Dietitians apply the art and science of human nutrition to help people understand the relationship between food and health. They have a key role in the management of diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, malnutrition, food allergy and intolerance. Dietitians also work toward the prevention of many diseases and conditions through nutrition education, health promotion and advocacy. You will gain practical experience in clinical and other dietetic environments and study chemistry, human biosciences, public health, research, food science, nutrition and dietetics.
There is a growing demand for dietitians in Australia and overseas. Graduates are prepared for work in a range of fields including private practice, patient/client care in hospitals, health centres, nursing homes, community nutrition and public health, food service management, research, teaching and training, management, writing, media, marketing, public relations and the food industry (including product development, food regulation, safety, consumer nutrition education and nutrition marketing).
We also offer single subject study. Visit our short courses page to find out more.
Dietitian versus nutritionist?
The difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist
In Australia, there is a distinction between the occupations of dietitian and nutritionist and only those who have completed a recognised course in dietetics can be employed as a dietitian.
Nutrition science involves the role of nutrients in growth, development, health and well-being in humans and animals. Nutritionists apply their knowledge of nutrition science and other sciences such as physiology and biochemistry to promote health and well-being.
A dietitian is also considered a nutritionist because they have studied human nutrition. In addition, dietitians complete specialised studies and supervised professional placements in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, evidence-based practice, food service management and community and public health nutrition. These studies qualify a dietitian to assess nutritional status, make nutritional diagnoses, and implement and monitor nutrition management plans.
Learning at La Trobe University involves your participation in subjects delivered in one of three typical modes: face-to-face, online and blended. Face-to-face may involve lectures, tutorials, workshops and practicals. Online may involve learning activities that can be completed from any location and at varying times as long as you have access to the internet. Online assessment activities may involve creating and posting videos, blog posts or an online article. Blended learning will contain elements of face-to-face and online activities.
Duration: 4 years full-time as accelerated (equivalent to 4.5 years full-time study). Some students may take longer.4 years full-time as accelerated (equivalent to 4.5 years full-time study). Some students may take longer.
Duration: 2 years full-time or part-time equivalent2 years full-time
Your study experience
You will undertake supervised professional placements in a variety of dietetic workplaces, including clinical environments such as hospitals; community and public health and food service. The third and particularly the fourth year of the course include a total 24-26 weeks full-time professional placement. During placement students will be exposed to men and women, at different stages through the lifespan from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds in different states of health and disease including mental health and palliative care. You may see patients/clients/carers in distress, pain or experiencing grief. You must have a willingness to learn about and work with students, teachers and clients who may be different from themselves. Many of our clinical placement partners require that you receive preventative vaccinations prior placement to protect both themselves and their clients.
Teaching in the last 18 months takes place in a range of sites including University Clinical Schools. Placements are located throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria and in some cases you may have the opportunity to take a placement interstate. Travel and accommodation costs associated with placement are your responsibility. In the case of regional and rural placements you may apply for competitive scholarships.
If you have completed part or all of an undergraduate degree at another university, apply through VTAC for entry into the first year of the Bachelor of Applied Sciences/Master of Dietetic Practice. You can also apply for recognition of prior learning where appropriate if you have completed the first year of another course at La Trobe, you may be able to apply to transfer into the course.
Dietetic students have limited opportunities for exchange however the elective opportunities allow students to engage in some study opportunities abroad. You may be eligible for La Trobe's student exchange program.