Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Dietary Assessment and Nutritional Epidemiology 4Y option BIOL4036

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Students will learn how to interpret nutritional epidemiology studies by looking in detail at the latest research papers to examine the relationships between diet and chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. They will also learn how to carry out dietary assessment using a range of techniques including the design and validation of food frequency questionnaires, collection and analysis of dietary records, and dietary recall methods.


There are normally two 90-minutes sessions on Fridays. 

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year School of Life Sciences students in a Human Biology & Nutrition or Physiology Sports Science & Nutrition programme. Visiting students may be allowed to enrol, at the discretion of the School of Life Sciences Chief Adviser and the Course Coordinator.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination paper of essays and data interpretation (75%) and a portfolio of epidemiological evidence for the associations between diet and chronic disease (25%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to train students in using and interpreting dietary assessment tools and to critique nutritional epidemiology data. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Apply and critically discuss dietary assessment methods and how they should be used in practice and research;

■ Define and critically evaluate relevant concepts and basic methods used in nutritional epidemiology;

■ Discuss strategies used to promote dietary change at individual, group, community and population levels, for example national and international dietary guidelines and healthy eating guides; 

■ Critically discuss the role of diet and physical activity on the epidemiology of major chronic diseases (for example CVD, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity);

■ Discuss the factors contributing to global malnutrition.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.