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Study Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Otago

From health and wellbeing to elite performance

There is growing interest in the relationship between nutrition, physical activity and sporting performance, with two major areas of focus:

  • physical activity and health
  • sporting performance

The Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Nutrition is the only degree programme in New Zealand that combines nutrition and physical education. This degree will allow you to study the role nutrition plays in both health and sporting performance.

What is Sport and Exercise Nutrition?

Sport and exercise nutrition is a rapidly expanding area requiring a combined knowledge of the roles of human nutrition and physical activity in health.

The Sport and Exercise Nutrition (SPNU) programme combines human nutrition, sports science and physical education. In addition, several minor programme options are available, broadening the career opportunities upon completion of your degree.

Why study Sport and Exercise Nutrition?

This is the first qualification in New Zealand that focuses on sport and exercise nutrition, giving a thorough grounding in all aspects of human nutrition and relevant areas of exercise and sport science. The degree requires a second major or a minor from a list of approved options. These will give you a set of complementary skills, making your Sport and Exercise Nutrition degree even more relevant to today’s working world.

Background required

High school students are recommended to take biology, chemistry, maths and English in Year 12 and preferably chemistry in Year 13.

Career opportunities

There is a growing need for individuals with a combined understanding of the principles of nutrition, health and physical activity. This means there are many career paths available, depending on the minor chosen to complement SPNU, and the individual’s areas of interest.

Some examples include:

  • sports nutrition consultancy
  • roles in public health, physical activity and nutrition
  • research
  • product development
  • dietetics

What will I learn about?

A broad understanding of the principles of nutrition and exercise science will be obtained from human nutrition and physical education papers in the first, second and third years.

First year

In your first year of study you will be required to take papers in nutrition, human body systems, biochemistry and chemistry.

Second year

In your second year, human nutrition and physical education become the mainstay of your study.

Third year

The third year sees further specialisation in the selection of human nutrition and physical education papers.

Teaching style

As well as lectures to learn the theory of human nutrition and sport and exercise science, there is a large practical component in both the physical education and human nutrition papers. Labs and practical sessions give you hands-on experience and regular tutorials provide excellent small group learning opportunities.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

*It is a requirement that every Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) normally includes an approved minor subject or an approved second major subject. Usually such a minor or second major subject must be selected from the approved combinations of major subjects with minor or second major subjects. Some exceptions may apply. For details see:

Full list of available approved minor and second major subject areas

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) majoring in Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Year Papers Points

BIOC 192  Foundations of Biochemistry

CHEM 191  The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health 

HUBS 191  Human Body Systems 1

HUBS 192  Human Body Systems 2

HUNT 141  Understanding Human Nutrition







HUNT 245  Sport and Exercise Nutrition*

Two of:

SPEX 201  Biomechanics  and  SPEX 203  Exercise Physiology, or
SPEX 204 Psychology of Sport and Exercise and SPEX 205 Physical Activity and Health








HUNT 345  Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Two of:

  • HUNT 341  Nutrition and Behaviour Change Communication
  • HUNT 342  Nutrition and Chronic Diseases
  • HUNT 343  Community and Public Health Nutrition

SPEX 303  Exercise Energetics and Physiology and SPEX 305  Athletic Conditioning and Rehabilitation, or
SPEX 308  Psychology of Physical Activity and SPEX 309  Active Living and Environment








90 further points (POPH 192 recommended), including either requirements for an approved minor or approved second major subject or other approved papers

Students who are interested in becoming dietitians, and working in the area of sports nutrition, must include the Supplementary Nutritional Science minor in their BAppSc programme. Students wishing to apply for dietetics must also include the HUNT344 in their BAppSc programme.


Total   360

Further information regarding the BAppSc majoring in Sport and Exercise Nutrition is available on the Department of Human Nutrition website.

Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) in Sport and Exercise Nutrition

  • HUNT 490  Research Project

  • One of:
    • HUNT 441  Research Methods
    • HUNT 442  Applied Nutrition & Disease Management
    • HUNT 443  Practice in Public Health Nutrition
    • HUNT 445  Applications in Sport and Exercise Nutrition
    • HUNT 452  Nutrition and Human Health
  • APPS 499  Applied Science Work Experience

  • One further approved 400-level paper

Minor subject requirements

Sport and Exercise Nutrition as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, or BASc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), or Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level HUNT 141  Understanding Human Nutrition 18

HUNT 245  Sport and Exercise Nutrition

One of:

  • HUNT241  Fundamentals of Nutrients and Health
  • HUNT242  Nutritional Assessment
  • HUNT243  Lifecycle Nutrition

Note: HUNT 141 is a prerequisite for HUNT 241-243 but can be taken as a co-requisite for HUNT 241; other prerequisites for HUNT 241 are BIOC 192, CHEM 191, (HUBS 191, 192 or ANAT 101 and PHSL 101).




HUNT 345  Applied Sports Nutrition

One of:

  • HUNT341  Nutrition and Behaviour Change Communication
  • HUNT342  Nutrition and Chronic Diseases
  • HUNT343  Community and Public Health Nutrition



Total   90

Note: This minor subject is not available for students majoring in Human Nutrition.

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Human Nutrition
Tel +64 3 479 7943