This programme focuses on the promotion and maintenance of diet- and physical activity-related public health and wellbeing and explores the science and research underpinning the promotion and maintenance of health and wellbeing of populations, with a unique dual-emphasis on nutrition and physical activity. There is a clear consensus that new professional and scientific needs are emerging in this field. This programme is one of the first to recognise the need for specialisation in the three intertwined disciplines of nutrition, physical activity and public health, which differentiates itself from MSc courses in Public Health. As such, it will contribute substantially towards higher-level qualifications in this emerging area, with real world applicability.

There is now global demand for multi-skilled individuals with knowledge and understanding of research, policy and practice in both nutrition and physical activity. This programme equips you with such skills, as well as providing unique insight into the fascinating interactions between physical activity, nutrition and health by blending epidemiology, psychology and policy-relevant research. The programme also develops essential skills in designing, conducting and evaluating research and community interventions to promote dietary and physical activity behaviour change to improve health.

The master's programme consists of six mandatory units and a dissertation. All the programme units consider nutrition, physical activity and public health in an international and comparative context.

The following awards are available:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: requires 60 credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma: requires 120 credits (no dissertation)
  • MSc: requires 180 credits (including a dissertation).

Please refer to the Academic Registry for more information on the programme structure of the MSc NPAPH.


Graduates of the MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health will:

  • Understand how nutrition and physical activity contribute to, and interact with each other in the aetiology, prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, cancer and mental health problems.
  • Develop knowledge of current recommendations for public health in the fields of both nutrition and physical activity and critically examine their evidence-base.
  • Understand current trends in physical activity and eating behaviours in national and international populations.
  • Develop awareness of current national and international physical activity and nutrition policy.
  • Understand the multi-level influences on physical activity and eating behaviours, including personal, interpersonal, and environmental and policy factors.
  • Understand the key issues in nutrition and physical activity relevant for different population groups defined by factors such as age, gender and socio-economic position.
  • Develop competencies in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating nutrition and physical activity research.
  • Develop awareness of the range of methods for measuring physical activity and diet, and understand their respective strengths and limitations. 


All taught units are examined by written assignments, presentations, written reports or research proposals. Each unit is assessed in the form of a 4,000 word essay. There are no formal timed examinations. The dissertation (10,000-15,000 words) involves independent research into an area of nutrition, physical activity and public health.

Teaching methods

A rich variety of teaching methods are used across the different units. Lectures are combined with facilitated sessions, tutorials and group work. Some units include group presentations:


Students who pursue the MSc are encouraged, with guidance from staff, to select their own research question for their dissertation projects. In addition, students can develop their own ideas from several existing projects that are funded and on-going. Projects may include qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods original studies, as well as secondary analyses of project datasets and systematic reviews.

Dissertation topics focusing on UK and international issues


  • Barriers to physical activity among patients with type 2 diabetes in China,
  • Dietary and socio-cultural factors associated with obesity and overweight in UK and native Indian women.


  • Emotional eating and food choices in Greek adolescents,
  • Effect of the Pro Greens intervention study on fruit and vegetable intake of 11-year-old schoolchildren in Iceland and Greece, two countries with traditionally different consumption.

Central and South America:

  • Diabetes knowledge and psycho-social self-efficacy among adults with type 2 diabetes who live in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.


  • Salt consumption behaviour of African women: opinions and awareness of information availability and knowledge of foods high in salt and the link with increased risk for hypertension and stroke,
  • Cultural tailoring of health communication messages and materials among Somali women in Bristol.


  • Adolescents’ perceptions and opinions of physical activity smartphone apps: Do commercial apps align with what they prefer?
  • Smoking cessation and physical activity promotion in community pharmacies,
  • Physical activity, fitness and metabolic syndrome in people with type 2 diabetes,
  • Restrained eating and snacking patterns in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey,
  • An email intervention to office workers intended to increase consumption of fruit and vegetable intake.

Academic language and literacy skills sessions

Nobody is born speaking academic English. Academic language and literacy is acquired gradually as you adapt to the ways of thinking and doing in your new academic environment. We want to help our students to develop these skills as quickly as possible to support and make the most of their studies.

Academic Language and Literacy sessions for all MSc NPAPH students (UK, EU and international) will be offered by the Centre for Academic Language and Development of the University of Bristol. 

We are providing 16 hours of sessions in total and you will be allocated a group to attend the sessions.

These sessions have been designed to accelerate the process of adaptation by:

  • building on your existing knowledge of academic English;
  • developing your understanding of the expectations of your school;
  • practising strategies to improve your performance.

Each session will look at marking criteria, past student essays and tutor feedback in order to help you develop as a member of your new academic community.

Programme handbook

You can download the current handbook MSc Nutrition Programme Handbook 2020 (PDF, 976kB). If you have problems accessing the document please contact the Postgraduate Admin team on: sps-pgadmin@bristol.ac.uk

Meet the staff

Academic staff in the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences are research experts in the field of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health and their research informs their teaching.

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