Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems

Food systems changes are required to improve human diets, promote planetary health, and achieve sustainable development. The MSc Nutrition and Food Systems programme focusses on human nutrition and diets from a food system perspective.

Master's Programme
2 year 120 credits
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
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About the programme
Programme summary
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Off to a good start
After graduation


While large populations face hunger and undernutrition, overweight and diet-related chronic diseases have taken on pandemic proportions. In addition, human diets have a significant impact on natural resources and the climate. More than ever, food systems changes are required to improve human diets, promote planetary health, and achieve sustainable development. The MSc Nutrition and Food Systems programme focusses on human nutrition and diets from a food system perspective.

After completing this degree, you will:

  • have a strong academic background in human nutrition. The programme contains all necessary courses for you to work as a nutritionist,
  • understand how human diets and nutrition are driven by food systems, from the production, post-harvest handling, transformation, storage, marketing of food up to the behaviour of consumers, • Be capable of identifying nutritional problems, their underlying causes and develop, manage, and evaluate relevant interventions,
  • be able to critically evaluate nutrition research findings and be competent to develop evidence-based recommendations, and
  • be able to collaborate, communicate and creatively apply these competencies across the disciplines for sustainable food systems change Through interactions with a diverse and international group of students and lecturers, you acquire international and intercultural competencies.

You will start your professional career with an international network. The MSc Nutrition and Food Systems has its roots in the MSc Nutrition and Rural Development, which ran as an international MSc programme at UGent since 1987. In response to increasing global concerns regarding the sustainability of food systems, we revised the programme and focus it now explicitly on food systems.

For whom

The admission requirements vary. Depending on your preliminary training, you are either able to enrol directly, or there are additional requirements.


The two-year curriculum is a gradual build-up of learning opportunities over 4 semesters. The fundamental knowledge courses in the beginning make way for courses that provide generic competencies for life-long learning and employment at the end. The programme provides flexible learning opportunities that allow you to tailor a part of the curriculum to your needs, talents, and interest.

The first semester contains general courses related to nutrition and food systems. It establishes a common ground between all students as many have different backgrounds in disciplines such as food technology and engineering, nutrition and dietetics, biomedical sciences, or medicine. The second semester builds on this knowledge with more advanced courses. To tailor the course programme to the individual student’s needs and interests, you can take one elective course during the first year.

You can specialise even more during the second year. The third semester has no mandatory coursework and provides an internship opportunity to gain professional experiences. You can choose from a broad range of elective MSc courses at UGent or at another university, if these meet the programme learning objectives. The final semester contains the Master’s dissertation and alongside courses that prepare students for employment.

Labour Market

You can find our alumni at local and national governments, United Nations agencies, (inter)national non-governmental organisations and research institutions across the globe. A considerable share of the students pursues further PhD study. The labour market opportunities are, in particular:

  • Positions at public institutions and local governments. Examples are technical experts at consumer organisations, city administration, regional health authorities, nutrition advisers at the ministry of agriculture, FAO, UNICEF, WHO or NGO’s such as ACF, Rikolto, etc.
  • Research and education positions at universities or private research institutions, e.g., senior researcher, lecturers, professors,
  • PhD programmes on nutrition, bioscience engineering, biomedical sciences, and life sciences,
  • Employment and consultancy services for NGO’s, European-, UN or international organisations, active in nutrition or nutrition-sensitive programmes and/or sustainable development, and
  • Private sector R&D positions, for example to guide the development of new products or services to suit the needs of consumers and markets.
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