Explore Online Nutrition Short Courses

Online nutrition courses are one way to quickly increase your knowledge and skills in the world of nutrition science. This could help you provide better services to your clients or patients or potentially help you grow in your career.

Before you decide if online nutrition courses are right for you, learn why they are beneficial, what they cover and how long it will take to complete one. 

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Stanford Center for Health Education Nutrition Science Short Course

Unpack the various debates surrounding nutrition in order to learn the fundamentals of a good diet.

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What Are Online Nutrition Courses?

Short courses in nutrition provide more information about a specific segment of nutrition science. These online courses are designed for health and wellness professionals who want to expand their knowledge of how diet and nutrition affect human health and development as well as disease prevention. They usually provide supplemental education or basic education and don’t necessarily offer credits or certification (although you may still receive a certificate of completion similar to other public health short courses).

Online nutrition courses generally cover how nutrients affect our bodies. They could focus on how to keep your body healthy, how to avoid certain diseases or illnesses or how to better manage current illnesses.

Other online nutrition courses may look at how food affects sustainability, global supply chains or our communities and the environment.  

What Is the Definition of Nutrition?

The definition of nutrition is the process of transforming food into nutrients that are absorbed into the body. Studying or working in the nutrition field, therefore, relates to learning about and helping others eat a healthy and balanced diet.

Being knowledgeable about nutrition can benefit a wide range of professionals. For example, those working with older adults, children, pregnant women, cancer patients or athletes may all benefit from studying nutrition or even earning a nutritionist degree in public health

Nutrition Course Curriculum and Description

Different courses in nutrition cover different aspects of the field. Many nutrition courses focus on how nutrition affects your health, either generally or in relation to specific conditions like pregnancy or illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Some courses may be focused on particular groups like athletes or children, whereas others may offer a broad understanding of malnutrition and overnutrition.

Nutrition course curricula will vary depending on the providing institution and the course topic but may cover the following:

  • Nutritional information like the science of carbohydrates or protein.
  • Dietary advice for audiences like children, pregnant women or athletes.
  • Food safety information.
  • Practical advice for those seeking nutrition education.

Topics in Nutrition Online Short Courses

Although they are related, nutrition courses and short courses in nutrition are not the same as nutrition science courses.

Nutritional science courses mainly cover micronutrients and macronutrients and how they affect human health and development. These courses focus on the science behind nutrition but may also cover some fundamental nutrition-related topics.

On the other hand, short online nutrition courses could cover more specialized information. A course in nutrition could discuss the roles nutrition and lifestyle play in disease or how nutrition could affect a person’s mental health. People seeking nutrition short courses may be interested in a specific segment like plant-based nutrition or how diet affects heart disease. Other nutrition short courses could focus on how nutrition affects sports and exercise. Still other courses may cover food security, agriculture and sustainability. 

Nutrition Course Requirements

Most courses in nutrition do not have prerequisites and are open to anyone. Still, it may be beneficial to have some background or fundamental knowledge in the area of study. Some short nutrition courses require that you at least have knowledge of basic biology. For some short courses in nutrition, a background in science or basic knowledge of natural sciences could be helpful. 

What Is It Like to Study Online Courses in Nutrition?

When you enroll in most online nutrition courses, you can complete the coursework in your own time. That means that the schedule is flexible and self-paced, as long as you finish all course requirements by the final due date.

Because nutrition courses are self-paced, time to complete is mostly up to each individual. You could finish a short course in a matter of hours or over multiple weeks, depending on the institution and the focus of the course. Some courses may require as little as two hours per week, while others may need you to dedicate up to eight hours or more per week to your studies.

A certificate of completion may be available to those who successfully finish an online nutrition course, sometimes for a fee and upon request. Some institutions allow you to complete the course for free (sometimes called auditing). In this instance, you will not receive a certificate after completing the coursework. 

Should I Pursue a Course in Nutrition?

Nearly anyone can benefit from learning more about how food affects our mental and physical health. Yet specific nutrition courses may provide more than education to some professionals. 

Those looking to advance their careers in epidemiology, nutrition, healthcare, health policy, biology, food science or a number of other professions may find it helpful to gain more information about nutrition through short courses. 

Completing online nutrition courses offers flexibility to working professionals. These courses can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. In most cases, online nutrition courses can also be completed in your own time.

Those who wish to dive deeper into the field of nutrition and expand their knowledge might consider completing a master’s in nutrition or a Master of Public Health/Registered Dietician (MPH/RD) program.

Nutrition Courses FAQs

Before signing up for a short course in nutrition, you may have some questions. We’ve collected some FAQs about nutrition courses and answered them below. 

What are the benefits of taking nutrition short courses?

Courses on nutrition provide you with information about how what you eat can affect your physical and mental health. They may also teach you about how nutrition affects disease or physical performance. 
By studying nutrition through online courses, you may be able to learn more about topics you haven’t encountered before and potentially serve yourself and others better. 

How long does a nutrition course take to complete?

Most nutrition courses require significantly less time than a degree program. Nutrition courses are usually self-paced, meaning you help determine how long they take. In many cases, you can earn your certificate of completion in as little as a few weeks. This will depend on the course and how many hours you are able to dedicate to coursework each week. 

What experience do I need to enroll in a short course in nutrition?

Most courses do not require any background knowledge or experience to enroll. However, basic knowledge and understanding of biology may be beneficial. You may also find it helpful to have some foundational knowledge if you want to complete a course about a very specific topic.

What is the weekly workload of an online nutrition course?

The number of hours that you will need to dedicate to studying each week depends on the course and the institution. Some courses will require as little as two hours a week. More demanding courses could take up to eight hours or more of your time each week.

What is the best nutrition course?

Nutrition courses come in many topics, formats and levels. That means the best nutrition course is the one that best suits your career goals and area of interest. More than that, your best course should fit into your schedule and be flexible enough that you can complete it in the stipulated time frame.

Last updated in February 2022

Sponsored

Explore Public Health Online Short Courses

Harvard University Global Health Delivery Short Course

Join a network of leaders as you learn to leverage innovative approaches to global health delivery.

  • Flexible Structure
  • 10 weeks, Entirely Online

George Washington University Healthcare Management Short Course

Learn to plan strategically and respond to changing medical environments in the Healthcare Management online short course.

  • Led by thought leaders
  • 8 week online short course

Stanford Center for Health Education Nutrition Science Short Course

Unpack the various debates surrounding nutrition in order to learn the fundamentals of a good diet.

  • Flexible learning with personalized support
  • 8 weeks, Entirely Online

University of Cape Town Occupational Health and Safety Short Course

Gain the skills to effectively conduct risk assessments, and manage hazards and incidents in your company.

  • 10 weeks, Entirely Online
  • 7- 10 hours per week of self-paced learning online