Pumpkins are actually a fruit not a vegetable.
Decaffeinated coffee is not caffeine-free.
A cluster of bananas is called a hand;
a single banana is a finger.
Onion is Latin for large pearl.
Fresh fruit is a better snack than dried fruit.
The term “superfood” is a misnomer.
The stickers on apples can be eaten, too.
About 75% of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated.
A tablespoon of soy sauce can contain
up to 1,000 mg of sodium.
It is recommended that adults eat
less than 1,600 mg of sodium a day.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, and unsalted nuts
are practically sodium-free.

Education and Careers in Nutrition

Nutrition is an exciting and diverse area in which to pursue a career. The importance of food to human health has never been more significant.

By studying nutrition you will gain a solid scientific base with critical thinking and communication skills that can be transferred to scientific areas. Nutrition can suit a wide range of people with different skills and interests because of the breadth of the topic, which spans marketing, policy and psychology to nutrigenomics and metabolism.

Reasons to study nutrition

  • Nutrition is a science with real life applications. You can make a difference to health outcomes in the future.
  • Nutrition offers a diverse range of career specialisations including work within industry, healthcare, and Government.
  • Studying nutrition will provide you with transferable scientific, communication and analytical skills.
  • Nutrition is of global relevance.

There are three Universities in New Zealand offering undergraduate degrees with a focus on Human Nutrition: Auckland, Massey and Otago. Subjects included in the degrees but include, human nutrition, food science, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, microbiology and statistics. Students often combine nutrition majors with food science, physical education and marketing. Students can opt to do further research and study at all of these Universities. Canterbury University and AUT also offer some papers in the area of nutrition.

Some students complete their degrees and then train as a dietitian.

What is the difference between a Nutritionist, a Registered Nutritionist and a Dietitian?


A Nutritionist has usually completed a degree in Human Nutrition or related Science, and ideally has tertiary training in science, nutrition, biochemistry, medicine or sports physiology from a reputable tertiary institution. Nutritionists aim to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and the population as a whole, through better foods, diets and nutrition. Nutritionists can work in a variety of roles including research, nutrition consultants and advisors, public health and health promotion officers, food writing, and for governmental and non-governmental agencies, to name a few. Because anyone can call themselves a nutritionist it is advisable to check the qualifications and work experience of such individuals; for more certainty, approach someone who is a Registered Nutritionist.

Registered Nutritionists

The title of Registered Nutritionist can only be used by those who meet the standards determined by The Nutrition Society of New Zealand. Registered Nutritionists must hold a degree or academic qualification from a university or other recognised national institution of education. In addition to their basic academic qualification, they must have 2-3 years of professional experience in the field of nutrition. Registered Nutritionists can work in a diverse range of settings ranging from Government, community, public health, sports, research & education and the food industry. Dietitians may also work in hospitals.


A Dietitian is a registered health professional who meets standards of professionalism required by the NZ Dietitians Board under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance, who has an accredited undergraduate science degree in human nutrition, and a post-graduate qualification in Dietetics. Dietitians are trained in the science of nutrition and diet therapy, and qualified to work in areas that require nutritional assessment and counselling.

Career Opportunities

The following are some examples of workplaces where nutritionists are employed. Nutritionists find work in both the private and public sector.

Food Industry
Technicians, marketing, advisors, sales, processing, research, food quality

Policy advice, food safety, public health analyst, evaluation

Within Universities, Crown Enterprises, NGOs and food industry

Health promotion programmes, implementation, evaluation

Consultancy and self- employment
Sports teams, individuals, workplaces

Within secondary schools, Universities and Polytechnics

Media and marketing
Writing for magazines, TV appearances, blogs, seminars, lectures

Courses in Nutrition

Below is a brief summary of courses available within New Zealand in nutrition. To enter University courses you need NCEA level 3 and useful subjects would be biology, maths, English and chemistry. .For further details on entry requirements and on the specific courses please visit the individual websites.

Auckland University

For undergraduate students, The University of Auckland offers (1) a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Nutrition (3 years), and (2) the Bachelor of Health Sciences Population Health Nutrition Pathway option (3 years). For postgraduate students, The University of Auckland offers the Master of Health Sciences in Nutrition and Dietetics (2 years, noting that the Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Nutrition or equivalent from another University is required for entry).

BSc Food Science and Nutrition

BHSc Population Health Nutrition Pathway

MHSc Nutrition and Dietetics

Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago

Several degrees are offered at the University of Otago - the oldest department of Human Nutrition in the Southern Hemisphere - including a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Nutrition and Metabolism in Health). For those also interested in combining an interest in sport there is a Bachelor of Applied Science - Sport and Exercise Nutrition.

There is a range of postgraduate courses including Master of Science and Master of Applied Science in Advanced Nutrition Practice.

Distance courses are also available for health and education professionals who are interested in complementing their knowledge with some human nutrition and health.

Study Human Nutrition at Otago

Massey University

Students can study a Bachelor of Science majoring in Human Nutrition. Massey also offers postgraduate courses including a Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology, Master of Science in Human Nutrition or Dietetics.

Ara - Institute of Canterbury

Ara - Institute of Canterbury offers a 3 year Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Nutrition. Students can choose to specialise in Physical Activity and Health Promotion, Sport and Exercise Science, or Human Nutrition.