You can get a degree or diploma in nutrition by studying online with a university or college.
- Australian accredited courses combine online study with occasional practical training on campus.
- International and non-accredited courses allow you to study nutrition 100% online. However, they have limited value if you want to work as a nutritionist.
Distance learning can help boost your nutrition knowledge and even launch a career in this complex and changing field. You'll come away better equipped to advise on good nutrition and to lead a healthier life yourself.
Why Study Nutrition Online?
Studying nutrition online is the convenient way to get a qualification. Distance learning courses reduce how much effort is required to work through program content.
- You can complete the academic parts of courses without having to leave home.
- For accredited courses, you'll still need to attend a campus at least occasionally.
For online university study, you can do nutrition as part of a health sciences program. By enrolling in a broad health program, you don’t have commit to a specific field until reaching the 2nd or 3rd year of a bachelor degree.
Studying food and dietetics can be fascinating. The acquired knowledge is useful personally as well as professionally. Nutrition students learn about the influence of food intake on health and well-being.
Online nutrition courses also teach you about dietetics: how to apply nutritional knowledge to promote individual and community health. Diet awareness is vital to wellness, influencing how people manage weight, fitness and disease.
An advantage of studying nutrition is career flexibility. Many career paths potentially follow from studying the applied sciences of nutrition and dietetics.
Career opportunities for nutrition experts include
- Nutrition chef – plan and create meals in settings such as cafeterias or high-end restaurants
- Health Educator – design and advocate programs that encourage healthy eating
- Dietitian or Nutritionist – provide medical nutrition therapy and plan food and nutrition programs.
By getting an advanced diploma or a bachelor degree with a nutrition major, you qualify to work in many roles in food and beverage industries.
Advantages of an Accredited Degree
If you are serious about a career as a nutritionist or dietitian, you probably should be aiming to complete a degree (bachelor or masters) that is accredited by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).
By completing a DAA-accredited program, you are eligible to become a member of the DAA. Eligibility allows you to simply call yourself an "accredited dietitian".
- There are no legal requirements for registration of dietitians in Australia.
- However, many jobs require you to be eligible to become a member of the DAA.
- To be eligible for membership, you need to complete an accredited degree on the DAA list. Migrants to Australia must complete the Dietetics Skills Recognition exam.
Being a recognised dietitian in Australia offers a significant career advantage. Many nutrition and dietitian jobs require you to at least be eligible for DAA membership. Some jobs may require you to also participate in the DAA's Accredited Practising Dietitian Program.
Can You Study Nutrition 100% Online?
You can study short courses in nutrition fully online. But longer courses require some on-campus attendance.
To do an extended diploma or bachelor degree accredited in Australia, you need to live close enough to the university or college to attend multiple times per year.
All the Australian courses listed here are multi-mode.
- The main academic load can be studied online but important parts of the course are delivered on campus.
- On-campus sessions may be regular (weekly) or organised into occasional intensive blocks (where students spend 2 or more days at the school).
Note that, to work as a medical dietitian, you need to first complete an accredited 4-year bachelor or 2-year masters degree in dietetics. For further details, see Good Universities.
International (fully online) courses
Online courses in nutrition are widely available from international providers. Many are free, or only have charges for optional tests and certificates.
To find a good international course:
- Think about which subject you want to learn about.
- Read articles to gather some basic knowledge.
- Find a course on that specific topic and test it out.
Completing a free course is a real achievement. Dropout rates are usually high due to
- no financial commitment by students
- poorer instruction quality and
- limited value of any certificates offered.
Alison free short courses
Alison, which is a well known e-learning provider globally, offers several "personal interest" nutrition courses. The free courses range in length from modules of 1-2 hours through to a Diploma in Human Nutrition that takes 10-15 hours of study. Alison covers popular topics such as modern diets, micronutrients, macronutrients, and metabolism. You could try the courses to improve personal knowledge and to see if you like studying nutrition online.
SSNT diplomas and degrees
The Southern School of Natural Therapies in the heart of Melbourne offers diplomas and degrees in Nutrition. There are 3 specialist streams: Naturopathy, Nutritional Medicine, and Western Herbal Medicine. The Diploma of Health Science counts as the 1st year of a Bachelor of Health Science degree. Students learn how the body functions in health, how to communicate with clients, and evidence-based practice in complementary medicine.
Sydney and Brisbane
ACNT diplomas and degrees
The Australasian College of Natural Therapies has campuses in Sydney and Brisbane where it administers the practical components of nutrition courses. ACNR is associated with Melbourne’s Southern School (above) and actually delivers distance units for Melbourne students. It also offers majors in Naturopathy, Nutritional Medicine, and Western Herbal Medicine.
New South Wales
CSU Bachelor of Health Science
Charles Sturt University offers a Food and Nutrition major as part of a Bachelor of Health Science. To demonstrate its commitment to distance learning, CSU only delivers the program as a distance education course. All students study online while also attending occasional residential schools – each lasting 2 to 5 days – at a CSU campus. CSU's larger campuses are in regional New South Wales (Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Albury-Wodonga and Goulburn). Key subjects include biochemistry, food processing, human nutrition, and physiological sciences.
CQU Bachelor of Medical Science
CQUniversity has a Bachelor of Medical Science program in which you can specialise in Nutrition. The practical program is designed to ensure you graduate with scientific knowledge, study and research skills, and professional health experience. Nutrition specialists learn how to work with individuals and communities to promote healthy lifestyle choices and prevent diet-related disease.