Module code: BMS3067

Module Overview

This module builds on the knowledge of the sound basis of the science of human nutrition you developed during the Nutrition/Dietetics/Food Science/Sports and Exercise Science FHEQ Level 5 courses. This module will provide students with a research-led in-depth critical evaluation of several current hot topics regarding the mechanistic basis of nutrient requirements in health and disease. The module has a particular, but not exclusive, focus on micronutrients and is delivered by academics who are research active in the topics covered.

The lecture materials, tutorials and, in particular, the coursework assessment are designed to help develop your skills in data analysis, data interpretation and critical evaluation of current scientific evidence.  Emphasis will be placed on integration of knowledge from the different areas presented in the lectures.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

ELLIOTT Ruan (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 90

Lecture Hours: 26

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 3

Captured Content: 26

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BMS2039  OR BMS2071 (for those on the Sports & Exercise Sciences programme)

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to molecular nutrition, fundamental concept introduction to “Omic” technologies/terminology

  • Nutrigenetics

  • Nutrition and epigenetics

  • Physiological basis of nutrient requirements in pregnancy, lactation and infancy

  • Dietary origins of health and diseases

  • Iron: molecular mechanisms of homeostasis and roles in health and disease

  • Iodine: functions, homeostasis and roles in health and disease

  • Selenium n human health and disease

  • Vitamin D and associated micronutrients in bone health throughout the lifecycle and other health conditions

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination Online 4 HOUR ONLINE EXAM 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • Through the coursework, the student’s ability to:

    • critically evaluate and analyze scientific data from published research literature

    • apply knowledge on methods and concepts in a new context

    • write a short, structured, concise scientific arguments precisely addressing the questions posed

    • integrate knowledge


  • Through the examination, the student’s ability to:

    • relate knowledge of the mechanistic basis for the influence of dietary nutrients on health and disease throughout the lifecycle in in the global context

    • integrate and critically interpret information obtained through lectures and background reading beyond the taught material


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework (40%): assessment of cognitive, analytical, presentation and written skills. This is assessed based on accurate analysis and interpretation of the data provided with answers presented in appropriately structured, clear, concise, and precise responses to the questions posed

  • Examination (60%): assessment of subject knowledge, based on content, integration of knowledge, structure and clarity


Formative assessment and feedback

  • During the coursework and revision tutorial sessions:

  • via SurreyLearn with notes posted on the module page, or via emails to the whole student cohort

  • by providing feedback on coursework essay (listing the good points and which aspects to improve)

  • via the examination feedback sheets for previous academic years posted on SurreyLearn, which can be matched to past papers available to the students

Module aims

  • Provide the students with key understanding of the: 1) Molecular and functional basis of nutrient requirements in health and disease. 2) Roles of nutrients in the prevention of disease and maintenance of optimal health throughout the lifecycle. 3) Role of nutrient-gene and gene-nutrient interactions in determining health and disease
  • Develop your skills in data analysis and, data interpretation
  • Enhance your ability to critically engage with an evaluate current scientific evidence
  • Improve your concise scientific writing skills

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe the molecular and cellular function and metabolism of various micronutrients KCPT E, R, G, S
002 Explain role of nutrient-gene interactions in determining health and disease KCPT E, R, G
003 Describe the roles of nutrients in health and disease at different stages of the lifecycle KCPT E
004 Evaluate considerations relating to life stage-specific nutritional requirements CPT E
005 Critically assess current research literature and recommendations for nutrient intakes in health and disease CP E, R, G, S
006 Work independently demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time management PT E, R

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Provide the students with knowledge from the set of lectures, while strongly promoting development of personal skills in critical assessment of current nutrition research.

  • Allow students to integrate knowledge through tutorial sessions that provide the opportunity for students to define their difficulties or points where they would value feedback, then obtain timely targeted feedback delivered by the lecturer.

  • Deliver high quality feedback from teaching staff to students through summative assessment of coursework.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS3067

Other information

The student journey

As a level 6 semester 2 module, this marks the final stage of the students’ journey to becoming independent professional scientists. With that in mind, an important goal of this module is to bring the students up to speed with some key emerging complex topics in nutrition (e.g. nutrigenetics and epigenetics) and to provide a research-led perspective on the current state of understanding in other key topics (with a particular emphasis on micronutrients where the Department of Nutritional Sciences has well established research expertise). The teaching on this module focuses on developing the students’ critical evaluation skills – identifying what has been robustly demonstrated to date as well as acknowledging where scientific uncertainty remains and what the implications of this are for dietary guidance, global public health and policy in the context of sustainable nutrition and food security.


How this module aligns to the 5 pillars of the curriculum


Digital Capabilities: The students engage with online material and resources via SurreyLearn, and other digital platforms.   For the structured written coursework, the students need to analyze and present data using suitable software (e.g. Excel or GraphPad) as well as learning to use specific online data analysis tools to calculate parameters such as odds ratio, confidence interval and the P-values. The module introduces concepts underpinning advanced bioinformatic data analysis strategies and the students have the opportunity to investigate and use information from open access genetic databases (such as dbSNP) when completing their coursework.


Employability: This module focuses on fundamental scientific research. However, it addresses science that is, or will be, critical for many careers that graduates of this course are likely to pursue, including aspects of molecular and genetic science that are not addressed in the other modules. In particular, the concept of personalized (or precision) nutrition targeted to population subgroups or individuals is developed and discussed in detail. The relevance of this for those going into the food industry, working with patients/customers as dietitians, nutritionists and sports/fitness instructors is introduced at the outset and developed during subsequent lectures. Other career opportunities, such as genetic councilors, are also highlighted.

In addition to this specific scientific content, the module assessment is designed to develop key transferable skills including critical thinking and evaluation, data analysis, data interpretation, sourcing relevant scientific information and using all these to construct concise coherent arguments.


Global and cultural capabilities: The module’s focus on personalized/precision nutrition brings ethnic, lifestyle and life stage differences in metabolism and dietary requirements to the forefront of discussions. The taught material considers all this in the context of cultural differences in diet. The lectures on iron, selenium, iodine and vitamin D address global environmental and cultural variations in nutrient sufficiency, insufficiency and deficiency.  Students are provided with the opportunity and encouraged to bring their own diverse perspectives to discussions on these topics throughout the module.



Resourcefulness and resilience: The coursework for the module is designed to help develop resourcefulness and resilience.

The structured written coursework focuses on topics (nutrigenetics and epigenetics) that are new to almost all the students taking the module. The coursework presents some example data and poses a series of questions about these data that the students need to answer by rigorous analysis and critical thinking. This coursework is made available to them at the outset of the module when most will not be able to answer (or potentially even understand) the data presented and questions posed. However, as they progress through the taught material, they acquire the knowledge and skills required to complete the work. In our experience this works well as it illustrates to the students how much they have learnt during the module - it challenges them but in a manner that ultimately enables them to succeed.


Sustainability: This module provides opportunity for scientific research to better define optimal nutrition to be considered in the context of sustainable nutrition and global food security. The taught material will be adapted to take advantage of opportunities to highlight issues of sustainability throughout.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Nutrition and Dietetics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Nutrition BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sport and Exercise Science BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.