and also include the media, social media, food companies (health promotion), pharmaceutical companies and research (eg: CSIRO). Nutrition also lends itself to starting your own business or enterprise.

The Bachelor of Human Nutrition also enables pathways of study within dietetics and other disciplines including education, medicine and public health plus continuation into higher research degrees.

 

What qualification will I get?

On completion of the Bachelor of Human Nutrition graduates may apply for membership and registration as an Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) with the Nutrition Society of Australia (Inc). After three years of experience, graduates who are members can also apply for registration as a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr).

 

Can I transfer into the Bachelor of Human Nutrition from another course?

At Flinders University you can transfer into another course through FlindersLink. Providing you have completed the necessary pre-requisite topics and have a GPA (Grade Pass Average) of 5 or more, you can transfer into the Bachelor of Human Nutrition at the end of first or second year. Students enrolled in Health Sciences (Nutrition) are also eligible and you would have done all of the pre-requisites.

 

Can International students enroll in the new nutrition courses?

Supporting people with healthy nutrition and preventing nutrition-related diseases and conditions is a public health priority for most countries. International students are very welcome in all of our dietetic or nutrition courses. All of the topics within our courses are relevant to both local and International students.

For International students who are school leavers a minimum A level score of 10 (or equivalent International Baccalaureate score) is required or a GPA credit average for applicants who have undertaken tertiary study.

The English language requirement for international students is an overall IELTS score of 6.5 (minimum of 6 in each band) or previous tertiary studies where English was the language of instruction for eligibility into the Bachelor of Human Nutrition or the Bachelor Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science.

 

Is the Bachelor of Human Nutrition or the Bachelor Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science available part-time or online? Can they be deferred?

The courses are available part-time and a small number of the topics are available on-line. Both of the courses can be deferred.

 

Does the Bachelor of Human Nutrition include work experience?

In third year, you will be strongly encouraged to enroll in the elective ‘Independent Studies’ where you will complete a self-directed project in a workplace. Nutrition and Dietetics have strong partnerships and collaborations with a number of different organisations and workplaces where people in nutrition and dietetics work. Throughout your course, you will also hear from guest speakers who work in nutrition and be exposed to current nutrition initiatives and programs in the classroom. Many of your tutors and lecturers will have worked in the field and are recognized for their expertise. We want the course to expose you to a large range of employment possibilities.

Human Nutrition/Exercise Science

What are my career options?

Some potential careers in the Bachelor of Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise include work as an: exercise scientist & registered nutritionist, health and injury prevention advisor, nutrition and exercise consultant, nutrition & lifestyle project officer and more.

Potential employers include: Local Governments (councils), SA Health and government agencies (such as Department for Recreation and Sport, Community Health Services), Non-Government Organisations (eg Heart Foundation), Food Companies (health promotion), Corporations (research & development), workplaces (such as Corporations, gyms, Sports Institutes) or your own business.

Continuation into post-graduate courses prepares you for additional careers as Exercise Physiologists, Dietitians, Medical Doctors, specialised Secondary Teachers, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and more.

 

What qualification will I get?

Graduate after four years with a qualification in nutrition and in exercise science. Graduates are eligible to apply for membership in exercise science with Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) and may apply for membership and registration as an Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) with the Nutrition Society of Australia (Inc). After three years of experience, graduates who are members can also apply for registration as a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr).

 

Can I transfer into the combined Bachelor of Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science from another course?

At Flinders University you can transfer into another course through FlindersLink. Providing you have completed the necessary pre-requisite topics and have a GPA (Grade Pass Average) of 6 or more, you can transfer into the combined Bachelor of Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science at the end of first or second year. This is through competitive entry. The GPA is relatively high because this will be a very competitive course to gain entry into and the numbers are limited because of the capacity for the University and industry to support placements.

 

Does the combined Bachelor of Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science include work experience?

The combined Bachelor of Human Nutrition/Bachelor Exercise Science degree includes 140 hours of industry-placement in fourth year. The caliber of the teaching staff is also a strength of this course, many of whom have impressive work histories of working in these areas.