Studying Human Nutrition in Canada
Throughout the world, a number of nutrition-related health concerns exist, such as ageing populations, obesity rates, and nutritional deficiencies. The social and economic burden of these issues is increasing public awareness of the connection between food and health and is creating a greater demand for nutrition-related careers.
There are a number of Canadian academic institutions that offer nutrition-based degree programmes to prepare students to handle the diverse nutrition needs of the world. Students can choose careers in the private or public sector, in research or practice, in policy or programme planning, and in teaching or counselling. Formal training in nutrition at the undergraduate and graduate level in Canada provides students with a unique body of knowledge with the ability and credentials to make a positive impact on the health of others.
“Students can choose careers in the private or public sector …”
Canadian educational institutions have long been recognised as institutions of excellence. Important innovations, such as the discovery of insulin, the creation of the glycemic index, and the development of canola oil, have established them as leaders in the understanding of food and physiology. With 27 undergraduate and graduate programmes contributing to nutritional studies from coast to coast, there are institutions that provide a combination of academics and cultural education to suit everyone’s preferences. The typical stream for nutrition students features a four-year undergraduate programme to attain a Bachelor of Science with a food and nutrition focus. This degree offers courses in food science, nutritional assessment, clinical nutrition, community nutrition, research methods, biology, chemistry, business management, communication, social sciences, statistics, metabolism, and food service, among others. Many institutions also offer an honours stream in which students may conduct and present their own research projects in their final year of study. Graduate studies may include research focus areas in food science, community nutrition, public health, health policy, international development, human research, epidemiology, animal studies, and cell studies. The diversity of courses offered in both undergraduate and graduate degree programmes allows for ample employment opportunities after graduation.
Many students pursue a career in dietetics after the completion of a food and nutrition degree. In order to be registered as a dietitian in Canada, an individual must complete an accredited dietetic internship. This internship is typically done in the year after the completion of a Bachelor’s degree; however, 16 Canadian universities offer an integrated dietetic internship programme in which the major skill sets needed for dietetic practice are integrated into the academic programme. Dietitians are valuable assets to multidisciplinary health teams in clinical, community, and food service work settings.