Postgraduate taught 

Human Nutrition MSc(MedSci)

Digestion, Absorption And Nutritional Metabolism MED5128

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will cover the processes of digestion, absorption and nutrient metabolism and how they relate to nutrition and health and also consider and evaluate of the importance of energy expenditure including methods for estimation and measurement.


Several sessions each week over 4-5 weeks during semester one.

Excluded Courses





The assessment of this course is by a 1.5-hour examination (50%) which will test all ILOs,

Two pieces (22.5% each) of written coursework based on data from practical work which are 1000 words each -these will test ILOs 1,2 and 7

A reflective assessment (300-500 words) (worth 5%) will test ILO 8.

Course Aims

To provide students with an understanding of the processes of digestion, absorption and nutrient metabolism and how they relate to nutrition and health.

To introduce students to the importance of energy expenditure; discuss methods for estimation and measurement of energy expenditure; explain the determinants of energy expenditure and the basis of individual differences.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On completion of this course students will be able to:

1. Critically discuss the digestion, absorption and bacterial fermentation of foods and how these relate to gut function, nutrition and health.

2. Discuss using an evidence based approach the principles and evidence for the action of pre, probiotics and synbiotics.

3. Critically discuss the importance of food structure and physical properties of food; food matrix effects on digestion and absorption.

4. Critically review the factors controlling eating behaviour and signalling of satiety in the GI tract and the role of nutrients.

5. Discuss critically the storage and mobilisation of adipose tissue, muscle TAG and exogenous and endogenous lipoprotein metabolism.

6. Discuss using current evidence the relationships between disturbances in carbohydrate, lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in the context of coronary vascular disease and diabetes and the potential of diet to affect lipid and lipoprotein metabolism.

7. Discuss and critically appraise the methodologies, approaches and measurements of energy expenditure; and their use in a wide variety of populations.

8. Reflect on a set of standards for professional behaviour using the AfN standards as an example

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

For students on MSc Human Nutrition with specialisation:

As per the Association for Nutrition accreditation requirements students must submit all assessment components and achieve a minimum grade of D3 in each component.


For students on MSc Human Nutrition with Knowledge Transfer:

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