Module code: BMSM001

Module Overview

To provide detailed knowledge of the application of  nutrition expertise in medical practice across pathways for medicine, surgery, and general practice and private practice. This compulsory module is designed to cover key principles which will be required for all future modules and to build a cohort identity for the students who will be working independently until the next module.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

ENGEL Barbara (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 114

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Captured Content: 4

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Some or all of the following topics

·           Introduction to concept of Nutritional Medicine

·           Macronutrients in food: bioenergetics; chemistry of fat, carbohydrates, proteins, alcohol and non-starch polysaccharides

·           Micronutrients in food: chemistry of fat and water soluble vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytoprotectants

·           Food sources and sustainability of nutrients: animal foods, cereals, roots and tubers, fruits, vegetables, nuts

·           Food processing: refining, refined carbohydrates

·           Metabolic and functional demand: nutrient metabolism, turnover, nutrient essentiality, limiting nutrients

·           Nutrient utilisation: digestion, absorption, balance, bioavailability; problems with nutrient utilisation

·           Energy balance: physical activity, excess and obesity

·           Body composition with under- and over-nutrition

·           Nutritional status: clinical signs and symptoms of deficiency, sub-clinical manifestations, multiple nutrient deficiencies, nutritional requirements, reference ranges, biochemical individuality and nutrient requirements, deficiency and depletion, adaptation to low or excess intakes, effect of nutrient deficiency on adaptive capacity, organ function and biochemical indicators of adequacy

·           Effect of genetic polymorphisms on requirements; gene-nutrient interactions

·           Appetite regulation: physiological and psychological aspects of food choice

·           Hazards in the food chain: viral and bacterial infection 

Social media

The role of the Association for Nutrition

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their subject knowledge and understanding (see above) and the development of their cognitive and transferable skills (see above) through the assimilation and appraisal of the literature to address the coursework questions.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Coursework: a range of subject areas will be assessed, demonstrating learning outcomes across the module.

Students are required to submit electronically on a set deadline two months following the module.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive feedback from staff and peers on their group discussions and during the module dinner, including group discussion regarding appraising papers, use of social media and case studies with peers and staff. Also feedback will be given electronically in SurreyLearn in response to the discussion board and Module Organisers will be available for further discussion if necessary.

Module aims

  • To give participants an understanding of the main food sources of macro- and micronutrients in the UK diet and to understand some aspects of the sustainability of the UK diet.
  • To review the major factors influencing nutrient bioavailability during digestion and absorption.
  • To give participants an understanding of the biochemical characteristics of nutrients in their roles as substrates and cofactors for metabolism, including the nature and role of phytoprotectants in food.
  • To identify the metabolic demand for nutrients, in terms of consumption during maintenance, growth and physical activity, and the concepts of nutrient essentiality, limiting nutrients and nutrient balance.
  • To examine the nutritional status of individuals and population groups.
  • To introduce general theories of appetite regulation and food choice.
  • To review the consequences for body composition, metabolism and function of nutrient excess including obesity, adaptation to low nutrient intakes and deficiency diseases.
  • To review the major factors influencing nutrient loss prior to consumption and bioavailability during digestion and absorption.
  • To review microbiological and other factors which influence the safety of food with specific reference to social media.
  • To consider practical applications of this knowledge for practice in the field of nutrition
  • To improve skills required for critical appraisal of nutritional literature

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the concept of nutritional medicine K SS
002 Discuss the biochemical and physiological basis of essential macro- and micronutrients K SS
003 Describe the factors that influence food intake K
004 Relate theories of appetite regulation to current epidemiology of obesity C
005 Evaluate consequences of over- or under-consumption of nutrients in terms of body composition and function C
006 Distinguish nutrient deficiency diseases C
007 Diagnose and treat diseases of nutrition deficiency and excess. T E
008 Use research literature and full range of library and online resources for research and module assessment exercises T DC
009 Critically appraise current nutrition research T RR
010 Integrate evidence base (nutrition research) to written essays for module assessment exercises T DC
011 Start to equip students with skills needed to participate professionally with social media KPT DC SS
012 Understand the role of the regulatory body; Association for Nutrition P E

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 be aligned with the descriptor for qualification at level 7 in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) produced by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Workshops and group work

  • Journal club

  • Class discussions

An evening meal, designed to promote team building within the cohort, and to create an opportunity for discussion of fundamental nutritional concepts. This networking may also improve or create opportunities for employment in future.

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: BMSM001

Other information

This module is only available to students on the Nutritional Medicine programme. It can be taken as a stand-alone module.

Addressing the 5 pillars:

Digital Capabilities:

Working in breakout rooms in Zoom or live, students appraise and then discuss a journal article and a website.

Key skills in searching and appraising the literature, referencing. The advantages and pitfalls of social media for nutritional messages are discussed where appropriate during the sessions.


Definition of Nutritional Medicine included at the start of the module. Lectures on protein and iodine cover the content in plant-based diets.


The programme is accredited with the Association for Nutrition and the work of the Association, as well as membership, is covered in this module.

Opportunities to pull together the knowledge to assess the nutritional adequacy of an individual diets through case studies. This could lead to students becoming Nutrition practitioners or educators in the future as well as improving promotion prospects through completing this MSc.

Key skills in searching and appraising the literature, referencing (and finding appropriate research and guidelines) are covered in the module.

Global and Cultural Capabilities:

The programme includes many guest speakers in each module. Randomised controlled trials are often discussed which include studies from a range of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, cultural aspects of diets are discussed with reference to macronutrients, and availability of micronutrients in foods from a variety of different cultures.

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 2025/6 academic year.