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Careers in Dietetics

Many career options are available to graduates in Human Nutrition. Some of the more popular are listed below.


Qualification as a dietitian depends on gaining a Master of Dietetics. The degree is an internationally recognised qualification in dietetics.

Recent MDiet graduates are working in a variety of roles: 
• clinical dietitians working in hospitals, providing nutritional support to people with acute and chronic illnesses
• foodservice management dietitians working in hospitals and commercial foodservices
• community dietitians, providing nutritional support, care and education to individuals and groups in the community
• private practice dietitians or sports dietitians
• nutritional products representatives for pharmaceutical companies
• dietitians in the food industry
• Public Health dietitians in health promotion and health protection

Further information on Dietetics as a career can be obtained by contacting:

Dietetics Programme,
Department of Human Nutrition,
University of Otago, Box 56,

Food Industry

For a career in the food industry e.g. research and development officers, food technologists, nutritionists, marketing or sales officer, useful choices would be additional papers in Food Science, Microbiology, Computing, Marketing, Statistics, Health Promotion. A double major in Food Science and Human Nutrition is an excellent qualification.

Foodservice Industry

For a career in the foodservice industry, e.g. foodservice supervisor, product and recipe development, public relations consultant or private foodservice business, the following papers should be included: FOSC 111, HUNT 231, HUNT 331. Chemistry is not essential. Career opportunities would be further enhanced by including papers in food marketing:- FOSC 307, FOSC 308.

Government and National Organisations

There are many opportunities for those with postgraduate qualifications in Human Nutrition, (PGDipDiet, PGDipSci, MSc or PhD), to find positions in a range of organisations. For example, the Ministry of Health, New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), New Zealand Milk, Cancer Society, National Heart Foundation, Agencies for Nutrition Action (ANA).

Leisure Industry

For a career in the fitness and leisure industry, e.g. health and fitness manager, nutrition counsellor, recreation services advisor or personal trainer, a combined BPhEd and BSc or BAppSc majoring in Sport and Exercise Nutrition is recommended. There is a growing awareness of the role that nutrition can play in athletic performance and the importance of good dietary practices for weight control in athletes. Many Phys Ed graduates have considerable influence over the dietary practices of athletes and future athletes as teachers, coaches, fitness industry employees and sports administrators.

Nutrition Promotion

For a career in the health sector e.g. statistical analyst, research officer, health protection officer, health promoter, policy analyst, graduate qualifications are recommended. This could involve postgraduate study in nutrition or consideration of other qualifications e.g. Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health or Health Protection Officer training. At the undergraduate level useful choices would be additional papers in Statistics, Maori Studies, Physiology, Computing, Health Promotion, Psychology, Sociology, and Marketing.


For a career in research e.g. Crown Health Enterprise research and evaluation officer, Crop and Food research technician or scientist or scientists for specific research programmes, the following subject areas are recommended for consideration to be included at undergraduate level: Biochemistry, Computing, Psychology, Physiology and Statistics. A research component is required e.g. an honours degree or a master’s degree.

Self Employment

There are many opportunities for self employment open to graduates in Human Nutrition, e.g. nutrition consultant, weight loss counsellor, writer, personal trainer, food outlet manager.

Sports Nutrition

The emergence of the New Zealand Academy of Sport has opened up new opportunities for careers in sports nutrition, in addition to those associated with the leisure industry. These positions include sport science providers to elite carded athletes in the academies, and sports nutrition education positions within the academy structure or in polytechnic and university courses in Sports Science. The new Applied Science major of Sport and Exercise Nutrition is an ideal qualification for this field. Other alternatives are a BSc majoring in Human Nutrition and a Master of Dietetics, or a combined BSc or BAppSc in Human Nutrition and BPhEd.


Graduates wishing to become post-primary teachers can train for a Diploma in Teaching in a one year course at a College of Education.