Module code: BMSM007

Module Overview

Completion of this module will enable students to understand and appreciate the effect of ageing on the immune and other systems including the eye and dentition. They will learn about methods of nutritional assessment of the elderly and their limitations and what foods/nutrients might postpone the adverse health effects of ageing. They will learn about the foods or nutrients that can ameliorate the effects of disease such as cancer, CVD, hypertension, stroke, Alzheimer's Disease/dementia, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, age-related eye disease, gut microbiota and sarcopaenia.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

RAYMAN Margaret (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: 3

Independent Learning Hours: 80

Lecture Hours: 18.5

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 42

Captured Content: 1.5

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes some or all of the following topics:

  • Biology of human senescence

  • Nutrition and the ageing immune system

  • Dietary strategies for longevity and reduced risk of age-related diseases

  • Effect of poor dentition in the elderly affecting their nutrition status

  • Nutrition and cardiovascular disease

  • Nutritional influences on the ageing skeleton

  • Role for nutrition in age-related eye diseases

  • Diet and osteoarthritis

  • Microbiota and the ageing gut: dietary approaches

  • Nutritional intake and status of the elderly in the community, care homes and hospitals

  • Nutritional prevention of dementia: what is the evidence and how should it be applied?

  • Nutrition and hypertension – what can be done about it

  • Nutrition and prostate cancer – what effects can nutrition have on slowing disease progression

  • Nutrition, ageing and functional decline through sarcopenia - effects of protein and exercise

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

  • the application of their knowledge in practical settings

  • critical thinking

  • their use of the evidence base of appropriate literature


The summative assessment for this module consists of Coursework: 

  • A range of subject areas will be assessed, demonstrating learning outcomes across the range for the module.

  • The questions cover a variety of approaches to test skills and knowledge and the students’ ability to explain them (e.g. to employers)

  • The questions allow students to develop areas including essay writing, data analysis, written communication skills, and practical application of knowledge.

  • Students are required to submit electronically on a set deadline approximately two months (dependent on time of year) following the module.


Formative assessment:

  • Students engage in group work, presentations, scenario-based activity, development of a diet for a particular health situation and receive formative feedback from the organiser and their peers.   



  • Students will receive marks and written feedback on their summative assessments. 

  • They will receive feedback during the module in interactive sessions. 

  • The Module Organiser is available for further discussion both during and after the Module.

Module aims

  • To have an appreciation of the biology of senescence.
  • To understand the effect of ageing on the immune system.
  • Explain what happens to dentition which, if not properly addressed, can prevent a healthy diet
  • Examine nutritional requirements for healthy ageing
  • Evaluate the role of nutrition in the aetiology, prevention and treatment of age-related conditions such as cancer, CVD, hypertension, stroke, Alzheimer's Disease/dementia, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, age-related eye disease and sarcopaenia
  • Explain the importance of microbiota in the ageing gut
  • To investigate the role of nutrition in clinical outcome.
  • Appreciate the prevalence of malnutrition in elderly people in hospital and the community
  • Understand the methods of nutritional assessment of the elderly and their limitations

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the relationship between senescence, function, immunity and nutritional status and discuss the extent to which nutrition can help to prevent or treat age-related diseases K
002 Evaluate the association between nutrition and age-related diseases KC
003 Appraise the efficacy of diet, nutritional supplements and the use of fortified/functional foods in improving clinical outcome (e.g. following illness or surgery) KC
004 Understand and debate the key issues regarding the prevalence of malnutrition and frequently encountered nutritional deficiencies in hospitals and the community KC
005 Evaluate the evidence for the role of nutrition in the aetiology, prevention and treatment of age-related conditions such as cancer, CVD, hypertension, stroke, Alzheimer's Disease/dementia, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, age-related eye disease and sarcopaenia KCT
006 Apply theory critically to analyse student¿s own professional experience CP
007 Assess the limitations of the published norms and interpretation of nutritional status assessment in the elderly to evaluate the impact of clinical intervention KT

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) and also to

  • engage students with different learning backgrounds to use and share their own experiences and contribute to group discussions

  • show the wealth of applications in optimising the effects of ageing through lectures on specific topics from experts on diet and nutrition in those fields.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Class discussions – these are vital to students’ understanding and sharing of their experience and perspectives.  

  • Case reports – students may be able to participate in these

  • Journal club with student interaction

  • Explanation of how to assess nutritional status of the elderly – this is an important factor in assessing how a patient is doing

  • Student presentations on points discussed – this should help students relate to future interaction with employers

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: BMSM007

Other information

Can be taken as a stand–alone module.



Students gain exposure to speakers from a range of different specialties, including experts in research and clinical settings allowing them to see what possibilities may be open to them.  They learn to deal with problems outside their own experience which will give them a wider range of skills and competence when seeking a new job. The assessments are designed to mimic exposure to professional life, for example consideration of nutritional issues from a consultation. Their greater ability to write about the role of nutrition in dealing with problems of ageing is an advantage.


Resourcefulness and Resilience:

Students are required to apply their knowledge and resourcefulness to solve medical problems where nutrition is relevant.  Through critically appraising research studies and gathering and interpreting evidence, they develop resilience.  The nature of the assessments and formative activities in class are such that students will be required to draw upon their individual and collective resourcefulness, often working in partnership with other students to work through cases and suggest solutions. 


Digital Capabilities:

During the module, students use the online virtual learning environment, SurreyLearn, which is set up to facilitate the learning on the module. Some material is available as pre-recorded content. Students are encouraged to search the literature thoroughly to determine nutritional requirements and create appropriate recommendations.  As in other modules, students are encouraged to work together in groups, utilising collaborative digital tools, discussion boards, Zoom and Microsoft Office and SurreyLearn to communicate.  


Global and cultural capabilities:

Students will gain an appreciation of both the cultural and international issues that can present barriers to meeting nutritional recommendations and how these can be overcome.  Encouraging students to share their own diverse cultures is informative and may show them other ways of dealing with a particular issue.

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.