Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems

About the programme

Programme goals & Learning objectives

While large populations face hunger and undernutrition, overweight and diet-related chronic diseases have taken on pandemic proportions. In addition, human diets have a significant impact on natural resources and the climate. More than ever, food systems changes are required to improve human diets, promote planetary health, and achieve sustainable development.

The MSc Nutrition and Food Systems programme focusses on human nutrition and diets from a food system perspective. After completing this degree, you will:

  • Have a strong academic background in human nutrition. The programme contains all necessary courses for you to work as a nutritionist,
  • Understand how human diets and nutrition are driven by food systems, from the production, post-harvest handling, transformation, storage, marketing of food up to the behaviour of consumers,
  • Be capable of identifying nutritional problems, their underlying causes and develop, manage, and evaluate relevant interventions,
  • Be able to critically evaluate nutrition research findings and be competent to develop evidence-based recommendations, and
  • Be able to collaborate, communicate and creatively apply these competencies across the disciplines for sustainable food systems change

Through interactions with a diverse and international group of students and lecturers, you acquire international and intercultural competencies. You will start your professional career with an international network.

The MSc Nutrition and Food Systems has its roots in the MSc Nutrition and Rural Development, which ran as an international MSc programme at UGent since 1987. In response to increasing global concerns regarding the sustainability of food systems, the programme focus was revised to food systems.  

Course details and schedule

Course structure

The two-year curriculum is a gradual build-up of learning opportunities over 4 semesters. The fundamental knowledge courses in the beginning make way for courses that provide generic competencies for life-long learning and employment at the end. The programme provides flexible learning opportunities that allow you to tailor a part of the curriculum to your needs, talents, and interest.

The first semester contains general courses related to nutrition and food systems. It establishes a common ground between all students as many have different backgrounds in disciplines such as food technology and engineering, nutrition and dietetics, biomedical sciences, or medicine. The second semester builds on this knowledge with more advanced courses. To tailor the course programme to the individual student’s needs and interests, you can take one elective course during the first year.

You can specialise even more during the second year. The third semester has no mandatory coursework and provides an internship opportunity to gain professional experiences. You can choose from a broad range of elective MSc courses at UGent or at another university, if these meet the programme learning objectives. The final semester contains the Master’s dissertation and alongside courses that prepare students for employment.

Admission requirements


Applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree of min. 3 years from a university or recognized equivalent. Good overall scores (at least a second class or equivalent, preferably higher) are recommended.


Applicants must be able to demonstrate through their transcripts that they received basic science training in the following fields: (i) Mathematics, and/or basic statistics; (ii)  Chemistry; (iii) Biochemistry; (iv) Computer Literacy.

Language requirements

The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests*: 

  • TOEFL IBT (internet based) 80
  • TOEFL PBT (paper based) 550
  • ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score with a min. of 6 for writing
  • Certificate CEF-B2 (awarded by a European university language centre)
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE)

* TOEFL/IELTS predictive tests and TOEIC will not be accepted

Language of instruction is not accepted anymore, except:
a.  applicants who have a diploma (Secondary Education, Academic Bachelor Degree, Master Degree) awarded by an (recognised) institution in the Flemish Community
b.  applicants who are nationals from or have obtained a bachelor and/or master degree in a higher education institute with English as mode of instruction in USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Canada. In the latter case a certificate that the mode of instruction was English has to be submitted.

Application Procedure

Start the online application

Before completing the online application, we recommend to carefully read the general guidelines (including list of necessary documents you will need to upload). 

Application for 2023-24 opens October 2022

Study cost

  • Tuition fee
  • Living, insurance & accommodation expenses: min € 850/month
  • Some scholarship schemes take charge of other particular costs

Contact & Info

Questions concerning your application:
Questions during your study:
MSc In Nutrition and Food Systems
Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium